Sarasota News Leader


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

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COVER Inside RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGES A PLEA FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT RETHINKING PROPERTY USAGE Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida March 22, 2013




Copyright 2013 Sarasota News Leader All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Member National Digital Press Association The Sarasota News Leader is a publication of: New Sheriff Publishing, Inc. Post Ofce Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277-5099 Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor David Staats Columnist Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer Scott Proftt Staff Writer Tyler Whitson Staff Writer TWhitson John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD


My colleagues often chide me that I tend to run on a bit too long in this space each week. Taking that into advisement, I will try to keep this missive a bit shorter. Once again, this week was chock-a-block full of meetings the City and County commissions and the School Board all tackled some pretty serious issues. Therefore, once again, it was our staffs job to try to gure out what would be of most interest and most importance to you as a reader and/or as a resident of Sarasota County. Regarding both the city and county boards this week, a number of topics were recurring ones. They pose an additional challenge to a reporter. How much background should we include? When I took journalism classes and worked as an intern more than 30 years ago, the rule of thumb I learned was that a reporter covering a continuing issue should include enough of the back story in every article so a rst-time reader would not be lost trying to gure out what was going on. Our general goal is to put as much new information at the top of a story as possi ble, so as not to discourage a regular reader. Sometimes, though, we need to nd a way to weave in more background early on, just because we believe we should remind you of certain context, so you can comprehend the full impact of the latest details. Sometimes we might include a tidbit in the back story that you had forgotten, which will open a new avenue of thinking for you as you go through the article. The better you understand all the parameters of an issue, the better a citizen you can be. As always, we always enjoy hearing from you about how we are doing. Do not ever hesitate to comment! Editor and Publisher WELCOME


A PLEA FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT THIS PHOENIX WILL NOT RISE NEWS & COMMENTARY A RECOMMENDATION FOR CHANGES 8 Former Sarasota Police Chief John Lewis reports his ndings from interviewing city police ofcers, including a yearning for more training Stan Zimmerman A PLEA FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT 14 The Suncoast Charities board sets April 5 as the date to decide whether it can go afford to go forward with the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival Rachel Brown Hackney RETHINKING PROPERTY USAGE 21 The County Commission seeks alternatives to building new Sheriffs Ofce facilities next to its planned Emergency Operations Center Rachel Brown Hackney PONDERING $200 MILLION 26 The County Commission hears proposals for a new Criminal Justice Center landscape in downtown Sarasota Stan Zimmerman DID CARAGIULO FOLD? 31 City noise ordinance revision sloooooows down Stan Zimmerman NOBODY SAID, NO 34 Analysis: State Street parking garage forming from the bottom up Stan Zimmerman THIS PHOENIX WILL NOT RISE 39 The closing of a Sarasota County school for students at risk of dropping out is proposed as a budget-cutting measure Scott Proftt CITY BRIEFS 42 Kayak storage facility idea inches forward; boom-car ordinance enacted; city awaits judges decision on cure meeting for State Street garage bid rankings Stan Zimmerman SAVINGS AND HIGHER COSTS 46 The County Commission agrees to allow material excavated for a new Siesta Key stormwater retention pond to be stockpiled for use in the beach park project Rachel Brown Hackney BETTER COMMUNICATION, PLEASE 51 The County Commission evaluates the county administrator after his rst year on the job Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Mr. Squirrel noshes on a nut Robert Hackney Sarasota Leisure: Selby Gardens serenity Robert Hackney


T HE DIABLITO IS IN THE DETAILS ASK OTUS ON TO NATIONALS 55 After a regional win in Orlando, the Jungle Robotics Team is raising funds for its trip to the big competition in St. Louis Scott Proftt NEWS BRIEFS 58 OPINION EDITORIAL 67 Jon, we hardly knew ye SARASOTA LEISURE THE DIABLITO IS IN THE DETAILS 72 Selby Gardens hosts annual mask exhibition featuring new work by artists indigenous to Costa Rica Tyler Whitson ASK OTUS 77 A big part of the satisfaction with any catch remains the thrill of the hunt Otus Rufous SIESTA SEEN 82 County commissioner vents frustrations over delay in settling Chris Browns lawsuit; SKA again seeks more Code Enforcement staff Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 88 RELIGION BRIEFS 92 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 96 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 97 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


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Last November former Sarasota Police Chief John Lewis was asked to provide a compre hensive report in 30 days detailing what changes need to occur at the SPD to make the department the best trained law enforce ment agency in Florida and the southern United States, City Manager Tom Barwin said in a press release at the time. It took Lewis about twice as long as ex pected, but his 24-page City Manager Tom Barwin congratulates Police Chief Bernadette DiPino after her swearing in in January. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota FORMER SARASOTA POLICE CHIEF JOHN LEWIS REPORTS HIS FINDINGS FROM INTERVIEWING OFFICERS, INCLUDING A YEARNING FOR MORE TRAINING A RECOMMENDATION FOR CHANGES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Very little training has occurred for the last two or three years. John Lewis Former Police Chief City of Sarasota


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 9 repo rt, obtained by The Sarasota News Lead er indicates there is a lot of work to be done to meet the ambitious goal outlined by Bar win. Lewis was the SPD chief for more than a de cade (1989-2000). He later was appointed to ll a two-year term on the Sarasota County School Board; then, he stood for and won election to that board (2000-2006). [T]he employees to whom I spoke at all ranks were, for the most part, positive in their im age of the department and the city. Most were very open, candid and honest in sharing their views, his report states early on. I commend all of the individuals with whom I spoke for providing information that will be of assis tance to the incoming Chief. Incoming Chief Bernadette DiPino started on New Years Day 2013. TRAINING MINIMAL IN A NUMBER OF AREAS Lewis primary focus was training, and he found it had declined over time. He said be fore 1997 ofcers received 64 hours of training per year. But after switching to a 12-hour pa trol shift (from eight hours) in 2006, training per year was cut in half, to 32 hours. However, those on 12-hour shifts were paid overtime to attend in-service training on their days off Nonetheless, because of budget cuts, fund ing to pay patrol ofcers overtime to attend in-service training was virtually eliminated, wrote Lewis. This resulted in minimal train ing for a number of areas among them, rearms training. Sometimes what is called Firearms Training is simply a matter of going to t he range for the state-mandated qu alication, qualifying, and leaving. This takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, but deviates greatly from the eight-hour rearms training given in the past, the report says. Training was a constant concern for almost all those interviewed who were department employees. Many concerns centered on high-liability items, such as rearms training, defensive tactics, and pursuit driving, Lew is wrote. In addition concerns for new ser geants, lieutenants and captains were for the appropriate management/supervision train ing. Lewis singled out one specic area of concern: Incidents that were relayed to me indicate there is a denite need for training in building searches, he wrote. This relates to buildings or homes that are found with a possible breakin and ofcers go through the building to de termine if there are any subjects inside. In all organizations with a formal rank struc ture, it is common for superiors to train their subordinates. But at the SPD, Lewis found this to be a sometime thing. A number of ofcers have commented on the excellent training they have received from their sergeants during their shift when calls for service permitted, but this, apparently, is not a requirement and is not being done by all supervisors, the re port says. To begin lling the training gap, Lewis sug gested nding out what kind of training is of fered at the School Boards Sarasota County Technical Institute. And he proposed looking for retired ofcers from the SPD or other ju risdictions who are well-qualied and versed in particular subject matt er, and [contacting


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 10 A 9/11 memorial stands in the foyer of the Sarasota Police Department. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 11 them] to see if they would be available to teach at the depart ment or at SCTI at no charge to the depart ment. Lewis was told the lack of training is trou bling to many ofcers. Firearms training, defensive tactics training, driver training and interpersonal actions be tween police and citizens are constant con cerns by a majority of personnel, he wrote. Very little training has occurred for the last two or three years. Recently the training that is conducted is only the training that is man dated. Chief DiPino says she has already started to make changes. I agree with Chief Lewis observation about training, she wrote in an email to the News Leader while away on a training trip herself. A well trained ofcer and police force reduces liability, increases morale and ofcer safety, and benets the community. I have already increased training and approved upcoming in-service training for our ofcers, she added. PROBLEMS WITH PROMOTION Lewis takes more than two pages to relate what he heard about problems with the SPD promotion system and its impact on policing the city. He found the old system widely re viled and its replacement so new virtually no body had any experience with it. The old promotion process had been re vamped and a new one had been adopted, but the new one had not yet been used by any of the employees. There fore there was very little discussion, ex cept that many of the officers felt that the previous promotional process was extreme ly awed, the report says. The old system ranked the candidates for pro motion. When an opening became available, the top-ranked candidate was promoted. Most of those interviewed stated that the chief of police should pick the best person for the position, whether thats through a pro motional exam and a list from which the chief could choose, or if the position is exempt, the chief could look at all personnel in the depart ment and consider the best candidate for that position, Lewis wrote. Some experiences obviously still rankled peo ple with whom Lewis spoke. [T]here were ofcers who asked to be off the night shift prior to the test that was to be given the fol lowing morning. For whatever reason, they were denied the time off and were required to work their 12-hour night shift and then take the promotional test that morning when they got off work, the report says. Now the department is using a different sys tem; the old promotion lists expired Jan. 12. DiPino says she will keep her eye on the new promotion process. I will be observing and monitoring the upcoming promotional pro cess in order to determine whether this pro cess sufciently evaluates promotion poten tial, she wrote. Many of those interviewed stated that there may be some strong antiSarasota Police Department feelings within city government. The Lewis Report


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 12 HUNGRY FOR LEADERSHIP It cant be emphasized enough how many times the term strong leadership, starting at the top, has been mentioned in the inter views, along with the need for accountability and responsibility, Lewis wrote. A constant concern was accountability for all ranks from the chief on down. This feeling may be driven by enforcement of the departments own standards. Discipline needs to be fair, consistent and based on de partment goals and objectives, not on person alities or friendship. Ofcers feel that while they are sometimes held to strict standards, supervisory personnel are not, the report says. Department policies came up as Lewis spoke with both uniformed and civilian SPD employ ees. The departments pursuit policy needs to be reviewed, and the policy at SPD needs to be reviewed in light of policies used by other agencies in the region, the report says. One person suggested a slow-motion overhaul of the departments standing orders. It was recommended that each General Order have a sunset date so that it would have to be re viewed or it would be discontinued, the re port adds. One undercurrent mentioned by Lewis is a general mistrust of staff at City Hall: Many of those interviewed stated that there may be some strong anti-Sarasota Police Department feelings within city government, the report says. DiPino remains condent she can confront these issues. Our agency can benet from strong leadership, effective communication and direction, she wrote in the email to the News Leader The challenges we face are not insurmountable, she added. % The new Sarasota Police Department stands on Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel DOWNLOAD THE LEWIS REPORT Download the pdf and read the complete Lewis Report. (2mb)


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April 5 is the date the board of directors of the Suncoast Charities for Children has set to determine whether it can afford to hold the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival this summer. That was the news March 20 from Lucy Nicandri, vice pres ident for marketing for Suncoast Charities and chairwoman of the festival. Nicandri spoke with The Sarasota News Leader a day after the Sarasota County Com mission approved a $10,000 grant, plus $3,500 in in-kind services, for the 2013 festival in stead of the $100,000 grant Nicandri had sought. At 10 a.m. on Wednes day, March 27, Nica ndri will host a press conference at the Hy att Regency Sarasota, located at 1000 Boule The boat parade down Main Street in Sarasota has been a big attraction during the annual Sun coast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE SUNCOAST CHARITIES BOARD SETS APRIL 5 AS THE DATE TO DECIDE WHETHER IT CAN AFFORD TO GO FORWARD WITH THE SUNCOAST SUPER BOAT GRAND PRIX FESTIVAL A PLEA FOR COMMUNITY SUPPORT By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Are we willing to walk away from this and guess that were going to be just as busy or even 75 percent as busy during [the July Fourth holiday period] and generate the same economic impact? I think its a huge risk to take. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 15 A graphic provided to the County Commission shows statistics related to the Grand Prix Festival. Image courtesy Suncoast Charities for Children


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 16 vard of the Arts, to talk about the need for community support if the festival is to go on this year. She will present the same informa tion to the public as she did to the County Commission during its regular meeting on March 19, she told the News Leader Then, she will conduct a question-and-answer session with attendees. Boat racers who participate in the Grand Prix also will be present to offer comments, Nicandri said. Asked if she hoped the event would generate the necessary public donations to make it pos sible for the festival to go on, Nicandri replied, I hope so. The County Commission on March 19 unani mously approved the $13,500 contribution to the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival, but that action followed a 3-2 vote against in creasing the amount to $82,700. C omm issioner Nora Patterson made the mo tion for the $13,500, while Commissioner Joe Barbetta offered the amendment that would include the $79,200 fee the festival needs to pay a sanctioning organization so it can hold the boat race. Only Barbetta and Chairwoman Carolyn Ma son supported the amendment. As part of the commissions agenda material for the meeting, Suncoast Charities provided a Visitor and Economic Impact Study for the 2012 boat race and events. Prepared by Re search Data Services Inc. of Tampa, the report shows the total direct and indirect economic impact on the county of all the events asso ciated with the festival equaled $14,306,173, up 12.1 percent from the 2011 gure of $12.7 million, Nicandri pointed out to the County Commission. A chart shows the largest expenses for Suncoast Charities to put on the Grand Prix Festival. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 17 Of the estimat ed 107,000 people who attend ed the 2012 event, the report says, about 46.6 percent were year-round Sarasota County res idents. Of the out-of-county attendees, 65.7 percent traveled from other parts of Florida, 21.5 percent from other states and 12.8 per cent from foreign countries, according to the study. Moreover, the 2012 boat race was streamed live to 103 countries, Nicandri said. Eighty percent of the events associated with the Grand Prix, including the boat race itself, are free, she pointed out to the commission. Last year, Nicandri told the board, Suncoast Charities realized a prot of about $57,000 from the festival. According to its website Suncoast Charities has constructed facilities at an expense of about $14 million to serve children with spe cial needs in Sarasota County. Suncoast Char ities continues to maintain these facilities, and supports special project requests from these agencies, with proceeds raised through spe cial events and festivals held throughout the year, the website notes. PAST AND FUTURE Nicandri explained the festival has experi enced a decrease in the value of in-kind ser vices over the past several years, but its costs continue to increase. The Florida Sports Commission this year also declined to give the event the $10,000 grant it had provided in the past, she added, saying it no longer would fund boat races. This year would mark the 29 th year for the fes tival, she noted. Outside of the World Championships in Key West [each November], she said, Sarasota is the premier race site. In fact, Nicandri added, Super Boat Interna tional representatives had approached her re cently to talk about moving the World Cham pionships to Sarasota. I cant even have that conversation with them because we dont have the funds for the regular race, she said. When Barbetta asked whether other Florida cities were vying to host the summer race which is always scheduled close to July Fourth Nicandri confirmed that. July Fourth weekend is a prime weekend, because they can wrap so many events around the holiday and have that economic impact in crease even more for their city, she said. When Barbetta then asked about the sponsors for the festival in Sarasota, Nicandri replied, With Sarasota, we dont have a huge corpo rate base like a lot of other cities do. Her three biggest sponsors are Gold Coast Ea gle Distributing, FCCI Insurance Group and Sarasota Ford, she added. The next tier down is really small businesses, she pointed out, most of which are family-owned. When the festival began in the mid-1980s, Ni candri said, It was just a race and it was heav ily supported by the construction industry. So you can imagine over the years how that nancial support has waned because of the economic climate. DIVERSE VIEWS Patterson told Nicandri she admired her per sonally. Nevertheless, Patterson said, I


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 18 have a problem with your request $100,000. Theres no way to take it out of tourist devel opment monies. Its basically going to come from the general fund. There are other events I would give up, maybe, before I would give up yours, Patterson continued. But youre still making a prot. Providing the $100,000 grant would be almost as if we were writing the check directly to the [charity ], which the county supports anyway, to the tune of millions of dollars a year, Pat terson added Commissioner Christine Robinson told Nican dri, Nobody understands what you do for the community better than I. I have a child with special needs who received services [from one of the facilities supported by Suncoast Charities]. Lucy Nicandri, vice president of marketing for Suncoast Charities, addresses the County Commis sion on March 19 in Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 19 However, Robinson said, she feared the $100,000 would become a recurring expense for the county. Additionally, Robinson pointed out, the Serto ma Club in Venice has raised private donations each year for the reworks show it offers on July Fourth. Referring to the Suncoast festi vals $40,000 reworks expense on the Saraso ta bayfront, Robinson added, Im struggling to understand why we should pay for those opposed to Venices reworks or Englewoods reworks or Siesta Keys reworks. Nicandri pointed out that the City of Sarasota stopped paying for the bayfront July Fourth reworks in 2008. Yet, she expected only one in 10 people in the county realized that, she added. Robinson continued, I cant justify taking [$100,000] out of the general fund year after year after year when I have so many other groups that do similar and great things for our community including giving back but without asking for county nancial support. We dont know if were going to be getting funds this year, Nicandri responded. We may very well have to pull the plug on this [festi val]. Commissioner Charles Hines called the Grand Prix and its related activities a phenomenal event that really brings recognition to Saraso ta County. Nonetheless, he agreed with Robinsons con cerns that the expense would become a re curring one for the county. Ideally, he said, the money should come out of tourist devel opment tax revenue. Patterson point ed out that the county already had allocated tourist development tax reve nue for Benderson Parks bid to win the 2017 World Rowing Championships, noting that is a substantial expense, including funding support for the large meets that are leading up to it. Nicandri asked whether the commissioners feel people who come to the area for rowing regattas spend as much money in restaurants and bars and at attractions as those who come for the Suncoast Festival. No one responded. Are we willing to walk away from this and lose it and guess that were going to be just as busy or even 75 percent as busy during [the July Fourth holiday period] and generate the same economic impact? Barbetta asked. I think its a huge risk to take. After the votes, Barbetta asked that Steve Botelho, the countys chief of nancial plan ning, look over the tourist development tax revenue, which is running above projections again so far this year. Perhaps Botelho could determine whether any extra funds might be available for the Suncoast Festival, Barbetta said. Hines concurred. That would be extremely helpful, Nicandri told the board. The next day, Nicandri pointed out to the News Leader that Suncoast Charities could plan a black-tie fundraiser every year to raise $50,000 to $60,000 to replace the prot from the festi val. However, she said, We dont want to give [the event] up; that is not our intent %


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Afte r listening to a March 20 staff proposal for combining Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce facilities on the Cattlemen Road site of the planned new Emer gency Operations Cen ter (EOC), the County Commission voted 4-1 to request staff reas sess all other coun ty-owned property in that area and report back in 60 days. Commissioner Joe Barbetta cast the No vote. I couldnt possibly sup port this complex, Barbetta said of a pro posal that would put Sheriffs Ofce build ings on what he called prime commercial footage on a major highway. A proposed site plan shows how Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce facilities could be located on the site of the new county Emergency Operations Center at the Cattlemen Road/Porter Way intersection. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION SEEKS ALTERNATIVES TO BUILDING NEW SHERIFFS OFFICE FACILITIES NEXT TO ITS PLANNED EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER RETHINKING PROPERTY USAGE What Im trying to avoid doing is what Ive seen governments do numerous times what makes them really lousy land speculators: Buy high and sell low. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 22 Speaking to Sheriff Tom Knight during a work shop at the downtown county Administration Center, Barbetta added, I have no problem with what your needs are, just not at [the Cat tlemen] location as staff had proposed. To staff, Barbetta said, Either put [the pro posed buildings] to the rear [of the site] or put them on another piece of property. Ed Gable, the new director of the countys Fa cilities Services Ofce, had presented a graph ic showing how a three-story, 150,000-squarefoot Sheriffs Ofce administrative center; a joint training facility; a four-level, 570-space p arking garage; and a 25,000-square-foot build ing combining the Sarasota County Medical Examiners Ofce with the Sheriffs Ofces Forensics Unit all could be located on the 1301 Cattlemen Road property at the intersection of Porter Way. The new EOC is expected to be completed on that site by the June 1 start of the 2014 hurricane season. We have a lot of other properties, Barbetta said, adding that the sheriffs facilities should be put up on property that could generate a lot of money for us and help us defray the cost of building these [new structures]. A Sarasota County chart shows a breakdown of county-owned and leased facilities. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 23 For that m atter, Barbetta pointed out, We have a vast parking lot with incredible air rights behind the county Administration Cen ter on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sara sota. THE NEEDS Early on in the discussion, Bill Spitler, direc tor of research and planning for the Sheriffs Ofce, referenced a report the sheriff gave to the County Commission in January. Spitler explained how facilities are spread across the county, with evidence and investigations threatened by the inadequacies of some of those locations. For example, he said, the ofces eet in cluding specialized vehicles comprises about $7.3 million of assets that sit out in the weather For another example, Spitler noted, the Fo rensics Unit operates out of two storefronts on Bull Road, one of which is next to a dry cleaners. The DNA lab is included in that unit, he added. Altogether, evidence for more than 100,000 criminal cases is stored there. A recent chemical spill at the cleaners could have threatened some of that evidence, Spitler told the commissioners. The ofces Property and Evidence work is split between two facilities, he noted. More than 800,000 pieces of property are held in downtown Sarasota. Knight pointed out that after the EOC is com pleted, he would have up to 115 employees working in that facility. The closer I am to them, the better we are, he added of his other stafng needs. In examini ng Gables diagram of the Cattle men Road site, Commissioner Nora Patterson expressed reservations about the siting of the parking garage more than anything [else] She suggested it could be combined with the administrative center in a seven-story struc ture; one story would be below ground. Commissioner Charles Hines who had tak en a tour of the current Sheriffs Ofce facil ities after Knights January presentation said he agreed with Barbetta that buildings could be reoriented on the Cattlemen site to free up prime highway frontage. Nonetheless, Hines said, he liked the idea of locating the Sheriffs Ofce facilities in close proximity to Interstate 75. NEXT STEPS Gable pointed out that the County Commis sion in August 2012 authorized staff to begin work on rezoning one par cel on the Cattle A map shows the site of the county-owned property at the intersection of Cattlemen Road and Porter Way, with its proximity to I-75. Map courtesy Google Maps


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 24 men site for co mmercial ofce or industrial use, in preparation for selling it. He suggested the board hold off on that rezoning until it de cides how to proceed with new facilities for the Sheriffs Ofce. Ive been waiting for that [rezoning and land sale] for two-and-a-half years, Barbetta said, and I just dont think this is the place to put government buildings. Patterson agreed with Gable. If there existed even a 25 percent chance [the rezoning is] not the direction youre going to go, she said, it is better to wait. It certainly isnt such a hot [real estate] market, unless you know of a buyer that will come in at a reasonable price for that parcel, she told Barbetta. What Im trying to avoid doing is what Ive seen governments do numerous times what makes them really lousy land speculators, Patterson continued: Buy high and sell low. She added, The worst thing to do is to sell the property in a down market and then have to buy a property in an up market in order to meet [our] needs. First of all, Barbetta said, Im not suggest ing we buy any property whatsoever. He added that he would guess the cost of the new structures for the Sheriffs Ofce, as shown in Gables diagram, would be between $150 million and $200 million. We dont have the money to do it. Im trying to raise money to do that, he pointed out, by selling coun ty-owned property in desirable locations. Commissioner Christine Robinson suggested a deadline be imposed on staff looking at al ternative county-owned sites for the Sheriffs Ofce facilities. Knight said th at was ne. He added, I dont have all the answers on property. We need to do something. Weve probably waited too long already. THE EOC PLAN Barbetta also raised concern that county staff should have considered earlier the possibil ity of combining the EOC itself with a new administrative facility for the Sheriffs Ofce. Were doing this piecemeal plan thats driving me crazy, he added. Then Patterson asked for an update on the EOC. Assistant County Administrator Tom Harm er explained the facility is at the 60 percent design phase and the rm the board had ap proved hiring to handle the project as a con struction manager (CM) at risk already has reviewed the plans. (A construction manager at risk hires subcontractors and makes certain a project comes in at or below budget.) The CM at risks representative found the de sign was $4 million over budget, Harmer con tinued, as reported during the County Com missions Feb. 8 budget workshop. Already, he said, revisions in the design have reduced the overage by about 50 percent. The board will hear an update in April, Harm er added. I think were a little far down the line to start talking about designing it cooperatively with a sheriffs facility we dont have the money to build, Patterson said of the EOC. %


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


Sarasota County staff led the county com missioners on a walk through the future on Wednesday, March 20. Plans were offered to move the downtown sheriffs 26-year-old of ce to a campus near the interstate. (See the related story in this is sue.) In its place, the staff proposed a 10-story building combining additional jail space, more courtrooms and a new central energy plant providing uninter ruptible power. The proposed sheriffs campus on Cattlemen Road would include a 150,000-square-foot administration center, roughly three times the size of the cur rent 50,000-squarefoot building in down A Sarasota County graphic shows a proposed new combination jail and courthouse facility in the place of the existing Sarasota County Sheriffs ofces on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION HEARS PROPOSALS FOR A NEW CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER LANDSCAPE IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA PONDERING $200 MILLION By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The idea was to put a second judicial tower where the old city police department was located. That is still a viable option. Walt Smith Courts Administrator Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 27 town Sarasota. In addition, staff proposed a four-story parking garage with 570 spaces, a 30,000-square-foot training center and a 25,000-square-foot building for the medical examiner and forensics squad. The total oor area would be about 243,000 square feet, plus the parking garage. Some or all of the buildings would be constructed to withstand a Category Five hurricane. While no price tag was offered, several knowl edgeable people suggested because of physical security needs and storm resistance the price could start at about $300 per square foot. That would put the initial esti mate at nearly $73 million. Add in $17 million for the parking garage, at $30,000 per space, and the total price tag could be $100 million or more. Once the sheriff was relocated, work could begin on another criminal justice tower down town. FROM BAD BLOOD TO GOLD MINE Ten years ago the county embarked on a simi lar quest to create more ofce and courtroom space. The then-new Lynn Silvertooth Judicial Center tower on Ringling Boulevard was al ready strained, and the county administrator at the time demanded the city give land to the county for another court facility. He threatened to move the county seat out of downtown Sarasota if the city did not surren der the land under the existing police head quarters. The city capitulated. A new glass and steel high-rise police headquarters was built, the old 1950s era headquarters was demol An older aerial map shows the location of county property in the vicinity of the judicial center com plex in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 28 ished and the property was ceded in theory to the county. However, the actual transfer of deed and title never occurred. While the deal was inked in an interlocal agreement, the necessary docu ments to make the deal ofcial and permanent were never led. Thus, the city still retains ownership of the old police HQ property on Ringling Boulevard, just east of U.S. 301. When the county staff began looking for a site for another judicial tower, the old Sara sota Police Department HQ property was in contention. But another site the current Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce was now a possibility. The idea was to put a second judicial tower where the old city police department was lo cated. That is still a viable option, said Courts Administrator Walt Smith. The idea came up if the [sheriffs] space became available, it would be the better location. It is attached to the county jail, and that would save on trans portation, security and safety. Smith sketched out a plan for the county com missioners in which the new tower on the old sheriffs ofce site would become the center of criminal justice, while the Silvertooth build ing across the street would focus on civil and non-criminal cases. The proposed new judicial tower would be 352,000 square feet. Using the same $300 per square foot construction cost, the price tag would be $105 million. If that is added to the $100 million for a new sheriffs campus on Cattlemen Road, the number rises to almost $205 million. Assuming the county population is 500,000, that works out to a per capita g ure of $410. MUMS THE WORD ON NUMBERS While staff members were free with square footage gures, they were mum on construc tion costs. Parking garage costs per space are well known, but even those were not used in the presentation. The Sarasota County Commission addresses a matter during its regular meeting on March 19. Pho to by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 29 The new downtown tower could provide an additional 394 jail beds per oor (although a jail conguration requires two oors of space). One oor could also provide ve to seven new courtrooms. It would allow relo cation of the central energy facility to a more hardened location, house the Public Defender and State Attorneys ofces, and allow room for expansion of the Clerk of Courts services. Construction of the sheriffs facilities on Ring ling Boulevard has been a tale of overruns at virtually every step since the jail was moved out of the old courthouse basement. In some cases, the county fought contractor claims, re sulting in lengthy sometimes epic court room challenges. Thus, history may indicate the $200 million gure for this latest proposal could be a signicant underestimation. Commissioner Nora Patterson noted the countys local-option sales tax revenues are alre ady apportioned, and she hinted a bond issue might be the only mechanism available. When you add up your needs and some of the other needs, we might have to go to the pub lic, she told Sheriff Tom Knight. You have to be able to tell them. Any bonds would require a referendum, and that would be backed by property taxes be cause criminal justice uses provide no reve nue against which to bond. If the county used 30-year ad valorem bonds to fund the Cattlemen Road and Ringling projects, the cost would triple because as with a mortgage the interest is double the amount of the principle. Thus $200 million in bonds could cost property taxpayers $600 mil lion over time more than half a billion for law enforcement and criminal justice in the next 30 ye ars. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Full Service Salon 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota


Tonya Herschberger & Linda Keefe Christine Koval, D.M.D. Restorative, Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry General Dentistry 2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 216A Sarasota, FL 941.923.5406 Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Tonya was the nurse who prepped Linda for surgery after she was hit by a drunk driver while walking with her husband and their dog. In spite of her pain and the anxiety that precedes any surgical procedure, Linda gazed up at the nurse and immediately felt at ease. You have a beautiful smile, she said. Thats when Tonya shared with Linda the person responsible for her beautiful smile, Dr. Christine Koval. For over 25 years, Dr. Koval has been one of the areas most trusted experts in creating beautiful, natural smiles using the latest advances in restorative, cosmetic, laser and general dentistry. Most new patients come to her based on referrals from people who just cant stop smiling. Linda turned to Dr. Koval to repair her smile and jaw which was so misaligned she couldnt chew her food properly. Tonyas comforting smile and advice gave me hope and direction, she says. Im so grateful to her, and of course to Dr. Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone I meet.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 or for a more extensive smile gallery viewing visit ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.


The noise ordinance is the most polarizing issue of the year so far for the city of Sara sota. An effort by City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo to nd a middle ground foundered Monday, March 18, when he urged his fellow commissioners not to take the next previously proposed step. One thing is clear. There is not really the trust on the enforcement issue that needs to be there in order to have a good conversa tion on what needs to be changed, he said at the outset of the Mon day evening City Com mission discussion. I am of the opinion the administration needs to focus on enforcement of whats on the books currently. Two weeks earlier, Caragiulo proposed a staff review of regulations, formation of an ad hoc committee and possibly the hiring of a con sultant. He said then, If we go forward, its going to be complicated with lots of commu nity input and the legal and enforcement and science [issues] involved. On March 18, he said, Im not ready to do an ad hoc committee at this point. By 4-1 vote, with Com missioner Terry Turn er in the minority, the Condominium owners in downtown Sarasota have asked the City Commission to maintain noise regulations already in the zoning code. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY NOISE ORDINANCE REVISION SLOOOOOOWS DOWN DID CARAGIULO FOLD? This is going from the oven to the food warmer. It is not ready to be served yet. Paul Caragiulo Commissioner City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 32 commissioners scrapped the idea of an ad hoc committee and t old City Attorney Bob Fourni er to review the record of the matter to date. AD HOC OR AX-GRINDING COMMITTEE? Following discussion at the March 4 City Com mission meeting, City Manager Tom Barwin said, We have the message on enforcement. Well report back on that. With all the research and interest, Id suggest an ad hoc committee and perhaps retain a consultant. They would come back in 90 or 100 days with a list of op tions. He promised to bring back recommendations on March 18. When he did, they were shot down. Barwin recommended ve people for the committee: Mort Siegal, Rich Swier Jr., Peter Fanning, Jill Kaplan and Jay Sparr. At least four had partic ipated in Caragiulos two tow n hall-style meet ings on the noise ordinance and had spoken forcefully about their perceptions. Fanning represents the Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association. He spoke the day after Mondays City Commission meeting March 19 to the Downtown Improvement District board members. Last nights decision only delays the solution to the problem and will frustrate musicians, residents and law enforcement personnel, he said. Lets get a resolution to this problem that is giving our residents so much angst. At present, two city regulations control out door sound. One, part of the zoning ordinance, bans amplied sound of any sort; the city has suspended enforcement of that under threat of a constitutional legal challenge. The second regulation is the Sound Control Ordinance the so-called noise ordinance which regulates the loudness to a 75-deci bel maximum and stipulates the hours when (From left) City Commissioners Shannon Snyder, Willie Shaw, Terry Turner and Paul Caragiulo watch a special presentation early this year at a regular meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 33 music can be played. Many residents of down town condominiums have objected to outdoor noise, while patrons of downtown establish ments are urging a relaxation of the regula tions to promote more vitality downtown. However, downtown condominium residents object to the lack of enforcement of the sound ordinance downtown. Jill Kaplan, representing Burns Square, also was proposed as a member of the ad hoc com mittee. She, too, spoke to the DID board on March 19: [While] the City Commission shut down the process last night, I hope you as a group will urge them to reconsider their de cision. WHAT IS NEXT AND WHY? Caragiulo opened the early March commission discussion on the noise ordinance by saying, You need to look at it as a land-use issue and a planning issue. By mid-March, the Downtown Improvement District board was saying the same thing. The DID needs to decide what we want to be when we grow up. An entertainment district? A shopping district? said member Dr. Mark Kaufman. I think the residents here have a real problem, and I think the DID should make a statement supporting them. Or not. We came up with an ordinance. Its right here. Its in black and white and covers everything were talking about, said Paul Thorpe, hold ing up a copy of the Sound Control document at the DID meeting. The biggest problem is, were not enforcing any of it. That was the same message Caragiulo tried to get across the night before. Its a very conten tious issue. Its very emotional, he said. Its critical to split this look at the policy side; let the attorney lo ok at that. And enforcement: Let the administration work with that, he told his fellow commissioners. Lets be less sub jective and more objective. The DID agenda included a discussion item about supporting the citys ad hoc sound or dinance committee. But with the City Com mission having nixed the idea the night be fore, there was little for the DID members to do except listen to the reactions of Fanning, Thorpe and Kaplan. After the two town hall-style meetings and two lengthy City Commission discussions, Caragiulo is ready to give the issue a rest. The restaurateur used a culinary metaphor to de scribe its status to The Sarasota News Lead er This is going from the oven to the food warmer. It is not ready to be served yet, he said. Everybody needs to focus more. In the meantim e, pressure is on the city ad ministration and police to begin enforcing the Sound Control Ordinance. At the same time, the section of the zoning code banning ampli ed recorded music outdoors remains unen forced by order of the city manager be cause enforcement threatens a legal challenge on First Amendm ent grounds. % City Attorney Robert Fournier/Photo by Nor man Schimmel


Funny how so few people can decide the fu ture of downtown architecture. The face and footprint of the planned State Street parking garage in downtown Sarasota were opened to public whim on March 19. Discounting the designers, engineers, architects, builders and landscapers in the room who are involved in the project, the number of residents present for input myself included was fewer than 20. The design of the 400-space garage is a bit of a gamble by City Hall. Unlike virtually every other developer presentation, this one started without elegant drawings of dreamlike build ings those pastel renderings that belie the truth of the awkward and raw architectural products we see all around us. This one started with an aerial photo of the current parking lot and one drawing of the ground oor plans that might be retail, com mercial or maybe even residential (although nobody suggested that). In other words, this was like a blank sheet of paper: no faades; no elevations (exterior views); no preconceived or pre-baked plans. The citys idea was to allow citizen input from Day One, maybe even Hour One, of the de sign process. Questionnaires were passed out seeking feedback on the exterior design. Unlike other design processes I ha ve expe It is still election time. Which exteriors do you like for the garage? Dislike? Photo by Stan Zimmerman ANALYSIS: STATE STREET PARKING GARAGE FORMING FROM THE BOTTOM UP NOBODY SAID, NO By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 35 rienced this one utilized local pictures. Cit rus Square, the Palm Avenue parking garage, sites on Main Street and Palm Avenue and in other locales like them or not? It was not a matter of What is your favorite? It was 12 choices for like or dislike. Modern, retro, Disneyesque and more: Whadda ya prefer? How wide a sidewalk do we want? Twelve feet? 20 feet? The more expansive sidewalk could be gained with no pain by eliminating parking on the south side of State Street. This is fundamentally a design for a parking garage, so killing 10 street spaces to pick up 400 in the building would not be a sacrice. Where will the elevator be placed? Do we park on a slope or at slab? Is the roof reserved for parking in tropical swelter or could it be a green roof? Perhaps it could even be a pocket park or gasp a performing arts space? Nobody said, No. THE DRY DETAILS There are parameters. The site is 43,000 square feet on State Street between Orange and Lem on avenues. The city is budgeting $7.2 million to build it. And construction must be nished over and done by February 2015 under a complex contract between the city and the developers of Pineapple Square. Aside from an image of the current parking lot, this was the only drawing offered to audience mem bers. It shows the rst oor of the proposed parking garage with shops, an alley to the rear and ac cess from both State Street and Charles Ringling Boulevard. Photo by Stan Zimmerman


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 36 The project will include between 10,000 and 14,000 square feet of something besides park ing on the ground oor. Most likely it will be retail, but other uses are possible, such as restaurants, ofces and maybe even residen tial space. Building designers call the site tight. The parking specialist told me that about twothirds of the parking spaces will be on a level slab, but the remainder will be on a slope. Be cause the depth of the building is constrained, there will be a double row of parking on one side and a single row on the other. The geometry dominates. The site is long but narrow, he said. A DOU BLE HANDFUL OF REMARKS The very rst public comment noted that Eu ropeans have covered farmers markets in the centers of many towns. Id like to see that here, said one person. I echoed the comment later, suggesting the architects look at the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as an example of a covered urban pro duce market that has operated for decades and decades. But advice offered over and over during the meeting was to include a housing component in the structure. Could you add residential at the top? asked more than one person. Call them the designers of your future downtown. Fewer than 20 people showed up to discuss plans for the State Street parking garage. Photo by Stan Zimmerman


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 37 The Palm Avenue parking garage was designed with sails to give it a distinctive look. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 38 Secu re bicycle parking was another idea something more secure than the bicycle park ing offered in the Palm Avenue garage. A You Tube video from surveillance cameras shows a high-end bike being spirited away in 38 sec onds from that secure space. Because the city abandoned its downtown pay-for-parking plan, the State Street garage will be a public amenity, free for the taking. One person suggested the city could sell longterm parking permits. As a resident of an old er condominium, his parking is constrained, he said, and he hoped the State Street facility could offer some relief. Merchants who work near the site asked about construction staging. The erection of the 1350 Main condominium complex nearly bankrupted (actually did bankrupt) several Palm Avenue stores. The experience has cre ated fear and dread in the hearts of all down town retailers when they hear about planned nearby construction. Merchants were told it is too early in the pro cess even the construction techniques have not been settled on yet to know details about which trucks will park where for how long. Ground should break for the State Street ga rage in February 2014, with a completion date by the very last day of that year. Between now and golden shovel time, builder Rebecca Smith will arrange for more public comment. She has built more than 1,000 parking garages, and her team was there in the City Commis sion Chambers March 19 with blank pieces of paper, waiting to hear from the Sarasota pub lic. Unfortunately, as with the electi on held on March 12, there were just a few of us interest ed enough for our voices to be heard. Next month Smith will report to the City Com mission about what the public wanted and what she can deliver. In mid-May, she will be back to face the public with more details, and she will ask again for further citizen guidance. If it is necessary, a third hear-the-public ses sion is tentatively on the schedule. I have written a lot about overlay districts recently along the North Tamiami Trail, abutting Laurel Park, how they give admin istrative site plan approval to builders after one and only one meeting with neighbors us ing those pastel dreamy drawings. The A.B. Morgan presentation on March 19 and the ground rules laid by the city were as refreshing as a desert spring. Instead of Oh, yeah; sure, it was, Tell us more. And as refreshing as this was to a score of citizens, I detected it was a refreshing change for the professionals, too. They could drop the baitand-switch tactics demanded by developers in the past and work their wings as well. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I was fooled. But I detected in the room the beginnings of a co operative spirit. One of the presenters, Josh Harden, said, This project will shape the city and the downtown area. Imagine that: Citi zens and professionals shaping the future of the city and the downtown area together. It has happened before, but just as the original New Urbanism Duany plan for the city was emasculated by builders and landowners, the process can come to a bitter end. Hope springs eternal, and it is in fact spring time. Make no mistake: This is only a parking garage plan, but for one March evening, it was a breath of very fresh air for very few peo ple. %


Barr ing the unexpected, Phoenix Academy will exist no more next year. The public school opened in 2004 for students in grades 8 through 10 who needed extra ac ademic assistance. With just shy of 200 youth attending classes on a schoo l-year basis, Phoenix has been his torically underutilized since it was estab lished, Sarasota Coun ty Schools Superinten dent Lori White told the School Board during its March 19 workshop. Kids prefer to go to their district schools and be with their friends, she added. This has nothing to do with the quality of education at Phoe nix Academy. But the per-student cost far exceeds other schools and is not sustain able, White pointed out. Phoenix Academy is located off Shade Avenue in Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE CLOSING OF A SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS AT RISK OF DROPPING OUT IS PROPOSED AS A BUDGET-CUTTING MEASURE THIS PHOENIX WILL NOT RISE There is no low-hanging fruit. We are cutting into the bone now. Lori White Superintendent Sarasota County Schools By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 40 All schools in th e district offer extra help and specic programs for academically struggling students, district ofcials say. However, some parents have felt Phoenix of fered much-needed services. My son needed help; his normal high school tried, but we saw no change until he went to Phoenix, a father who wished to remain anonymous told The Sarasota News Leader White explained to the School Board that the Phoenix teachers and other employees would be transferred to other schools; she anticipat ed no loss of jobs. According to Al Weidner, the districts deputy chief nancial ofcer, the cost per student at Phoenix Academy totals $11,766, whereas the average cost for a middle school student in the district is $8,622; for a high school student, Sarasota County School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin (left) and member Carol Todd participate in a board workshop last year. File photo A graph shows decrease in the Sarasota County School Boards reserve fund over the years. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 41 $8,007 Weidner projected an annual savings of $655,094 from the closing. I think this is a conservative estimate. The savings will exceed the $650,000 annually, White added. White made it clear that small schools such as Phoenix are always more expensive to oper ate per student than large schools. The process has been painful, but its the absolute biggest responsibility we have, she added, referring to balancing the districts budget. We cannot continue to rely on our reserves. We cannot afford to lose these students, said School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin, but she reluctantly agreed with Whites plan. I think we go forward, Goodwin added. Board member Carol Todd objected. We build programs, then we tear them down, she pointed out. Nonetheless, she also relented and said she would approve Whites recom mendation. Formal votes on the next budget will come in July and September on a schedule set by the state. We have to budget based on what we have, said board member Frank Kovach. The real estate bubble is a reality. We have to deal with it, he added. The Phoenix Academy recommendation was one of more than two dozen proposed cuts presented to the board in an attempt to bal ance the budget for the 2014 scal year. White pointed out the district has been cutting the budget every year since 2007. The total budget reductions in the last six years come to more than $120 million, she said. The total district budget was about $420 million in the 2007-2008 school year; it is less than $375 million this year. Still, the FY 2014 budget estimates, already in the red, are not a worst-case scenario, White said, referring to the uncertainty of funding and mandates that might come out of the cur rent session of the Florida Legislature, which began two weeks ago. White told the board that the successive years of budget cuts had left her with painful, dif cult and complicated options at this point, as she presented further recommendations involving trash pickup savings and Florida Power & Light energy rebate allocations. Her goal is to cut $6 million from the budget, just to head off further use of reserves, she noted. In the early 1990s the state held back funds from school districts because of its own loss es during the national savings and loan de bacle. The district had to let teachers go in the middle of the school year, according to White and Weidner. In subsequent lean years, the district had to borrow money to pay bills until local property tax revenue came in, they said. At this stage, There is no low-hanging fruit, White said. We are cutting into the bone now. %


The City of Sarasota and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron inched closer this week to creating a place for people to store kayaks at what is described as the best place on Sarasota Bay to launch and recover the craft. Squadron Commodore David Jennings pre sented the City Commission on March 18 with a set of schematic plans for a facility the vol unteers would build on the old WSPB radio station property in Ken Thompson Park on City Island. The squadron put the non-volunteer construc tion part of the project out to bid, received one response and is waiting for two more. The squadron would pay for the installation of the facility and collect rents until its expenses were repaid. Then the squadron would share the revenue with the city and county. That w ill take a revised city-county interlo cal agreement, which the city staff will work on. The city will also need to modify a 1993 ordinance banning leasing of any additional parkland to leaseholders. The Sailing Squad ron has leased 9.5 acres of property on the island since 1958 for its clubhouse and storage and launching facilities. Jennings said it would be far less expensive to secure the property than the individual stor age racks. I cant speak for my board, but Im sure wed be interested, he said. The commission unanimously approved di rection to staff to work on a separate 10-year lease for the kayak storage facility, rewrite the citys ordinance and pursue an amendment to the city-county interlocal agreement. The City of Sarasota and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron plan to pursue creation of a kayak storage facility on City Island. Photo by Benreis via Wikimedia Commons KAYAK STORAGE FACILITY IDEA INCHES FORWARD; BOOM-CAR ORDINANCE ENACTED; CITY AWAITS JUDGES DECISION ON CURE MEETING FOR STATE STREET GARAGE BID RANKINGS CITY BRIEFS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 43 Sarasota Sailing Squadron boats are tied up at mooring buoys off City Island. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 44 In a formal but ne cessary step, the city com missioners approved a document conrming their denial of site plan approval for a Walmart Supercenter proposed for the old Ringling Shopping Center. The document cites three reasons for the denial: inconsistency with the citys compre hensive plan, incorrect application of the zon WALMART DENIAL CONFIRMED ing co de and incompatibility with the nearby neighborhood. Once the document is signed by the mayor and certied by the city clerk and auditor, Walmart will have 30 days to appeal the citys decision. The document was approved 3-2, with Mayor Suzanne Atwell and City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo in the minority the same voting pattern as in the original decision. The city s second attempt to control loud sound from vehicles was approved unani mously on March 18. The city shifted enforce ment to a plainly audible standard. If a po lice ofcer can hear the sound from 50 feet away, the vehicle is in violation. Upon a rst offense, the ofcer can warn the driver. That w arning like a trespass warn BOOM-CARORDINANCE MODIFIED, ENACTED in g will stay in effect for 12 months. Any subsequent violation will result in a ticket. The ordinance will go into effect April 1; it will apply between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on weekends. A challenge to the citys award of a construc tion contract to a woman-owned company has voided the selection, and the city will be admitting to its violation of the Florida law governing open public meetings, the commis sioners learned March 18. City staff neglected to add in points that are awarded for a minority-owned business when considering the scoring sheet during a public ly advertised meeting. When staff added the points later as required by law but in private the action reordered the ranking signicant ly. Winner A.D. Morgan Construction was not even in the top four at the open meeting. STATE STREET GARAGE SUNSHINE VIOLATION The p roject in question is the construction of the State Street parking garage. On Friday, March 15, the selection committee held a duly advertised meeting and rescored all the applicants in the sunshine. City Attor ney Bob Fournier believes the open re-scoring qualies as a cure meeting under state law. A bid protest is possible from the losing rms, however; meanwhile, a judge will determine if the cure meeting was adequate or if the en tire solicitation process is tainted and must be redone. The city is under a contractual dead line to nish the State Street parking garage or face penalties.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 45 Good deeds sometimes do get punished. Re -sponding to commissioner pressure to take action, any action, City Manager Tom Barwin late last year set up an ad hoc task force to tackle homelessness in Sarasota. He was new to town, still in his rst 100 days.The group met a couple of times before get -ting halted by a judge for violation of Flor idas open meetings laws. Before its work was stopped, the group suggested the city hire caseworkers to inform homeless people of available social assistance. A budget was worked up, and a local foundation kicked in $100,000. The proposal called for the city and county to contribute $20,000 each.While the task force work was halted, Barwin moved to put the plan in action, including list -ing on the March 18 agenda an item regarding the expense of the funds and the hiring of the caseworkers. On Friday, March 15, the judge in the public meetings case was asked to hold Barwin in contempt of court for taking action on a plan devised by a group the judge had already enjoined as acting illegally. Barwin threw in the towel on March 18, pull ing the spending plan from the City Commis sion agenda.City Attorney Fournier told the commission -ers, I would like to get the temporary injunc -tion lifted and get on with it. That was made easier by the removal of [this] item on your agenda.The city manager can bring back the case -workers when the injunction is lifted and hire a consultant and whatever other matters he may like, said Fournier. Please indulge me and make a motion [not to formally establish the homeless task force].City Commissioner Terry Turner made the motion, which passed unanimously.%HOMELESSNESS TASK FORCE DERAILED City Manager Tom Barwin speaks to the City Commission during his rst meeting on Sept. 4, 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel 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


The Sara sota County Commission vote was unanimous on March 19 to approve the stock piling of excavated material from the Siesta Key stormwater project for use in the planned public beach park improvements. However, the vote came after one commissioner voiced ire over an engineers error that led to bids about three times higher than the orig inal estimate for the stormwater work. The board also voted unanimously to amend a contract with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to extend the expiration date of a grant for the project until March 31, 2014, with the hope the district might be willing to increase the amount of funding it already has agreed to provide, to help make up the differ ence between the $1.5 million estimate and the recommended bid. At the time that SWF WMD put the grant out there [Feb. 12, 2008], Commissioner Nora Patterson said, the amount was about A graphic shows plans for a vegetation buffer along Siesta Keys Beach Road to shield stormwater project work from the public. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION AGREES TO ALLOW MATERIAL EXCAVATED FOR A NEW SIESTA KEY STORMWATER RETENTION POND TO BE STOCKPILED FOR USE IN THE BEACH PARK PROJECT SAVINGS AND HIGHER COSTS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor I still have a problem with the fact that were eating $3 million. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 47 two-thirds of the cost of the project, and I gather that they must have valued the project highly. When she asked whether SWFWMD might consider increasing the grant above the cur rent $975,000 limit, Program Manager Car olyn Eastwood explained that staff already had been corresponding with SWFWMD on that point. Theyve asked for some additional information in regards to the benets of the project, Eastwood added, as well as informa tion about the bids the county received. They havent indicated a Yes or No answer, Eastwood noted. The countys Procurement Department has recommended the project be awarded to Forsberg Construction Inc. of Punta Gorda, whose bid was $4,550,683.28. Eastwood said the commission is scheduled to vote on that bid during its April 23 meeting. Duri ng their presentation to the board, East wood and former Project Manager Spencer Anderson provided a history of the project, noting it was conceived in 2005 after no swim advisories had to be issued on Siesta Key Public Beach because of bacterial counts in the Gulf of Mexico deemed unsafe by Sara sota County Health Department staff. The high bacterial levels were linked to storm water runoff. I still have a problem with the fact that were eating $3 million, Commissioner Joe Barbetta told Eastwood, referring to the higher bids the county Procurement Department received on Jan. 23. Its pretty bad when youre off by that amount on a $1.5 million estimate, he pointed out. Its unconscionable but were between a rock and a hard place, and the community needs to know that to correct the problems out there and move forward we have to eat this. But its horrible. A photo shows about 5 feet of ll material covered in grass at the temporary location of Fire Station 9 at the intersection of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 48 In a Feb. 13 memo to the County Commis sion, staff explained that Erickson Consulting Engineers of Sarasota worked on the part of the project involving construction of an out fall pipe in the Gulf of Mexico the most challenging portion of the pipeline, according to the memo. Erickson estimated the cost at $681,475. The corresponding cost in the low est bid the county received which staff had to reject because the rm lacked appropriate qualications was $2,291,200, the memo noted. I still have some serious problems with how the error occurred, Barbetta told Eastwood. Its a major error. Eastwood responded that staff had met with representatives of the County Attorneys Of ce to discuss the possibility of a legal reme dy. We dont have a recourse contractually, she told Barbetta. Nonetheless, she said, Er ickson had indicated a willingness to forgo its fee for the portion of its contract involving the estimate. How about malpractice insurance? Barbetta asked. I dont want to roll over on this, he added. The taxpayers cannot afford to eat $3 million. The estimate is just that an estimate, Eastwood responded. Absolutely, it was not done well. When the bid recommendation comes to the board next month, Commissioner Christine Robinson told Eastwood, I would like to see the domino effect all the way down to the last dollar and the last project, regarding other A diagram shows the area where the excavated material will be stored on Siesta Key and where the new stormwater drainage pond will be built. Image courtesy Sarasota County


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 49 county work that will be delayed by the real location of funding to cover the shortfall in the stormwater project funds. Make sure I have a big clear picture of where this extra $3 million is coming from, Robin son added. STOCKPILING THE DIRT In regard to the 26,000 cubic yards of spoil material that would result from excavating the new stormwater retention pond, East wood explained that if the County Commis sion agreed to stockpiling about 10,000 cubic yards of it for approximately one year next to Beach Road, that would save the county about $ 378,000 when it is ready to start on improve ments at the Siesta Public Beach park. Additionally, she said, the number of dump truck trips needed to remove the material would be reduced by 670. Likewise, she not ed, 670 fewer dump truck loads would be re quired to bring ll onto the island for the park project. Altogether, the key would see 1,340 fewer dump truck trips for the projects. The stockpile, which would be about 4 feet high, would be seeded for erosion control; it would cover about 2.5 acres. Its really going to look more like a grass berm, Eastwood pointed out. Carolyn Eastwood/Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 50 I know no o ne wants a mountain out there, Commissioner Charles Hines said, though he cautioned staff to be sure only 10,000 cubic yards would be needed for the improvements at the beach park. It would be costly to under estimate the amount of ll and end up again paying more than estimated, he pointed out. Im sure we can address that with our con sultant, Eastwood replied. When Hines then asked whether more money could be saved by nding a use for the rest of the spoil material, Eastwood explained that the remainder would be hauled to Na than Benderson Park off University Parkway, where construction is under way on an in ternational-level rowing facility. They have a signicant need for additional ll for that project, she noted. In response to questions from Patterson, East wood pointed out that a vegetation buffer of about 20 feet would be maintained right next to Beach Road until work on the park im provements necessitate clearing that area for new tennis courts. I want to know what were cutting down to facilitate the project, Patterson told her. About 95 percent of the affected trees would be exotic species, mostly Australian pines, Eastwood replied. However, some Brazilian pepper trees and some cabbage palms would be included, she said. When Hines asked whether the trees would have to be removed even if the commission nixed the idea of stockpiling the spoil materi al, Eastwood said that was correct. An 8-f oot-high, temporary construction fence would help obscure the park improvements from Beach Road once they were under way, she added. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason asked, How are we communicating with the residents out there about this issue? Her primary concern, she added, is that we make some real extra special efforts to communicate with the resi dents about what they can expect. Eastwood said staff could do that. Patterson suggested Eastwood and her team contact the condominium complexes closest to the project site and ask the managers to distribute a letter with information for their owners. Robinson also asked that the county website include detailed information about the work. BEACH ROAD ITSELF Patterson took the opportunity during the discussion to clarify whether the stormwater project will improve drainage on Beach Road. Curtis Smith, the project manager, explained that the initiative would reduce or eliminate the tidal inuence on the roads drainage sys tem. Sometimes when the tide is very high, he added, water from the islands Grand Ca nal rises enough to ow into the stormwater treatment system. So [the project] will help to minimize [that]. Smith conrmed that it would not reduce the level of water standing on Beach Road during periods of heavy rain, for example, a situation that often draws complaints of residents and visitors to Si esta Key. %


During t heir evaluation of Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid on March 19, all the county commissioners voiced a desire for better communication between staff mem bers and themselves, though they acknowl edged that Reid had a number of challenges before him when he took the position in January 2012. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason led off the com ments, noting that she had given Reid an overall rating of Satisfac tory. I had a couple of issues, she pointed out. The big one centers arou nd communica tion and he and I have talked about that. Mason added, I look forward to working with Mr. Reid and his staff, not just on com munication issues but on a variety of ways to Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson listen to a presentation on March 19. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE COUNTY COMMISSION EVALUATES THE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR AFTER HIS FIRST YEAR ON THE JOB BETTER COMMUNICATION, PLEASE I think things have gotten better, but the 2,000 employees that are out there are supposed to be public servants and they are reective of us. In the community, were on the front line, hearing whats going on. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 52 make Sarasota C ounty Government a better place for everyone. Commissioner Joe Barbetta was more critical, though he pointed out he also had rated Reids performance Satisfactory for 2012. I think things have gotten better, Barbetta said, adding, but the 2,000 employees that are out there are supposed to be public servants and they are reective of us. In the commu nity, were on the front line, hearing whats going on. Nonetheless, Barbetta continued, I think the vast majority of the employees are great em ployees. They understand their role. Theyre honest, ethical but there is still a culture in this organization and it still permeates a lot of things and unfortunately it is in some key departments. For example, Barbetta pointed out, earlier that day, he and other commissioners had voiced consternation over a consulting engineers er ror in estimating part of a project cost, which had resulted in bids coming in about three times higher than expected. He also complained that some staff members continue to delay bringing to the board up dates requested on issues. I think its incumbent upon staff to be proac tive, not reactive, he said. Still, Barbetta continued, I know its a big ship to turn around, referring to county gov ernment. I know Mr. Reid inherited some se rious problems. Reids move to bring in assistant administra tors had been a great one, Barbetta pointed out. Theyve hit the ground running. Commissioner Ch ristine Robinson concurred: You made some excellent hires, she told Reid. Theyve taken a real fresh look at some of the problems and really helped turn some of that round. Moreover, Robinson said, Im really glad to see your emphasis this year on accountabili ty. Its been a problem since I stepped into ofce in late 2010. However, she continued, Communication is the biggest problem for me as well. Commu nication needs to ow past you to the com mission. STAFF ACTIONS Robinson also pointed out that while Coun ty Attorney Stephen DeMarsh and his staff pop into our ofces all the time to answer questions, for whatever reason, [other] staff doesnt feel the ability to do that, and Im not sure why. They feel the need that everything has to be formalized now, which causes de Commissioner Nora Patterson asks a ques tion during the March 19 regular meeting. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 53 lays in the transmission of information, she pointed out. Both Robinson and Commissioner Charles Hines rated Reid Above Average, while Com missioner Nora Patterson rated him Excel lent. Staff used to pop in to see us rather frequent ly on stuff that we had brought up, Patterson said. Theyre just starting to again. Patterson said staff members had told her they had been given the impression they should not just stop by the commissioners of ces to speak with them on an informal basis. So somehow theres been miscommunication between several administrators and staff on that point, she added. I know absolutely after Mr. Ley left and Mr. Bullock left, there were several people who lost their jobs before Mr. Reid even came, sh e noted, referring to former County Admin istrator Jim Ley and his deputy administrator, Dave Bullock. Additionally, There is a bit of a paranoia, I think, still lingering with staff when they pres ent to us, she continued. When commission ers questioned staff members strongly on a topic, Patterson said, some felt their jobs may be on the line. She also pointed out that the commissioners used to learn about matters such as sewage leaks before the news went public, so they were able to respond appropriately. Likewise, Patterson said, Ley used to let the board mem bers know whenever a member of the news media was asking about a particular topic. She indicated that the commissioners should be patient. Im sure Mr. Reids already making efforts to bring some better comfort level [on those po ints]. County Administrator Randall Reid listens to a speaker during the March 19 meeting. Photo by Ra chel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 54 Turni n g to Reid, she said, Overall, I think youve done a really good job. I think your goal has been to put things back on an even path. She added, I do think that 99 percent of our staff are hard-working folks who do see them selves as public servants and do try every day to do a decent job, and thats probably attrib utable to the upper-level staff. Hines joined Robinson and Barbetta in com mending Reid for the quality of the assistant administrators he had hired. Youve put to gether a phenomenal team thats doing a great job, Hines said, adding he was sure Reid had told his new assistants before they came on board, Youre not walking into a perfect place. Hines said to Reid, Now this is your year and your staffs year to shine and address some of these issues that have been presented. He also noted the nervousness of some staff members in addressing the commission during meetings. Employees need to understand that questioning is not personal, Hines said. When it becomes personal to me is if bad news is not brought to us or held back out of fear, he pointed out. Reid thanked the commissioners, adding he had enjoyed his rst year and acknowledging, It has been a challenge. He said he would be happy to talk with them in a retreat setting about ways to improve communication. Finally, Reid told them, We have a lot of em ployees that work very hard, and they have had a difcult year. SELF-EVALUATION In a Feb. 20 memo to the commissioners, Reid presented a self-evaluation. He pointed out that when he was hired, coun ty government had been wracked by the Pro curement Department scandal that erupted in 2011, and staff had been disrupted by the loss of top executive leadership He noted he had to address employees who often exhibited a sense of malaise, paranoia and confusion His primary goal for 2012, he continued, is rebuilding the leadership capacity, culture and organizational pride of an entity that had been known as a premier county government. As an administrator, he added, he has utilized candid conversations and coaching at all lev els of the organization to put the focus on cultural changes and technical skills required to rebuild the leadership and managerial ca pacity to again excel as a premier public ser vice provider. My initial years efforts remain a work in progress; each new review of pro cedures or problems showed us weekly, can didly, we were a weaker organization than I rst imagined. In his conclusion, Reid wrote, These are challenging times in our countys history but I hope we are on the mend as our local econ omy slowly improves and the negativity of the past [is put] behind us. %


The stadium reverbated with the chants and foot stomping of exuberant fans. Face paint was in no short supply; nor were costumes and shows of team colors. The decibel level was a constant reminder for those of us of a certain age that earplugs would have been a good idea, as screams for teams reverberated off our ear drums. Perhaps the biggest clue for a casual observer that this was not another basketball, football or volleyball game was the fact that the play ers on the eld were all a bit different. They were robots. Competitions like the recent one in Orlando have been going on for 22 years now, involving 16 cou ntries and more than 50,000 students: all building robots, programming, problem solving and having fun. From NASA to Microsoft to GM, corporations see the youthful participants as the workforce of the future, and they back that up by provid ing more than 750 scholarship opportunities for the participants. Three days of pitting contraptions against each other that were designed to throw Frisbees and climb a pyramidal jungle gym winnowed down the teams that would move on to the Na tionals. This was the Orlando Regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technolo gy) Robotics competition. Often the arena was a scene of controlled chaos, as robots needing medical attention were helped off the eld and new competitors rolled their robots into place. Photo by Scott Proftt AFTER A REGIONAL WIN IN ORLANDO, THE JUNGLE ROBOTICS TEAM IS RAISING FUNDS FOR ITS TRIP TO THE BIG COMPETITION IN ST. LOUIS ON TO NATIONALS By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 56 Six weeks earlier, youth all over the world re ceived the specications for the machine they had to build, along with details about the na ture of the competition. In Orlando, creativity was the order of the day as a myriad of approaches to solving the chal lenges created entertainment and amaze ment. Observers watched as a multitude of machines literally ran around some throw ing discs, others climbing to see which dominated or devastatingly failed. The rules were complex, with different slots worth dif ferent points for sailing the Frisbees through; the distances for the throws added more vari ations to the point mix. Defense and offense of the opposing teams came into play as well. Sufce it to say the screams of the crowd usu ally were the best way to judge who was win ning. In this regional competition in Orlando, 62 teams were present. Most were from Florida, but some from the Dominican Republic, Bra zil, M assachusetts, Germany and elsewhere competed against the regional teams. Teams from all over the globe will be at the Nationals as will the Sarasota team, Jungle Robotics, as reported last week in The Sara sota News Leader The local team won the prestigious Chairmans Award, the highest regional honor a team can earn. This auto matically sends the members to the National Robotics competition in St. Louis on April 24. The Chairmans Award recognized the local teams efforts in promoting science, technol ogy, engineering and mathematics referred to as STEM, and a key component of planning and discussions regarding the future of edu cation. The local team made presentations at Sara sota County schools and engaged in a vari ety of community promotions and charitable projects aimed at enhancing awareness of the robotics program, particularly in the schools. Most of the students met after school four or ve days a week, and all day on Saturdays, to build and rebuild and program and repair their baby. Photo by Scott Proftt


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 57 The team is composed of students from Pine View School, Riverview and Suncoast Poly technical high schools, and the Out-of-Door Academy. Participation is open to students from any school in the county. Allowing youth to participate regardless of whether they are in a public, private or charter school has only enhanced the reputation of the program, FIRST representatives say. The teacher and team sponsors, including Drew Wormington from Sarasota County Technical Institute and Mat Krotic from cor porate sp onsor JC Penney, were of great assis tance to the team as well, which works under the guidance of Laura OConnell, the captain. Although the participants spirits are high af ter their victory in Orlando, they are going to have to raise funds to make the trip to St. Lou is. Anyone wishing to help may contact Drew Wormington through his email, drew_worm or digitalmuppet@ % Teacher/sponsor Drew Wormington takes in the victory. Photo by Scott Proftt


In the middle of the b iennial election cycle for Sarasota city commissioners, the St. Armands Business Improvement District is holding an election of its own but only property own ers get a vote. The districts charter is expiring, and the 57 property owners must decide if they want to continue it for another decade. The district raises about $200,000 in extra property tax revenue each year for promotion and a high er d egree of maintenance. For example, while the city pressure-washes the sidewalks twice a year, the district can pay for more frequent cleaning of them. Ballots are due April 2, and the counting will take place the next day at 10 a.m. in the Sara sota City Auditor and Clerks Ofce in City Hall. Stan Zimmer man Property owners on St. Armands Circle are engaged in their own election. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANOTHER ELECTION UNDER WAY ON ST. ARMANDS NEWS BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 59 Sarasota County libraries and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) are partnering to offer free assistance with the preparation of 2011 tax returns through April 17, the county has announced. AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are available to as sist with ling federal returns at the following libraries: Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sara sota: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jacaranda Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice: Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. COUNTY LIBRARIES AND AARP OFFER FREE TAX RETURN ASSISTANCE Selby Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota: Mon day through Thursday, 2 to 6 p.m. AARP Tax-Aide, which would usually be of fered at Gulf Gate Library during tax season, has relocated to the Chelsea Center at 2506 Gulf Gate Drive, east of St. Thomas More Church, a news release says. It will be offered on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fri days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000, or visit the libraries website at and click on Taxes. The Sa rasota County Sheriffs Ofce has iden tied the man found dead near the intersec tion of Fry Street and Carter Avenue in the Pinecraft area of Sarasota the morning of March 20. A deputy who had responded to a separate call in the area found the body of Steven B. Palasz, 44, of 1350 File Ave., Sarasota, around 3:30 a.m., according to a Sheriff s Ofce report. Dete ctives have conrmed his death is a ho micide and are continuing to investigate the crime, the report adds. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477); going online at www. ; or sending a text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637). SHERIFFS OFFICE SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT DEATH IN PINECRAFT The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is inves tigating the death of a man who lived on File Avenue in Pinecraft. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 60 a procedure for public records requests, as well as local tax information and property tax allocations, the release notes. Sunshine Review is dedicated to state and lo cal government transparency. The nonprot organization collects information and uses a 10-point Transparency Checklist to evaluate the content of every state website and more than 6,000 local government websites, the re lease points out. Additional information about the rankings is available from the organization online at For more information about the Sarasota County website, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 (TTY: 711) or visit the website at Sarasota Countys website,, has been named a Sunny Award winner by the editors of Sunshine Review as one of the most transparent government websites in the United States, the county has announced. The countys website scored an Atransparen cy grade on Sunshine Reviews transparency checklist, a county news release says. Only 11 of 67 Florida counties received an A category grade, the release adds. The website scored high marks for provid ing budget information, meeting schedules and agendas, contact information for elect ed ofcials and administrators, online bids, nancial reports and audits, building permits and zoning information, public records and SARASOTA COUNTY WEBSITE WINS SUNNY AWARD FOR TRANSPARENCY On March 27 a t 5:30 p.m., New College of Flor ida will host a program titled, Sea Level Rise in Florida: Is it Time To Start Building the Ark? World-renowned climate scientists Pier Vell inga and Henry Pollack will discuss the latest science and predictions for sea level rise in Florida, a news release says. They will include information about the factors that affect sea level and how those factors produce changes that are different from place to place, the re lease adds. If sea levels continue to rise in Florida as pre dicted, how might we adapt to or mitigate the risks to our natural and built environments? What approaches are being tried in other parts of the world? the release says. Vellin ga and Pollack will share their knowl edge and experience with examples from the Netherlands, Australia, Vietnam, the Mekong Delta, the cities of Venice and London and the East, West and Gulf coasts of the United States, the release notes. Vellinga is a professor in climate change and ood risk at Wageningen University and in climate change and societal implications at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Pollack is professor emeritus of geophysics at the Uni versity of Michigan. The program will be in the Mildred Sainer Pa vilion, located at 5313 Bay Shore Road Tick ets are $15 for the public; the program is free for New College students, faculty and staff. Reserve space online at or call 487-4888. NEW COLLEGE HOSTING PROGRAM ON SEA LEVEL RISE IN FLORIDA


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 61 The 36 -Hour Giving Challenge, the online philanthropy event which took place on March 5-6, raised more than $2.78 million to benet the 287 participating charitable organizations in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties, the Community Foundation of Sara sota County has announced. Equally exciting for the organizers was the 65 percent increase in the number of gifts made over last year, a news release notes. This year, 17,626 donations were made from all 50 states and 42 countries, expanding the areas donor pool and raising signicant awareness of the work done by our local charities, the release adds. The 36-Hour Giving Challenge was present ed by the Community Found ation of Saraso ta County in partnership with The Patterson Foundation, with support from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Manatee Communi ty Foundation, Charlotte Community Foun dation and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. It was incredible to see the community rally around the Challenge with enthusiasm, em bracing the Internet and social media, along with more traditional fundraising tools, says Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Com munity Foundation, in the release. Compe tition can be a derogatory word but, in this case, it was really a positive. It has motivat ed people to give, and learn about our areas nonprot impact through The Giving Partner proles, she added in the release. 36-HOUR GIVING CHALLENGE RAISES NEARLY $2.8 MILLION Staff members from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with performers from Circus Sarasota. Contributed photo


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 62 In addition to online donations, the partici pating nonprots all of whom have proles in The Giving Partner, an online tool which helps enable donors to make more informed decisions about their giving were going for their share of $430,000 in 1:1 matching sup port for new and increased gifts over the last Challenge, and $215,000 in grant incentives and special prizes. An event such as the Challenge, with such wide exposure, serves as a powerful donor cultivation tool, the release notes. And with a $25 minimum gift, anybody can be a philan thropist to any cause that touches their heart, it adds. With the total number of gifts climbing from 10,700 in 2012 to more than 17,600 this year, we know new donors played a big role in the success of the 36-Hour Giving Challenge, said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Pat terson Foundation, in the release. Imagine the connecting possibilities ahead as the or ganizations thank these generous individuals. No doubt both donors and organizations will nd ways to stay engaged in these missions that make our region vibrant, she added. (From left) Linda Desmarais, general man ager of SNN Local News, and Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Founda tion, during the 36-Hour Giving Challenge closing party. Contributed photo Greater S arasot as Eat Local Week, an annu al celebration of the best of local food and farming, will take place March 22-29 at vari ous locations throughout Sarasota and Man atee counties. Headlining this years festivities will be Woody Tasch, founder and chairman of the national nonprot organization Slow Money whose mission is to spur investment in local food systems, a news release says. Since its incep tion four years ago, 17 local chapters have been established and more than $21 million has been invested into 180 small food enter prises nationwide, the release notes. The members of the lead organizer of Eat Lo cal Week, Transition Sarasota say they hope Slow Money will take root in Southwest Flor ida, according to the release. Slow Money may just prove to be the missing link between consumers who are demanding more local food and the entrepreneurs who hope t o provide it, said Transition Sarasota Executive Director Don Hall in the release. Tasch will present the keynote lecture titled, Slow Money: Investing as If Food, Farms, and Fertility Matter at the Ringling College of Art and Designs Academic Center Audito rium on Saturday, March 22; he will provide a ANNUAL EAT LOCAL WEEK RUNS MARCH 22-29


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 63 more in-depth brieng for potential investors the following day, the release continues.Among other Eat Local Week events will be farm tours, an art exhibition, gourmet din -ners, food and gardening related workshops and an old-fashioned country barn dance, the release notes. More information about Eat Local Week may be found online.The mission of Transition Sarasota, part of the worldwide Transition Movement, is to act as a catalyst for rebuilding local community re -silience and self-reliance in the face of peak oil, climate change, and economic crisis, the release points out.During Sarasota County Wellness Coalitions seminar on March 27, local health and tness experts, armed with a best practice tool -kit to combat obesity, will highlight practical ways to make behavior changes to help people achieve healthful lifestyles, Sarasota County has announced.The free seminar, titled, Healthy Sarasota County 5-2-1-0: What It Is and Ways to Use It will take place from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednes -day, March 27, in the Commission Chambers on the rst oor of the Sarasota County Ad -ministration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sara -sota.The program will highlight the vision for our community known as Healthy Sarasota Coun -ty, a news release says. A panel of experts will address each element of the Healthy Sara -sota County 5210 Initiative, the release notes. The presenters will be Kari Ellingstad from the Community Health Improvement Partner -ship (CHIP); Adriel Zahniser and Heather Bru -nette from Sarasota County Schools Food and Nutrition Services; Jennifer Tucker-Mogensen of the South County Family YMCA; Jessi Neit -zel of Tidewell Hospice; and Andrea King of Sarasota County Parks and Recreation. Results from the CHIP survey show that in Sarasota County the percent of overweight adults increased from 32.3 percent in 2006 to 34.3 percent in 2010, and the percent of obese adults increased from 20.3 percent in 2006 to 21.2 percent in 2010, the release points out. Health ofcials say that achieving a healthy weight is a critical public health objective. According to empirical research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Pre -vention, health and well being is largely de -termined by the lifestyle choices people make every day. For many, the decisions about what to eat, drink and ingest are automatic, the release notes. The 5-2-1-0 initiative is a tested message that has proven successful in several other com -munities in the U.S., the release adds. The message promotes ve fruits or vegetables daily; no more than two hours of recreational screen time daily; one hour of physical activity daily and no sugary or sports drinks, including Gatorade. For more information or to register for the seminar, contact Linda Glover at 927-9000, ext. 32101; or via e-mail at Visit The Sarasota County Wellness Co alitions website at For more information about Healthy Sarasota County, visit OBESITY TO BE THE TOPIC OF MARCH 27 PROGRAM


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 64 In accordance with Sarasota and Manatee counties urban fertilizer ordinances, the Sara sota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is remind ing residents to use fertilizers with a minimum of 50 percent slow-release nitrogen if they fer tilize their lawns or ower beds this spring. Slow-release products (also called con trolled-release or timed release) feed lawns and plants gradually and for a longer period of time, an SBEP news release notes. They are more easily absorbed by the plants and RESIDENTS REMINDED TO USE SLOW-RELEASE FERTILIZERS The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program is reminding residents to be careful in their use of fertilizers, to protect the quality of area waters. Photo by Norman Schimmel less like l y to become stormwater runoff after heavy rains. SBEP also is reminding residents that local or dinances prohibit fertilizer application in the summer months from June through Sep tember. Too much fertilizer has an adverse impact on water quality and aquatic life, the release adds. Learn more by visiting the Be Floridian web site at or the SBEP website.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 65 WSLR FM 96.5, Sarasotas community radio station, is reaching out to engage the public in a series of conversations on issues facing Florida. The programs will continue from 6 to 8 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month through April at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center (525 Kumquat Court in Sarasota), the station has announced. The rst hour is a fair ly structured conversation between a moder ator and several guests knowledgeable in the area being discussed, a news release notes. That hour is broadcast live on WSLR 96.5 FM at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. the audience members are invited to share their insights and join the con versation with the featured guests. The next Community Conversation will focus on election reform. It will be offered on Thurs COMMUNITY CONVERSATION TO FOCUS ON ELECTION REFORM day, March 2 8. Featured guests will be Susie Copeland, president of the Manatee Coun ty NAACP; Pat Price, past president of the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County; and Donna Cubit-Swoyer, board member of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections. This event is being co-sponsored by the Sara sota Chapter of the NAACP, the Sarasota League of Women Voters, The Sarasota News Leader and the ACLU of Sarasota/Manatee. Cooper Levey-Baker, associate editor of the News Leader will moderate the conversation. The Focus on Florida Conversation Series is free and open to the public. Those who at tend are welcome to bring snacks or dinner, the release says. Beverages will be available for purchase. The Sara sota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested an 18-year-old vehicle burglar who was caught in the act by a vigilant neighbor, the ofce has announced. A man on Lahaina Drive in Sarasota called 911 around 10 p.m. on March 19 to say he and another man were holding Austin Pokornik, of 3647 Bali Drive, inside a vehicle that Pokornik allegedly was burglarizing, according to the report. The man, who was awak ened by his barking dog, said he saw Pokornik try the door handles of different ve hicles in the neighborhood, breaking into those that were unlocked, according to the rep ort. A deputy recovere d a small bag of makeup on the sidewalk about 20 feet from a van whose passenger side door the resident said he saw Pokornik open, the report notes. Pokornik had a plastic pellet gun in his right pocket at the time of his ar rest, the responding ofcer reported. Pokornik is charged with two counts of Burglary, four counts of Attempted Bur glary and four counts of Pos session of Burglary Tools. He is also charged with vio lating his curfew, which was a condition of his probation for a prior burglary arrest, the report notes. % 18-YEAR-OLD ALLEGED VEHICLE BURGLAR CAUGHT IN THE ACT Austin Pokornik/Contributed photo


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EDITORIAL JON, WE HARDLY KNEW YE EDITORIAL Term limits like Florida Gov. Rick Scott constitute prima facie evidence that voters sometimes make abysmal decisions. Term limits were the result of one of those tsunami-like political trends that sweep peri odically through the public consciousness. But term limits have had a pernicious impact on democracy and good government. Conceived as a way to get rid of entrenched career politicians, probably by their aspiring replacements, term limits have done nothing to improve government at the state or local level. Instead, arbitrarily casting seasoned politicians out of ofce has eliminated the institutional knowledge possessed by ofce holders, making their novitiate replacements dependent upon staffs for guidance on com plex issue s. Those staff members, themselves m ostly self-serving bureaucrats, often turn to the only rem aining cadre of institutionally ex perienced cognoscenti the lobbyists. Lobbyists serve their masters. They are not elected by the public although they fre quently are former politicians intent on cash ing in on their time in ofce and they are not responsible to, nor do they care about, the citizens of the state or locality in which they ply their nefarious trade. Their bribes ahem, their donations have become the lu bricious lucre that greases the machinery of government. At both the state and local level, term limits have had the unfortunate effect of virtually handing the reins of power over to these un elected political incubi. And, as the citizenry guratively sleeps, the lobbyists have their way with the body politic


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 68 No better example e xists of this unfortunate result than the recent departure from the Sarasota County Commission of Jon Thax ton. While no one and most certainly not we would characterize Thaxton as a liber al, he deserved his reputation as an advocate for limiting growth in the county, particularly controlling development in the more pristine areas of the county east of Interstate 75. His forced exit from the County Commission as a result of term limits was a loss compound ed by his replacement, Charles Hines. Hines, an attorney, has many ties to the development community. Indeed, disgraced Republican of cial Bob Waechter, the head of a real estate management company, strongly supported Hines during the campaign, referring to him in a letter at the time as someone with a strong property rights and business philosophy, and calling Hines replacement of Thaxton an op portunity for a seminal shift on the Board of County Commissioners. Now that seminal shift is being put to the test, as developers in Sarasota County many of whom supported Hines in his bid pressure the commission to make 38 revisions in the Sarasota County 2050 Plan. The devel opment community is arguing that the 2050 Plan has stied growth in the eastern part of the county. Of course, that is like saying that the FAA cuts down on mid-air collisions between planes. The plan was supposed to limit growth in that area, requiring generous allowances for open space and the preservation of environmental ly sensitive lands. At the same t ime, the plan called for th e creation of residential/commer cial villages that would offer greater walk ability for residents, cutting down further on the waste of fossil fuels and resultant pollu tion. Developers would like to count existing lakes and such developed areas as golf courses as open space. They would like to be allowed more density than currently provided for, few er buffers and more freedom in the location and amount of commercial development. But, most of all, they would like something called scal neutrality to simply disappear from the plan. Fiscal neutrality requires developers to pay the full costs of all public facilities and ser vices that are required to support the develop ment, according to language in the plan. That prevents other taxpayers in the county from having to subsidize infrastructure needs that benet only the newly developed area. It is a great smart-growth strategy, but developers hate it because it costs them money. When one considers what the development community is asking for in its proposed revi sions loss of wildlife habitat, increased pol lution, greater density in short, everything that makes urban sprawl a pejorative it is easy to see how environmentalists, neigh borhood advocates and others are uniting in their opposition to any changes. The question, however, is will the opposition be able to prevent a developer-friendly County Commission from eviscerating an 11-year-old plan that was supposed to preserve the unique


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 69 qualities o f Sarasota County for half a centu ry? Thanks to term limits, Jon Thaxton will not be there in County Commission meetings to advocate for not only keeping the plan intact, but strengthening it. Thanks to the deep pock ets of the development community, current commissioners may already have made up their minds. But thanks to an organized and growing op position, the proximal result of the contin ual infusion of cash into government deci sion-making might be stymied at least this time and the 2050 Plan truly can protect and preserve Sarasota County for decades to come. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Lead er welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Let ters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and oth er factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spell ing, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. The FOCUS ON FLORIDA Conversation Series is FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. F o g a r tyvi l le COMMUNITY MEDIA AND ARTS CENTER CONTACT AT ( 941 ) 894-6469 WSLR OR INFO@WSLR.ORG SARASOTA CHAPTER ACLU: Election reform will definitely be on the table during this years Legislative session in Tallahassee. Come join the conversation with representatives of three groups that have it at the top of their priorities list. Sarasotas Own Community SARASOTA BRANCH OF THE 6pm Thursday, March 28th Program Moderator is COOPER LEVY-BAKER, Associate Editor Sarasota News Leader SUSIE COPELAND Manatee NAACP, President PAT PRICE Voter Service Chair --LWVSC for the past 15 plus years DONNA CUBIT-SWOYER Board Secretary for Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections (SAFE) 6pm Thursday, March 28th




Find us onFacebook PHOTO BY FRANK ATURA Sir Frederick Ashtons { The Wayward Daughter}This spectacular full-length ballet will be accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra and is perfect for all ages!1 8 -1 9 April 2 01 3Van Wezel Performing Arts HallB o x Off i ce: 359-0099 x101 |


SELBY GARDENS HOSTS ANNUAL MASK EXHIBITION FEATURING NEW WORK BY ARTISTS INDIGENOUS TO COSTA RICA THE DIABLITO IS IN THE DETAILS By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer Examples of the Diablito and combinados style Borucan masks are (top left) Aracari-Toothed Combi nado by Randall Fernandez Gonzalez; (bottom left) Blue-Mouthed Diablo by Randall Fernandez Gon zalez; (center) Diablo Perfecto by Pablo Lazaro Fernandez; (top right) Crayola Diablo by Bernardo Gonzales Morales; and (bottom right) Toucan-tusked Combinado by Randall Fernandez Gonzalez.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 73 Once used to scare people away, the Diablito or Little Devil masks produced by the indig enous Boruca people of the Puntarenas Prov ince in southwestern Costa Rica have been revitalized by their makers to perform a very different function in recent years. Attracting the interest and patronage of art collectors in the United States and worldwide, the masks have become a new source of pros perity for the community, creating enough commerce to support 17 families, or over 60 percent of the families who live on the indig enous reserve where the masks are produced. A substantial amount of that trade happens in Sarasota during the annual Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibition, which is hosted an nually by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The latest such event the ninth began on Fri day, March 8, and runs until Friday, April 19, featuring about 270 of the radiantly colored, evocative masks that fall into three distinct style categories. THE MASKS The more traditional masks portray the whim sical Diablitos, while newer designs, known as ecolgicos, or ecological masks, depict Borucan artist Pedro Rojas Morales poses with one of his favorite Borucan masks, Three-horned, Three-frogged Combinado (top left), made from balsa wood and acrylic paint by Domingo Rojas Morales, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. All photos by Arielle Scherr


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 74 the animals and surroundings of the Costa Ri can rainforest and emphasize the importance of maintaining the environment. The combi nados, or combination masks, feature a syn thesis of the two themes. While the majority of the masks are carved into wood from the fast-growing balsa tree and painted, there are a few specialty pieces that are carved from the harder cedar wood and left unadorned. All of the masks are for sale, and, according to Selby Gardens Manager Marilynn Shelley, they go fast. By the end of the exhibitions opening reception, which lasted from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 7, more than 80 of the masks with p rices ranging from a little more than $200 to more than $600 had been sold. Taking into account the fact that all of the masks except for one had sold by the end of last years exhibition, as well as the fact that this years opening night surpassed last years in sales, Shelley predicted there may not be any unclaimed masks at the end of this years showing. Those who still plan to see the exhibition, however, need not worry they will be stepping into an empty gallery: All of the purchased masks will remain on display until the exhibi tion has concluded. (From left) Borucan artists and brothers Francisco Rojas Morales and Pedro Rojas Morales pose with a few of their favorite combinados style Borucan masks, made from balsa wood and acrylic. The masks above the mantle (from left) are Sunrise Orchids Bird & Froggy Friends by Mario Ro jas Morales, Meet Me at Sunset & Vines by Domingo Rojas Morales, Orchida Grande con Colibris by Marco Rojas Morales, More Humming than Hopping by Francisco Rojas Morales and Peaceful Spir it with Orchids by Francisco Rojas Morales.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 75 THE ARTISTS Two of the Borucan artists who produced some of the masks on display at Selby Gar dens this year made their way to Sarasota in time for the opening reception. They were available for attendees questions, often with the help of a Spanish translator. One of the artists, Pedro Rojas Morales, has visited Sarasota for each exhibition since the programs inception. He told The Sarasota News Leader in an interview he is always ex cited to come to Sarasota because he is al ways bringing something new and improved with him: designs, styles and more detailed paint compositions. In a translated follow-up email interview on March 12, Rojas Morales went into more de tail with the News Leader about how selling the masks has changed life in the Borucan community. The economic conditions of the families have improved they can obtain better quality food, clothing, education and more, he wrote. This change is reected in each of the families that survives based on this activity. The masks were worn in traditional Borucan ceremonies for centuries before they were adapted to ward off Spanish conquistadors. The Borucans later started using them as part of an annual festival to commemorate that resistance, known as Juego de los Diablitos or Play of the Little Devils Though the tra dition of producing the wooden masks was almost lost in the 1970s when they began to be replaced by paper masks a village el der named Ismael Gonzales Rojas Sr. helped preserve the art by passing it on to younger members of the community. In the same email, Rojas Morales explained how the Borucan masks have evolved since the tradition was reinvigorated: For almost 25 years weve given them a new connotation, utilizing paint and implementing new designs, he wrote, which awoke the interest of collec tors and people from other countries. A set of unnished Borucan masks made from balsa wood is on display during the Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibition reception. The mask on the left has been carved, but not painted; the mask on the right has been designed, but not carved.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 76 Rojas Morales added, For about nine years, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has been playing an important role in the sale of the masks and, consequently, substantially im proving the quality of life of the Borucan peo ple, among others. In an interview with the News Leader the oth er artist present at the reception, Francisco Rojas Morales Pedro Rojas Morales broth er offered more details on the process of creating the masks. He said each one takes about three days to carve and three days to paint, for a total time investment of about one week per mask. His favorites to produce are the ecolgicos and the combinados styles, he added. Asked about his inspiration, he said it comes from his own imagination, which is inuenced by seeing the animals and experiencing the environment of the rainforest where he liv es. THE PRO GRAM In addition to the exhibition, the Gardens has hosted a number of Meet the Artists events, as well as a lecture titled, The Road to Boru ca and Beyond ; a Create Your Own Rainfor est Mask class; and a Costa Rican cooking demonstration. A nal free lecture Riches of the Costa Rican Rainforest is coming up on Thursday, March 28, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Great Room by the Bay of Selby Gardens at 811 S. Palm Ave. Those who were unable to participate in Cre ate Your Own Rainforest Mask this year will likely have an opportunity to do so in 2014, when the Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica ex hibition will be back at Selby Gardens once again. Those who want to see or purchase the masks in the current exhibition if any are still for sale may do so with the purchase of regu lar admission to Selby Gardens until Friday, April 19. % Ecolgicos style Borucan masks made from balsa wood and acrylic paint by Neftali Rojas Morales were on display during the Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibition reception on the evening of March 7 at Selby Gardens.


Dear Otus, I am submitting a photo of a sh? Permit or Pompano? Thanks. Rick Wulterkens Siesta Key Dear Rick, I love guessing games! I guess, Permit. Oops. I lose (again)! I sent your photo to Amy Benson, an eminent ichthyologist with the U.S. Geological Survey Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Siesta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of natures secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. So please send your questions and photos to Thank you. A BIG PART OF THE SATISFACTION WITH ANY CATCH REMAINS THE THRILL OF THE HUNT A Florida Pompano. Photo courtesy of Rick Wulterkens ASK OTUS


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 78 in Gai nesville. Actually, her title is shery bi ologist, but why use two words when you can use just one cool word and then use two or more words to dene it? She replied with the following: Yes, that sh appears to be a Florida pompa no ( Trachinotus carolinus ). Unfortunately, it looks to be under the size limit and would be illegal to keep. This species must measure 11 inches from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail. The size limit is to protect the young ones. I hope it was returned to the water. Here is a link that has the size limits for many salt water sh for you to pass on. Until the size limits are learned, shermen should probably carry a copy of the regulations in their tackle box. Hmm ... Rick, I guess you lost, too but only in a culinary sense! You won big time in gamesmanship. Both the Permit and the Pompano are wily, difcult-to-catch, greatly coveted game sh. Both are famous for their ghting spirit, but the latter is a particularly desirable catch because of its prized, delec table esh. It is good news to learn Pompano are passing through Little Sarasota Bay. When I crave a plump baby Florida marsh mouse (which is really a rat, but I do not want to scare off tourists), I y to my oak by the mangroves, that same oak from which I rst saw the lovely Ardea. While waiting for my mouse to betray its presence, I often spot Rick shing off the dock. My impression from observing him and other sherfolk is that so much of the elation and satisfaction in hook ing that sh stem from the hunt, the thrill of the chase. A bird of prey (t hats me!) is born with the pri meval instinct to hunt in order to eat. But par ents must teach us how. The thrill of our rst kill, sloppy as it usually is, is still a thrill, one that motivates us independently to hone our hunting skills. In many ways, peoples pride in landing their wily catch of the day is no different from ours. I feel a twinge of pity for captive wild crea tures who can no longer enjoy that sense of accomplishment or take pride in their hunt ing prowess. They can no longer experience the mounting tension in that silent, intense concentration when stalking a meal; when watching its preys every move and calculating counter moves; and sooo anticipating the fatal error on the part of the hunted. Oh! And the rush from that deadly, nal swoop wow! For a fun demonstration of an owls hunting skills, please click on this National Geograph ic link The snow-covered grounds will remind you why you want to be in Florida this time of year! Another thing I have noted while watching sherfolk is that they take the same pride we do in presenting a trophy to a mate. Here is a charming homemade (really homemade, but sweet!) video of a Great Horned Owl present ing a baby bunny wabbit (I think it is actu ally an adult Marsh Rabbit) to its mate. There are few moments more gratifying to us birds of prey than when we show off our ability to provide for our wee ones. Amy Benson also included a very helpful link to identifying Florida game sh. Even if you are not a sher person, it is interesting to read through this professional, well-researched and well-documented publicat ion with beautiful


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 79 ill ustrations for both the Permit and Pompa no, demonstrating how very similar they are in appearance, yet so different in their roles in the sport of shing. Rick, thanks for your high-quality photo and fun guessing game. When you nish plowing through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conser vation Commission (FWC) Saltw ater Fishing Regulations guide, which Amy so kindly pro vided us, please pass it on to Charley, one of our south Siesta Key Great Blue Herons. I swear his Gulf Toadsh lunch is under regu lation size and I would hate to see him get in trouble with the FWC. Otus Charley has caught a Gulf Toadsh. File photo


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 80 Dear Readers, Yes! The mystery bird in last weeks feature on Sarasota Jungle Gardens (SJG) is a kookabur ra. Thank you for your ne sleuthing! SJG actually has two kookaburras: Stanley and Foster. So you do not have to travel to the African or Amazon jungles to see and hear these birds because they do not exist there! But when Foster, native to Australia, performs his spooky trill and maniacal laughs during the exciting and educational bird shows at SJG, and Stanley replies, you will feel yourself deep in the beastly heart of darkness along side with Tarzan, Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. Only you will actually be quite safe and com fortable here in Sarasota! Please watch Crikey the kookaburra thrilling a crowd at the San Diego Zoo with his perfor mance Otus % Stanley the Kookaburra at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. File photo


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


By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor SIESTA SEEN County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh told the Sarasota County Commission this week that his ofce is very close to resolving an issue that has delayed the lawsuit settlement the county tentatively reached last month with Siesta Village property owner Chris Brown. DeMarsh said he expected to have a document for board approval within a couple of weeks. The discussion arose with a question from Commissioner Joe Barbetta on March 19, during the boards regular meeting in Saraso ta. Barbetta said he had just received a memo COUNTY COMMISSIONER VENTS FRUSTRATIONS OVER DELAY IN SETTLING CHRIS BROWNS LAWSUIT; SKA AGAIN SEEKS MORE CODE ENFORCEMENT STAFF The Hub Baja Grill, at the intersection of Avenida Messina and Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village, is busy on a recent March evening. Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 83 the night b efore indicating Brown and all other parties had signed off on a settlement agreement. DeMarsh reminded Barbetta he had told the board the settlement had hit a snag after the parties had gone through mediation on Feb. 8. Were resolving that right now, DeMarsh said, adding, Its really not appropriate at this time to go into the details. The lawsuit was led in October 2011, alleging the county had singled out Brown by charging him excessive parking assessments for three of his Village properties while assessments for other Village parcels had gone down. Barbetta was persistent, nonetheless. Refer ring to the memo, he told DeMarsh, As an attorney, I have a problem. This is a signed agreement by our lawyer, by our risk man ager. Id be glad to speak to you privately, outside of this meeting, DeMarsh responded, and tell you exactly where we are, but I dont think its appropriate [to talk about it in open session]. Im just not ethically or professionally able to do that, based upon where we are in the pro cess. Again, DeMarsh stressed, I think were very, very close to a resolution of all the factual concerns that arose after that document was signed. DeMarsh also pointed out it was about a month ago when he sent the commissioners the memo Barbetta was referencing. I said, Please dont take action; theres been a problem, DeMarsh said. Its the rst Ive seen it, Barbetta replied. According to information provided by Browns attorney, Morgan Bentley of Bentley & Brun ing in Sarasota, the snag in settling the law suit revolves around what county staff had thought was about 220 square feet of right of way. The tentative settlement offer to which the parties had agreed after about 10 hours of mediation on Feb. 8 was for the county to pay Brown $75,000 and give him that amount of right of way. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh/Photo by Rachel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 84 Ben tley said the square footage, along Aveni da Messina adjacent to Browns restaurant, The Hub Baja Grill ended up being about twice what county staff had estimated. Be cause the parcel in question is bound on all four sides by county property, the county, by law, cannot just deed it over to Brown. That meant the county would have to deed over about 8 extra square feet, Bentley said. There are real property issues that require specicity and accurateness on descriptions, DeMarsh explained to Barbetta on March 19. So were going to incur more expenses, Bar betta retorted. No, I dont think we will, DeMarsh said. Then Barbetta complained that Commissioner Nora Patterson had discussed Browns law suit during the March 7 Siesta Key Association meeting and were being told we cant talk about it publicly. You certainly can, DeMarsh told him. I cant. This has just been a protracted process, Bar betta said. Im worried about credibility as a county, as attorneys, as the mediator involved Why does everybody sign off [on the agree ment] and say, Oh, by the way: We made a mistake? Maybe the parties had a different understand ing of the facts, and thats what Ive tried to tell you, DeMarsh responded. When Barbetta r eferenced a section of the memo saying Brown had paid for a survey of the property that is the crux of the settle ment delay, DeMarsh said, The plaintiff had a different understanding of the amount of square footage involved. But Mr. Pearce drew this [settlement up], and no square footage was mentioned in [the memo], Barbetta said, referring to Assistant County Attorney David M. Pearce, who has represented the county in the lawsuit. Thats my problem, Steve. Its clear that I am not going to satisfy your concerns on this, DeMarsh responded. [The memo] doesnt say any minimum square footage or maximum square footage, Barbet ta pointed out. The parties were looking at documents that had estimated square footage on them during the settlement mediation, DeMarsh replied. Then Mr. Pearce should have put that in the settlement agreement, Barbetta said. I would agree with that, DeMarsh said, re iterating, We are very, very close to having this resolved in a manner we can bring back to you with a recommendation. Id like also to see an itemization of what we have spent to date on this case, Barbetta also told DeMarsh, noting that Brown at one point had offered to settle the case for $315,000.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 85 RENEWING A REQUEST In a request similar to one it made last year, the Siesta Key Association is seeking County Commission approval for at least one extra full-time Code Enforcement ofcer. In a March 15 letter to the commissioners, the SKA references its request for more Code En forcement help prior to the start of the cur rent scal year. At that time, the letter points out, County Administrator Randall Reid won board approval for a Code Enforcement of cer to work 15 h ours of overtime on weekends and in the evenings. The overtime hours are used county wide, the letter says. We appreciate [the ofcers] efforts. However, the letter continues, these added hours are not adequate given the variety and volume of code enforcement issues reported. We are also aware of a reduction in FTE [fulltime equivalent] stafng for Code Enforcement during this most recent six-month period. (From left) Deputy Jason Mruczek of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, Allan Worms and Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner share a laugh at a recent SKA meeting. Photo by Ra chel Hackney


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 86 The letter ad ds, Our community needs con sistency in oversight, responsiveness and en forcement. Without Code Enforcement Staff availability, there isnt a reliable means to de velop compliance to [the] ordinance. Noise issues on the key were the primary fo cus of the March 7 SKA meeting. The orga nizations board of directors had invited As sistant County Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson; Kevin Burns, the Code Enforce ment ofcer who handles the overtime work for the county; and other county staff mem bers to that meeting. The ensuing discussion which included representatives from the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office lasted close to 75 minutes. THE 2012 LETTER In an Aug. 14, 2012 letter to the County Com mission, the SKA board urged that an eval uation of stafng patterns in the Code En forcement Ofce be undertaken before the commissioners made any decision about over time or hiring new personnel. Luckner also made it clear to me that she and Vice President Peter van Roekens did not want their actions or the SKA boards actions as a whole to be taken as a sign of opposition to Village businesses. We do want the county to enforce the ordinances as they exist, she pointed out in mid-August 2012. During a June 13, 2012 budget workshop, the County Commission did not indicate a will ingness to hire extra Code Enforcement per sonnel. County staff had gured the cost of a new employee for the ofce, with full benets, would be $70,029 a year. In early July 2012, Reid notied the commis sioners the estimated cost of one part-time position would be $55,155 per year if the per son worked 30 hours a week; the cost would decline to $38,355 if the person worked 20 hours a week. Those gures included equipment and uni forms, he pointed out. Finally, the County Commission agreed to in clude $21,060 in the 2013 scal year budget for a Code Enforcement ofcer to work up to 15 hours per week. Commissioner Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, made the motion for the budget adjust ment. I think its a reasonable compromise, Patterson said at the time. Its like speeding, where every once in a while you have to rattle someones cage to let people know you really do want some cooperation, she added. During the Feb. 7 SKA meeting, van Roekens told the audience, In terms of code enforce ment, there simply is not enough stafng He added that the islands long-time Code En forcement ofcer, John Lally, had been out on medical leave, and we dont know what his status will be. Moreover, van Roekens said, it is important for the county to have Code Enforcement staff on weekends and evenings, not as some


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 87 body s addition to their job but as a full, ded icated effort. During the Siesta Key Village Association meeting that same week, van Roekens pointed out, President Russell Matthes a co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar had agreed that violations of the countys Noise Ordinance occur, but we have to respect our neighbors. He had talked with Matthes before the SKAs Feb. 7 meeting, van Roekens continued, and Matthes had said, We will work together on this. Patterson told the audience that although Reid had suggested the commission hire another full-time Code Enforcement ofcer, the rest of the commissioners did not nd that appro priate. Patterson added, You have my support for a full-time person. You need two other votes. The new SKA letter concludes, Siesta Key is a community of intense mixed use with dense population, making inevitable a need for con sistent oversight of [the] existing ordinance. With Code Enforcement needs in other por tions of Sarasota County as well, this request for additional Staff is essential. In the meantime, the SKA board during its January meeting approved the establishment of an ad hoc committee to work on noise mit igation. A VENIDA DE MAYO Last week, The Sarasota News Leader report ed on a tie vote of the Sarasota County Trafc Advisory Council regarding residents request to prohibit parking on the south side of Aveni da de Mayo. Although a tie vote normally means the same as a denial, Chairman Frank Domingo told pe titioner Marlene Merkle he expected the mat ter would go to the County Commission for ultimate resolution. This week, Susan Walsh, a county spokeswoman, told me the parking issue has now been scheduled for consider ation at the County Commission meeting on May 21. SKA ANNUAL MEETING As in the past, the community room at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, will be the setting this weekend for the Siesta Key Association Members An nual Breakfast. The Saturday, March 23, event will begin at 8:15 a.m. and conclude at 10:45 a.m. Guest speakers will be Commissioner Nora Patter son and County Administrator Randall Reid. Tickets are $10 at the door. However, if you re new your SKA membership for this year, you get two free tickets. The membership fee is $25, so as Joe Volpe, the SKA publicity chairman, has pointed out, the membership renewal is a good deal. Reg ular attendees can testify that no one should go home hungry after partaking of the buffet spread the SKA offers. %


Witness the majestic tradition of The Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch 3rd Battalion, the Band of the Scots Guards, at the Van We zel Performing Arts Hall on March 24. Having been involved in all major British mil itary campaigns since the Guards inception, the Scots Guard has been steeped in the glo rious history of the British Isles for the last 371 years, a news release notes. The band itself, composed of more than 40 musicians today, was instrumental in main taining the well-being of the troops across multiple th eaters of war, serving as a signif icant boost to the morale of the battle-hard ened warriors, the release adds. Today it tours the world as a tribute to the honor and bravery of the British military forces, the re lease points out. Additionally, the pipe band from Sarasotas own Sarasota Military Acade my will perform as a special guest, the release says Tickets are priced from $10 to $55. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit Scottish pipes and drums will resound through the Van Wezel on March 24. Contributed photo PIPES AND DRUMS TO RESOUND IN THE VAN WEZEL A&E BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 89 Through May 2, the Unitarian Universalist Church Gallery, located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, is presenting an exhibit ti tled, Bobs Boathouse and Other Wonders: Digital Photographs by Donald Diddams Before moving to Sarasota, Diddams spent most of his life in the upper Midwest, a news release says. He moved to the Caribbean in 1999, where the colors, light, culture and life style inspired him, the release adds. Shift ing perceptions is the common thread run ning through all his images, he notes in the release. With each original photograph he alters the literal material with digital brushes and oth er imaging tools, mixing in color, texture and abstract elements, the release continues. At times the literal subject disappears entirely. The originals are chosen for their subject mat ter, for color and composition, or for a juxta position of elements that tells a story or raises a question, the release adds. He creates limited edition prints of the result ing images, using the nest archival pigment ed inks and substrates available, the release points out. The Unitarian Universalist of Sarasota and its members have a rich history of support and involvement in the arts, the release adds. The complex was designed by Tolyn Twitchell, a member of the Sarasota School of Architec ture; its stained glass windows were created by Syd Soloman; the chancellery sculpture is by Walt Billings; and the mandallas in the sanctuary were created by Dick Oxley, a for mer Ringling Art School instructor. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Sundays after services. For more information, call 371-4974 or email Bobs Boathouse by Donald Diddams. Con tributed photo White Birds by Donald Diddams. Contributed photo DIDDAMS WORK ON DISPLAY AT UU GALLERY


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 90 Theatre Odyssey will present its eighth annual Ten-Minute Play Festival March 29 to 31 at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way in Sarasota. Eight plays will be featured at this years fes tival: four comedies and four dramas, chosen from 51 entries, a news release notes. Addi tionally, the winning play from Theatre Od ysseys Student Playwriting Festival will be performed. This years play selections have something for everybody and represent an impressive group of local playwrights, says Catherine Randazzo, Theatre Odyssey president, in the release. Were also very proud to present the play Therapy which won this years rst an nual Student Ten-Minute Play Writing Festival, open to all area high schools. The plays and playwrights selected for the 2013 Ten-Minute Play Festival are Excursions by Brandon Cohela, Reservations by Dylan Jones, War Hero by Julian Olf, White Castles by Mike Phelan, Theyre Gonna Kill Gerite by Connie Schindewolf, Leaving Nic by Connie Schindewolf, A Little Help by Bernie Yanelli and Little Miss Ice Cream Cone by Bernie Ya nelli, the release continues. During the festival, Theatre Odyssey also will be selling anthologies of its past 10-minute plays, the release notes. Volume One features THEATRE ODYSSEY TO PRESENT TEN-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL Winners of the rst Student 10-Minute Playwriting Festival and their director from Saint Ste phens Episcopal School are (from left) Summer Bagalka, Cinda Goeken and Sabrina Viota. Con tributed photo


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 91 the plays from 2006 to 2009. Festival attendees will be able to place orders for Volume Two which will include plays from 2010 through this 2013 season. Both volumes will be sold at a discount during the festival, the release adds. Theatre Odyssey was founded in 2006 to en courage and promote the efforts of local play wrights and actors. Over the years, the group has premiered almost 70 plays written, direct ed and performed by Gulf Coast playwrights, actors and directors, the release points out. Friday and Saturday during the festival, the plays will be presented at 8 p.m. Matinee per formances are being offered on Saturday (new this year) and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 799-7224. Students in the VPA Creative Writing program at Booker Middle School will showcase their artistic talents at 6:30 p.m. on March 28, the school has announced. Students will read their poetry aloud at the schools Dragony Caf. Afterward, other students are welcome to share their own poems with the audience, a news release says. The Caf is a classroom turned into a cof fee house, says Joanna Fox, who teaches creative writing at the school, in the release. The students read their poetry to the crowd, and friends and relatives are there to support them, she adds. Members of the public are welcome to attend, the release notes. Admission is free; donations will be gratefully accepted. Booker Middle is located at 2250 Myrtle St. in Sarasota. % BOOKER MIDDLE SCHOOL TO PRESENT NIGHT OF DIVERSE TALENT Joshus Brinn and Don Walker appeared in Confessions a Deux by Stephen Cooper, which won the 2012 Ten-Minute Play Festival. Contributed photo


Jew s, Catholics and Muslims celebrated their shared heritage and pledged mutual support at the annual Feast of Abraham on March 13. Held at St. Martha Catholic Church and at tended by members of Temple Emanu-El and the Islamic Community of Southwest Florida, the Feast of Abraham included greetings from Father Fausto Stampiglia, Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman and Imam Hassan Hammami; the recitation and signing of a pledge of friend ship; singing; and a festive meal, a news re lease says. Speaking rst was Hammami, who pointed out the similarities among the Hebrew, Ara bic and Latin wo rds for peace and explained the connections among the three faiths rep resented at the Feast. I believe in Islam, but I also believe in Christianity and Judaism, he said. Islam teaches us to revere the other faiths, and Islam requires Muslims to defend the religious freedom of other faiths. We have a lot more in common with each other than we seem to think, he continued. When I am asked to speak about Islam, it lls my heart with joy, he added. But it pains me when I see people who wrap themselves in the mantle of religion and do things that are un-Muslim, or un-Christian or un-Jewish. (From left) Imam Hassan Hammami of the Islamic Community of Southwest Florida, Father Faus to Stampiglia of St. Martha Catholic Church and Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman of Temple Emanu-El display the signed pledges of mutual friendship and support made at the Feast of Abraham. Con tributed photo JEWS, CATHOLICS AND MUSLIMS UNITE AT FEAST OF ABRAHAM RELIGION BRIEFS


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 93 Glickman began his remarks by wishing St. Martha parishioners Mazel tov on the newly elected pope, then he spoke about the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover is the ancient celebration of our re demption out of Egypt, he said. It reminds us of what is possible: that redemption can come; that salvation can come. I encourage us tonight to believe in that hope. Nights like this give us that hope, he con cluded, and that afrmation. Stampiglia then led the assembled in reciting a pledge that in the name of Abraham, our common ancestor in faith we will coura (From left) Temple Emanu-El members Barbara and Marty Arch socialize with St. Martha Catholic Church parishioners James and Gladys Weir at the Feast of Abraham. Contributed photo geously su pport each other in time of trou ble. We will defend each other from discrim ination, vilication and abuse We ask God to forgive our past hard-heartedness against each other, recognizing that it has its basis in ignorance and fear. After the singing of Let There Be Peace on Earth gatherers mingled and ate dinner with new and old friends of the different faiths. Other events including the fall Friendship Luncheon hosted by Temple Emanu-El are scheduled throughout the year to strengthen the bonds among the religious communities, the news release notes.


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 94 The Church of the Redeemer, an Episcopal church in downtown Sarasota, and the Sara sota Ministerial Association invite all those in the Sarasota community to observe the Pas sion of Jesus Christ by participating in walk ing the Stations of the Cross down Sarasotas Main Street on Good Friday, March 29, begin ning at 7:30 a.m. Walking the Stations of the Cross is a centu ries-old Christian tradition of remembering and experiencing 14 events along the way of Christs journey to the cross, a news release points out. The Church of the Redeemer Fri day Mens Breakfast Prayer Group founded this tradition of walking down Main Street in 1996; the event began with fewer than 15 par ticipants, but it has since grown into a multichurch and community wide observance with approximately 500 pilgrims, the release adds. Because of the increasing popularity and size of the event, ofcers of the Sarasota Police Department will escort the pilgrims, provide trafc control and ensure the safety of all par ticipating, the release notes. Since 2002, the Sarasota Ministerial Associa tion, comprising more than 50 downtown and local area churches and faith-based agencies, has joined Redeemer in being a witness to 500 PILGRIMS EXPECTED FOR GOOD FRIDAY PILGRIMAGE The Church of the Redeemer and the Sarasota Ministerial Association are inviting all community residents to walk the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, March 29. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Sarasota News Leader March 22, 2013 Page 95 Sarasota of Ch rists redemptive sufferings, the release continues. Many of the Associ ation s churches will be represented in the walking of the Stations of the Cross, with pas tors, priests, church leaders, choir members and youth groups taking part. The Christian pilgrimage will gather at 7:15 a.m. in front of the Hollywood 20 theater on Main Street, the release says. The walking of the Stations will begin promptly at 7:30 a.m., when the Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson, Redeem ers rector, and members of the Mens Ministry of Redeemer and of the Sarasota Ministerial Association will lead the pilgrimage in prayer and singing. The cross will be carried through out the walk by Redeemers youth minister, Christian Wood, the release notes. Associa tion choir members will follow in procession behind the cross, singing the Trisagion in re frain following each station reading. Along the way, pilgrims will stop for worship and prayer at each of the 14 stations an opportunity for reection upon the different moments of Christs passion journey; a ser vice booklet sharing the acts of worship for each stat ion is provided to all participating pilgrims, the release points out. The procession down Main Street will include stations in front of the Sarasota Herald-Tri bune building, the steps of the First Baptist Church, the First United Methodist Church and many other sites on and near Main Street. It will conclude at approximately 8:30 a.m., at the Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., with a closing devotion. All pilgrims are invit ed to stay at Redeemer for the Morning Prayer service, which will immediately follow, with Father Robinson leading the prayer, joined by the Rev. Dr. Tom Pfaff, chairman of the Sara sota Ministerial Association, the release says. For those who want to park at the nal station at the Church of the Redeemer, buses will be gin transporting pilgrims from Redeemer to the Hollywood 20 location at 6:45 a.m. After the 9 a.m. Morning Prayer service at Redeem er, bus transportation will again be offered from Redeemer to Hollywood 20. For more information about the event, call 9554263. To learn more about the Church of the Re deemer, visit % SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Full Service Salon 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota


22+ MAR Dabbert Gallery presents Black & White & Red All Over art by Barbara Krupp and Allan Teger Through March 30, 76 S. Palm Ave.; free admission; 955-1315 or 22+ MAR A Tribal Collection: Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica Through April 19, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave. Exhibit free with regular admission. Free to members and to children under age 6. Admis sion for non-member adults, $17; for children 6-11, $6. Information: 366-5731 or 24 MAR The Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch 3rd Battalion March 24, 7 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets: $10-$55; information: 953-3368 or 29 MAR WSLR presents Ronny Elliott and Rebekah Pulley March 29, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Tickets: $8 in advance; $10 at door; purchase them at 04 APRIL Jazz Club of Sarasota presents vocalist Rebecca Kilgore in Some Like it Hot: The Music of Marilyn Monroe April 4, 7:30 p.m., Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets: $25 for members; $35 non-members; $5 students (as available). Information: 366-1552 or 14 APRIL The Best of Chroma Quartet April 14, 2:30 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road. Tickets: $15, including wine and cheese reception with artists. Information at UU Sarasota Concerts ComMunity CALendar The best of upcoming EVENTS To get all the details on these and other great ac tivities food, nightlife, music, art, theater, chil drens events, learning opportunities and more go to Sarasotas No. 1 source for local events, hot spots, fun activities and hidden gems:


Each week, Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel searches Sarasota County for iconic shots that underscore why the community is a favorite with residents and tourists alike. SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS AND AWAAAAAY THEY GO SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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