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. 40 June 20, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. Inside WAY BEHIND NOT ALL ABOUT ZIEGLER SHIFTING SANDS




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


I have the theme from Love Story running through my head as I write this. Where do I begin From an update on the petition drive for a new city charter to the School Board race involving a candidate Gov. Rick Scott just appointed to that board to snags in the effort to get a long-term operation in place at Warm Mineral Springs, this has been another busy week. Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker and City Editor Stan Zim merman managed to score scoops on the mainland, while I delved into breaking news regarding Siesta Key. County Editor Rog er Drouin may have had the most challenging time of all of us, though, as he worked to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manager of the Lido Renourishment Project to answer questions about the report the agency re leased last week. Stan seemed to provide the most diversity in his coverage this week. The City Commission meet ing on Monday was just one of many sources for his articles. I especially recommend his ac counts of the City of Sarasota Board of Adjust ment and Public Art Committee meetings. The focus for the Board of Adjustment was the continuing saga of a Bay Shore Road homeowner who wants to be able to keep his 74-foot boat outside his bayfront door, so to speak. Neighbors and historic photos indicat ed the channel he wants to use is sanded in, but other testimony countered those claims. Roundabout art once again was at the cen ter of the Public Art Committee discus sion. Stan offers a great overview of crite ria upon which the board members have settled. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


WAY BEHIND NOT ALL ABOUT ZIEGLER NEWS WAY BEHIND 9 The strong mayor petition faces its deadline with only about half the needed signatures as of June 19 Stan Zimmerman NOT ALL ABOUT ZIEGLER 12 Gov. Scotts intervention in a School Board race has grabbed headlines, but other issues at stake, too Cooper Levey-Baker SHIFTING SANDS 17 A long-anticipated U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report released last week does little so far to quell the debate over a plan to dredge parts of Big Pass Roger Drouin BIG BOAT, SHALLOW WATER 25 A Bay Shore Road homeowner appeals to the Sarasota Board of Adjustment in a case involving the navigability of a channel Stan Zimmerman ONE PROTEST, ONE CORRECTION 31 Both of the nal two plans for Warm Mineral Springs hit snags ahead of next weeks presentations Cooper Levey-Baker A CHANGE IN ALLOCATIONS? 35 In August, the School Board will try to settle on a policy for disbursements of certain district funds to new charter schools Rachel Brown Hackney LEAVING THE DOOR AJAR 39 A circuit court judge dismisses a Sunshine suit over cellphone monitoring but orders local documents back to state clerks of court Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article COVER PHOTO CREDIT Mood Indigo Norman Schimmel


SIESTA SEEN OPINION OPPOSING THE BUS STATION MOVE 41 The City Commission announces its interest in the Lemon Avenue/First Street site; the Rosemary Districts density bonus wins approval; and a rise in water rates will be the focus of a public hearing Stan Zimmerman PLANNING PROCEEDS ON NORTH PORT SCTI 46 A tentative Sarasota County School Board schedule calls for completion by Jan. 1, 2017, but acquiring the site poses some challenges Rachel Brown Hackney BY THE NUMBERS 52 Sarasotas Public Art Committee settles on criteria for roundabout sculptures, and the City Commission agrees to hire a project manager Stan Zimmerman VILLAGE RECYCLING HOPES REMAIN 56 The countys chief engineer is optimistic a program still could start next year, if certain steps are undertaken very soon Rachel Brown Hackney A BIT OF A PROBLEM 61 Only one rm has shown interest in the new Siesta Village maintenance bid, leaving county staff to work on tweaking the bid Rachel Brown Hackney TWO PROJECTS AT ONE TIME 66 North Siesta Key water customers will get a new pipeline at the same time the county constructs a sewer line for the new Siesta Key pump station Rachel Brown Hackney SIESTA SEEN 70 A deputy offers a primer on reworks; Avenida de Mayo parking complaints are still coming in; and the stormwater project is almost complete Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 77 CRIME BLOTTER 83 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


NEWS BRIEFS OPINION EDITORIAL 92 Avarice should not trump common sense on beach building rules COMMENTARY 95 Wanted: Someone who plays well with others in the sandbox Stan Zimmerman A faithful friend Harriet Cuthbert LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 98 ALL THE REST ... COMMUNITY CALENDAR 100 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 102 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article SHARE COMMUNITY CALENDAR I am so incredibly pleased, with my beautiful smile and my comfortable and natural bite. Barbara LeeFor a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. |


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The organizers of the City of Sarasota petition drive to put a charter-changing referendum on the November ballot are up against a June 23 deadline, City Attorney Bob Fournier says. The charter is explicit about the sequence of events after the petitions are submitted, and June 23 is the last day to beat the clock unless the City Commission agrees to a spe cial meeting to consider putting the measure on the ballot. As of Thursday, June 19, the organizers of Its Time Sarasota had presented 1,909 peti tion signatures to the Ofce of the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections. About 15 percent were i nvalid, leaving 1,628 that had been approved. This is about half the 3,548 signatures required. The city charter demands that 10 percent of the registered voters who participated in the last at-large city election (March 2013) sign a petition to put an issue on the ballot. Its Time Sarasota wants city voters to adopt a totally new charter, repealing the current city-man ager form of government and replacing it with one that will feature an elected mayor with very broad powers. The organization is regis tered in a lobbyists of ce in Tallahassee. The group Its Time Sarasota wants to see the city governed by a strong mayor. Photo by Norman Schimmel WAY BEHIND THE STRONG MAYOR PETITION FACES ITS DEADLINE WITH ONLY ABOUT HALF THE NEEDED SIGNATURES AS OF JUNE 19 By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS


Calls to Linda Holland, coordinator of the petition drive, were not returned by deadline. The group has conducted a full-court press to obtain the necessary signatures, working the polls during the March Sarasota County School Board special 1-mill tax referendum, going door-to-door, stafng a booth at the Sarasota County Fair and, most recently, sending blank petitions by mail to registered city voters. If the group misses the June 23 deadline, it has several options. It can continue gather ing signatures with the hope it can qualify for the city primary election in March 2015 or the possible city runoff in May 2015. However, these are city district elections; if one of the three districts has just a solitary candidate, there will be no voting in that race. Therefore, the election would not be general because one districts voters would not be participat ing. The May runoff is even less likely to have all three districts voters going to the polls. If the 2015 city elections will not work as an alternative, organizers could hold out for the November 2016 presidential election. The current city charter says only that the elec tion can be no earlier than 90 days [after an ordinance approving the ballot language is passed] and no later than the next regular election. % Past Sarasota City Commission candidate Linda Holland has been coordinating the petition drive for a new city charter initiative. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 10


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Newly appointed Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler. Photo courtesy Facebook NOT ALL ABOUT ZIEGLER


A three-s entenc e a nnouncement from the ofce of Gov. Rick Scott has shaken up a pre viously quiet race for a spot on the Sarasota County School Board. In his terse statement, Scott appointed candidate Bridget Ziegler to a vacant spot on the board, prompting sharp criticism from Zieglers opponents and other locals who say the decision was rooted in political favoritism rather than sound educa tional policy. But the race is about much more than Rick Scott, with at least one candidate criticizing the boards embrace of the national educa tion standards known as Common Core, and another arguin g that the boards most press ing tas k is to reach the children now being left behind. Ken Marsh retired from the school system this spring after decades as a staffer and plan ner. When he visits with civic organizations and parents groups, the number one con cern is always those struggling students that still arent making it, he tells The Sarasota News Leader Theres no silver bullet for the problem, Marsh emphasizes, but he says its vital to seek teacher input on how best to reach kids falling behind. He credits the school system for offering technical alternatives to tradi tional education, praising the new Sarasota County Technical Institute facility at Beneva and Proctor roads in Sarasota and the new, in-the-works North Port SCTI campus. (See the related sto ry in this issue.) [If el ected] my first opportunity to really have an impact on programs and policies that have budget implications is going to be in the winter and the spring, Marsh says, and I would be working with the other four board members on this issue of how to reach the struggling students better. We do great with gifted and cluster programs. We need some how to be able to reach out to those kids that arent making it. Marshs opponent, Geoffrey Fisher, blames the achievement gap on what he sees as the absence of fathers in the African-American community. Fathers are vital, he says. Dont relegate th em to some ancillary position Sarasota County School Board candidate Ken Marsh. Photo courtesy Ken Marsh` GOV. SCOTTS INTERVENTION IN A SCHOOL BOARD RACE HAS GRABBED HEADLINES, BUT OTHER ISSUES AT STAKE, TOO By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 13


and have the federal government become the father. Fisher taught in the Connecticut school system, where kids are routinely getting pregnant, but he says broader sex education isnt the answer. You need to have a unied message that marriage is the way to go, he adds. For Fisher, the main issue in the race is obvi ous: Common Core. The State of Florida this year reviewed and edited the national edu cational standards and replaced them with its own version, the Florida Standards, but Fisher calls that a mere shell game. He says the new standards too closely mirror Common Core, which puts excessive empha sis on abstract thinking for the lower grades and is way too easy for the higher grades. They should be teaching A Tale of Two Cities Nineteen Eighty-Four Animal Farm by George Orwell, Emily Dickinson, Fisher tells the Ne ws Leader They should be teach ing The Federalist Papers They should be teaching hardcore liberal arts, to think about how people lived in different times, not what type of Maytag washing machine you should buy. Fisher accuses Common Core propo nents such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates of supporting the standards so they can, in turn, make money designing software and tests. In his comments, Fisher echoes the thoughts of tea party leader Randy McLendon who is running for the School Board in a sepa rate race. The question that confronts both of them is what can a School Board member do to oppose statewide standards that have already been adopted and implemented in the countys lower grades? Fisher says hell put together a petition to present to the areas legislative delegation and that state represen tatives will feel th e heat. Gov. Rick Scott (right) with Sarasota City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo at a Gulf Coast Builders Exchange event. Photo courtesy Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 14


Marsh dism isses the idea that the Florida Standards are generating much negative feed back. Theres a little controversy from some people who are very vocal, he says. And I think a great majority of people believe in a common set of standards so that there can be comparisons: school-to-school, dis trict-to-district, state-to-state. He emphasizes that the standards are not any kind of topdown curriculum. Theres nothing that one board member, ve board members even, are going to be able to do in Sarasota or any other school district in Florida to stop it, Marsh adds. I think the prudent thing to do is monitor it as we would any new initiative. Paul Schafer, another candidate in the race, says that while hes generally pleased with the boards direction, standardized test ing is out of control. Ive seen kids crying in fourth grade, stressed out over the state wide exams, he tells the News Leader That should not happen. Schafer, who has most recently taught as a reading specialist at Keiser University, is running a grassroots campaign, pledging to accept absolutely no donations. Money corrupts, he says. Ill get my word out. I will talk to people like you. I will go to any organization. But he criticizes the process entailed in elec tions for the board: A candidate must live within a specic district but campaign county wide. Schafer says that limits the prospects of a candidate of modest means. Zieglers appointment represents another challenge Schafer must overcome. He applied to Gov. Scott for the position as did Fisher but both were denied. The School Board should be absolutely non-political, Schafer says. We should have the best peo ple possible. While much of the criticism directed Zieglers way has cited her political ties (her husband, Christian Ziegler, is the former executive director of the Republican Party of Sarasota County), her youth (shes 31) and her lack of education experience, Fisher says the real problem is that she wont clearly state where she stands. Citing a recent email poll Ziegler sent out, Fisher says, She wants to put her nger in the air and gure out what position to take. Ziegler, in fact, did not respond to multiple News Leader emails requesting an interview. Velton Hodges, who led for the race just last week, was out of town and unable to respond before our deadline. I was disappointed that Gov. Scott appar ently thought so little of Sarasota County parents and teachers and students that he would appoint somebody with so little expe rience to such an important position, Marsh says. Thats not a partisan issue, because there are many other Republicans he could have appointed. Does Zieglers appointment give her an edge in the campaign? I think what it gives her is some name recognition, Marsh replies. Whether it helps her or not may relate to other parts of party politics and the extent to which the governor is a popular governor or not. Early voting in the School Board races begins Aug. 16 and runs through Aug. 23; election day is Aug. 26. If one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she automatically wins the seat. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the top two vote getters will com pete in the Nove mber general election. % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 15


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Although stretches of Lido Beach have been eroding for decades, the debate over how to approach the problem will not be dissolving soon. A long-anticipated report released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engi neers last week concluded that a plan to dredge 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from the Big Pass ebb shoal will not negatively change the shoal, alter wave action or affect sediment transport pathways that deliver sediment to downdrift beaches (Siesta Key). The Army Corps wants to use that dredged sand to buffer a 1.6-mile stretch of Lido Beach. That action is the pri mary component of a proposed $19-mil lion project to keep sand on a beach that has become critically eroded, according to state environmental ofcials, especially at Lounge chairs sit at an angle on South Lido Beach because of the shores erosion. Photo courtesy Cindy Shoffstall SHIFTING SANDS A LONG-ANTICIPATED U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS REPORT RELEASED LAST WEEK DOES LITTLE SO FAR TO QUELL THE DEBATE OVER A PLAN TO DREDGE PARTS OF BIG PASS We have standard monitoring for all of our projects, and we are assuming that additional monitoring will be required for this project. Milan Mora Project Manager U.S. Army Corps of Engineers By Roger Drouin County Editor


the southern end. As part of the undertak ing, the Army Corps would also install three groins to help keep that sand in place, and it would add more sand to the beach every ve years. The agency will conduct public meetings on the report on July 23 at Sarasota City Hall at 2 and 6 p.m., during which time residents will have the opportunity to voice comments. During that same period of time, according to Army Corps Project Manager Milan Mora, the agency will submit a permit application for the project to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). In a written response to the News Leader Mora said that if the project is approved, the Army Corps will make certain federal ofcials watch over the work closely to determine whether an y problems arise, either on Lido Beach or on Siesta Key. We have standard monitoring for all of our projects, and we are assuming that additional monitoring will be required for this project, Mora added. As a result of the recent modeling, the cost of the project dropped from $22.7 million to $19 million. The Army Corps is responsible for 65 percent of the expense, while the City of Sarasota will be covering the rest, using Tourist Development Tax revenue set aside for that purpose and state funds. For residents and property owners on Lido the island created in the 1920s when circus entrepreneur John Ringling lled in the key the project cannot begin soon enough. Little of South Lido Beach remains for people to walk at high tide. Photo courtesy Cindy Shoffstall Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 18


We are not looking for Siesta Key to get destroyed. But we think it is critical to get our beach renourished. Carl Shoffstall President Lido Key Residents Association The tide lapped near the base of a South Lido Beach condominium complexs pool deck late last month. Photo courtesy Cindy Shoffstall Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 19


Tourists visiting Lido have been wondering about the situation they are encountering. Where is the beach? Why isnt anything being done? These are questions Carl Shoffstall has been hearing more frequently as people walk sections of the beach. In my opinion, we need to do something about this, said Shoffstall, president of the Lido Key Residents Association. We had to do something yesterday. But Siesta hoteliers, residents and property owners have banded together to form Save our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2) as a means of conveyin g their concerns about the projects potential impacts on boaters navigation of the Big Pass channel and on Siestas beaches. The owners of the Best Western Plus-Siesta Key hotel on South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota have retained Donald Hemke, a prominent Tampa environmental lawyer; two other attorneys are working pro bono for Siesta interests. Members of SOSS2 do not agree with the Army Corps conclusions. Removing more than 1 million cubic yards of sand from Big Pass, which has never been dredged, will have a detrimental impact on navigation and the natural dow ndrift of s and on Floridas west The Army Corps of Engineers proposes placing three groins on the southern end of Lido Beach. Image courtesy Army Corps of Engineers Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 20


The Army Corps of Engineers modeling shows no impact to the Big Pass navigation channel from dredging in the pass shoal. Image courtesy Army Corps of Engineers Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 21


coast, said Peter van Roekens, an advocate for Siesta Key and area boaters. The Army Corps is like a big tank rolling along, and we have to lie down in front of it and hope we dont get squished, van Roekens told the News Leader TWO SAND PERSPECTIVES For Shoffstall, the Lido Key Residents Association president, the Army Corps planned $19 million project is the x needed to make sure sand stays on Lido beach and protects the property there. Shoffstall says opposition from groups on Siesta has the undertaking in limbo, but time is of the essence. With Siesta Key and everyone arguing about this, we are quickly washing into the Gulf, Shoffstall told the News Leader this week. We are not looking for Siesta Key to get destroyed. But we think it is critical to get our beach renourished. Shoffstall believes members of the commu nity have to work together when it comes to solutions for Lidos erosion woes. He com pares the Army Corps project to the Ringling Bridge debate. When it rst came out they wanted to do that [bridge], it was the end-all, and people said it would destroy the city, Shoffstall said. What is it now? It is the showpiece of the city. You cant base your decision on fear and what bad could possibly happen. As Army Corps staff works on nalizing the projects details, Shoffstall and other Lido residents have been meeting with city and county commissioners to try to build support for the undertaking. Shoffstall s aid Moras statement to the News Leader about additional monitoring should reassure local elected officials as well as residents. If they are going to monitor this more than what they normally do, I think that is a good thing, Shoffstall pointed out. It is another safety net. Across Big Pass, SOSS2 is acting swiftly to fight the dredging and construction of the groins. The cover of the Army Corps of Engineers report on the Lido Renourishment Project features a colorful graphic. Image courtesy Army Corps of Engineers Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 22


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Milan A. Mora presented a preliminary plan for the Lido Renourishment Project to the City and County commissions in October 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 23


The Army C o rps o f Engineers is not listen ing, reads a letter the organization plans to send to the Boaters Coalition and Siesta res idents. They were told that there are other sources of sand for the few spots on Lido Key that need to be renourished. They were told that groins on South Lido beach could have a negative impact on Ted Sperling Park They were told that the first ever dredge of Big Pass could have the same negative impact on navigation that it has had on New Pass and Longboat Pass. They were told that dredging Big Pass could destroy the natural renour ishment process for the northern Siesta beaches which have never had to be arti cially renourished. Van Roekens, the Siesta Key and boating advo cate, says a third-party review of the Army Corps report would be a good next step. The city has hired coastal engineering con sultant Cliff Truitt to conduct a peer review. That should be completed in early July, said city Senior Communications Manager Jan Thornburg. But the citys p eer review will not cut it, van Roekens said. Cliff [Truitt] has worked on the original pro posal that all this is based on, van Roekens pointed out. So having Cliff review this doesnt make sense. Van Roekens has suggested an outside expert such as an analyst at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution We really want an honest peer review that looks at what are the risks and what was the modeling structure that says this is OK to do, van Roekens added. If we need to hire one, we will, if we can col lect enough money to do so, van Roekens said. SOSS2 is collecting contributions with the hope it can fund its own third-party analysis of the Army Corps report. This week, the group started an effort to try to triple the amount of money it has collected thus far, reaching out to the Boaters Coalition and Siesta residents and business owners. In a peer review, we dont want to worry about re-running [Army Corps] models, van Roekens told the News Leader We want to look at the structure of their models and the relationship of their models and the age of the data that went in. Its all pretty old informa tion. What data did they feed into the model? Someone really needs to take a look at that, he continued, because they are resting their whole case on an unlikely assumption that this will cause no harm, [that] it will make navigation better, which is preposterous. He believes that a mo died, simplied project, such as adding less sand to targeted erosion hot spots on Lido, could solve the problems without creating the potential for negative impacts to the south. But the Army Corps has maintained that the $19 million compre hensive project is the only option. Take it or leave it, van Roekens said of the Army Corps view. Will all of this come down to a legal challenge? We hope not, van Roekens responded. But if it does, that is what it will be. To read the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on the Lido Renourishment Project, visit the Sarasota County websi te % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 24


James Armour will not take No for an answer. After the Sarasota County Commission turned him down at, 5-0, he went to the Sarasota City Commission for another 3-2 loss. All that happened last year. Now he is at the citys Board of Adjustment. If he loses there, the next step is Circuit Court. What does he want so badly? He wants to dock his b oat next to his house, but, unfor tunately, the channel connecting navigable water to his dock lled in long, long ago. He is asking for a maintenance dredging permit for a channel cut originally in the 1920s. Sarasota County turned him down on the sim ple grounds that the channel no longer exists. His request forced the City Commission to decide if it wanted to exert jurisdiction over such requests or let the county handle them. The city decided to assume the responsibility, and Armours was the rst such petition. As we reported last July, Armours law yer, Deborah Getzoff, faile d to convince Consultant Kristina Tignor points out details of the old channel for members of the citys Board of Adjustment. Photo by Stan Zimmerman BIG BOAT, SHALLOW WATER A BAY SHORE ROAD HOMEOWNER APPEALS TO THE SARASOTA BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT IN A CASE INVOLVING THE NAVIGABILITY OF A CHANNEL Our information is from a 2005 survey. I have not reviewed it very much. Kristina Tignor Consultant Tignor Group By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


A current aerial shows the house at 4449 Bay Shore Road and the bay. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 26


the city commi ssioners about the need for the dredging. Testimony and video evidence showed people walking across the site of the former channel, barely getting their knees wet. Getzoff said that as recently as 2009, there was a remnant channel leading to the boat basin outside Armours home. And what a home it is. It is the most valuable residence in the county, appraised for tax purposes at $13.4 million. Patterned after the casino at Monte Carlo, at 39,000 square feet, it is second in size only to John Ringlings old place up the street o n Bay Shore Road. Armour would like to dock his $3.5 million Viking 74 sport sherman vessel in his boat basin, but getting to it is the problem. On Wednesday evening, June 18, Armours new attorney, Matthew Taylor of Bradenton, pre sented more evidence and testimony to the Board of Adjustment that the channel is there and still navigable, although by boats smaller than a 74-footer. HOW FAR BACK CAN YOU GO? After all witnesses were sworn in to tell the truth, the ve-member Board of Adjustment proceeded with its hearing. The city previously As presented to the board, this is picture-perfect proof the old channel is navigable at mid-tide by a boat drawing 30 inches of water. Boat owner Mike Abbott (foreground) responded to questions from attorney Matt Taylor, who was handling the blown-up images. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 27


The channel is open in a 1926 aerial shown to the board by Jono Miller. Image courtesy Jono Miller A 1948 aerial shows sand beginning to ll the channel. Image courtesy Jono Miller Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 28


had presented its case. On Wednesday eve ning, it was Taylors turn to demonstrate why Tim Litchet, the citys director of development and neighborhood services, made a mistake in denying the maintenance dredging permit. Taylor called Kristina Tignor, an engineer with the Tignor Group of consultants. She testified that four separate state and fed eral agencies had approved the maintenance dredging, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. But under cross-examination by Litchet, Tignors claim that the channel is still there in vestigial form weakened. It appears to be a at area, both inside and outside the channel, said Litchet. What are the water depths? Our information is from a 2005 survey. I have not reviewed it very much, replied Tignor. Did you not measure the depth actually in what you call the channel? asked Litchet. There are som e contour lines that show what the depths are, she told him. Dont FDEP permits require local approval? asked Litchet. That is correct, said Tignor. Have you ever filed a private mainte nance dredge project 400 feet long from the coastline to the Intracoastal [Waterway]? asked Litchet. No, I havent, she replied. Is there any limit on the time frame that one can go back and claim a channel existed? There was something here in 1927. Could you go back to 1850? asked Litchet. If the soil borings, the aerials supported it, then, in my opinion, the channel should be able to be maintained, she told him. FEET WET; FEET DRY Nobody disputes the channel existed. Taylor called Jerry Kuehn to testify. A geotechnical By 1983, the channel appears to be lled. Image courtesy Jono Miller Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 29


engineer, he took soil borings that show the channel once was 7 feet deep. But now they show the water is 2 feet deep, inside and out side the channel. Taylor next called Mike Abbott to testify. He was asked by Tignor to take his 36-foot off shore powerboat up and down the channel to demonstrate the waterway is still navigable. He testied that his boat draws 30 inches of water with the triple engines raised. Is there any doubt in your mind there is a channel there? asked Taylor. None, said Abbott. Taylor produced a series of enlarged photo graphs showing the boat making its way up and down the channel. Abbott did not say which day, or at what time, he navigated the waterway, only that it was a mid-tide excur sion. Depending on the phase of the moon, the fourth hour of a six-hour tide can add 2 feet to charted depths. Abbotts company has been hired to dredge Armours boat basin, but he vociferously denied the $130,000 contract (as shown on the permit) inuenced his testimony. I obvi ously have a nancial interest in it, but I would never give any false testimony, he said. The photographs were evidence of his journey. While Abbott was carefully motoring through the old channel, a number of nearby residents opposed to the dredging were taking the same trip on foot. Boots Culverson tromped through the seagrass on June 7. One hour after high tide, I did a search of the area within the pil ings, and it had less depth than the areas north and south of the channel, she said. If you were blindfolded and walked across, you would never know there is supposed to be a channel, test ied Ruth Folit. A 400-foot gash through a seagrass bed is not good for the health of the bay. Neighbors showed video of their excursions through the seagrass and across the site of the channel, although Taylor objected to them under rules of evidence that say the person responsible for a video must be present to authenticate it, and that person was absent in this case. Jono Miller, another neighbor opposed to the dredge, offered an aerial survey of the chan nel from 1926 through this year. He said that by 1957, the channel was defunct and by 1983, Sand has completely lled the channel. MORE TO COME After more than four hours of testimony, the Board of Adjustment recessed the hearing until Friday, July 18. At that time, it will hear rebuttals by the city and the applicant and then closing arguments before beginning its deliberations. I need about an hour for rebuttal, said Taylor after hearing all the public testimony. Litchet told the board he would not make a rebuttal. He estimated his closing arguments would take about 15 minutes. The hearing is a quasi-judicial proceeding, which is a court-like action with sworn wit nesses and the board members acting as judges evaluating the preponderance of evi dence and testimony. Should Armours arguments fail to convince the Board of Adjustment, his next step is Circuit Court should he desire to pursue the issue further. % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 30


Next Tuesdays joint North Port-Sarasota County meeting to discuss the remaining two proposals to redevelop Warm Mineral Springs became a little more fraught this week, with a formal protest led against one of the nalists and a correction appended to the other. The North Port and County commissions together narrowed their range of choices from four to two last week, picking plans submit ted by Jebc o Ventures and National and State Park Concessions as the two most attrac tive choices. The boards have been working for years to develop a long-term plan for the Springs, which the city and county jointly purchased in 2010 for $5.5 million. Jebcos proposal calls for aggressive redevelop ment, with the possibility of a new hotel and even condos and residential housing on the 81-acre Springs property. National, meanwhile, has proposed a gentler strategy, with no construc tion for the rst three years and more modest upgrades after that. Representatives from both companies are slated to present their projects to the boards on Tuesday, June 24. Visitors enjoy the swimming area at Warm Mineral Springs. Photo by Rachel Levey-Baker ONE PROTEST, ONE CORRECTION BOTH OF THE FINAL TWO PLANS FOR WARM MINERAL SPRINGS HIT SNAGS AHEAD OF NEXT WEEKS PRESENTATIONS We want to make a presentation. Ralf Brookes Representative Friends of Warm Mineral Springs By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


An aerial map shows the location of Warm Mineral Springs near North Port. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 32


But problems have now hit both projects. Friends of Warm Mineral Springs, a nonprot that sent in its own plan for the Springs, has submitted a formal protest to the county, tak ing issue with the decision to select Jebco as one of the two nalists. The document led with the county lists Jebcos failure to name a specific admission fee as an example of the company not responding appropriately to the bid and charges Jebco with improp erly using public land for collateral to fund its $35.7 million plan. We want to make a presentation, Cape Coral attorney Ralf Brookes tells The Sarasota News Leader Ralf, who led the protest for Friends, argues that since Jebco didnt offer the information required, the Friends pro posal, ranked third, should replace it. He says the Friend s plan is much lower-intensity and that the organization wants to prevent exploitation of the springs. Per Sarasota County spokeswoman Jamie Carson, since no one plan has actually been selected yet, the countys Office of Procurement is deeming the Friends pro test premature. Brookes disagrees, saying Jebcos plan shouldnt even be considered next week. (Jebco CEO James Bridges did not respond to a News Leader message ask ing for his comments about the protest.) Jebcos opponent next week, National, is fac ing problems of its own. Last Friday, just days after the National plan was named a nalist, company President Jack Bobo emailed the county to alert it to an error National had Friends of Warm Mineral Springs submitted this handwritten document about the company as part of its bid package. The president is William H. Delp II. Image courtesy Sarasota County. Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 33


discovered in its proposal. According to a letter Bobo later submitted, National had underestimated its monthly management fees by almost $34,000 beginning in 2017, affecting Phase Three of the project. The payroll formula basically was omitted, Bobo tells the News Leader It just didnt make it into the nal spreadsheet. He says the error was reported to the county within ve minutes of the companys discovering it; he calls the correction a minor change that would have no immediate impact on the com panys plan. National is managing the Springs on a short-term basis; that contract expires at the end of August. Is Bobo concerned that the mistake might jeopardize Nationals plan? Theres always trepidation when you start doing these proposals, he says. Are you going to get it? Whats our competition like? Denitely, those things go through your mind. Were up against competitors that have been in the business that know what theyre doing. It doesnt give me a concern right now, County Commission Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson tells the News Leader when asked about the National error. The great part about the way we are doing this is we dont have to take a package as they present it. If we dont like an element, we can negotiate it out of it. As for the protest against Jebco, Robinson says it was led prematurely and is proce durally out of line. She adds that she has a lot of questions for both applicants. Now were going to get into the details. % Gene Burgess and Melonie Burgess, licensed acupuncture physicians Serving Sarasota since 2008 Treatment rates are on a sliding scale, from $15-$35; new patients pay a one-time additional fee of $10 AFFORDABLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR EVERYONE 3615 Webber St Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4611 Open Tuesday through Saturday Our Mission To provide our community with high quality and affordable acupuncture and herbal medicine and to create a treatment space that connects people and builds community. Click for larger map and driving directions Click To Schedule An Appointment Online MENTION THIS AD TO RECEIVE $5 OFF THE NEW PATIENT FEE Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 34


Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White (left) and School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin prepare for the start of the June 17 workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney An Aug 19 discussion could lead to a Sarasota County School Board policy denying funds to new charter schools from its capital budget and from the pool of revenue the school dis trict collects as a result of its special 1-mill tax. The School Board considered nine charter applications last year and ve in 2012. It has letters of intent indi cating at least seven could come up for review this year. The board is set to make a decision on the latest group in early October. Why are so many people coming into Sarasota County? asked Chairwoman Jane Goodwin during the boards June 17 workshop. We have the third-best school district in the state. We have great [state test] scores. We have great facilities. We do things very, very well from a business standpoint, operationally, as well as from [a teaching standpoint]. Why are they coming here? Is it money? The Sarasota district provides its charter schools with a total of $1,450 per student out of its referendum A CHANGE IN ALLOCATIONS? IN AUGUST, THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL TRY TO SETTLE ON A POLICY FOR DISBURSEMENTS OF CERTAIN DISTRICT FUNDS TO NEW CHARTER SCHOOLS We do want [new charter schools] to be successful, but maybe they dont need our money to be successful. Jane Goodwin Chairwoman Sarasota County School Board By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


revenue pool and its capital budget funds, she pointed out. Thats a lot of money. As Goodwin laid it out after about 25 minutes of discussion, the choices are to continue to allocate the money to each new charter school as the district has been doing, refuse to pro vide any of the funds to new charter schools or make a decision on a case-by-case basis. We need to do something, she added. Board member Shirley Brown noted that, without a policy in place, future School Boards could take a different view of the situation altogether. Three seats are up for election this year, she added. (See the related story in this issue.) Board member Caroline Zucker requested that School Board Attorney Art Hardy be prese nt for the August workshop to offer counsel. Sh e pointed out that Hardy previ ously had recommended the board remain exible in its handling of these extra alloca tions to charter schools. REPRISING THE DISCUSSION Zucker was the one who asked that the latest discussion be placed on the June 17 agenda. When Vice Chairman Frank Kovach reminded his colleagues that they had debated the mat ter about six or eight months ago, Goodwin and Zucker pointed to the number of poten tial applicants for new charter schools as the reason to settle on a future course. Zucker stressed that she has no desire to change the policy in regard to the 12 charter schools already operating in the district. Sarasota County Schools Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner talks with School Board member Shirley Brown before the start of the June 17 workshop as Vice Chairman Frank Kovach reviews materials. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 36


Some Sarasota County charter schools, such as the Imagine School in North Port, are operated by corporations located outside the area. Image from the Imagine School in North Port website


A majority o f distric ts do not share spe cial referendum money with their charter schools, Goodwin said, noting that such action so far has not been mandated by the Florida Legislature. Zucker was in agreement with Goodwin that the money is an incentive for new charter schools to open in Sarasota County. What especially concerns her, Zucker said, is that some of the proposed new schools will draw students from other counties, instead of just serving Sarasota County residents, and that a number of applications in recent years have come from corporations, meaning district funds leave the area. Many of the applicants in 2013 didnt have any personnel at all associated with Sarasota County, Goodwin noted. Superintendent Lori White told the board members that two of the organizations that have submitted letters of intent regarding new charter applications propose South County schools Sky Academy in Englewood for students in grades six through eight and the North Port Collegiate Military Academy for students in sixth through 12th grades. A third letter proposes a school in Lakewood Ranch for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The representative of the latter group is Justin Matthews, former principal of the Imagine School in North Port. One of the potential applicants this year is a virtual school, White said. Goodwin pointed out that virtual schools dont need capital dollars, do they? So I somehow think that at some point we have to say, Enough is enough, Zucker added. Goodwin proposed that the board make a decision on a case-by-case basis. When Kovach sought clarication that dis trict personnel already caution applicants that they might not receive the money, White responded that that is correct. Weve always told them that [so the money] is not part of the application budget. Even though district staff has been convey ing that to applicants, Goodwin pointed out, some charter school groups last year added in the money anyway when preparing their budgets for School Board review. White noted that the only prior consensus the School Board members had reached in the past on the topic was to deny the funding to charter schools whose applications they refused approval, only to have the school rep resentatives appeal the decision at the state level and win. My concern is that we make it very clear what the parameters are [for the future], Kovach said. It makes it really murky, as a board, to just say, Well, we dont like you, so were not going to give [the money] to you. Additionally, he pointed out, over the past several years, the School Board members have refused to approve the vast majority of charter school applications because they felt the proposals failed to meet state and district educational standards. If the schools are good enough to be in the district, he con tinued, Why would we not want them to be successful? We do want them to be successful, Goodwin responded, but maybe they dont need our money to be successful. % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 38


On Wednesday, June 18, 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Charles Williams dismissed a suit using Floridas Sunshine Laws to seek state and federal documents about the use of cell phone tracking equipment. Sarasota Police Detective Michael Jackson was named in the suit as a possible cus todian of records. Sarasota attorney Andrea Mogensen, representing the American Civil Liberties Union, was joined by Greg Thomas, repre senting a second plaintiff, Michael Bareld, in bring ing the action. They were requesting public documents concerning the use of stingray devices to monitor cellphone transmissions in Sarasota. The monitoring involved the U.S. Marshals Ofce and the U.S.-Caribbean Fugit ive Apprehension Task Force. Detective Jackson is also a sworn deputy U.S. Marshal and is a mem ber of the task force. Williams order dis missed the suit without prejudice, LEAVING THE DOOR AJAR A CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE DISMISSES A SUNSHINE SUIT OVER CELLPHONE MONITORING BUT ORDERS LOCAL DOCUMENTS BACK TO STATE CLERKS OF COURT The U.S. Government on or before June 23, 2014 will le with the issuing Florida state court those applications for orders approving the using of stingray devices. Judge Charles Williams 12th Judicial Circuit Court Sarasota Cellphone monitoring was at the center of a Sunshine lawsuit led in Sarasota. Photos courtesy of By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


saying Florida s public records law does not include Federal entities. That was the argu ment of Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Flynn at a status conference on June 12. Floridas Sunshine Laws have been preempted by federal statute, Flynn told the court during that proceeding. Williams agreed and further said that Jacksons efforts as a special deputy U.S. mar shal put him outside the Sunshine Laws, too. Thus the Sunshine Law would not apply to Det. Jackson while operating in his capacity as a sworn federal law enforcement agent, Williams wrote. During the June 12 conference, the judge and Flynn agreed the U.S. government would return to state courts any and all circuit court documents in its possession that sought permission for use of the cellphone signal interception devices. His nal order calls for the state documents to go back to the control of circuit court clerks. Mogensen told The Sarasota News Leader that was a major vic tory in the suit, despite the dismissal. That is huge, she said. Mogensen and Thomas are considering whether they will re-le their complaint by July 7, a deadline Williams set for such a pos sibility, or appeal his June 18 decision, she added. That is under discussion. The city turned over 1,900 documents to the plaintiffs the night before the June 12 con ference. Williams noted in his order that city efforts are ongoing to produce more. The documents returned to county clerks all over Florida by the U.S. Attorneys ofce now fall under the states Rules of Judicial Administration. Mogensen said all state and local records are presumed public under Floridas Sunshine Laws, but a host of exemptions have been applied over the years. For example, a police request to a judge for a search warrant is a secret document until the warrant has been served. The request then is often unsealed and becomes a public record. With the stingray materials out of federal hands, local judges can respond to public records requests on an individual basis. This was so outside the bounds of normality, noted Mogensen. Williams order says, The U.S. Government on or before June 23, 2014 will le with the issuing Florida state court those applications for orders approving the using of stingray devices. % Any Sarasota County records involving cellphone monitoring have been ordered back to the Ofce of the Clerk of Court and County Comptroller. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 40


A monument marks the Rosemary District in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel OPPOSING THE BUS STATION MOVE We should be at the table at the beginning of the discussion. Id rather be driving the bus than under the bus. Shannon Snyder Commissioner City of Sarasota


On Monda y June 16, the Sarasota City Commission made two large strides toward reinvigorating the rundown Rosemary District. It approved a triple-density plan for about 75 acres in the area. The board also sold the Sixth Street site that used to be home to the community garden, along with a small adjacent parking lot on Fifth Street, to create a mixed-use project on Sixth Street that will include retail, rental apartments and possibly a theater for live performance s. The triple-density approval is a change to the citys comprehensive plan, so it must be approved in Tallahassee. That is not seen as an obstacle in Gov. Rick Scotts administra tion. It initially facilitates plans for 6.3 acres to create about 450 market-rate rentals in two medium-rise buildings with parking on every oor. Ordinarily, the zoning would allow only 25 units per acre, but the residential overlay district bumps that to 75 units. Planning consultant Joel Freedman said the apartments will range from 500 to 1,000 A drawing from the Rosemary Square project overview shows how retail space would be incorporated amid residential units on the ground oor. Image courtesy City of Sarasota THE CITY COMMISSION ANNOUNCES ITS INTEREST IN THE LEMON AVENUE/FIRST STREET SITE; THE ROSEMARY DISTRICTS DENSITY BONUS WINS APPROVAL; AND A RISE IN WATER RATES WILL BE THE FOCUS OF A PUBLIC HEARING By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 42


square feet at a rental rate of $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot per month. This is the same gure cited for the second Sixth Street project, at Central Avenue, called Rosemary Square. One of the investors in the latter venture is veteran developer Dr. Mark Kauffman of Sarasota, who told The Sarasota News Leader he may apply for additional units as well under the triple-density plan. The two projects will add more than 500 rental units adjacent to downtown, filling a well-known need for housing for young professionals in the area. Coupled with entrepreneur Jesse Biters plan for a 10-story rental complex on Second Street, which won city Planning Board approval last week, there could be plenty to choose from in a year or two. JUMP IN WATER RATES? The commissioners Monday also unanimously approved a motion to advertise a public hear ing in response to the Utility Departments request for a 6-percent increase in water and sewer rates, beginning Oct. 1. That would be followed by another 6-percent boost the fol lowing year and 4-percent annual increases for each of the following eight years. Why does the department need the money? About half of the funds would go toward replacing an aging pipeline to the Verna well eld in central Sarasota County. That eld has provided drinking water for custom ers over the past half-century (it is a secure source of fresh water for the city), but the line needs replacement. That could cost about $13 million. The city sold the former site of the community garden on Sixth Street, enabling development to get under way in the Rosemary District. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 43


Another $7 million or more is needed to replace and recongure utility lines under the new trafc roundabouts planned along U.S. 41 in the coming years. While the intersec tions are torn up, utilities engineers want to make sure the connections will be good for decades to come. A city would normally oat a bond issue to pay for such maintenance and improvements, but city commissioners in the past told the Utilities Department to pay for the upgrades with cash. By avoiding the interest on borrow ing with bonds, the city and the ratepayers will save millions in future expense. Many leaders of Florida cities wish they had Sarasotas utilities system. While its rates are roughly in the middle range for communities on the wes t coast of Florida, a secure source of water (at Verna) and the degree of mainte nance and upkeep in the past make the citys utilities among the most reliable in the state. PLUS AND MINUS ON TRANSIT In another matter Monday, the City Commission took a major step toward moving its impact fee system from covering just roads to covering all forms of transit. The so-called Multi-Modal Impact Fee was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Vice Mayor Susan Chapman in the minority. In making the switch from roads only, the city administration suggested the new fee should be reduced as an incentive for inll devel opment. Chap man believes this gives new The City Commission has announced its interest in buying back the parcel on which the countys downtown bus transfer station sits. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 44


developm e nt too much of a subsidy. The citys numbers will be about two-thirds of what the county charges for its roads-only impact fees. The multi-modal scheme will allow the city to apply the money to bicycle lanes, pedes trian improvements, rapid transit (like the now-defunct bus rapid transit system scut tled by Sarasota County), downtown trolleys and other non-automobile-related transport, for examples. PICKING A FIGHT City policy at times is getting hard to unscram ble from electoral politics. Two sitting city commissioners are running against each other for a vacant seat on the Sarasota County Commission. For the past two years, City Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder have voted together as a bloc time and again. Caragiulo last year announced he was running for the seat being vacated by Joe Barbetta. But after Snyder led papers as a candidate last month, the bloc has been broken, with Snyder looking for ways to distinguish him self from Caragiulo and his patron, Barbetta. For more than a year, Barbetta has pushed to relocate the downtown bus transfer sta tion from Lemon Avenue and First Street approximately a mile east, to the site of the county-owned parking lot at the intersection of School Avenue and Ringling Boulevard, which is across from the Florida Department of Health ofces in Sarasota County. The land for the current station was sold by the city to the county 12 yea rs ago. Snyder did some homework, read the original sales contract and found a clawback provision demanding the city get right of rst refusal if the county ever wanted to sell the property. After we reported the contract provision in our June 13 issue, Barbetta emailed County Attorney Steve DeMarsh. I wasnt aware of that [reverter clause], nor were the other commissioners I presume, when we started discussion of this some time ago, he wrote of the bus transfer station plans. The signature on the bottom of the 2002 con tract belongs to then-Mayor Carolyn Mason, who now sits on the County Commission. We should be at the table at the beginning of the discussion, said Snyder on Monday. Id rather be driving the bus than under the bus. Chapman added, If the county moves it, I want the property back. They were joined in sentiment by people in the audience who sat quietly through the entire City Commission meeting for this nal item on the agenda. Local residents and the manager of the Payne Park skate park all said putting the bus station next to Payne Park was an awful idea. We spent millions of dollars on that park, said Snyder. A bus station would handicap anything east of [U.S.] 301. The commissioners approved sending a let ter to the County Commission, saying they want to buy back the downtown land if the city moves the bus station. The motion was approved unanimously. Caragiulo was con spicuously silent during the discussion. % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 45


The draft timeline for building a Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI) in North Port calls for shovels to go into the ground on Jan. 1, 2016, and for the facility to open its doors exactly a year later, Todd Bowden, the Sarasota County School Districts execu tive dir ector of career, technical and adult education, told the School Board during its June 17 workshop. It was the boards rst session since Gov. Rick Sc ott formally approved $3 million for the project, with part of the funds dedicated to a joint SCTI/county library in the facility. Staff and School Board members expressed their appreciation to state Sen. Nancy Detert of Venice for shep herding the funding through the Legislature. The new c ampus won endorsement not only from the North Port City Commission during the Jan. 17 Convocation of Governments the School Board hosted (Far left) School Board Vice Chairman Frank Kovach, board member Shirley Brown (third from left), Superintendent Lori White (fourth from left) and board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin (right) listen to a June 17 presentation by Todd Bowden (second from left) and Scott Lempe (to Bowdens right). Photo by Rachel Hackney PLANNING PROCEEDS ON NORTH PORT SCTI A TENTATIVE SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD SCHEDULE CALLS FOR COMPLETION BY JAN. 1, 2017, BUT ACQUIRING THE SITE POSES SOME CHALLENGES Weve come a long way from the time when I fought to get a high school for North Port. This is fantastic. Its just like the culmination of a dream. Caroline Zucker Member Sarasota County School Board By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


but also from the other municipal leaders in the county as well as the County Commission. School Board member Shirley Brown told her colleagues on June 17 that she learned from Detert that both the Governors Ofce and the Florida Department of Education are excited about the project because they havent had a brand new technical school built in the state for over 10 years. Deputy S uperintendent Scott Lempe reported to the board that district staff has settled on a 35-acre parcel that is in foreclosure in the Toledo Blade corridor of North Port. However, he said, the district needs only about 20 to 25 acres for the campus. At $50,000 an acre, it doesnt make sense to buy 10 or 15 more acres than you need, he pointed out. The main SCTI campus is located at the intersection of Beneva and Proctor roads in Sarasota. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 47


Therefore, distr ict staff has proposed to the bank handling the foreclosure that it will work with the City of North Port to re-plat the property. If the bank is willing to enter into a contract with the School Board, contingent on the districts working through the regula tory process with the city, Lempe continued, that would allow the School Board to move forward with selecting a design engineer. The tentative timeline for site acquisition calls for that contingency contract to be signed by July 1, with a binding contract to follow by Nov. 1 and closing on the property set for May 1, 2015. When Chairwoman Jane Goodwin asked whether the re-platting effort would mean more expense for the School Board, Lempe replied, It will cost us some but not a lot, about $15,000 to $18,000. Vice Chairman Frank Kovach said he has had a number of dealings with banks, so he questioned whether it might be better for the district to buy the whole parcel and then sell what it does not need for the new SCTI. A slide presented to local government leaders in January showed target industries the North Port SCTI would serve through its programs. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 48


[Banks are] not always real flexible, he pointed out. Bowden noted that the other two top sites on the districts list would necessitate a re-plat ting process as well. I really would like to see this speeded up a bit if there is any way to speed it up, Goodwin told Lempe and Bowden. Regarding the plans for the SCTI itself, Bowden explained the project encompasses three phases. The first involves not only site acquisition but also the construction of admi nistrative facilities and implementa tion of about half the programs proposed for the institute. The second phase will include the expansion of programs, while the third will focus on the library, which is proposed for use by the pub lic as well as students and staff. The district has set aside $9.5 million in its capital budget for the next scal year to cover the rst phase and a portion of the third. When Goodwin asked whether staff had obtained a Memo randum of Understanding Sarasota County School District staff has released a tentative timeline for the North Port SCTI project. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 49


(MOU) from the county for the library plans, Lempe replied, No. Then Goodwin and board member Caroline Zucker pointed out that the county failed to follow through on similar proposed plans in the past involving a new North Port school. We spent quite a bit of money and it didnt come to fruition ... I dont want to see that hap pen again, Goodwin said. We need to work diligently with [the County Commission]. I absolutely agree, Lempe told her. However, he said, he does not see the lack of an MOU at this point as a sign the countys interest in the project has waned. He feels county staff is waiting for the School Board to give it some feel for the scope of the SCTI plans and cost estimates. In response to an inquiry from The Sarasota News Leader county spokeswoman Jamie Carson said on June 17 that Sarabeth Kalajian, the countys director of libraries and historical resources, already is preparing a presenta tion on the library for an upcoming County Commission budget workshop. SCTI PROGRAMS Bowden told the board the North Port SCTI will o ffer a range of programs, from New Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler (right) and board member Caroline Zucker prepare for the start of the June 17 workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 50


healthcare tr aining to industrial and business education to programs that will support local manufacturers. A path to a practical nursing degree will be a priority, he added, because SCTI in Sarasota can accept only about one in three students who apply for the program on that campus. When board member Brown asked why so few are accepted, he explained that the Florida Board of Nursing regulates the number of stu dents, based on demand from area hospitals. Because the South County SCTI will enable the district to work with more hospitals as partners, Bowden said, more students will be allowed to enroll in the program on the North Port campus. He also will work with staff at Charlotte Countys technical institute, he continued, to learn ab out excess demand it has for career paths, so the North Port SCTI can provide the appropriate programs. Goodwin pointed out that because the cam pus will be a satellite of the main facility in Sarasota, it will not have to wait three years to gain accreditation. It will be accredited from Day 1, Bowden concurred, enabling students to seek federal Pell grants At the end of the discussion, Zucker, a longtime School Board member, said, Weve come a long way from the time when I fought to get a high school for North Port. This is fantastic. Its just like the culmination of a dream. Technical education is so important to our students, Goo d win added. % 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 For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 51


The City of Sarasotas Public Art Committee has agreed to a set of standards for sculptures to enhance the centers of the citys growing number of planned trafc roundabouts. During a special meeting held on Tuesday evening, June 17, the five members of the Art Committee unan imously a pproved a general description proposed by member Jeffrey Weisman. For starters, the bay fronts Unconditio nal Su rrender would not make the cut. The iconic statue of the sailor kissing a nurse to celebrate the Allies victory over Japan in World War II would violate Weismans second requirement: Original, contemporary, ne art; not a repro duction, no t mass produced. The b oard is devel oping a procedure to install large sculp tures in the centers of at least 10 planned roundabouts in the city. Th e evening Unconditional Surrender, located on the City of Sarasotas bayfront, would not meet the criteria for roundabout art as proposed by a city advisory board. Photo by Norman Schimmel BY THE NUMBERS SARASOTAS PUBLIC ART COMMITTEE SETTLES ON CRITERIA FOR ROUNDABOUT SCULPTURES, AND THE CITY COMMISSION AGREES TO HIRE A PROJECT MANAGER By the end of the year, you could have a project art manager selected and under contract. David Smith General Manager Transportation Planning By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


before it met, the Sarasota City Commission approved the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to seek a project art man ager to lead the acquisition process. The primary job of that person will be to plan, organize and manage the process to dene the art needed, identify appropriate artists and consult with them through cre ation to installation in multiple projects, according to a committee document. Pu blic Art Committee member Elizabeth Van Riper said the art manager would be able to contribute to the list of criteria for the sculp tures. Among the other factors the committee hopes to realize in the sculptures is museum quality that provides a unique visual expe rience. However, David Smith, general manager of transportation planning for the city, noted the sculptures can be viewed by drivers, b ut should not be too distracting. A whimsical work of art stands in the middle of a roundabout in Grand Junction, CO. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 53


Contrary to neo-modernist practice, the com mittee does not want public involvement with the pieces. Its members want art that does not draw viewers to it, but is appreciated from a distance; non-interactive, the docu ment says. Committee members said they do not want people dashing through trafc to get a closer look. After the city releases a Call to Artists, the committee hopes submissions will be created by emerging, mid-career or established artists from anywhere in the world. And, of course, the pieces chosen must meet the demands of Sarasotas hurricane-prone environment, strong sun and salt air. Additionally, they should be vandalism-resistant. The rst step in expanding the citys collec tion of public art will be hiring the project arts manager. That could take a few months, said Smith. The RFP needs to be created and then double-checked by the committee at its next meeting (in August). After the RFP is published, applicants would have 45 to 60 days to reply. All the applicants for that job will be screened by a selection committee, which will settle on the top three or fo ur candidates. The nalists Appropriate for the nations Music City, a sculpture in a Nashville, TN, roundabout is titled Musica. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 54


then will be int erviewed by that committee, which will be composed of two Public Art Committee members and three city staffers. By the end of the year, you could have a proj ect art manager selected and under contract, said Smith. Only then will the selection of the sculptures begin. The city could purchase existing art work or extend a Call to Artists for new pieces. In either case, the Public Art Committee will review the contenders and make a recom mendation to the Sarasota City Commission, which will have the nal decision. The process has several deadlines because trafc engineers want the artwork installed before the roundabouts are opened to driv ers. For example, staff also will need to know how large a structure will be necessary to support and protect each work of art from errant motorists like Kathleen Callender, who crashed into Unconditional Surrender in 2012 with her white Mercedes, damaging the statue. Work on the next roundabout, to be locate at the intersection of Main Street and Orange Avenue, is set to begin later this year. Were probably about a year-and-a-half from the completion of [that one], Smith told the Public Art Committee. We would like the piece nish ed around the same time as the roundabout. Developers of new buildings must make either a monetary contribution to the public art fund or furnish a piece of public art. Currently the art fund contains $265,000, which is clearly insufcient for museum quality original unique [hurricane-resistant] outdoor sculpture. Public Art Member Van Riper says she has been in contact with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to explore various funding vehi cles for the roundabout art project. She urged other members to become familiar with major granting organizations like the Ford and Dart Foundations or the National Endowment for the Arts. It would be great to have grants behind us when we kick this thing off so people see this as serious, she told the com mittee Tuesday. Public Art Chairwoman Trulee Jameson envi sions the entire project will take about 10 years to complete. Before the unanimous City Commission vote to seek a project arts man ager, Commissioner Shannon Snyder said, This has not been done in Florida and not many places elsewhere. Somebodys going to want this on their resume. % Search for text in stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and entering a search term. Search the current edition or all editions. QUICK TIP Search Only The Issue You Are Viewing Search All Issues Your search term here Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 55


Sarasota County Chief Engineer James K. Harriott Jr. will not rule out the possibility that recycling can be implemented in Siesta Village during the next scal year. In fact, he told The Sarasota News Leader this week, he remains hopeful a program can get under way. Perh aps the biggest question is whether the budget for the Siesta Key Village Maint enance Corp. (SKVMC) will be able to cover the expense without any amendment. Does it t in the existing assessment? Harriott pointed out on June 17. Mark S mith, the liaison between the SKVMC and the county, con firmed to the News Leader this week that Siesta Village lead ers still would like to see recycling begin under a new mainte nance contract the County Co mmission In June 2013, the Siesta Key Village Association began discussions in earnest on establishing a recycling program in the Village. Photo by Norman Schimmel VILLAGE RECYCLING HOPES REMAIN THE COUNTYS CHIEF ENGINEER IS OPTIMISTIC A PROGRAM STILL COULD START NEXT YEAR, IF CERTAIN STEPS ARE UNDERTAKEN VERY SOON The complexity in all of this probably comes from government procurement requirements In the interest of fairness to all contractors, making changes to the work scope after awarding the contract is not really possible. James K. Harriott Jr. Chief Engineer Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


is expected to award this summer. But Smith concedes he failed to comply with a county code stipulation that the SKVMC deliver to the county no later than March 15 any rec ommendations for changes to the contractual level of services, with estimated projected costs for the next succeeding fiscal year (Section 110-629 of the code). I guess I misunderstood that thats what we needed to do, Smith said on June 16. You wouldnt think it would be this tough to get recycling [in the Village]. All we want to do is get a dozen trash cans. The SKVMC represents all the property owners in the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District, which was created in early 2007 as the county was preparing to undertake a beautication project in the Village. Since Based on a survey of garbage can contents in Siesta Village, 12 locations have been proposed for recycling containers. File photo Mark Smith is the liaison between the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. and Sarasota County. File photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 57


that multi-m illion-dollar undertaking was completed in early 2009, the SKVMC has been charged with overseeing as well as paying for the upkeep of the district. The March 15 date was established to enable county nancial staff to make any necessary calculations for the assessments of the prop erty owners to cover new expenses, Harriott explained to the News Leader The county budget process is nalized each summer, he pointed out. According to a timeline the county provided to the News Leader staff members walked through the Village with Smith on Feb. 5 to inspect the level of maintenance. Two days later, staff sent [a] courtesy reminder email to Smith regarding the March 15 deadline. Although Smith says he spoke with county staff about adding recycling into the Village upkeep contract, he did not follow up with a formal request on SKVMC letterhead, which staff had asked him to do, the timeline shows. Smith began volunteering with the SKVA in 1999, he told the News Leader He has held numerous leadership positions with that orga nization and with the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce through the years. Just this spring, he again was elected an SKVA of cer. However, Smith explained, over the past months, Ive been blessed in having a great deal of work. He heads up his own architectural firm in the Village. He reiterated to the News Leader this week what he and oth er SKVA ofcers have noted numerous times during meetings. Youre dealing with an all-volunteer army of people. Chief Sarasota County Engineer James K. Harriott Jr. oversees the staff responsible for handling Siesta Village upkeep issues. File photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 58


NEXT STEPS The rst step that needs to be taken at this point in an effort to implement a recycling program, Harriott told the News Leader is for the SKVMC to decide what approach it wants to take. That will determine the cost. Harriott suggested representatives of the orga nization meet with employees of a couple of rms that handle recycling so they can learn the facets of how such programs work. Then it will be a matter of which method the dis trict selects and the accompanying expense. Michael Shay, president of the Siesta Key Association and the person who has been spearheading the recycling initiative over the past year, told the News Leader on June 17 that oth er SKVA ofcers besides Smith have communicated with him in recent days to say the organization still wants a program estab lished in the Village. He added that he is aware from being copied on emails exchanged over the past weekend between Harriott and Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on the island, that we missed the deadline to fol low the proper process for putting this into a bid for the new maintenance contract. I am hoping that we can get the information to the county as quickly as possible. During the July 2, 2013, SKVA meeting, Shay reported that he had undertaken a survey of the garbage cans in the Village and deter mined 12 locations where recycling bins would be most effectively placed, based on With Siesta Key Village Association members and county staff dissatised with the current level of upkeep in the village, a new rm is being sought to handle the work. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 59


the co ntents of the trash containers at those sites. In my mind, it is an inexpensive plan, he told the News Leader this week. THE CHAIN OF EVENTS During the June 10 County Commission meet ing, Patterson brought up the recycling matter during her board report. The merchants would like a program established, she pointed out, and they are willing to pay for it. She added that she hoped it was not too late to include recycling in the new maintenance contract, and she won her colleagues consensus in requesting a staff report on the situation. Harriott told the News Leader he expected to have that report ready for the board this week. In the meantime, he sent an email on June 14 to Shay and Patterson, outlining the details. On Feb. 26, he wrote, Lisa Cece, the spe cial district coordinator in the countys Transportation and Real Estate Department, provided vendor information to the SKVMC so it could ascertain some of the details on how a recycling program works. More specically, he continued, we would need to describe the service as follows: A. Service requirements number and time of collections, ma terials collected, etc. B. Container types and locations (I believe the [assessment] District has indicated desired locations). C. Central collection bin location and any improvements needed at that location. D. Special event requirements. E. Si ngle stream collection or multi-stream collection. (In other words, should different materials be put in separate containers?) F. Education and promotion, if any. G. Expectations regarding non-conforming material. (Contamination is a big problem in recycling, he told the News Leader One bit of food in a recycling bin means everything in that container has to go into the garbage.) Harriott added in his email, These sum marize just the general questions about a program. The answers can drive the costs substantially. According to the ordinance establishing the District, it is the Districts responsibility to develop these work scope and cost items. In the interview with the News Leader Harriott pointed out that a recycling program can be as simple as having whoever handles the Village upkeep zip-tie blue bags of recy clables to fence posts for pickup, or it can entail the use of more aesthetically pleasing types of containers. Harriott further explained in his June 14 email, The complexity in all of this probably comes from government proc urement requirements In the interest of fairness to all contrac tors, making changes to the work scope after awarding the contract is not really possible. Putting it all together has been the difcult step, Harriott told the News Leader refer ring to the facets of a Village program. Well keep working on it. Ive got staff contact ing the district every week. % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 60


Keeping the Siesta Village gazebo clean is just one facet of the Village maintenance contract. Photo by Norman Schimmel A BIT OF A PROBLEM


Only one rm was repr esented on June 13 when Sarasota County staff held a mandatory pre-bid conference as part of the effort by the county and Siesta Village business owners to nd a new company to keep the Villages appearance in tip-top shape, The Sarasota News Leader learned this week. And thats not good, James K. Harriott Jr., the countys chief engineer, told the News Leader on June 17. He knows hes the only one in the pool right now. Harriott said he and his staff have been discussing the situation with the countys Procurement Department and looking at how to rectify that. The most likely solution is to amend the advertisement for the bid with the hope more rms will show an interest. That process probably would extend the deadline for responses by a week or two, he noted. A day earlier, Mark Smith, liaison between the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. (SKVMC) and the county, said in an interview that county staff had indicated it had had numerous inquiries about the contract. He, too, was puzzled to see only one person show up for the Village walk-through last week. On June 2, the county advertised the bid titled Siesta Key Village and Parking District for Property Management Services It is the rst time since the summer of 2012 that the county has sought a new company to handle the maintenance. On Aug. 21, 2012, th e County Commission unan imously awarded a contract to Championship Landscape Maintenance Professionals of Fort Myers with two automatic annual renewals. However, Village business owners and county staff both have expressed dissatisfaction with Championships work over the past several months. The situation led Smith to request advertisement for a new bid this year. On behalf of the SKVMC whose members own prop erty in the Siesta Village Public Improvement District Smith asked that a management rm be sought for the work this time, instead of another rm like Championship. The original 116-page bid document issued on June 2 provides for a three-year con tract with two annual renewals, the same provisions included in the contract won by Championship. As stated in the bid, its purpose is for the selec tion of a rm to provide property management for maintenance and landscaping services in a coastal environment. That work includes pruning of coconut and other trees, brick paver repair and installation, maintenance of decorative street or pedestrian lighting, clean ing of the gazebo at the four-way intersection and Trash/Garbage removal. The General Specications section also notes the rm will be responsible for the contin uous inspection of the irrigation systems to identify any deciencies and reporting them to the SKVMCs point-of-contact. Numerous ONLY ONE FIRM HAS SHOWN INTEREST IN THE NEW SIESTA VILLAGE MAINTENANCE BID, LEAVING COUNTY STAFF TO WORK ON TWEAKING THE BID By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 62


A graphic shows the boundaries and properties of the Siesta Key Public Improvement District. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 63


The county bid for a new rm to handle Siesta Villages upkeep includes an inventory of all the plants in the maintenance district as of Jan. 9, 2012. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 64


problems were discovered with the irriga tion system over a period of months after the county installed it as part of the Village beau tication effort in 2008-09. The document is detailed in its requirements. For example, it says The live crown ratio (LCR) of all shade trees must remain above 60 percent at all times and Mulch in all tree basins and ornamental beds shall be main tained at a depth of two inches (2). For another example: On those occasions when the requested work requires a side walk, alley, or bikeway to be blocked, wholly or partially, the Contractor is to submit a Maintenance of Trafc (MOT) plan prepared by a staff employee who has successfully completed advanced training in MOT to the County Project Manager for review and approval prior to the sidewalk, alley or bike way closure and commencement of work. No Right-of-Way Use Permit (ROW) is needed if the job is less t han [one hour]. % Sarasota County ofcials set high standards when they advertised the 2012 bid for Siesta Village maintenance, pointing out that the areas appearance should be in keeping with what the public would expect of a resort. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 65


Wh y disrupt a neighborhood twice when two projects could be done at the same time? That was what Sarasota County staff mem bers began to agree on as they continued planning for a project tha t is part of the statemandated effort to dec ommission the Siesta Key Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, Dave Cash, the countys interim director of public util ities, explained to the County Commission last week. T o be more specic, staff began thinking that the aging water main serving north Siesta Key could be replaced at the same time a new sewer force main is constructed for the upgrad e d sewer service. Hon estly, one of the dumbest things a gov ernment can do is have two parallel projects in the same area that arent done simulta neously that could be done simultaneously, Commissioner Nora A map shows the sections of Siesta Key and the mainland that will be affected by construction of a new sewer force main for the Siesta Key Master Pump Station. Image courtesy Sarasota County TWO PROJECTS AT ONE TIME NORTH SIESTA KEY WATER CUSTOMERS WILL GET A NEW PIPELINE AT THE SAME TIME THE COUNTY CONSTRUCTS A SEWER LINE FOR THE NEW SIESTA KEY PUMP STATION We didnt want to nd ourselves in the position of having to come back three or four years from now and have to replace the water main when we could have done it sooner. Dave Cash Interim Director Public Utilities Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Patterson, w ho lives on north Siesta Key, pointed out. This is thinking like a business, the way I look at it, Chairman Charles Hines told Cash. Thank you. Thats good thinking. With Cashs reassurance that staff could time the project around the generally busiest tour ism months of February and March, Patterson made the motion to allow staff to proceed. The vote was unanimous in awarding $101,714 to Stantec Consulting Services of Sarasota for the design of the new 16-inch water main. That rm already is the engineer of record for the force main project, Cash explained. The wastewater plant has to be decom missioned by the end of 2016 under an agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), according to a June 11 memo from staff to the commis sioners. Although postponing the force main project to allow for the design of the water main would delay the start of the sewer work, the memo points out, the project still would be completed by FEDPs deadline. THE WATER PROJECT In discussions about the sewer work, Cash said, his department em ployees and members of the Capital Projects staff began consider ing the future of the water main that serves more than 13,000 residential units on northern Siesta Key; the water main is referred to as the North Crossing. The existing 14-inch water main was constructed in the early 1970s, Cash noted. Although we dont have any existing issues with it, he continued, it is [made of] the same type of material that was used for the Siesta Key/Case Key Crossing that was recently replaced Water customers on southern Siesta Key and northern Casey Key endured multiple spells of leaks in that pipeline and Boil water advisories before a new water main was constructed in the fall of 2012 to serve them. The North Crossing has not had the same repair frequency as the former Siesta Key/ Casey Key Crossing, Cash added. However, repairs were made to it in 1992 after exten sive corrosion was discovered, he said. We felt that it would be a real missed oppor tunity if we didnt go ahead and install [a new 16-inch] water main at the same time the new force main is constructed, Cash told the board. Dave Cash, interim director of public utilities for Sarasota County, addresses the County Commission in May. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 67


A slide shown to the County Commission points out reasons to proceed with replacing the water main for north Siesta Key customers. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 68


Plans already called for directional drilling to be used primarily in Phase 1 of the installa tion of the force main, which will extend from Midnight Pass Road to U.S. 41 by crossing the Intracoastal Waterway and following the southern boundary of Phillippi Estate Park at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, the staff memo notes. The nal phase of the three-part sewer proj ect entails construction only on Siesta Key, mostly with directional drilling. The new master pump station will be located on the site of the existing wastewater plant, the staff memo says. Undertaking the water main and force main projects together will add about three months to the project timeline, Cash explained, tak ing about a year altogether. The biggest thing that we evaluated, Cash continued, was the impact to the neighbor hood. We didnt want to nd ourselves in the position of having to come back three or four years from now and have to replace the water main when we could have done it sooner. He added, There will be an impact to trafc and the neighborhood. Because staff already is in the process of nego tiating the easements for the force main work, Cash said, and most of the permits already have been secured, it would be fairly straight forward to add the water main project. Patterson told Cash that she understood that because most of the work will be done through directional boring, as he had pointed out ear lier, streets will not be cut open. However, she said, pipes will be lying along streets while the work is under way. She al so reminded him that he had prom ised her staff would try to work it out so that at least the messiest and most disturbing phases of it dont take place in a February and a March. Thats correct, Cash responded. The intent is to minimize the impact on Siesta Key traf c, he added. That would be great, Patterson replied, not ing that the neighborhood most affected will be one of single-family homes near Shadow Lawn Drive. That is a street people take to reach Siesta Public Beach, she noted. Hines thanked Cash for staffs good think ing about the potential of combining the projects and said he hoped all staff mem bers would consider such options when they are possible. % Shadow Lawn Drive will be the Siesta Key neighborhood most affected by the sewer force main and water main projects, county staff says. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 69


SIESTA SEEN With the July Fourth holiday approaching, illegal fireworks was a topic of consider able discussion during the June 5 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting. If it ies or explodes, its illegal, explained Deputy Chris McGregor of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce. Each year on the Fourth, he continued, depu ties nd people on the island who have spent thousands of dollars on reworks that are illegal, and the Sheriffs Ofce conscates the materials. When people say they had no idea they would be unable to shoot off the pyrotechnics, A DEPUTY OFFERS A PRIMER ON FIREWORKS; AVENIDA DE MAYO PARKING COMPLAINTS ARE STILL COMING IN; AND THE STORMWATER PROJECT IS ALMOST COMPLETE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sparklers are legal in Florida, law enforcement ofcers point out. Photo by Ramesh NG via Flickr


McGregor continued, deputies ask if they signed paperwork at the time of their pur chases. Invariably, the people respond, Yes, prompting deputies then to ask, Did you read it? Typically, the reply to that question is No. The Florida State Statutes have provisions for the sale of reworks for use in agriculture and at sh hatcheries, McGregor noted, so the paperwork people sign has them concurring that they plan to use the materials only for such purposes. Florida State Statute 791.07 says, Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the importation, purchase, sale, or use of reworks used or to be used solely and exclusively in frightening birds from agricultural works and sh hatch eries; and such use shall be governed entirely by the rules prescribed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The statute points out that Fireworks do not include sparklers permitted under provisions of the statute or toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices in which paper caps containing twenty-ve hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are used, provid ing that they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for the explosion The only legal reworks on Siesta Key for July Fourth festivities are those in the show produced by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. Photo contributed by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 71


That same s tatute gives the Sheriffs Ofce the right to seize illegal reworks. We dont want to cite anyone, McGregor added. In fact, in his 16 years of working on Siesta, he told the approximately 30 SKA members present, Weve never arrested any one. Ive never cited anyone. Instead, he continued, ofcers inform viola tors about the state law. I feel education is worth more than its weight in gold, he added, when it comes to those kinds of situations. In response to questions, McGregor explained that because of the number of complaints the Sheriffs Ofce receives on July Fourth about reworks being shot off in neighborhoods, the general policy is not to have a deputy respond unless the caller agrees to meet with the dep uty. However, if an isolated incident occurs at 4 a.m., for example, instead of multiple bursts at 9 or 10 p.m., people should call the ofce and report the violation. Ofcers do patrol the island on the night of the Fourth, he noted. But, We have to see the crime actually taking place, he added, before issuing a citation. SKA Vice President Catherine Luckner sug gested it would be helpful if managers of the condominium complexes on the key informed guests about the state law. By the way, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce still has plenty of tickets available for its traditional VIP picnic on July Fourth. Each $150 package includes two tickets, a parking pass and a great vantage point for the big reworks display. (Anyone may come to the beach for the free pyrotechnics show, which lasts about 30 minutes.) For details, call 349-3800 or email chastanna@siestakey The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce is continuing to promote its VIP picnic packages and the chance to start the reworks display on July Fourth. Image courtesy Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 72


READ THE SIGNS Just last week, accounts from residents of Avenida de Mayo show that even with season having ended, their parking woes go on. One resident notied Michael Shay, the SKA president, on June 11 and sent him pho tos showing a car and truck that had been parked illegally on the street for three straight days without getting tickets. The truck was obstructing the sidewalk in the rst block of Avenida de Mayo, where park ing is prohibited, the resident pointed out to Shay. The VW bus was on a grassy area. I dont know what else can be done, the res ident added in the email to Shay. I really hate calling [the Sheriffs Ofce dispatch number] all the time. The next day, Shay contacted Sgt. Scott Osborne, head of the Sheriffs Offices Community Policing Station on the island, to relay what residents had told him. Shay noted that the truck was parked across the side walk opposite the driveway for the municipal parking lot. The resident noticed the situa tion, Shay explained, because the resident saw a woman with a baby carriage who was on the sidewalk and had to maneuver around the truck. Osborne told me on June 16 that when he checked into the problem, he learned that the owner of the truck was renting a house on the street for just a week. In fact, the people stay ing in the house had a total of four vehicles, plus a boat that was hitched to the truck. The man moved the truck after Osborne explained the parking rule s, Osborne added. Avenida de Mayo residents also documented this truck parked across the sidewalk for hours. Contributed photo Residents of Avenida de Mayo contacted the Sheriffs Office last week about this VW bus that stood for hours in one of the No Parking zones on the street. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 73


The VW was no longer on the street when Osborne drove over there for a look, he told Shay. On June 15, residents reported three cars parked illegally in that same rst block at 11:30 a.m. Still, Osborne told me on June 16, Thereve been very, very few problems on de Mayo. We check it every single day. KEEP THAT NUMBER HANDY During Deputy McGregors report to the SKA on June 5, one audience member, Katherine Zimmerman told him she recently had observed two young women approach ing houses in a residential area, supposedly to sell magazine subscriptions. However, Zimmerman pointed out that she spotted a really big man slumped down in the back seat of the vehicle the women were using. Furthermore, they seemed to be walking up to houses without vehicles in the driveways. She reported the license of the car at the Sheriffs Ofces Community Policing Station in Siesta Village, Zimmerman continued, but that was about 30 to 45 minutes after she observed the suspicious activity. Standing amid new construction, the picnic shelter at Siesta Public Beach will be used by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce for its July Fourth VIP picnic this year, county staff says. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 74


That kind of t hing should be called in imme diately, McGregor replied. I would much rather go out, see if theyre legitimate. Let us make that determination. Anyone who spots something or someone of a questionable nature should call the non-emer gency number for the Sheriffs Office, he stressed. That number is 316-1201. SIESTAS CANALS Another question that arose during the June 5 SKA meeting was whether the county has any plans to dredge the canals on Siesta Key. The answer is No, replied Commissioner Nora Patterson, who was a guest at the meet ing. However, she pointed out, if residents can demonstrate that the vast majority of On June 5, the new parking lot at Siesta Public Beach appeared even closer to completion while construction continued on the countys new maintenance building. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 75


property owners a long a canal are willing to pay for the work, they can apply to the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) for assistance with such a project. Still, she continued, Its hard to get that many notarized signatures of people who actually want to pay [for the dredging]. SKA Director Joe Volpe, who brought up the topic, responded that the people who live along the canals already pay high taxes. There are plenty of people who dont live on canals who pay very high taxes, Patterson told him. THE STORMWATER PROJECT On May 30, I learned, county staff conducted a eld review and testing of equipment for the Siesta stormwater project, adjacent to the public beach. In an email to the County Commission, Isaac Brownman, the countys director of public works, reported on June 10, System func tioned as designed. With input from various county departments, a punch list of items to be modified/completed is being com piled. Contractor will have until the June 30 Final Acceptance date to complete the punch list items. % Work continues on the new concessionary facility on the east end of the Siesta Public Beach Park. It is scheduled to be completed in November. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 76


Repre sentatives of District One of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting on Thursday, June 26, regarding design improve ments to Interstate 75 from north of Fruitville Road to north of University Parkway in Sarasota and Manatee counties, FDOT has announced. The public session will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Osprey Room at the Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch, located at 6231 Lake Osprey Drive in Sarasota, a news release says. FDOTs goal is to give interested per sons the opportunity to view the proposed design, review displays, talk one-on-one with staff and make comments about the project, the release adds. The 3.5-mile project includes reconstructing the I-75/University Parkway interchange from the existing diamond design to a diverging diamond interchange the rst of its kind in Florida. It also involves widening I-75 from north of Fruitville Road to north of University Parkway to an eight-lane highway with three through lanes and one auxiliary lane in each direction, the release continues. The project includes widening about one mile of University Parkway from the Cattlemen Road/Cooper Creek Boulevard intersection to the Market Street/Lake Osprey Drive intersection. People requiring special accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 or people who need transla tion services (free of charge) at the meeting should contact Kevin Ingle at 863-519-2740 or email as soon as possible, according to the release. Improvements to Interstate 75 and University Parkway, including the diverging diamond interchange, will be the topic of a public meeting on June 26. Photo by Norman Schimmel NEWS BRIEFS INTERSTATE 75 DESIGN IMPROVEMENTS TO BE FOCUS OF MEETING


On Saturd ay, June 21, The Salvation Army and the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce will celebrate the fth anniversary of the estab lishment of the Addiction Recovery Program at the Sarasota County Jail, The Salvation Army has announced. A breakfast will be held at 8:30 a.m. in The Salvation Armys media room, located at 1400 10th Street in Sarasota, to honor the pro grams volunteer instructors and graduates, a news release says. The Addiction Recovery Program was launched in 2009 with one pod for 48 men, the release explains. For the rst time, the partici pants could be housed in an environment that was dedicated to recovery, the release points out. Based on its initial success, a womens recovery program was created later; it oper ates in a wing with 18 beds, the release adds. Th e Salvation Army program is a voluntary one for inmates who request to live in one of the pods, the release says. Sessions are conducted by more than 100 community vol unteers, which means no cost to taxpayers, it notes. One of the keys to the program is the sup portive environment that participants are immersed in 24/7, it continues. Inmates assigned to it receive drug counseling and participate in other positive life skills pro grams seven days a week, it adds. Another integral factor in the programs suc cess is the link to continued support after release (when a drug user might return to the environment that supports the destructive habit), it continues. Once released, peo ple who went through the program in jail are directed to one of The Salvation Armys alco hol and drug programs and other community programs and resources, it says. SALVATION ARMY TO MARK ANNIVERSARY OF RECOVERY PROGRAM On Saturday, The Salvation Army in Sarasota will mark the fth anniversary of its Addiction Recovery Program at the county jail. Image from the organizations Facebook page Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 78


The Sarasota County Coalition of Neighborhood Organizations (CONA) will host a debate of Sarasota County Commission candidates on Monday, June 23, the associa tion has announced. The moderator will be Susan Nilon of WSRQ radio, a news release says. The event will be held at the Sarasota Garden Club located at 1131 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the debate will begin at 7 p.m., the release adds. This will be the first County Commission debate held since the candidates had to qualify for the races on June 20, the release notes. This non-partisan event will focus on audience participation, providing attendees an opportunity to hear from all the qualied candidates seeking to serve as county com missioners in Districts 2 and 4, it adds. NEIGHBORHOODS ORGANIZATION TO HOST CANDIDATES DEBATE The Literacy C ouncil of Sarasota (LCS) will sponsor a 12-hour ProLiteracy-certied train ing course in July to prepare volunteer tutors to help area adults with limited English read ing, writing and language skills, the nonprot has announced. After a one-hour orientation at 6 p.m. on July 8, workshops will be held on three Saturday mornings July 12, 19 and 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., a news release sa ys. Prere gistration is required, either by phone at 955-0421 or by email at mcox@sarasotalit Prospective tutors must attend all sessions, which will be held at the GlasserSchoenbaum Human Services Center, located at 1750 17th St., Building J, in Sarasota, the release adds. After three decades in Sarasota, the Literacy Council has more than 200 ProLiteracycertied volunteer tutors working to improve the reading levels of the communitys adult learners, the release notes. LITERACY COUNCIL TO SPONSOR COURSE FOR TRAINING CERTIFICATION The Literacy Council of Sarasota provides information on its Facebook page. Image courtesy of the Council Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 79


Sarasota High Sc hool graduate Nathaniel Folkins has earned the highest score in the United States on the Cambridge Advanced International Certicate of Education (AICE) Advanced Subsidiary Level chemistry exam, the Sarasota County School District has announced. Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, is one of the oldest and most pres tigious universities in the world, a news release points out. The university sponsors the AICE program in 10,000 high schools in 160 countries. The AICE program provides students with advanced course work, a special diploma and the opportunity to earn up to 45 college credits while they are still in high school, the release explains. Sarasota High School has offered the AICE program since 2011. The Cambridge (AICE) Advanced Subsidiary Level Chemistry examination is historically one of the most challenging exams given by Cambridge, the release continues. The areas tested include physical, organic and inor ganic chemistry as well as the application of chemistry. Completing a Cambridge International AS Level chemistry course is accepted by uni versities and employers worldwide as proof of essential knowledge and ability in the sub ject, the release says. When he learned of his ranking among the stu dents in the United States on the test, Folkins said, I still nd it hard to believe that I actu ally managed to achieve something on this level. The whole experience has been hum bling for me. SARASOTA HIGH SCHOLAR EARNS TOP U.S. SCORE ON CHEMISTRY TEST Nathaniel Folkins/Contributed photo SHARE Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 80


Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight has announced that Maj. Kurt Hoffman, com mander of the ofces Administrative Division, graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy on the United States Marine Corps base in Quantico, VA. The National Academy places a heavy emphasis on physical tness, academic study and leadership development, a news release points out. Hoffmans class included 222 law enforcement executives from 46 states and 17 foreign countries, it adds. Selection for the 10-week program is on an invitation-only basis, the release notes. While at the academy, Hoffman took two undergraduate and four graduate-level classes through the University of Virginia (UVA) maintaining a 4.0 GPA, the release continues. The four graduate courses earned Hoffman a Graduate Certicate in Leadership from UVA, it says. Hoffman has a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Saint Leo College, a Master of Science in criminal justice from International College and a Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, the release adds. A former state prosecutor, Hoffman is a gradu ate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Police Legal Advisors Training Program and a member of the Florida Bars Labor and Employment Law, and City, County and Local Government Law sections, the release points out. In 2011 he completed the FBIs Florida Executive Development Seminar. MAJ. HOFFMAN GRADUATES FROM FBI NATIONAL ACADEMY Maj. Kurt Hoffman/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 81


Sarasot a attorney Morgan R. Bentley of Bentley & Bruning has been named to the 2014 Florida Super Lawyers list, an honor reserved for lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice, Thomson Reuters has announced. The company publishes the list. Candidates are nominated by their peers, a news release says. They then are evaluated on the basis of numerous factors, including peer recognition and professional achievements. Among the latter group, the release continues, consid eration is given to verdicts and settlements, transactions, representative clients, honors and awards, special licenses and certica tions, pro bono work and community service as a lawyer, scholarly lectures and writings, and other outstanding achievements, the release adds. % Sarasota attorney Morgan R. Bentley of Bentley & Bruning has been named to the 2014 Florida Super Lawyers list. Contributed photo. FLORIDA SUPER LAWYERS HONORS MORGAN BENTLEY OF SARASOTA THE SARASOTA News Leader Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The award-winning Sarasota News Leader Sarasota Countys #1 digital news weekly! Read it online today at The most comprehensive, unbiased coverage of local news and government in the Sarasota County area. Read it on your iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Android, Laptop, Computer or other Smartphones Available for FREE every Friday Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 82


The Sar asota County Sheriffs Office has arrested a Sarasota man who allegedly sold undercover detectives cocaine from his home at 5724 Nutmeg Ave. and in the parking lot of the McDonalds just a few blocks away, the ofce has reported. On three occasions, Karrie Sanderson, 23, met with an undercover detective and sold a total of 1.7 grams of cocaine for $300, a news release says. The most recent purchase was at the suspects home, it adds. Sandersons girl friend, Jordin Huff, 27, of the same Nutmeg Avenue address, allegedly packaged the cocaine for the transaction, the release notes. Detectives obtained arrest warrants for Sanderson and Huff and took them into custody at their home without incident on Tuesday, June 17, the release says. While executing a search warrant at the residence, detectives also discovered marijuana and a large amount of cash, it adds. Sanderson is charged with three counts of Sale of Cocaine, and Huff is charged with one count of Principal to Sale of Cocaine. Background image courtesy of TWO SARASOTANS ARRESTED FOR ALLEGEDLY SELLING COCAINE CRIME BLOTTER Jordin Huff/Contributed photo Karrie Sanderson/Contributed photo


On Wednesday, Ju ne 11, Sarasota Police Department ofcers arrested a 48-year-old Sarasota man in Fredd Atkins Park after receiving a tip about drug dealing in the park, the department has announced. About 4:10 p.m., when ofcers arrived at the park, which is located at 2581 Washington Court in Sarasota, they found and detained the suspect, a news release says. During a search of the man, they allegedly discovered two nylon sunglass holders lled with mar ijuana in dime baggies and a clear baggie of loose marijuana, the release adds. The total amount of the drug was 63.1 grams, the release notes. (See the accompanying photo.) Address ing the agrant sale of illegal sub stances in and around ou r public parks is one of the several strategies we are using to eliminate open-air drug markets from our neighborhoods, with the ultimate goal of returning public spaces to law-abiding citi zens, said Lt. Pat Ledwith, commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, in the release. Since May 2013, the Sarasota Police Department has made 37 arrests in the area of Fredd Atkins Park, the release points out. The suspect in the latest case, Al Jenkins of 5770 Beneva Road, Sarasota, was charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Sell within 1,000 Feet of a Par k. ARREST RESULTS IN SEIZURE OF MORE THAN 60 GRAMS OF MARIJUANA Sarasota Police Department detectives seized dime bags of marijuana and a bag of loose marijuana from a suspect in Fredd Atkins Park this week. Photo courtesy Police Department Al Jenkins/ Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 84


The Sarasot a County Sheriffs Office has arrested two Miami men who allegedly used counterfeit credit cards to buy merchandise and gift cards worth thousands of dollars, the ofce has reported. A Walmart loss prevention employee called the Sheriffs Ofce on the afternoon of June 13 to report that two suspects whom the employee recognized from prior crimes were at the store, a news release states. When dep uties arrived, the men tried to ee on foot but were quickly detained, it says. This incident took place the same day as the arrest of another Miami man for cloned credit cards, which turned out to be an unrelated case, the news release notes. (See the related item in this section.) SHERIFFS DEPUTIES SEIZE 110 COUNTERFEIT CREDIT CARDS A wide assortment of goods was discovered in the rental car driven by suspects in a counterfeit credit card case, the Sheriffs Ofce reported. Contributed photo` Adrian Fernandez/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 85


Adrian Fernandez and Jose MarquezHernandez had 11 counterfeit cards with them and another 99 cards in a bag, all printed with their names, the release continues. However, the cards were cloned with victims banking information, it says. Deputies also found $4,000 worth of gift cards, 17 cartons of ciga rettes, 10 bags of clothing and childrens toys in the mens rental car, the release adds. Fernandez and Marquez-Hernandez were charged with three counts each of Trafcking in Counterfeit Credit Cards. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pend ing, the release notes. The recent arrests for cloned credit cards are the direct result of the successful public-pri vate partnership between the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce and area retail stores, which was established with the launch of Operation Booster Buster one year ago, the release points out. Jose Marquez-Hernandez/Contributed photo The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Office has arrested a Venice man who allegedly took pic tures up a womans skirt at the Target store on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. The 41-year-old victim was shopping with her two young children on Sunday afternoon, June 15, when she observed a man speaking with the children, a news release says. A short time later, she noticed multiple ashes illuminate from the oor and turned around to see the same man crouched down behind her with his cellphone in his hand, the release adds. The woman confronted the suspect, and they struggled briey, it continues. He ran off, but a witness followed him and was able to get the tag number of his car, the release says. VENICE MAN ARRESTED FOR VIDEO VOYEURISM AT A TARGET STORE Aaron Stahl/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 86


custo dy at his home on the afternoon of June 17, the release adds. Stahl is charged with one felony count of Video Voyeurism and is being held with out bond. Detectives obtained surveillance video from the store, which clearly showed the inci dent and helped conrm that the suspect was the registered owner of the vehicle, Aaron Stahl, 35, of 411 Beverly Road, Venice. They obtained an arrest warrant and took him into On June 13, the same day two other men were arrested in a similar case at the same place, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce took a Miami man into custody for allegedly using cloned credit cards. (See the related item above.) A Walmart loss prevention employee at the Cattlemen Road store in Sarasota contacted deputies regarding a suspicious man who bought gift cards with fraudulent credit cards, a news release explains. When deputies stopped the suspect, the release continues, he had more than a dozen credit and gift cards in his possession. Detectives ran the card numbers and confirmed that nine of them had altered magnetic strips with actual bank account numbers of victims on them, the release says. The suspect allegedly used three of those cards to buy new gift cards in Walmart, it adds. Leinier Ormas-Aguila, 26, of Miami is charged with Unlawful Possession of the Personal Identication Information of Another Person. Detectives are working with banks to notify victims of the fraudulent activity on their accounts, the release notes. Suspects obtain credit card information in a number of ways, the release continues. In addition to swiping victims cards with a cloning machine, some buy account numbers online, it points out. Stolen account infor mation is often provided by people working inside companies that require and store cus tomer credit card information, the release says. When that is the case, there is not much victims can do to protect themselves, so it is crucial for people to review account state ments regularly and consider signing up for credit monitorin g services, the release adds. MIAMI MAN ARRESTED IN CLONED CREDIT CARD CASE Leinier Oramas-Aguila/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 87


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office has arrested two Orlando men who allegedly used cloned credit cards to buy high-end electron ics and gift cards, the ofce has reported. A deputy observed an Acura drive into the Walmart parking lot on Cattlemen Road in Sarasota on June 12 and park at the far west ern end of the lot, a news release says. The passenger, later identied as Ralph Brutus, exited the vehicle and entered the store while the driver, later identified as Jeff Nezius, moved the Acura closer to the garden store entrance, the release continues. The dep uty contacted a store loss prevention staff member, who reported that Brutus tried to buy a $369 iPad Mini, but his credit card was declined, the release adds. Nezius also enter ed the store and bought two gift cards for $250 apiece, the release says. When the deputy approached the men, he could smell marijuana coming from the vehi cle, and Nezius admitted they had two grams, the release continues. Nezius emp tied his pockets and removed about 30 credit cards, it adds. Brutus had four credit cards with marks that appeared to be from rubbing names and numbers off the fronts of the cards, it says. At this time, Nezius is charged with Trafcking in Counterfeit Credit Cards and Brutus is charged with Principal to Trafficking in Counterfeit Credit Cards. However, the inves tigation is continuing, the release notes. TWO ORLANDO MEN ARRESTED WITH ALLEGEDLY CLONED CREDIT CARDS Ralph Brutus/Contributed photo Jeff Nezius/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 88


Cloned or counterfeit credit cards are created using a swipe device that puts stolen account information on the magnetic strip on the backside of a blank or stolen card. The credit card industry recommends customers pro tect their personal nancial information at all times; be wary of sharing credit or debit card acc ount numbers online; use cash at places that do not record your transaction within sight; and consider switching to a company that issues smart chip credit cards which encrypt information into chips that cannot be changed or deleted. On Friday, June 13, the Sarasota Police Department Street Crimes Unit, in conjunc tion with the departments Narcotics Unit, arrested four men for allegedly soliciting pros titutes in the 1600 block of North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, the ofce has reported. The department identied the suspects as follows: David Rosa, 40, of 19103 Larchmont Drive, Odessa. David Campione, 74, of 1834 Roxanne Way, No. 59, Sarasota. Kyle Weatherly, 31, of 3211 12th Street Court, East Bradenton. Michael Perrone, 45, of 9908 Chalet Circle, Bradenton. POLICE DEPARTMENT MAKES FOUR ARRESTS IN PROSTITUTION STING Four men were arrested on June 13 for allegedly soliciting prostitutes on North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, the Police Department reported. Image courtesy Police Department Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 89


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office Fugitive Apprehension Unit, working in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, has arrested a man who was wanted for two separate attacks on another man last week, the ofce has announced. Ricky Mills, 37, whose last known address was 3953 Almond Ave., Sarasota, was rid ing his bicycle in the 3500 block of Henrietta Place around 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 10, when he reportedly saw his girlfriend walking with another man, a news release says. Mills hit the man in the head several times with a metal pole and then fled the scene, the release adds. A search of the area was ultimately unsuccessful. The victim told deputies the attack was the continuation of a ght that occurred overnight when Mills barged into his home to confront him about the woman, the release continues. Mills was taken into custody on the morn ing of June 13 at a home in the 800 block of Whiteld Avenue in Bradenton, the release says. He was booked into the Sarasota County Jail and charged with Aggravated Battery and Burglary with Battery. Mills is a Prolic Offender with more than a dozen arrests for violent crimes, including multiple counts of aggravated battery and domestic violence, the release adds. DEPUTIES ARREST MAN SOUGHT AFTER TWO SEPARATE ATTACKS Ricky Mills/Contributed photo The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Office has arrested a Tampa man who ed the country after being arrested in an online predator sting last year, the ofce has announced. The Fugitive Apprehension Unit arrested 31-year-old Johandy Medina on June 12 when he arrived at Tampa International Airport on a ight from Cuba, a news release explains. FUGITIVE WHO FLED THE U.S. AFTER PREDATOR STING NOW IN CUSTODY Image courtesy and trohaa. Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 90


Medinas attorney coordinated his surrender with the State Attorneys Ofce, it adds. Medina was one of 30 men arrested in Operation Intercept II, which was con ducted in February 2013, the release points out. Medina allegedly drove from Tampa to Sarasota to have sex with a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Medina failed to appear in court and ed the country, the release notes. In addition to the 2013 charges for Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts and Traveling to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, he is now charged with two counts of Contempt of Court. Medina was booked into the Sarasota County Jail, where he is being held without bond, the re lease says. % Johandy Medina/Contributed photo Simply put, Crime Stoppers relies upon the cooperation between the police the media and the community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 91


EDITORIAL OPINION AVARICE SHOULD NOT TRUMP COMMON SENSE ON BEACH BUILDING RULES EDITORIAL For one-and-a-half years, The Sarasota News Leader has been reporting on the efforts of Ronald and Sania Allen of Osprey to obtain a variance from the county so they could build a large house, complete with swimming pool, on a Beach Road lot that only a few decades ago was underneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. That the land now actually is dry most of the time is a testament to the tenuousness of coastal geology. Sand eroded somewhere else and ended up on Siesta Key Beach, building up lots that were previously part of the gulf seaoor. But just as easily, those forces could change, and the land in question would once again be submerged. From the beginning, the Allens path to ownership of two lots on Beach Road has spaw ned more questions than the answers we have seen for them. That mainly is due to the labyrinthine loopholes in Florida land law that make determining actual ownership and actual costs of land so abstruse that a money launderer for a drug cartel would be envious. Regardless, accor ding to public records, the Allens purchased the two lots in May 2009 from Brent Cooper, himself a trustee for the land trust that owned the land a clever device for keeping actual ownership of any given parcel a complete mystery. They paid the astounding sum of $5,400,000 apiece for the two lots, which even for gulf-front beach lots seemed steep. The price seems even more ludicrous when one considers that the last meaningful sale of the land, from o n e obscure land trust to


another, was in October 2007, when the lots sold for $500,000 apiece. Even more puzzling was the countys appraised value for the two lots. When they sold in 2007 for $500,000 apiece, the tax value of each lot was less than $47,000. In May 2009, when the Allens bought the property, the tax value had dropped to less than $40,000 per parcel. So, in essence, they paid more than 136 times what the county tax appraiser said the two lots were worth. Why did the county value the lots so cheaply? Because they were part of the so-called storm beach land that had been underwater in the past and was subject to frequent submer sions as a result of storms. It is for that reason both lots sit entirely seaward of the Sarasota County Gulf Beach Setback Line (GBSL), a demarcation adopted in 1978 that prohibits anything other than very minor construction between it and the waters edge. Moreover, a previous owner of the lots in ques tion had petitioned the County Commission for a variance in the early 1990s and was denied. The position of the county was clear: These lots were not appropri ate for construction. So that naturally causes us to wonder why the Allens would spend more than $10 million on two tiny parcels of frequently submerged beach when the likelihood of that land ever being developed was remote at best. Just the document stamps for their new deeds $37,800 for each lot exceeded the countys tax value for the land at the time. Undeterred, the Allens had an architect develop plans for houses on the lots and even tually hired a high-powered local attorney to represent them in their quest to obtain a variance from the GBSL, something that had never been granted by the county for those lots in the quarter-century the GBSL had been in place. Their rst request came before the County Commission in January 2013. The board was unanimous in denying the variance. Then the Allens focused only on the lot at 162 Beach Road, submitting a new application for a variance a few months later. They revised the scope of their plans to make the dwelling smaller and eliminated the swimming pool. However, that did not change the fundamen tal concern that the property was completely seaward of the GBSL and submerged in decades past. On April 23, the County Commission once again unanimously denied the Allens request the t hird time a variance petition for that property had been turned down since the GBSL was established. William Merrill, the Allens attor ney, warned the commissioners that their denial was an ille gal taking and that legal acti on was likely. Certainly, a reasonable person examining the Allens history with this land would be far more shocked by their blithe indifference to the many hurdles that typically accompany building structures on a beach than the fact that the Allens have found their land has no practical use for them. Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 93


That legal action too k the form of the owners petitioning for relief under the Florida Land Use Environmental Dispute Resolution Act. Now the Allens and the county will go before a Special Magistrate, who will consider both sides and make recommendations for a reso lution, which could include having the county purchase the land as a conservation area or specifying what sort of construction on the property would be acceptable to the county for a GBSL variance. We certainly believe that people have a rea sonable expectation for the use of their land, but little about this matter seems reasonable to us. The exorbitant sum paid by the Allens for the two lots would lead one to presume that they commissioned exhaustive due diligence by land use attorneys and building experts prior to their purchase. That is what com mon sense would dictate before someone spends in excess of $10 million for two small parcels of beach property. And such due dil igence surely would have highlighted both the impracticality of building on those lots, as well as the limited possibilities for win ning regulatory approval from the County Commission to do so. The implication from M errills April com ments to the commission was that no such due diligence was conducted. The Allens had no idea they would not be able to build what ever they liked on the property, according to Merrill. There is a Southern expression that might be appropriate in this situation: having more dollars than sense. Cert ainly, a reasonable person ex amining the Allens history with this land would be far more shocked by their blithe indifference to the many hurdles that typically accompany building structures on a beach than the fact that the Allens have found their land has no practical use for them. What is worse is how the county taxpayers are potentially at risk for the Allens clueless ness. Through their attorney, they are seeking to use state law to force the county to either allow dangerous construction, which could imperil not only the planned structure but also nearby dwellings in the event of a signif icant storm, or buy the land from the Allens to preserve it. It boggles the mind that taxpayers could be expected to pay additional funds to secure, in undeveloped form, a piece of land that for more than 25 years has been prohibited from development by the GBSL. We can only hope that the Special Magistrate who hears the petition will have the presence of mind to recognize that only the Allens are responsible for the folly of buying the land in the rst place, especially without ascer taining if it could be developed. We therefore hope the Special Magistrate will deny them any special relief beyond what is permissible by the countys own coastal zoning. Unfortu nately, people who could afford to pay more than $10 million for virtually worthless land likely have the resources to og the legal system until someone, some where will grant them compensation for their imagined taking. But in all likelihood, the only taking will be from the pockets of county t axpaye rs. % Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 94


COMMENTARY W hen nations need to come together to make deals, diplomats are called, because nations resist being pushed around. Wars have been started with less provocation. When local governments come together to make deals, a different kind of diplomat is required. If nobody rises to the occa sion to admonish the bullies and repair the misunderstandings to act as a diplomat the consequences are not war. But the consequences can poison relations for years. Government should not be a zero-sum game. I won; you lost. Ha, ha. The citizens of the City of Sarasota pay taxes twice, roughly equal amounts each year to their city and county governments. So when those governments ght, there are only losers in the city. When the Sarasota City and County Commissions sit down for a joint meeting on Monday, June 23, the issue again will be home lessness and vagrancy. Majorities on both boards have agreed with their jointly hired consultant, Robert Marbut, to focus on creat ing a come-as-you-are shelter. And majorities on both boards have agreed to narrow the selection of the shelter location to two sites on the northern side of the city. During the June 23 meeting, they are expected to hear the results of an environmental assess ment of the two parcels (the city-owned 1330 N. Osprey Ave. property and the privately owned 1800 N. East Ave. site). A preliminary report indicated both have minor contamina tion; the nal report should provide an analysis of how much remediation will be required. Because some federal money will be used for the shelter project, the selected site must be environmentally benign. During the City Commission meeting on Monday, June 16, City Manager Tom Barwin said the shelter cost could be north of $5 million. Even if the city and county agree on a site on June 23, the city will have to rezone the land. And more time will be needed to design a facility, get bids and build the structure. Barwin thinks nine to 12 months is the min imum period between decision made and doors open. The Sarasota County commissioners have not said yet how they would like to pay for construction of a shelter for the vagrants and the homeless. Even with some federal money available, local funds will be necessary. Once it is open, any come-as-you-are shelter in the community will require additional local money for ongoing op erations, security and WANTED: SOMEONE WHO PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS IN THE SANDBOX By Stan Zimmerman City Editor COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 95


casework ers. At no point has either board discussed how those costs will be shared. Other examples of Marbut-designed shelters show local churches and ministries taking over the feeding of the people in the facili ties. In the case of Pinellas Countys shelter, meals for at least the rst year were mostly paid for by government money. Feeding 200 to 400 people three meals per day, every day of the year, is not a trivial expense for any body church or state. The Sarasota city and county governments are both engaged in budget deliberations for the next scal year. While no vagrant or homeless shelter is expected to open for sin gle men and women in the 12-month period those budgets will cover, starting Oct. 1, it is possible shelters for homeless families might be in operation in that time frame. On June 10, the county commissioners heard a discus sion of efforts by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to get something going soon, perhaps by the end of summer, for homeless families. The city and county board members stand on the brink of a major decision on June 23. Are they ready, willing and able to make a prom ise of shelter to vagrants and the homeless, single people and families? THE BIG STALL This already complicated issue who will pay, how much, for what and where is about to undergo a political metamorphosis. So far, the Sarasota City Commission has been vot ing in lock step with the county, although by a bare 3-2 maj ority. However, two of those three in th e city majority have resigned as of Nov. 18, as required by Florida election law. City Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder are running against each other for the open County Commission seat being vacated by Joe Barbetta. By mid-December, the three remaining city commissioners will name replacements for Caragiulo and Snyder. Of those three, two con sistently vote against establishing any shelter in north Sarasota for vagrants and homeless people. In other words, any decision reached in June could be overthrown in January. To stop the shelter would not take a rever sal of any June vote. That action could come during the rezoning process required for the chosen property, for example. Will special exceptions be required? What does the future land use map say? The potential for bureau cratic sabotage is rich. THE BIG WIN There are already winners and losers here. The winners occupy downtown Sarasota. Most have been arrested multiple times. Their health care is an ambulance ride away to the emergency room of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Katrina Schlegel knows them well, as a home less woman herself in 2008. Those folks you see downtown have always been there, she pointed out. They enjoy it. There is a portion that is young, and they are happy with their lifestyle. They say, I dont have to pay bills, I dont have any responsibilities. She spoke at a homelessness focus group in City Hall on June 17. They have no rules, no Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 96


regulations. Some are making 50 to 100 dol lars a day. They enjoy it, sh e added. The losers are merchants cleaning human excrement from their doorsills every morn ing up and down Main Street. Downtown Sarasotas reputation as a dining Mecca is dimming as wealthy patrons find rubbing shoulders with vagrants and the homeless to be more than that for which they bargained. The political pressures to find a solution immediately are growing profoundly. But solutions seem elusive. RISING TO THE OCCASION Ten elected individuals will sit at the dais on June 23. If they return to their bickering ways, trying to score points in a zero-sum game, they will only perpetuate perhaps memorialize the nightmare faced daily by downtown merchants, shoppers, diners and residents. The quality of life downtown is sinking into a swamp of panhandling, cheap souvenir selling and a madness of mentally unstable yelling. Downtown Sarasota is the countys economic engine. Posturing aside, if downtown becomes undesirable, North Port will dry up and blow away. And Sarasota County will soon follow. In the times that try mens souls, leaders arise. They point to a better future, knowing it has costs and risks. To settle for the status quo is not acceptable for them. On June 23, we can watch 10 elected leaders cope with a problem they should by this time understand. Who are the leaders? Who are the blow hards? Who are the meek and mindless, and where can they hide? The potential for nger pointing is astronomically high. What about the potential for a diplomat to emerge, for one of the 10 to rise above the bickering and craft a course that will last more than a day, perhaps a month? Who will do their homework? For situations such as this, we elect leaders. Staff members are powerless in these circum stances. They, too, need leadership. On June 23, will it emerge? % A FAITHFUL FRIEND By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY I recently lost a beloved friend. The word is in quotes for a reason, which shall be revealed later in this article. When my friend and I were no longer together, I went through the famous four stages of grief that a knowledgeable psychiatrist defined many years ago. The rst stage is Denial. OMG, this can NOT be happening to me. I cannot live my daily routine without you. I need order in my life, and having the knowledge that you were here COMMENTARY COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 97


for me, night and day, any time of day, gave me great comfort. And, most importantly, you never, ever complained. You were my strong and silent companion. At Stage Two, the depression set in when I realized I had lost you and your never-ceasing dependability forever. I really did cry, rant, scream and yell when I tried to understand that you were gone, out of my life, and that no matter how much I prayed and wished for a miracle, it was not to be. Stage Three is called Anger, and why not? For the past few weeks, I have been very angry with you, my trusty and reliable friend, for leaving me in the lurch like this. I do not want to start over, looking for a new friend to replace you, the one I liked so much and with whom I felt so safe. And, finally, we arrive at Stage Four, Acceptance. I am not sure I accept any of this yet. Even though I now have a replacement for my dearly departed friend, one that is suppos edly designed to help me in future endeavors, I do not really believe it yet. I am still heart broken and suffering from withdrawal pains. By now, I bet most of you have made some kind of guess about my dearly lost compan ion. Of course, it is my old desktop computer, the one with easy, simple, enjoyable Windows XP software (really, really old). Included in my new computer is Windows 8 so strange, foreign, complicated and unfriendly some thing I never asked for. It was thrust in my face when we set up the PC. The owners of my favorite bookstore must be happy. I just bought Windows 8 for Dummies I must really be dumb because I am having trouble understanding the book, too. Honestly, I would really much prefer learning Italian. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CITY NEEDS TO TIGHTEN ORDINANCES TO HANDLE PROBLEMS On May 19, d owntown merchants appealed to City Attorney Robert Fournier to tighten existing ordinances or craft new ones to deal with problems caused by vagrants on Main Street. Mr. Fournier responded, Nothing was specic. What ordinances? I submit that the merchants are entitled to more than the view that they, themselves, should engage in ordinance dr afting. It should be enough for them to say to the city, We have a problem. Fix it! The city attorney went on to say that the city does not suffer from an inadequacy of ordi nances. The answer is having more police ofcers in place downtown When police ofcers have been s tationed in public places, Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 98


to set up ongoi ng housekeeping at that busy corner, undeterred by the daily presence of police ofcers. Lacking a specically appli cable ordinance to enforce, the ofcers are powerless to act. At the same corner, others are permitted to hawk their palm frond art unmolested. With the will to do so, Ordinance 30-3 (Obstructing Pedestrian or Vehicular Trafc, for example,) could be tightened to prohibit these activities. Pretending that the mere presence of a police ofcer will deter conduct not specically prohibited by law is as futile as our present ordinances. Frank Brenner Sarasota LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sar asota 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 Lett 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. the homeless pop ulation generally disperses (emphasis added). His conclusion: The ordi nances are effective, but the existing laws need to be enforced. I respectfully disagree. The issue is not one of crowd dispersal alone, nor is it exclu sively a problem of homelessness rather than vagrancy. In any event, police observation or presence (which an offender is free to ignore) is no substitute for enforcement of specic ordinances. The city attorneys response is a tacit admission that the present ordinances are not up to the job. There is no more public place than the cor ner of Main Street and Lemon Avenue. Yet, a vagrant of long standing has been permitted 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 June 20, 2014 Page 99

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 20+ JUNE Venice Theatre presents aactWorldFest Through June 21; times vary. 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice. Tickets for shows: $20 and up. Event features workshops, plays and social events. More information: 488-1115 or 20+ JUNE Black Is the Color of My Voice Through June 22; times vary. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $21.50. Information: 366-1505 or 20+ JUNE Players Theatre presents The Dixie Swim Club Through June 22, times vary. 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $18. Information: 365-2494 or 20+ JUNE Unconventional Inventions, Vanishing, Black Box Projects: Summation and Perspectives Through June 27. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free. Exhibits include kinetic sculpture created in collaboration with area schools and businesses, cutting-edge works by University of South Florida Master of Fine Arts candidates, a selection of art from the Lemur Conservation Foundation and an all-media juried show. Information: 365-2032 or 20+ JUNE Florida Studio Theatre presents Pump Boys and Dinettes Through June 29; times vary. Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $34 to $44. Information: 366-9000 or 20+ JUNE Baritones Unbound: Celebrating the Uncommon Voice of the Common Man Through June 29; times vary. Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $20 and up. Information: 351-8000 or 20+ JUNE Florida Studio Theatre presents At the Hop Through July 6; times vary. Court Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $32 to $36. Information: 366-9000 or ALL THE REST ... COMMUNITY CALENDAR Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 100

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The best of upcoming EVENTS Submit Calendar Events To 20+ JUNE Allyn Gallup Gallery presents A Few Great, Big Pictures Through July 28; times vary. 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free. Information: 366-2454 or 20+ JUNE FST Improv: Out of Bounds Match Up Through Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. Brownes Lab Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $15. Information: 366-9000 or 20+ JUNE UUCS Presents Jane Shannon: Works in Fabric Through Sept. 4; times vary. Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Lexow Wing Gal lery. 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Free. Information: 371-4974 or the church website 20+ JUNE Dabbert Gallery presents Summer Showcase Through Sept. 29; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free. Featuring works by three sculptors, one printmaker, 15 painters, one pastel artist and one photographer. Informa tion: 955-1315 or 25+ JUNE FST presents Becoming Dr. Ruth June 25 through July 27; times vary. Keating Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $34 to $44. Information: or 366-9000. 26+ JUNE Banyan Theater Company presents The Price by Arthur Miller June 26 through July 13; times vary. Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sara sota. Tickets: $28.50 for a single performance; $52 for two of Banyans summer season plays; and $70 for three shows. The Stye of the Blind Pig by Phillip Hayes Dean to follow in July and Collected Stories by Donald Margulies in August. Information: banyanthe 27 JUNE FridayFest returns with Yesterdayze June 27, 5-9 p.m., rain or shine. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free. Blankets and lawn chairs welcome. No outside food or drinks allowed. Information: 953-3368 or 05 JULY Bookstore1Sarasota presents Breakfast Serial Book Club July 5 and each succeeding Saturday during the summer. From 10:30-11 a.m., staffers will read to 3to 6-year-olds; from 11:15-11:45 a.m., they will read to 7to 9-year-olds. 1359 Main St., Sarasota. Information: or 365-7900. 12 JULY Venice Community Center presents One Night Rodeo July 12, 8-11 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Center located at 326 Nokomis Ave., Venice. Tickets: $5. A Bradenton band, One Night Rodeo recently won the Great American Coun try and Music Nations Next Star Competition. More information and tickets: 861-1380. Sarasota News Leader June 20, 2014 Page 101

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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. WE ESPECIALLY LIKE LADYFINGERS! SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida941-953-4060

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