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 WALMART BOWS OUT AT RINGLING WALMART WINS COUNTYS OK WEIGHING THE ODDS Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida No. 32 April 26, 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 Letters To the Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD


Whew! What a week it has been for us, at least. Stan Zimmerman proved to be the Scoop Master reeling in a couple of stories before anyone else had them. The rst was about the owners of the Ringling Shopping Center ling suit over the City Commission decision to deny Walmart the right to build on that site. The second is about the new deputy chief of police in Sarasota. As of this writing, another publication had picked up the scent of the shopping center suit, but I can vouch for Stans snifng it out rst. For Cooper Levey-Baker and me, it was County Commission Ex travaganza Reporters never know whether what appears to be a hot agenda item will prove that exciting once it is aired. Concomitantly, engaging topics not on the agenda just pop up. The County Commis sion meetings this week featured examples of both situations. Cooper had the worse end of it, however, because he sat through hours of the Bee Ridge/Beneva Walmart discussion on Wednesday which I was covering by live video streaming awaiting a presentation on Transfers of Development Rights (TDRs). Fi nally after a county staff member reportedly suggested the commissioners might be very late eating dinner that night the TDR agenda item was delayed until June. Good thing, too, since the Walmart matter wrapped up well after 5 p.m. Cooper and I did trade duties this week on cover ing Warm Mineral Springs, after his late-breaking work last week. Thankfully, though, I had all his past reporting as backup material. When you make it beyond our news stories, you will see an expansive Opinion section, includ ing a very well-researched commentary by Da vid Staats about the deceased suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. To complete the issue, our Sarasota Leisure section has plenty of light offerings, thanks to Tyler Whitson, Otus and contributors Fran Palmeri and Elinor Rogosin. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


WALMART BOWS OUT AT RINGLING BAN BEGINS MONDAY NEWS & COMMENTARY WALMART BOWS OUT AT RINGLING 8 Shopping center owner les appeal with the city Stan Zimmerman WALMART WINS COUNTYS OK 12 In spite of residents protests about additional trafc, a new Walmart will be coming to the Beneva/Bee Ridge intersection Rachel Brown Hackney WEIGHING THE ODDS 20 Unsure of what the North Port Commission will do, the County Commission approves the drafting of an interlocal agreement on Warm Mineral Springs for both boards to sign Rachel Brown Hackney BAR MORATORIUM DIES 26 City Commission prepares for epic noise discussion in May Stan Zimmerman BAN BEGINS MONDAY 31 The City Commission approves a new ordinance to prevent panhandling, but the city likely will face a legal challenge over it Stan Zimmerman ASKING FOR ADVICE 33 County Commission kicks transfer of development rights discussion back to advisory board Cooper Levey-Baker APPROVAL WITH DISPLEASURE 36 The County Commission approves the Siesta Beach stormwater project but repeats objections to a consultants estimate that was about one-third of the bids expense for the specic work Rachel Brown Hackney EXCEPTION TO THE RULE 41 County lets White Buffalo Saloon entertain after 10 p.m. Cooper Levey-Baker WASTING TIME 43 Analysis: City Commission takes half an hour to ponder spending $384 million Stan Zimmerman CLOSING IN ON A SETTLEMENT 45 All that remains to resolve a Siesta Village property owners lawsuit against the county is a public hearing on the vacation of right of way Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Violaceous Twilight Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: Siesta Sun & Sand Normal Schimmel No. 32 April 26, 2013


LIGHTS! CAMERA! DISCUSSION! A CLEAR WINNER OVERCOMING HARDSHIPS 51 Sarasota County students honored for their perseverance Scott Proftt NEWS BRIEFS 53 OPINION EDITORIAL 67 Republicans harsh in opposing fair elections EDITORIAL 69 Please vote for Atwell and Chapman COMMENTARY 71 The deceased Boston bombing suspect traveled a years-long path into religious fanaticism LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 74 SARASOTA LEISURE LIGHTS! CAMERA! DISCUSSION! 77 2013 Sarasota Film Festival screens and honors provocative lms; fosters dialogue between audience members and lmmakers Tyler Whitson HEALING CREATION 84 Let nature be the tonic for traumatic times Fran Palmeri ASK OTUS 88 A reader submits a heartwarming story about the rescue of a Great Blue Heron on Siesta Key Otus Rufous A CLEAR WINNER 94 Sarasota Ballet delights audiences with full-length Ashton production Elinor Rogosin SIESTA SEEN 98 Village property owners can expect to pay the county less for upkeep in coming years; data shows the radar signs on Siesta are slowing down drivers Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 105 RELIGION BRIEFS 111 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 114 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 115 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article No. 32 April 26, 2013


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Wa lmart will not ght a Sarasota City Commis sion decision denying its proposal to demolish the Ringling Shopping Center and build a su percenter. The company had until April 24 to le an appeal. Instead, the owner of the shopping center led a last-minute appeal in 12 th Judicial Cir cuit Court to reverse the citys Feb. 26 deci sion. The Doyle Fami ly Trust represent ed by Lewis and Diana Doyle are challeng ing the city action. At torney John Harllee of Bradenton will repre sent the trust. Reached by telephone, Harllee would only say, No comment. Walmart Spokesman William Wertz told The Sarasota News Leader by email, While we have chosen not to pursue a lawsuit appealing the city councils decision, we will continue to evaluate opportunities in Sarasota and remain focused on serving customers at our existing stores here. On A p ril 24, the Sara sota County Commis sion voted to allow a Walmart Neighbor hood Market with just groceries and a pharmacy to be built at the intersec tion of Beneva and Bee Ridge roads. ( See related story in this issue.) The Ringling Shopping Center sits vacant with a chain-link fence surrounding it. Photo by Norman Schimmel SHOPPING CENTER OWNER FILES APPEAL WITH COURT WALMART BOWS OUT AT RINGLING By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY Its clear that our Ringling Shopping Center proposal would have been a common sense solution for residents who want to see economic development, jobs and affordable shopping options at this location. William Wertz Spokesman Walmart


The company had hoped to demolish the Ring ling Shopping Center two blocks east of the historic downtown courthouse and build a 98,000-square-foot store at the former Publix site. The suit by the sites owners seeks to overturn the City Commissions 3-2 vote to deny a site plan offered by Walmart. In other words, if the Doyle Family Trust prevails, that would allow only for the construction of the supercenter proposed initially by Walmart. At press time, it was unclear whether the agreement between the Doyle Family Trust and the retailer to purchase the property re mains in effect. It is also unclear if the trust is acting on behalf of Walmart or acting on its own. Both the city planning staff and the Planning Board recommended approval of the Walmart site plan. But the nearby Alta Vista Neighbor hood Association paid a $1,597 fee to appeal the decision to the City Commission. The neighborhood nearest the proposed store site Terrace Gardens took no stand on the issue. The appeal to the City Commission required two separate votes. The rst necessitated that a supermajority of commissioners agree to hear the appeal. After a tense public hearing on Jan. 7, the neighborhood appeal cleared that hurdle thanks to a 4-1 vote, with Commis sioner Paul Caragiulo in the minority. The actual appeal before the City Commission required two evenings of evidence, testimony and analysis more than eight hours of in formation. On Feb. 26, the city commission ers voted 3-2 to deny Walmarts site plan, with Commissioners Caragiulo and Suzanne Atwell in the minority. A new Walmart Neighborhood Market opened on North Tamiami Trail in September 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 9


On the prevailing side, Commissioner Terry Turner said the project was not compatible the bulk, the 24/7 [hours of operation], the truck noise and trafc and the intensity of the project in a neighborhood area. Wertz email to the News Leader struck a deant tone. Its clear that our Ringling Shopping Center proposal would have been a common sense solution for residents who want to see economic development, jobs and affordable shopping options at this location. In fact weve heard from many who have ex pressed disappointment in the Citys nal de termination, he wrote. Moving forward we will continue to expand access to low prices and lead on issues that are important to our customers like nutrition and local sourcing. The last-minute appeal by Harllee and the Doyle Family Trust will now climb its way through the Circuit Court process hear ings and depositions before reaching ei ther a settlement or a trial. % A tarred and feathered replica of a Walmart logo sits outside City Hall before a City Commission meeting in January. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 10


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After alm ost three hours of comments during an April 24 public hearing with all but four of 22 speakers in opposition to the request the Sarasota County Commission approved an amendment to the countys comprehensive plan and the rezoning of 4.033 acres to allow a Walmart Neighborhood Market to be built on the southwest corner of Bee Ridge and Bene va roads. It w ill be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Commissioner Nora Patters on was in the minority on the two votes, voicing concerns as most of the speakers had about the additional trafc the Walmart would bring to that intersection. She also expressed dis dain for action of the Florida Legislature in 2011 that allows a developer to pay a pro portionate share of the cost for needed road improvements as a result of a new project, instead of a higher ex pense through impact fees. In the case of the Walmart, according to testimony from Paula Wiggins, the co untys The Rivers Edge Community Church is visible through stately oaks on the property. Photo by Robert Hackney IN SPITE OF RESIDENTS PROTESTS ABOUT ADDITIONAL TRAFFIC, A NEW WALMART WILL BE COMING TO THE BENEVA/BEE RIDGE INTERSECTION WALMART WINS COUNTYS OK I travel that road all the time, and it really does have a lot of trafc. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


transportatio n planning manager, the devel oper would pay $31,822 as its proportionate share for improvements, whereas the total cost would be $528,012. In response to an ear lier question from Patterson, Wiggins said the county does not have funding in its budget for that work. I think what the Legislature did to us is just incomprehensible, Patterson added. I would hope we would nd [the road improve ment] affordable and go ahead and do it, she continued. In terms of the countys transporta tion spending, she said, Its not a humongous bill. Patterson told her fellow board members, I travel that road all the time, and it really does have a lot of trafc. Commissioner Joe Barbetta made the motion to amend the comprehensive plan to make the 41,180-square-foot Walmart possible. This is a commercial corridor, he pointed out. The land uses are there. In seconding that motion, Commissioner Christine Robinson concurred. The future land-use designation has been in place for that parcel, she noted. I hear what the resi dents are saying, she added, [but] this is a reasonable us e for the property. Patterson countered that the comprehensive plan change was necessary because the cur rent zoning would not allow as intense a use of the parcel as requested. By [rezoning] it to Commercial Corridor, she said, what were doing is essentially expanding the square foot age of retail thats usable. My intent was not to get into a back-and-forth with you, Robinson told Patterson, noting that the current zoning already would allow similar uses. It is a slight increase in inten sity, she added. Regarding the rezoning: Robinson made the motion, with Barbetta seconding it. Somethings going on that property, Barbetta pointed out, noting the pastor of the Rivers Edge Community Church already had testied that his congregation wants to sell the prop erty. (Pastor David McCoy said during the public hearing that the church members decided to put the property on the market in the fall of 2010. It actually went on the market in Decem ber 2010, added the churchs Realtor, who was in the audience. That was way before any body came and offered us a sales contract, McCoy told the commission ers.) A panoramic view shows the Rivers Edge Community Church at the southwest intersection of Bee Ridge and Beneva Roads in Sarasota. Photo by Robert Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 13


If the Walmar t were not allowed there, Barbet ta said, the site could end up being the home of a combination bank and ofce building, which would generate equal to or greater the trafc than [the Walmart] is proposed to do. Moreover, Barbetta said, he believed the Walmart was going to draw a lot of its busi ness from the residents who already live in that area. Commissioner Charles Hines said he would support the rezoning as well. Im really strug gling with the neighbors saying therell be in creased new trafc from people out of the area, he added. A staff analysis based on standard trafc formu las indicated the potential of 251 more trips per day through the Beneva/Bee Ridge intersection County Planner Tim Lampkin makes a presentation to the County Commission about the Walmart proposal. Photo by Norman Schimmel People ll most of the seats in the Coun ty Commission chambers for the Walmart discussion on April 24. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 14


A site plan shows how the new Walmart will be situated at the intersection of Beneva and Bee Ridge roads. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 15


An aerial photo shows the Rivers Edge Community Church at the Bee Ridge/Beneva intersection with Gettel Automotive west of it on Bee Ridge Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 16


as a result of the Walmarts opening. Twen ty-nine of those trips were predicted to be during the peak travel time. The analysis noted that the store is ex pected to have an im pact on Bee Ridge Road from Lockwood Ridge Road to Beneva Road as well as an im pact on Beneva from Wilkinson Avenue to Bee Ridge. It adds, The impacted Bee Ridge Road and Beneva Road segments are built to their ultimate con gurations. It also says, The projects trafc triggers the need for a southbound to westbound right turn lane. Scott Gilner of Kimley-Horn and Associates, acting as the project engineer for Walmart, told the commissioners the expectation is that most of the Walmarts customers would live roughly within a 1.5-mile radius of the new store. Agreeing with Patterson, Hines continued, What is absolutely clear is we have a trafc problem on those two roads that I think our county needs to look at THE BACKGROUND Don Neu, the agent representing Beneva Land Trust/Rivers Edge Community Church Inc., told the commissioners during his presenta tion that the project would employ about 100 construction workers on a temporary basis. Once open, the store would have 80 to 100 full-time employees. According to material accompanying the agen da item, the average wage for those workers will be $12.64 per hour. Moreover, Neu said, the store would add approximately $1.75 million a year to the countys coffers through sales and property taxes. Referencing residents remarks from the pub lic hearing, Patterson chided Neu that if the store does draw customers away other nearby grocery stores, then his estimate might be too high in terms of sales tax revenue. Still, Neu pointed out, This is a non-perform ing parcel here. Regarding the landscaping on the site, Neu said that one live oak on the property desig nated a Grand Tree because of its 47-inch diameter will not be cut down. However, Not necessarily all trees will be saved, he added. The developer of the project Jim Bridges of Jebco Management told participants at a Jan. 30 neighborhood meeting that once the project gets through the pre-development stage it should take approximately one year to complete, according to the agenda mate rial for the commissioners. PROTESTS Among the speakers who addressed the Coun ty Commission during the public hearing, Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associa tions (CONA), voiced con cerns about the de Im really struggling with the neighbors saying therell be increased new trafc from people out of the area. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 17


livery tr uck trafc at the site. Moreover, she said, Right now, there isnt a need for another grocery store with a drug store [in that area]. They would be cannibalizing off each other. She also argued that Sarasota is losing a lot of ofce space to commercial uses. Sharon Whalen, a homeowner in the Village Plaza Condominiums located northeast of the proposed store site, held up a sheath of peti tions signed by people opposing the project. The area has seven full-service grocery stores within two miles of her home, she added. If the board approved the new Walmart, the traf c on Bee Ridge and Beneva roads will be a bigger mess. Refe rring to the proportionate share of the road impact expense the company would shoulder, Whalen continued, Thats a very small price for them to pay for mucking up our neighborhood pretty badly. Resident Cindy Grier protested commercial creep in the area. We do not want Bee Ridge to be the next [U.S.] 41, she said, adding, Were not exaggerating the danger here in regard to the trafc. The few spe akers supporting the store spoke of their interest in being able to shop at a wide variety of times and the opportunity to pay lower prices for groceries and drugs. % Commissioner Nora Patterson. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 18


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A North P ort city commissioner who indicat ed a change of heart on the future of Warm Mineral Springs only hours after a facilitated meeting between her board and the Sarasota County Commission made no mention of that ip-op during the citys regular session on April 22. Therefore, Sarasota County Commission er Christine Robin son won approval from three of her fel low commissioners the next day to direct County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to draft an interlocal agreement for both boards to sign, memorializing their actions during that April 17 facilitated meeting. However, Robinson included the caveat in her motion that the North Port City Commission vote rst on the legal document. If they re ject this agreement, Robinson said of the North Port commis sioners, then all bets are off. Guests at Warm Mineral Springs participate in a class. Photo courtesy City of North Port UNSURE OF WHAT THE NORTH PORT COMMISSION WILL DO, THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES THE DRAFTING OF AN INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT ON WARM MINERAL SPRINGS FOR BOTH BOARDS TO SIGN WEIGHING THE ODDS Its really sad that weve come to where we are. But were still trying to move forward in good faith. Carolyn Mason Chairwoman County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Commissi oner Charles Hines cast the No vote after about 20 minutes of discussion during the County Commissions regular meeting on April 23 in Sarasota. On April 17, as part of a process outlined by state law, the two com missions met with a facilitator to discuss how to break a months-long impasse over Warm Mineral Springs. In July 2012, the two com missions agreed to pursue an Invitation to Ne gotiate on the long-term management of the resort. The election of two new North Port commissioners in November 2012 shifted that boards majority to one opposing the ITN process. North Port and the county jointly acquired the 81-acre springs property for $5.5 mil lion in 2010. After eight hours of facilitation on April 17, however, a North Port Commission ma jority embraced the idea of a short-term lease followed by an ITN-like process. Then North Port Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco sent an email at 5:30 a.m. April 18 to North Port City Manager Jonathan Lewis saying she had changed her mind. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta asked on April 23 how the County Commission should proceed. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh replied that the city and county needed t o A sign welcomes visitors to Warm Mineral Springs. Photo by Ebaybe via Wikimedia Commons The pending selling of the citys interest [in Warm Mineral Springs] is still there. Linda Yates Mayor City of North Port Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 21


work on the interlocal agreement, as outlined by state statute. What was agreed to? Barbetta retorted. DeMarsh responded that the majorities of both commissions had agreed to advertise ment of a 10-month lease and some type of process to identify the long-term management of the Springs. Barbetta replied, Her email was pretty clear, referring to DiFranco. Then Robinson pointed out that she had watched the end of the North Port Commis sion meeting on April 22. There was no ofcial ac tion taken by the city com missioners last night, she said. We know how shes go ing to vote [on an inter local agreement], Bar betta said of DiFranco. I dont want to waste any more time on this. Robinson reiterated, There was no discussion about stopping the process last night. So you would be willing to go for ward on a tenuous thing like that, kick the can down the road for 10 months with a lease, knowing that at the end of 10 months, were going to have the same problem we have now? Barbetta asked Robinson. Its one agreement, she replied of the inter local document. So theyre going to sign the agreement to go forward or theyre not, she added of the North Port commissioners. A PENDING SALE During the April 22 North Port meeting, City Attorney Robert K. Robinson explained the need for the interlocal agreement or a reso lution me morializing the decisions during the April 17 facil itated session just as De Marsh did the next day. Mayor Linda Yates objected to the fact that neither com mission had been in formed about that part of the process. Attorney Robinson pointed out that city and county staff members had A B&W postcard featuring Warm Mineral Springs is in Sarasota Countys historical materials col lections. Image courtesy Sarasota County; color photo (c. 1955) courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 22


discussed t he requirements of the statute after the two commissions left on April 17. Lewis read from the state statute to under score Attorney Robinsons comments. Yates pointed out that if one or both commis sions chose not to sign that interlocal agree ment, the pending selling of the citys interest [in Warm Mineral Springs] is still there. (Earlier this year, the city rebuffed an offer by the county to pay $2 million for Warm Mineral Springs, with the condition the city de-annex the property.) Yates added it was unclear on April 17 wheth er the commissions would be proceeding with seeking a short-term lease or an ITN. I think thats your characterization of the process, Robinson told her, noting that the facilitator of the April 17 session would be available to discuss the matter further with the City Commission. Every settlement of a dispute usually results in the drafting of an agreement memorializ ing the settlement, Attorney Robinson pointed out, and all the parties sign it. I really cant say it any simpler than it is. And the selling of the citys half [of the re sort] was pending a successful outcome of the facilitated meeting, Yates reiterated. WORRIES ABOUT THE FUTURE Hines told his fellow county commissioners on April 23 that he agreed with Barbettas wor ries about DiFrancos change of mind. Speaking to DeMarsh, he continued, I would not feel comfortable having you spend hours and hours and hour s working on an agree ment until the North Port Commission votes on how it wishes to proceed. Commissioner Robinson reminded him that the statute called for the interlocal agreement to be signed rst, then the boards could pro ceed with an ITN. Has she withdrawn her email? Barbetta asked about DiFranco. She didnt say she wasnt going to [during the April 22 meeting], Commissioner Robinson told him. County Administrator Randall Reid said Lewis had informed him that DiFranco had taken no formal action regarding her email, but you do have her email stating her intent. County Commissioner Christine Robinson. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 23


I think her intent is changeable, Commis sioner Nora Patterson said. The [North Port] Commission changed once by tenor of election and the commission can change again by tenor of elections, Patterson pointed out. I believe the worst thing that could happen to the Springs is that it close, Patterson contin ued. The only alternative to pursuing a shortterm lease, she added, is to proceed with a plan to have North Port city staff or county staff keep the resort open with bare ameni ties, and I really dont like that. To me thats an absolute last gasp. Commissioner Robinson concurred with Pat terson. Once a local government began man aging the facility, she added, she feared the situation would become permanent. Reid noted that if no short-term lease were signed, the county would be obligated to maintain security at Warm Mineral Springs, to prevent people from just wandering in to swim. With the current lease set to expire on June 30, DeMarsh said he and his staff would pro ceed with drafting a short-term lease agree ment that could be advertised. That would be provided to the North Port Commission con currently with the interlocal agreement. The next regular North Port Commission meeting is set for May 13, he added. Finally, Barbetta told his fellow board mem bers, Ill support the [legal] process. Thats the only thing Ill support. Still, he said of the facilitated meeting, Wed have to be in a cave not to have heard what the [North Port] commissioners said there. They think [Warm Mineral Springs] is a public park, a $5 1 2 million public park. POSSIBLE NEXT STEPS If the two boards cannot agree on the interlo cal agreement, DeMarsh explained, typically the county attorney and county administra tor would be sent as delegates of the County Commission to work with their city counter parts and a mediator to determine whether any resolution could be reached. The parties could simply decide to terminate the legal process, he noted. On the other hand, he said, Either party would be lawfully able to sue ... But you dont have to do anything. Moreover, DeMarsh said, The County Com mission would be under no time pressure to bring a lawsuit. From the day we voted to purchase [Warm Mineral Springs jointly with the City of North Port], this commission has operated in good faith, Chairwoman Carolyn Mason said. And its really sad that weve come to where we are. But were still trying to move forward in good faith. % The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 24


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The Sarasota city commissioners on Tuesday, April 23, backed off a proposal to ban new bars downtown. The idea had represented an other attempt to placate downtown property owners who complain about noise. A motion to impose a moratorium actually passed on the after noon of April 15, when the City Commission was in regular session. However, at the urging of City Attorney Rob ert Fournier, it was re scinded in the evening. Fournier promised to bring it ba ck Tuesday, April 23, during a bud get workshop. The action marked the second major ip-op the commission had made on the noise issue in six weeks. After a special meeting also was called for April 23, the morato rium issue was moved to the special meeting agenda. Fournier set the stage by outlining the legal steps neces sary to make any mor atorium defensible in court. Moratoria are Smokin Joes is among the bars on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel CITY COMMISSION PREPARES FOR EPIC NOISE DISCUSSION IN MAY BAR MORATORIUM DIES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor We do not need any more nightclubs. They bring only drunkenness, ghts and drugs. Barbara Campo Resident Downtown Sarasota


often challenged by owners of property alleg ing it is a taking of their rightful use of prop erty, he said. At present six bars, nightclubs or taverns (a zoning denition) operate downtown. They serve hard liquor, and they often have either live or recorded music. The only outdoor mu sic venue allowed downtown is Mattisons City Grille on Lemon Avenue. It must abide by a 75-decib el limit, and it must stop perfor mances at 11 p.m. Other bars, nightclubs and taverns must con tain their music indoors, but they frequently open their doors, permitting the sound to es cape. A zoning code provision banning amplied outdoor music by any business has been sus pended on constitutional grounds, so ampli Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 27 Tequila Cantina in downtown Sarasota has a moderate crowd early on a recent Saturday night. Photo by Norman Schimmel


ed recorded musi c is being played downtown as well. Other bars, taverns and nightclubs may be in the wings. Already, three have paperwork led with the city, asking for the major conditional use permits necessary to open their doors. In e arly March, the City Commission voted 4-1 not to create a proposed ad hoc committee to examine the noise problem top-to-bottom. Five people were waiting for the go-ahead to serve on that committee. But the idea was scrapped when Commissioner Paul Caragiulo aske d for more stringent enforcement of the Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 28 Patricks remains busy after its move a couple of years ago from Five Points to just west of the Main Street/Lemon Avenue intersection. Photo by Norman Schimmel


current sou nd ordinance before unleashing the ad hoc committee. Caragiulo late last year and earlier this year hosted town hall-style meetings to hear what residents thought about the impact of the socalled noise ordinance. His rst meeting was primarily attended by younger people and en tertainers who urged relaxation of the restric tions to create a more vibrant downtown. When word circulated that people were urg ing looser rules on sound, Caragiulos second meeting was packed with downtown condo minium residents urging shorter hours for mu sic, less noise and serious enforcement. THE FATE AND FACE OF DOWNTOWN Caragiulo has said from the beginning the dis cussion is not about sound, it is about plan ning the future of downtown. And that com ment from both sides of the issue has been intellectually embraced and amplied, although the two sides have different ideas about what the future of downtown should be. We have a quality of life issue for the future, Barbara Campo told the commissioners April 23. The long-time downtown resident said, We do not need any more nightclubs. They bring only drunkenness, ghts and drugs. Another downtown resident, Patrick OBrien, said, Its our job to raise the problem. Its your job to nd a solution. And what type of downtown we are going to have, thats your job, too. After public comments ended, Fournier re minded the commissioners of the city pow ers that already exist to monitor and control new bars, nightclubs and taverns coming into downtown. You can contr ol the duration of the permit and the hours of operation. You can demand sound attenuation plans by an engineer. You can hold a second public hearing after the Planning Board finishes [addressing a re quest], if you think it should be approved with [more] conditions, he said. Or you could deny it. The commissioners, by consensus, agreed to defer the idea of a moratorium until con ditions outlined by Fournier have been met. Those include holding two public hearings and resolving questions about four legal is sues revolving around a moratorium dura tion, evidence of potential harm, justication and constitutionality. The commission will take up the sound ordi nance issue in a major way at its regular meet ing on May 6. It has asked the Sarasota Police Department to offer up information about en forcement, sound levels, complaints, calls for service, citations and arrests. I have made it mandatory there will be docu mentation on any noise-related call, Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino told the com missioners. She said she is holding our ofcers to [a re quirement to] write down [complaints] and keep track. We have a detail going out proac tively enforcing the noise ordinance. I have of cers assigned to the bar closings and talking to bar owners. We have 17 police officers trained [on noise enforcement] across all the shifts. Please call us if you have a problem with noise. DiPino added that she is working with re inspectors and code enforcement ofcers. Were hoping this is temporary, she said. All of this comes to a head May 6. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 29


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


On Monday, April 29, a new city ordinance will go into force, banning solicitation along the roadways. City police are now training on the enforcement of it, to minimize the chance a mistake will land the city in court again. The previous city ordinance banning road way solicitation was repealed in January, but a person was arrested after that repeal. The arrest led to a court challenge of city behavior on free-speech grounds; the matter ended up with the city under an injunction. The new ordinance tries to avoid the free-speech issue, but a representative of the local chap ter of the American Civil Lib erties Uni on says the city could be vulnerable. We believe this ordinance is dead on arrival in federal and state court, Michael Bareld with the Sarasota chapter of the ACLU told a special meeting of the Sarasota City Commis sion on April 23. The meeting had been called to put the ordi nance in place quickly. Bareld urged the commission to give City Attorney Bob Fourni er a little more time to fine-tune the new regulation. Getting this ordinance passed today means nothing, he said. This propos al, we belie ve, would Complaints about the increasing number of apparently homeless people soliciting money from mo torists have led to a new panhandling ban in the city. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY COMMISSION APPROVES A NEW ORDINANCE TO PREVENT PANHANDLING, BUT THE CITY LIKELY WILL FACE A LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER IT BAN BEGINS MONDAY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor We believe this ordinance is dead on arrival in federal and state court. Michael Bareld Representative Sarasota chapter ACLU


not face a l egal challenge following further attention to its crafting. OFF THE MEDIAN The ordinance bans people in the roadway from soliciting motorists. Most commonly, people stand in the medians of busy streets near stoplights at intersections. The ordinance was passed on rst reading on April 15, with an expedited second reading added to an already scheduled budget work shop on April 23. Fournier said the effective date would be April 29. The intent is to keep the pubic off the medi ans. This is aimed at people going into the roadway to have an interaction with the oc cupants of a vehicle, said Fournier. This will not allow anyone, including remen, unless we change it later. Fireghters in the past have run their ll the boot fundraising cam paigns from medians. The ordinance utilizes the thoroughfare plane section of the citys comprehensive plan to des ignate which streets are included in the ban. Ther e ar e ve classications of streets: major and minor arterials, major and minor arter ies and interstate connectors, said Fournier. This reinforces the safety issue in a non-ar bitrary way. It makes the ordinance more de fensible. One area used for sign ying does fall out side the comprehensive plans orbit Orange Avenue south of Mound Street. However, the medians there are away from trafc signals. Commissioner Shannon Snyder moved to send the ordinance back to Fournier for more work. But the motion died for lack of a sec ond. Commissioner Terry Turner then moved to ap prove the ordinance, and the motion passed 4-1 with Snyder in the minority. I do think were going to have a problem and it wont stand up to a [legal] challenge, said Snyder. I think well be back here in 60 days, reinventing the wheel. The ordinance does not apply to activity on the sidewalks, including political sign waving, commercial advertising (dancing signs) or panhandling in general. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 32 The intersection of Beneva and Fruitville roads in Sarasota is one where people regularly stand in the medians, seeking handouts from drivers. Photo by Norman Schimmel


Why have advisory boards if youre not going to ask for their advice? That w as the question posed to the Sarasota County Commission Wednesday afternoon, April 24, by Jono Mill er. The New College profe ssor asked that the co untys Environ mentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Commit tee (ESLOC) which he previously chaired be given a chance to review full county data on the hot-button issue of Transfe r of Development Rights. Showing written notes from past meetings, Miller pointed out that Dan Lobeck (left), president of Control Growth Now, makes public comments to the County Com mission on April 24 regarding the transfer of development rights. Photo by Norman Schimmel COUNTY COMMISSION KICKS TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS DISCUSSION BACK TO ADVISORY BOARD ASKING FOR ADVICE By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor My contention is that if an items going to the Board of County Commissioners on the 24th, and youre meeting on the 4th, staff should have put that on the agenda. Jono Miller Professor New College of Florida


there was no discussion of TDRs as Trans fer of Development Rights are handily known at the Oversight Committees most recent session, held April 4. My contention is that if an items going to the Board of County Commissioners on the 24th, and youre meeting on the Fourth, staff should have put that on the agenda, Miller tells The Sarasota News Leader arguing that the ES LOC should have been asked to weigh in on staffs three TDR recommendations. None of that happened. Miller calls the commissions decision to forgo the Oversight Committees review frustrating. Wh ether it was Millers persuasiveness, or the dozens-long list of citizens waiting to speak about the proposed Walmart supermarket at Bee Ridge and Beneva, the commission lis tened. As the Walmart discussion dragged on (and on see the related story in this issue), Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason an nounced that the board would push back the TDR discussion to June 5, giving the Oversight Committee time to review all the TDR data and offer its proverbial two cents worth. Mason acknowledged that while the Oversight Committee had been given some TDR infor mation to work with at previous meetings, the group never had ha d a chance to review Transfer of Development Rights are a component of Sarasota Countys 2050 Plan, which was de signed to guide development east of I-75. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 34


everything the county was considering. In particular, Miller says, the ESLOC was never informed about the potential value of county TDRs: Estimates range from $30 million to $90 million. Thats really important information, says Miller. The public needs to know the mag nitude of the amount of money were talking about. Commissioner Nora Patterson tells the News Leader she supported Masons decision to move back the discussion. I would have raised that issue and asked that it be post poned, she says. The proposals had changed signicantly since their last pass through the Oversight Committee, she notes, particularly the value estimates. The basic concept behind TDRs is to allow a landowner to sell the right to build new dwell ings on his or her property. The purchaser is then allowed to apply those development rights to other areas, pushing higher densi ty to already developed areas. The goal is to protect open space while encouraging urban inll. But how much should TDRs cost? Thats what the County Commission is trying to gure out, as it looks to sell TDRs associated with pub licly owned lands. The TDR discussion has been in the works since last year, when the County Commission asked staff to compile a list of potential coun ty TDRs and to research existing methodol ogies for setting a value on publicly owned TDRs, per a staff report. County employees eventually proposed setting the price at percent of the median sales price of a sin gle-family r esidential unit or residential con dominium unit, numbers established through real estate sales data. Staff also suggested creating a TDR pilot pro gram on 503 acres of county-owned, environ mentally sensitive land in the Deer Prairie Creek area. The plot would yield 635 TDRs, according to county analysis. Control Growth Now President Dan Lobeck spoke against the proposal Wednesday, ar guing that the free market should determine how much TDRs are worth. Let the market decide, he said. Were all Republicans here. He called the TDR plan an attempt to low ball the county. I agree with Mr. Lobeck, Miller said, after asking the commission to allow the Oversight Committee to weigh in. I think you need to let the market decide. I think the Republican position should be to trust the market. Other speakers chimed in, saying the coun tys development rights should be preserved to protect the value of county property. Miller tells the News Leader the Oversight Committee next meets May 6, when he ex pects it should review the countys TDR data. A call to Oversight Committee Chairman Gary Serviss was not returned by deadline for this issue. We just feel like we havent been appropriate ly in the loop and that the county really should be turning to their advisory boards for their combination of technical insight and reading the pulse of the public, Miller says. Its ag gravating. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 35


Reite rating their ire over a consulting rms mistake in estimating the cost of one part of the project, the Sarasota County commis sioners on April 23 nonetheless voted unan imously to award a bid of $4,550,683.28 to Forsberg Construction Inc. of Punta Gorda to undertake the new stormwater project at Siesta Key Public Beach. Program Manager Carolyn Eastwood told the commissioners staff planned to work with the County Attorneys Ofce and the Procure ment Department on measures that might be permitted as recourse against Erickson Con sulting Engineers of Sarasota for its esti mate of $681,475 for part of the project that was put at $2,291,200 in the Forsberg bid. A graphic shows the plan for extending a pipeline from an area adjacent to Siesta Public Beach into the Gulf of Mexico to allow the discharge of treated stormwater runoff. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES THE SIESTA BEACH STORMWATER PROJECT BUT REPEATS OBJECTIONS TO A CONSULTANTS ESTIMATE THAT WAS ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THE BIDS EXPENSE FOR THE SPECIFIC WORK APPROVAL WITH DISPLEASURE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Its almost a slap in the face to give that small amount back to us. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County


The total estimate from all consultants for the project was about $1.5 million. While Eastwood said she did not have the ex act gures in front of her and the project manager was unable to provide them because he was out sick she recalled that Erickson had agreed to forgo about $6,000 of the ap proximately $200,000 to $250,000 it had billed the county for the estimating portion of its work. That estimate was for what a Feb. 13 staff memo to County Administrator Randall Reid called the most technically challenging por tion of the pipeline that will be installed in the Gulf of Mexico off Siesta Public Beach. E astwo od referred to the underestimating as a signicant error. Its almost a slap in the face to give that small amount back to us, Commissioner Christine Robinson said of the payment Erickson had agreed to forgo. Id call it insulting, Commissioner Joe Bar betta added. The whole fee ought to be re turned. Eastwood pointed out that the new Procure ment Code might allow recourse against Er ickson Engineering through the codes sus pension and debarment section regarding vendor s. An aerial map shows the location of construction for the new stormwater project on Siesta Key. Im age courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 37


(The a dministrative revi ew of the Procure ment Manual was completed April 8, Reid advised the County Commission in an email that same day. With the boards approval of the new code on March 19, he pointed out, the review was the nal milestone in the for mal revision of the purchasing process for the county.) When Commissioner Nora Patterson asked whether Karyn M. Erickson, president of Er ickson Engineering, had o ff ered any explana tion ab out the wide discrepancy between her estimate and the corresponding part of the bid, Eastwood said Erickson had suggested that horizontal drilling rms have been picking up a lot more work over the past six months, which might have encouraged them to put in higher bids for the stormwater project. Still, Eastwood said, Its hard to imagine there would be that much difference in costs, to be honest with you. About 10,000 cubic yards of soil removed to create an approximately 1-acre stormwater retention pond will be stockpiled at the Siesta Public Beach park for use in upcoming park improvements. Im age courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 38


It is biz arre, Patterson responded. On the other hand, Eastwood continued, This is pretty particular work for the stormwater project on Siesta. The horizontal directional bore for the pipeline will begin on land and terminate about 2,000 feet in the Gulf of Mex ico, she pointed out. It is very specialized work, she added. [Erickson] must have known that, Patterson responded. Regardless of that, Patterson con tinued, Im relying on the staff that its use less to go out for another bid on this. Thats correct, Eastwood said. Not only was Erickson off on her estimate, Patterson noted, but the countys other two consultants were as well. The Feb. 13 memo explained that Kim ley-Horn and Associates had estimated a cost of $1,314,890.17 for another segment of the project, but the Forsberg bid for that work was $1,655,746. Additionally, the WilsonMiller/ Stantec estimate for a third part of the project was $24,000, while the Forsberg bid for that segment was $30,800. Theres no point in improving the beach [park] if we cant do what we can to make sure the beaches arent closed for pollution issues, Patterson continued, referencing the countys upcoming renovations at Siesta Pub lic Beach. The stormwater project was designed to pre vent future No Swimming notices at the beach as a result of bacterial counts in the gulf considered harmful to people. The stormwa ter runoff was identied as the primary source of those high bacterial levels. EXTRA FUNDING HELP Eastwood also told the commissioners that staff has been in recent contact with repre sentatives of the Southwes t Florida Water Carolyn Eastwood/File photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 39


Management Dis trict (SWFWMD) regarding increased grant funds to cover the higher cost of the stormwater project. So far, the discus sions have been positive, Eastwood pointed out. The SWFWMD Governing Board will meet on April 30, Eastwood said, with the request for extra funding on the agenda. County staff had supplied the documentation supporting the in crease, she added, and Im hopeful we will get some additional funding. A press release from SWFWMD says the or ganization will hold the meeting at 9 a.m. on April 30 at the Tampa Service Ofce, located at 7601 Highway 301 North, Tampa. Originally, SWFWMD had agreed to reimburse the county up to $975,000 for the project after it was completed. Delays in starting the work put those funds in jeopardy at one point. Should we be approving this [agenda item] before we know whether we get the funding? Patterson asked of the new request. Just the opposite, Eastwood replied, noting the original grant has deadlines that have to be met. Were already late, actually, Patterson said, referring to the delays in completing the stormwater project. It is rough to come up with this [extra] mon ey, Patterson said. Of all the mis-bids, this is the biggest Ive ever seen. I still hav e some heartburn with this, Com missioner Joe Barbetta said. Obviously, a ma jor mistake has been made along the way, he continued, adding his disappointment that Erickson Consulting Engineers had no liabil ity exposure for its underestimation. When the commissioners discussed the matter on March 19 he suggested staff pursue malprac tice options against Erickson. Its a $3 million hit, and its not easy to just sit back and not wonder why, he added on April 23. Nonetheless, he said, I want the project to go forward. Commissioner Charles Hines concurred with Barbetta. [The project] has to get done; we all agree on that. But [for Erickson] to forgo a portion of their estimating fee is kind of funny when they totally missed their estimation. Barbetta also pointed out that the SWFWMD money comes from taxpayers, just as the county funds do. Patterson nally made the motion to approve a budget amendment for the extra $2.7 mil lion cost of the project and to award the bid to Forsberg; Robinson seconded the motion. The project should take about 190 days, ac cording to a staff memo prepared for the County Commission, with completion set for November. The project is permitted to be constructed during turtle nesting season and the design reects concern for nesting tur tles, the April 23 memo notes. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 40


Let there be entertainment! The Sarasota County Commission voted Wednesday, April 24, to approve a request for a special entertainment exception for the White Buffalo Saloon, the newish watering hole near the intersection of McIntosh and Ashton roads in Sarasota. The exception allows White Buffalo to offer live entertainment after 10 p.m., a rarity in many parts of the county, and particularly in White Buffalos neighborhood. Entertainment can mean a lot of things. The county denes it as live musicians, disc jock eys, comedians, karaoke performers and the like, according to the staff report the com mis sion reviewed Wednesday. That means that after 10, if you dont have a special exception, you cant even have a mime. County Project Manager Mark Loveridge says his office sees special exception requests fairly infrequently, and the ones that do exist are mostly in Gulf Gate or out on Siesta Key. Weve really only had a handful of them prob ably in the last 10 years, he tells The Sarasota News Leader The Planning Commission had unanimous ly approved the request, and Loveridge says there was little opposition from White Buffa los neighbors. Theyre kind of in the middle of an industrial district, he adds. The White Buffalo Saloons homepage offers information about its events. Image from COUNTY LETS WHITE BUFFALO SALOON ENTERTAIN AFTER 10 P.M. EXCEPTION TO THE RULE By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


And its not as though the entertainment ex ception gives White Buffalo the right to blast music out late into the night. Noise restric tions still apply, and the bar will be required to keep its doors and windows shut, aside from normal access. According to Loveridge, the county has a safeguard measure, too, which allows the board to modify or revoke an exception if its being abused. The special exception request was brought by consultant Joel Freedman on behalf of Mi chael Evanoff, one of the entrepreneurs be hind the Evies chain. White Buffalo was in the news last fall, when the venue objected to a $220,000 county impact fee that was later reduced to around $50,000. Evanoff did not respond to voicemails asking about his plans for late night entertainment, but the bar is known for its vibrant honkytonk vibe. In a voicemail, Freedman says hes not authorized to speak about the excep tion, but he notes that anyone c urious about the bars plans should come out Friday night and see for themselves. Sounds like a good time. White Buffalo Saloon is located at 5377 McIn tosh Road, Sarasota. Find out more by calling 927-6655 or visiting % The County Commission meets in session earlier this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel A map shows the location of the White Buffa lo Saloon. Image courtesy Google Maps Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 42


The classic image of g overnment waste and inefciency is 10 guys standing around a hole watching one guy dig with a shovel. On Tues day, April 23, there were more than 10 guys all high-ranking city staffers sitting in upholstered seats waiting for hours until the commissioners dispensed with leftover trivi alities. The afternoon meeting was scheduled months ago as part of the Sarasota City Commissions in-depth review of the proposed budget you know, the one that starts $5 million in the red; the one that calls for laying off cops to make ends meet. Until last week, the April 23 meeting schedule showed hours set aside for the commission ers to pry into the citys $384 million capital improvement budget and plan their spending. The back-up material for the discussion in cluded 36 pages of nancial spreadsheets out lining every capital improvement project for the next decade. All the big ones are there: beach renourishment, bridge replacements, roundabouts and major street projects such as those on Myrtle and Brother Geenan Way. The little stuff was there too: replacement Tasers for cops, more street trees, dredging at the 10 th Street boat ramps and other projects. One of the spreadsheet columns carried the heading, Funding, and more than a few of the spreadsheet cells contained the word, Undetermined. Some of the needs listed are City Hall has its own share of mechanical needs, including a new air conditioning system for the Information Technology Department. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: CITY COMMISSION TAKES HALF AN HOUR TO PONDER SPENDING $384 MILLION WASTING TIME By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


small but hardl y insignicant. The boiler in the Federal Building is scheduled for replace ment, but funding is undetermined. The air conditioning in the server room of the Infor mation Technology Department in City Hall needs replacement, and the source of that funding is undetermined, too, even though computers do not work when they overheat. In all, more than $4 million in proposed proj ects are in the funding undetermined cate gory. At the same time, the City Hall elevator is at the end of its useful life, as is the one at the City Hall Annex, as are the re alarms in both buildings. And the Municipal Auditorium needs its boiler replaced as well. MEANWHILE, DOWN ON THE DAIS Discussion of all these pages and pages of highand low-cost expenses was jammed into less than 30 minutes, as commissioners appeared antsy to get home to dinner. Their afternoon had been consumed by listening to residents vent over homeless people panhan dling and downtown noise issues. Then the commissioners listened to at least half an hour of historical recitation about the role of golf in Sarasota. That came courtesy of an advisory board member who wants to build a new clubhouse at the city-owned Bob by Jones Golf Club and rearrange all the holes. And no, the man did not have a clue where the $8 million would come from. Throughout these hours of vain testimony, at least 15 senior city staff members sat waiting in the back of the chambers. A rough calcu lation came up with $2,150 in staff time burnt up waiting, with cellph ones off and no wire l ess Internet service available (so no email, either). After having slashed the city payroll by 30 per cent to cope with the economic downturn, the city commissioners will often say, We cant do that; theres not enough staff time. It has become a common refrain from the commis sioners as they put off requests to study some thing. But the commissioners kept their top staff their ace managers, budgeters and nancial experts cooling their heels on Tuesday, twiddling their thumbs and waiting for the peanut gallery to empty so they could get to work and brief their masters on plans to spend $384 million in public tax dollars over the next few years. It was a very short discussion. Dinner was waiting. % The members of the City Commission con sider a matter during a meeting earlier this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 44


A public heari ng still will be necessary, but the majority of the Sarasota County Commission ers on April 24 approved a settlement with Siesta Village property owner Chris Brown in a lawsuit Brown led against the county in October 2011. With Commissioner Charles Hines recusing himself because of a conict of interest and Commissioner Nora Patterson in the minori ty, the board voted 3-1 to pay Brown $75,000 and proceed with plans for a public hearing on vacating 804.1 square feet of county right of way near Browns restaurant The Hub Baja Grill in Siesta Villa ge. According to a memo County Attorney Ste phen DeMarsh provided to the commissioners, The [right of way to be] vacated includes the brick sidewalk area immediately adjacent to [The Hub], and part of the landscaped planters outside the building. In exchange for the payment and the vaca tion of the right of way, DeMarsh explained to the commissioners on April 23, the coun ty would receive a general release of liability from Brown. DeMarshs memo points out, If the Board does not vacate the right-of-way at the public hear ing, then the settlement agreement is void. This photo of The Hub shows one brick sidewalk between decorative fencing and a second one that runs in front of the parking spaces. File photo ALL THAT REMAINS TO RESOLVE A SIESTA VILLAGE PROPERTY OWNERS LAWSUIT AGAINST THE COUNTY IS A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE VACATION OF RIGHT OF WAY CLOSING IN ON A SETTLEMENT By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


In response t o a question from The Sarasota News Leader DeMarsh wrote in an email, I would anticipate that the hearing would take place approximately 60 to 90 days from [April 24]. Patterson said during the April 24 discussion, I dont have a problem with the vacation of the right of way, [because it] does not appear to harm the public, and obviously it gives the business the opportunity to enhance itself. However, she added, Its a little bit of a heart ache that that is part of a lawsuit, just like [the right of way on the Ocean Boulevard side of The Hub] that we vacated. I do have a problem with somebody settling a lawsuit and coming back for another bite at the apple. She continued, And while it may be cost-effec tive not to spend money litigating this in court, I think it kind of sends th e wrong message. In settling the rst of three lawsuits Brown has led against the county since the fall of 2007 all in some way related to parking issues in Siesta Village the County Com mission agreed to pay $35,000 and vacate a portion of its Ocean Boulevard right of way. (Brown had been accused of allowing outside tables at the restaurant to encroach on that county property.) Reached by the News Leader shortly after the April 24 vote, Brown declined to comment be cause of the pending public hearing. However, his attorney, Morgan Bentley of Bentley & Bruning in Sarasota, told the News Leader in an email, We are really glad that this issue has been resolved. We were slight ly disappointed in Commissioner Pattersons comments that seemed to blame The Hub and Chris Brown for these cases. After all, if it werent for the multiple actions of the County The Hub Baja Grill is adjacent to The Cottage on Avenida Messina in Siesta Village. Photo by Nor man Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 46


A Sarasota County survey shows the area of The Hub Baja Grill in Siesta Village. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 47


over the last ve years, none of these lawsuits would have been necessary in the rst place. There are always at least two sides to every story. But in the end, an amicable resolution is a good thing for everyone and we look for ward to working with the County for a long time to come. The County Commission had rejected two previous offers from Brown to settle this third lawsuit. The rst, in August 2012, was for $277,219.22. The second, in October 2012, was for $315,000. Brown had claimed more than $1.7 million in damages in the latest suit, which he led af ter receiving parking assessments in 2010 for three of his properties in Siesta Village that were up signicantly from the 2009 assess ments. In the case of the parcel where Blu Que Island Grill stands on Avenida Messina, the assessment was up about 1,500 percent. At the same time, assessments for other Village properties went down some as much as 30 percent, according to county tax records. Brown said it was only about a month after the county reimbursed him $2,500 for exces sive parking assessments in 2009 the crux of his second lawsuit that he received his new tax bill with the higher gures. Prior to a 3-2 vote on Aug. 21, 2012 in which the County Commission rejected the rst set tlement offer, Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out of those later assessments, If that isnt singling somebody out I think we have some incredible exposure here. Assessments to cover property owners share of the cost for the municipal parking lot in Siesta Vil lage were the focal point of the third lawsuit Chris Brown led against Sarasota County. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 48


THE RIGHT O F WAY During his April 23 report to the board, De Marsh brought up the terms of the settlement. Although it had been tentatively hammered out during mediation on Feb. 8, county staff subsequently determined that the right of way for which Brown originally had requested the vacation was almost twice the size staff had estimated. Moreover, according to Browns at torney, Morgan Bentley, because it is bordered on all four sides by county property, by law, the county could not give it to Brown. The rooine of The Hub extends to the county property line legally, Bentley pointed out to the News Leader in February but the coun ty would need to deed over more right of way than it had anticipated to resolve the issue. During the April 23 board discussion, Patter son raised the point that the area to be vacat ed includes a sidewalk, and I think it is an area where people walk a bunch, especially considering you can barely get parking [spac es]. DeMarsh also pointed out that while he and his staff did not believe the countys interest would be negatively affected by the vaca tion of the right of way, the county would have to work with Brown to make sure the utility easements in that area would be protected. Commissioner Christine Robinson raised con cerns about whether someone in a wheelchair, for example, would be able to continue along another walkway or sidewalk if the county va cated the right of way. If she could be assured no access problem would arise, she noted, Im for the settlement. Additionally, Patterson told DeMarsh, Itd be nice to feel pretty ironclad that were not going to have a third round with exactly the same issues. I may be wrong, but it did seem the issues raised [in the latest lawsuit] were repetitive of the rst time. DeMarsh pointed out that the County Com mission voted last year to abolish the Siesta Village Parking Public Improvement District, for which Village property owners had been assessed annual fees. Those payments were designed to cover the Villages portion of the countys expense in building the municipal parking lot between Avenida Madera and Avenida de Mayo. I just dont want to keep going back and lit igating the same things, Patterson told him. I believe weve structured this as well as we can for the countys interests, DeMarsh re plied, but I cannot control the actions and decisions of another party. Nonetheless, DeMarsh pointed out, In sign ing the release, the plaintiff is telling you they dont want to be involved in litigation any more. Thats certainly the message were get ting. With uncertainty about the walkway cong uration from the aerial photograph DeMarsh provided, the board members continued the discussion until April 24. MORE PICTURES DeMarsh and James K. Harriott Jr., the coun tys chief engineer, provided additional photos to the board on April 24 regarding the congu ration of both the sidewalk in the right of way to be vacated and a parallel sidew alk. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 49


Harriott pointed out that the latter continues all the way contiguous down to within one lot of waterfront on North Beach Road. In looking at the rst photos Harriott present ed, Patterson asked, So part or all of that brick sidewalk there [in the area to be vacat ed] enclosed within the fence [adjacent to The Hub] is actually right of way today? Yes, maam, Harriott responded. What strikes me as weird about those pic tures, and I never quite realized it, Patterson said, is that somehow weve given permits for somebody to essentially fence in the right of way in the rst place. How could that hap pen? I dont have the information on how it was presented, Harriott told her. However, he pointed out, when he had been in the Village in the evenings with his children, they had been a ble to walk along that sidewalk to which she was referring, underneath an overhang from The Hub. Its sort of like a downtown setting where youre walking through, in between tables and chairs, as on St. Armands, Harriott added. But they dont fence [in right of way on St. Armands], Patterson noted. Theres no gate or anything; just a fence, Harriott said. Its just a railing or a fence that runs right along that landscaping area. With Robinsons concerns allayed, she made the motion to approve the settlement, contin gent upon the vacation of the right of way. Barbetta seconded the motion. Thanks for getting the pictures, Mr. Harriott, Robinson said. That was very, very helpful for this. % SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota Located Upstairs In the Green Ginger Salon 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. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 50


Kayla Wilkins, now a s enior at Booker High, suffers from Myasthenia gravis, a debilitating and life-threatening illness that left her on a respirator with a collapsed lung and home bound for more than a year. But she fought back, worked hard and will attend college next year. She wants to major in chemistry. Callie Marie Murphie attends Sarasota High School. She also works more than 35 hours a week to support herself, and she tutors other students. She will be attending the National Aviation Academy next year. Kelly Anne Alt enbernd, who also goes to Booker High, was born with a type of multiple sclerosis. She has endured injuries, surgery and a lot of missed school hours. Nonetheless, she has maintained a 3.6 grade point average and plans to attend the University of Florida, where she wants to major in education. Michael Jones, another Booker High senior, was a highly decorated athlete who suffered severe knee injuries in combination with a drop in his grades. This all happened as his family suffered a nancial downturn. Yet, as a result of his efforts to improve his academic Michael Jones (left) accepts his check during the Most Improved Students program on April 17. Pho to by Scott Proftt SARASOTA COUNTY STUDENTS HONORED FOR THEIR PERSEVERANCE OVERCOMING HARDSHIPS By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


standing a nd rehabilitate his injuries, sever al colleges are showing interest in recruiting him to play football in the fall. They are among 40 Sarasota County high school students who have been in foster care and shufed between parents and grandpar ents often with no one to help or care who have persevered beyond trials and tra vails most people dare not imagine. From different schools with different backgrounds and differing dreams, they all were honored at the 15 th Annual Most Improved Student Awards, held at Michaels on East on April 17. Each of them had been selected for the rec ognition by a principal or guidance counsel or at Booker, Riverview, Sarasota and Venice high schools. The lunc heon was more than just recognition of how these students had overcome hard ship. Each of them received a $1,000 check to help fulll the dream of higher education. Even without the accolades and the money to mark their achievements, it is clear they all are winners. The sponsors of the Most Improved Student Award Program are Northern Trust, the Har old C. and Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation, the Evalyn Sadlier Jones Foundation, the Annette J. Hagens Memorial Foundation, the Hunkele Family Foundation, Eluned and Edward Russell Charitable Foundation and Sarasota County School District Pupil Support Services. % (From left) Riverview High School Most Improved Students Alexis Romine, Elexis Ousley, Jayson Torreno, Maiyah Newsome, Jacquelyn Cavender stand with Principal Linda Nook to show off their $1,000 checks. Photo by Scott Proftt Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 52


With no speakers present to address the issue on April 24, the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved a change to the Tour ist Development Tax (TDT) ordinance that will keep extra beach maintenance funding in place for another two years and provide for a biennial review of the allocation instead of holding further public hearings on the matter. The extra money originally had been set aside for beach renourishment. This year, budget projections show $523,000 going to beach maintenance out of the TDT revenue. Although they questioned chargebacks for other departments out of the TDT beach main tenance allocation when they considered the matter during an April 9 discussion, no ques tions arose April 24 on that point. After the discussion, Commissioner Joe Bar betta told The Sarasota News Leader the countys method of accounting for staff work would be one topic of discussion when the commission holds a budget workshop on April 30. Du ring the April 24 meeting, Ed Exner, man ager of horticulture services for the county, reported that beginning in the 2010 scal year, staff began using TDT revenue to cover all possible permitted expenses as a strategy to assist with shortfalls in the general fund be cause of the recession. In the 2011 scal year, he noted, additional maintenance staff was added at the beaches to provide more service in the evenings and on weekends as well as for special events. In the 2012 scal year, Exner continued, the TDT revenue enabled his department to add ve support personnel, making it possible to reduce some contractual services. Those extra people worked at the Lido, Siesta and Nokomis beaches along with beaches in the Venice area. In making the motion to approve the ordi nance change, Commissioner Nora Patter son said, Its logical It enables us even in times of tight budgets to maintain our beaches to the standards that the commission has wished as well as the public. Rachel Brown Hackney Sarasota County Commission action this week will keep extra funds owing to beach maintenance. Photo by Rachel Hackney EXTRA BEACH MAINTENANCE FUNDING WINS APPROVAL NEWS BRIEFS


Steve Moyer, formerly with the Maryland Highway Patrol, was named the new deputy chief of the Sarasota Police Department on Thursday, April 25. The position had been vacant for more than six years. Moyer will start work Monday, April 29, when he will begin training to be a certied Florida police ofcer. After he completes that process, he will assume the duties of deputy chief. New Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPi no is also from Maryland. During an April 5 get-together in Sarasota with local reporters and the six deputy chief candidates, Moyer said he worked with DiPino in Ocean City, MD, providing help and support. Moyer was with the Maryland Highway Patrol for 24 years, ending his career as a lieutenant colonel, a position he described as deputy chief, effectively. Moyer said, I can have a conversation with anyone. I can relate to people and reach col lective agreements. He urged more training for police ofcers. He has a masters degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts from Tow son University. He is 52 and has been married 27 years; he and his wife have two sons. The best thing I bring here is support for a community policing policy, he added. I have budget and management experience. He is currently the director for security at the University of Marylands Shock-Trauma Cen ter in Baltimore, MD. Stan Zimmerman Deputy Chief Steve Moyer. Photo by Stan Zimmerman POLICE DEPARTMENT NAMES DEPUTY CHIEF Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 54


The Sarasota County School Schools will cre ate a pilot after-school nutrition program at three Sarasota elementary schools beginning Wednesday, May 1, the district has announced. The program, sponsored by the Florida De partment of Health in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be of fered at Alta Vista, Emma E. Booker and Go cio elementary schools, with serving times from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m., a news release says. Those schools have high percentages of stu dents receiving free and reduced-price lunch es, the release adds. The after-school nutrition program, also known as a supper program, will provide nu tritious afternoon/evening meals for their stu dents, the release notes. It will replace an ex isting after-school snack program, which has Students in the pilot Eaglets Academy pre-kindergarten program at Alta Vista Elementary School enjoy lunch in the cafeteria last summer. File photo SCHOOL DISTRICT TO BEGIN AFTER-SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAM provide d a small snack to children enrolled in after-school programs. The principals of these schools are excited about the program, said Beverly Girard, di rector of Food and Nutrition Services for the school district, in the release. They see rst hand the need for healthy afternoon meals for their students and the impact that good nutri tion has on academic success. If the new program is successful, the districts Food and Nutrition Services Department plans to expand it in the 2013-14 academic year to other schools and community agencies that have approved educational or enrichment pro grams, the release adds. The program will be funded through the fed eral Child Care Fo od Program. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 55


The April 20 Stand Down event for veter ans drew large numbers of people, including homeless veterans, organizers report. For many veterans who were not connected to the system, it was gratifying to see them access a range of needed services in this onestop setting, said Chip Taylor, director of the Operation Military Assistance Program (OMAP), in a news release. OMAP, which is a federally funded program initiated by Jewish Family & Childrens Service of Sarasota-Man atee Inc. to assist veterans with obtaining or maintaining permanent housing, organized the event. Taylor and other partners in the event say this years Veterans Stand Down event was expanded to include more services at the Sarasota County Health Department, located at 2200 Ringling Blvd., in Sarasota, and at the citys nearby Payne Park auditorium, a news release notes. More than 25 organizations were represent ed, including Resurrection House, First Step of Sarasota, Coastal Behavioral Healthcare, Legal Aid of Manasota, Alcoholics Anony mous, Narcotics Anonymous, the Suncoast Workforce Board, the Center of Hope of South County, Goodwill Manasota, Harvest House, Turning Points and Manatee Glens. Those attending were able to get help in ac cessing Veterans Administration benets and services, legal services, health screenings, MANY VETERANS GET NEEDED SERVICES AT STAND DOWN EVENT Several veterans won bicycles at the Stand Down event. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 56


employment assistance services and refer rals for mental health and substance abuse treatment, the news release continues. Hous ing assistance also was available for homeless veterans, A big draw was the bags that were lled with non-perishable food provided by All Faiths Food Bank and personal care items purchased with funds provided by a grant from the Flor ida Department of Children and Families and National Veterans Homeless Support Inc., the release notes. Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs Operation New Hope distrib uted surplus items such as boots, clothing and blankets. The Salvation Army provided food and refreshments at the event, and haircuts and manicures were offered by student bar bers and stylists from the Manatee Technical Institute, the release adds. The city of Sarasotas support as a partner ing organization this year meant that we had participation from all levels of government federal, state, county and city as well as the nonprot sector, said Taylor in the release. This helps to ensure that homeless veterans know about all the benets and services they may be qualied to receive, he added, not ing, We were also pleased to have agencies serving veterans in Manatee Countysuch as Turning Points and Manatee Glensjoin us for the Stand Down this year. Veterans a re an essential part of our com munity. We were pleased with the turnout and received a lot of good feedback about the event, says Sarasota County Health and Human Services Director Chuck Henry in the release. Henry also is a veteran, with a career in the U.S. Navy that spanned more than two decades the release says. For more information, visit or call 366-2224. Manatee Technical Institute personnel pro vide manicures to veterans during the April 20 Stand Down event. Contributed photo Almost 16 months after the idea first was broached during a Siesta Key Village Asso ciation (SKVA) meeting, the Sarasota Coun ty Commission on May 7 will discuss how to proceed with illuminating seven crosswalks in Siesta Village, county staff has reported. COUNTY COMMISSION TO ADDRESS SIESTA VILLAGE CROSSWALKS Ryan Montague in the countys Trafc/Mobili ty Ofce told The Sarasota News Leader this week by email, We are nalizing the memo as part of a discussion item that we current ly have scheduled for May 7 th (pending any delays .) Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 57


He expected the memo to be completed this week, he added. After rst receiving no bids in response to a county advertisement in January, the county began a new procurement process. It received one bid on Feb. 13 for the bollards to light the crosswalks. The amount was $118,500. Last year, county staff had estimated the cost of installing the structures with LED lights would be $31,500. After the February bid opening, county staff began investigating another way of getting the work done. The Public Works Depart ment sought quotes from two rms just for installing the bollards. The rst company of fered a $40,000 quote; the other came in with a $60,000 quote, Tom Maroney, general manager Drivers have reported difculty seeing people crossing Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village at night, especially near the Daiquiri Deck and Gilligans Island Bar & Grill. File photo of business operations in Public Works, told the News Leader this week. County staff had learned they could purchase the bollards directly for $12,000, Maroney pointed out. Peter van Roekens, then vice president of the Siesta Key Association, was the person who proposed illumination of the Village cross walks during the January 2012 SKVA meeting. He pointed out how difcult it is to see pedes trians at night as they cross Ocean Boulevard. During the April 4 SKA meeting, van Roek ens who is now the organizations secretary reported that he had been in contact with Ryan Montague and that he was pleased the initiative nally was moving along again. Rachel Brown Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 58


Teams from three Sarasota County public ele mentary schools Brentwood, Lakeview and Tatum Ridge will participate in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals May 22-25 at Michi gan State University in East Lansing, MI, the school district has announced. The teams successfully competed in the Odys sey of the Mind Sun Region competition held in Fort Myers in March and came in rst in their division/problem at the State Finals in Orlando on April 6, a news release notes. Odyssey of the Mind is a creative prob lem-solving program for students in grades K-12 and college, the release adds. The goal is to learn creative problem solving, teamwork, brainstorming, self-reliance and respect for the individual strengths of team members, it adds. Teams of ve to seven students devel op solutions to one of six long-term problems over several months, while practicing for a spontaneous problem that is presented at the competition. Teams, problems and competitions are or ganized into five divisions by age groups, the release points out. In 2011 a team from Brentwood placed rst in the World Finals in Extreme Mousemobiles, Division I, in which mousetrap-powered vehicles traveled through an obstacle course. The Lakeview team qualied for World Finals by placing rst in the State Finals in Its How You Look at It, Division I. The team created and presented an original humorous perfor mance that included two characters whose actions seemed normal to them, but odd to those around them, the release says. The per COUNTY TEAMS HEADING TO ODYSSEY OF THE MIND WORLD FINALS Tatum Ridge Elementary Odyssey of the Mind team members are (from left) Michael Moloney, Am ber Baylis, Lena Khader, Samantha Pulawski, Cassidy Park and Velouria Gaertner. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 59


formance included a meter that indicated the degree of odd/normal behavior, it adds. The Brentwood team qualied for World Fi nals by placing rst in the State Finals in Pet Project, Division I. Teams designed, built and operated three vehicles that delivered parts for a previously extinct animal. Team mem bers assembled a dwarf elephant from the parts and taught it to perform a trick, the re lease says The Tatum Ridge team earned its berth by placing rst in the State Finals in The Email Must Go Through, Division I. The problem included an original performance with a cre ative representation of messages being sent by email. The team had to meet various technical challenges along the way, the release adds. The schools are holding fundraising activities to help cover the cost of sending teams to the World Finals, the release notes. Community members who would like to learn more about each schools fundraising efforts may call Brentwood Elementary at 361-6230, Lakeview Elementary at 361-6571 or Tatum Ridge Ele mentary at 316-8188. Brentwood Elementary team members are (from left) Taylor Tyle, Sandy Scott, Greg Karcz, Lucas Maxwell, Kassie Greenan, Maren Schwied and Rylee Miller. Contributed photo The Odyssey of the Mind team members from Lakeview Elementary are (from left) Bailey Olson, Ava Robinson, Sam Elliott, Nicklaus Elliott, Weston Trandem, Mackenzie Gregory, Ameila Seger and Bryana Sherman. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 60


The Sarasota Bay Water Festival is encourag ing local photography enthusiasts of all ages to prepare entries for the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest The winning submissions will be displayed at the regional water festival set for Saturday, Nov. 2, at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota, festival representatives have announced. The photo contest helps to celebrate the beauty and importance of Sarasota Bay, a news re lease notes. Contest guidelines are posted at sarasotabay We had some impressive photos last year and we are excited to see the contest expand with earlier promoti on, said Randy Moore, the fes tival director, in the release. Photos can have a direct or indirect association with Sarasota Bay. Among other highlights of the 2013 water fes tival will be the rst Dragon Boat Races on Sarasota Bay; live music performed by top area bands; artists selling unique gift items; workshops that promote bay-friendly living; food trucks and local restaurants; exhibits of vintage boats; activities for children; and ex hibits promoting recreational boating, shing, kayaking, paddleboard sports, scuba diving, cycling, birding and other activities associated with Sarasota Bay, the release adds. Makeala Franford won rst prize in 2012 in the 12 and under division of the Sarasota Bay Photo Contest. Contributed photo I LOVE SARASOTA BAY PHOTO CONTEST ANNOUNCED Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 61


As high school graduation time nears, the more than 350 members of The Oaks Wom ens Club are helping send seven young wom en of Sarasota County to the colleges of their choice. During the 2013 Scholarship Luncheon held on Wednesday, April 10, each of the seven stu dents received $5,000 from the club, a news release notes. The event served as a celebra tion of these young women and their accom plishments, the release adds. The scholarship process is rigorous as we review dozens of applications and then nar row it down to seven Sarasota County senior high school women, said Oaks Womans Club Student winners (from left) are Rachel Hayden, Kelsey Anthofer, Ljubica Nikolic, Sandra Waliczek, Rachel Schuchert, Emily Zastempowski and Laura OConnell with Oaks Womens Club Scholarship Chairwoman Wendy Nowitz (center left) and Jane Perkins, co-chairwoman (center right). Contrib uted photo OAKS WOMENS CLUB PRESENTS SCHOLARSHIPS Scholarship Chairwoman Wendy Nowitz in the release. The scholarship recipients for 2013 are as fol lows: Kelsey Anthofer, Riverview High School. Rachel Hayden, Sarasota High School. Ljubica Nikolic, Booker High School. Laura OConnell, Pine View School. Rachel Schuchert, Venice High School. Sandra Waliczek, Pine View. Emily Zastempowski, Venice High. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 62


The Saraso ta County Sheriffs Ofce is urg ing residents to be cautious following a report early this week that a group of individuals im personated law enforcement ofcers in north Sarasota. A Sarasota couple reported being pulled over early Saturday, April 20, near 17th Street and Dodge Avenue by someone in a black fourdoor sedan possibly a Dodge Charger or Chevrolet Impala with chrome rims and a red-and-blue light bar in the windshield, according to a report. The male victim was ordered to get on the ground, but when the female victim was ordered out of the car, she noticed scratches and damage to the front end of the supposed law enforcement vehicle and remarked that it was not a real police car, the report says. The suspects ed, the report adds. The suspects are described as three black males in their 20s or 30s wearing black shirts with the word, SHERIFF on them, black boots a nd black pants. They had two wood en stock shotguns and a gold semi-automatic handgun with a black grip, the report notes. Anyone with information on this crime, the suspects involved or the vehicle is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 861-4900; leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 366-TIPS (8477); go online at www.saraso ; or text TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637). Motorists who are concerned about being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle should call 911 to let the call taker know what is go ing on, give their location and have the 911 call taker provide directions on what to do, a Sheriffs Ofce news release says. Staff at the 911 Call Center can conrm if you are being pulled over by a legitimate law enforcement ofcer, and if you are not, dispatch units to that location i mmediately, the release adds. PEOPLE ALLEGEDLY IMPERSONATING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS The Sarasota Pol ic e Department is investigat ing several burglaries that allegedly have oc curred between the 2000 block and the 2500 block of Bay Street and in the 800 block of South Shade Avenue, which encompasses the Alta Vista neighborhood, the department has reported. The burglars are entering unlocked homes and quietly taking items, so as not to disturb the sleeping homeowners, a news release says. Among the items reported stolen are lap tops, jewelry, cash and homeowners vehicles. One victim awoke to nd two teenage black males with shaved heads in her bedroom, the release adds. When she screamed, they ran, it notes. It appears they stole a car from the area as well The vehicle was left abandoned in the 2000 block of North Euclid Avenue, the release says. The Police Department is advising residents to lock all doors and windows of their homes at night and whenever they leave their houses. Anyone who sees anything suspicious or un usual is asked to call the Police Department at 316-1201, which is the non-emergency num ber. In case of an emergency, dial 911. Anyone with information about the burglary cases is urged to contact Det. K. Laster at the Sarasota Police Department Criminal Investi gation Division at 364-7327 or leave an anony mous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366TIPS (8477). STRING OF BURGLARIES REPORTED IN THE ALTA VISTA AREA Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 63


Law enforcement agencies throughout Sara sota County will participate in the Drug En forcement Administration (DEA) national event to take back and properly dispose of prescription medication on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has announced. The Sheriffs Ofce has permanent drop boxes at the Criminal Justice Center, 2071 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota which is open 24 hours a day and at the south county ofce, 4531 State Road 776, Venice, where the hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., a news release notes. The Sarasota Police Department, Venice Po lice Department and North Port Police De partment also have permanent drop boxes in each of their lobbies and are participating in Saturdays event as well, the release points out. Medication turn-in is always anonymous, the release says. Prescription and over-thecounter solid dosage medications such as tablets and capsules are accepted. While all of these drop boxes are available to the pub lic year-round, the release adds, the agencies participate in the nation al take-back initiative to publicize the permanent option for proper disposal. New College Campus Police also will be col lecting unwanted, unused or expired prescrip tion drugs on April 27 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Campus Police Station, 501 College Drive, the college has announced. Ofcers will dispose of the medications, and participation is completely anonymous, said Mike Kessie, New College of Florida police chief, in a news release. College Drive is one block north of University Parkway on U.S. 41, on the Colleges bayfront campus, the release notes. The public should park in the Heiser Natural Sciences lot oppo site the police station. Contact Chief Kessie at 487-4210 or with any ques tions. This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue, the Sheriffs Ofce release continues. Prescription drug abuse rates in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and over doses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are ob tained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet, it points out. NATIONAL DRUG TURN-IN EVENT SET FOR SATURDAY MAN ARRESTED FOR LEWD ACTIVITY ON SIESTA BEACH The Sarasota C o unty Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested a 69-year-old Illinois man for exposing himself to teenage girls swimming at Siesta Key Beach. Around 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, a Sarasota County lifeguard alerted deputies to Tom P etc her of Hillsboro, IL, after two 14-year-old girls said they were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when they noticed he had his swim trunks around his ankles, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. They added that he tried to brush the legs of one girl with his buttocks, according to the report. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 64


Since 1992, the Venice Area Board of Real tors has raised more than $240,000 for local graduating seniors going to college. This year, a news release says, the board awarded $15,000 ($1,000 each) to the follow ing students: Abigal Blow, Brittany Ring, Caleb Courville, Julianna Konsulian, Alicia Miller, (From left) Abigal Blow, Brittany Ring, Caleb Courville, Julianna Konsulian, Alicia Miller, Schol arship Chairman Tony Moore, Committee members Michelle Moore and Steve LaFountain and stu dents Hannah Knoke, Bo Walters, Lucas Molenda, Brittany Detert, Kevin Deiter and Justin Taylor. Contributed photo VENICE AREA BOARD OF REALTORS AWARDS STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS Hannah Knoke, Bo Walters, Lucas Molenda, Brittany Detert, Kevin Deiter, Justin Taylor, Zachary Carroll, Frankie Holcomb, Andrew Micciche and Rachel Schuchert. The board raised the money from its an nual Golf Tournament and Yard Sale, the release adds. % Tom Petcher/Contributed photo As the girls moved away from him, Petcher oated on his back with his genitals exposed, the report adds. He continued this activity for at least 15 minutes, swimming toward the girls every time they tried to get away, the report says. Whenever they would move away from him he would continue to get closer to them, the report notes. When deputies confronted Petcher, he was walking quickly toward the parking lot to try to avoid being detained, the report continues. He was charged with two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition and placed under a bond of $7,500. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 65


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EDITORIAL REPUBLICANS HARSH IN OPPOSING FAIR ELECTIONS EDITORIAL Quite a f ew counties in Florida and Saraso ta is among them are dominated by Repub lican local ofceholders, despite Republicans being a minority of registered voters in those counties. That is because Florida historically has been a closed primary state, meaning only Democrats vote in Democratic primaries and only Republicans vote in Republican pri maries ... and Independents (what we refer to in Florida as No Party Afliation, or NPA) are essentially disenfranchised. Should one party not eld a candidate in a general election, then that partys voters and NPAs effectively have no voice in the election of that ofcehold e r, who wins de facto after surviving his or her party primary. With more new residents of Florida relocating from states where Independents are not shut out of primary elect ions, a citizens initiative pass ed in 1998, amending the state constitu tion to allow the opening of a primary when only one party is elding candidates in the general election. Unfortunately, it was left to the Legislature to codify this change and, like the proverbial rats being in charge of the cheese inventory, the Republican-dominat ed Legislature carefully inserted a loophole that undid the constitutional amendment: If a write-in candidat e was quali ed (and it should be pointed out that qualify is a very loosely dened term here, since we all can qualify as human beings almost as easily as a write-in candidate can qualify for an election), then the primary would remain closed to all but registered voters of that party. Admittedly, the loophole has been employed by Democrats in counties where th ey have a strong majority, but th at was more a defen OPINION


posin g a simple solution to the inherent un fairnes s of our local electoral process: make county ofces nonpartisan. With prospective county commissioners and other county ofceholders running in nonpar tisan races, every voter would have the oppor tunity to have a say in choosing the winners. Certainly, candidates party afliation still would be known, and perhaps trumpeted by prospective candidates. That seems to be the case in municipal nonpartisan races here and in other states. But, while the voters might weigh party afliation or ideology in making their choices, no one would be denied the right to vote because of a cloistered electoral methodology that is antithetical to the demo cratic process. In our article, we quoted Joe Gruters, Repub lican Party of Sarasota chairman, voicing op position to the idea, because he claimed all races were indisputably partisan. He did not explain why the partisan afliation of candi dates and a nonpartisan race we re mutually exclusive, perhaps because, as we already have observed, that would be a ridiculous claim. Bill Zoller, a Republican and president of Citi zens for Sensible Growth in Sarasota County, was identied in our article as a leading ad vocate for a shift to nonpartisan races. After the fake candidacy of Victoria Brill and the arrest of Republican stalwart Bob Waechter for identity theft in an effort to falsely impugn another Republican, Zoller wondered, How much worse can it get? Thats about as low as you can go. Apparently, Jack Brill took exception to our article and sent an email that stated the following: sive response to the man y more counties where Republicans shut out Democrats and NPA voters by putting up straw opponents in the general election by means of write-in candidates. These write-in candidates almost never did any campaigning or spent money on advertising, and they typically dropped out of the races once the primaries had been decid ed, ceding victory to the primary winners. The most recent example in Sarasota County was the Republican primary battle between Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent and chal lenger Jon Thaxton, who was term-limited from retaining his County Commissioner seat. As no Democrat led to run in the general election, the Republican primary should have been open to Democrats and NPAs, since the primary became, for all intents and purposes, the general election. But Republican bigwig Jack Brill had his 24-year-old daughter enter the race as a writein candidate, shutting out all but Republican voters and denying Jon Thaxton the moderate voters he needed to oust the unpopular Dent. Party ideology trump ed electoral fairness. To rub salt in th e wound, Victoria Brill con ceded publicly, when she withdrew her straw candidacy, that she never had any intention of actually running for the ofce. She only want ed to prevent almost 70 percent of Sarasotas voters from having a voice in the election of a supervisor of elections. In the April 5 issue of The Sarasota News Leader we reported on the efforts of the Pub lic Interest Coalition made up of groups in cluding the Sarasota County Council of Neigh borhood Associations, the Sarasota Audubon chapter and the Sierra Club which is pro Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 68


sio ns sort of an adult version of the school yard retort, Oh, yeah? Well, so are you! The truth is that excluding more than twothirds of the county electorate so a minority party can control the electoral process is nei ther fair nor democratic. It amounts to ideo logical apartheid. That is why state voters amended the constitution 15 years ago, and why county voters may well take the next step in restoring credibility to representative gov ernment in Sarasota County. Gruters, in opposing a change in the electoral process, asserted that anyone who voted to make county races nonpartisan was a fool. But perhaps county voters might respond, as George W. Bush once said, We wont get fo oled again. % It is t ime to send in a response. Other wise [sic] you will continue to be compared to Waechter and taking shots form [sic] these a**holes!!!!!~ Respectfully Yours, Jack Brill (Note: The asterisks are ours; they replaced the actual Ss Mr. Brill indiscreetly used.) Unfortunately, he neglected to change the to address in his email to his intended recipient (likely Joe Gruters), so the email came back to our subscription manager. In psychological terms, his behavior is known as projection. Rather than acknowledge fault for ones transgressions, one xes the blame upon t hose who give voice to the transgres PLEASE VOTE FOR ATWELL AND CHAPMAN EDITORIAL On May 14 City of Sara sota voters will choose two at-large city commissioners from a eld of three. We urge you to pick Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman. The reasons for each are different because each carries totally different tools, abilities and resources to the job. Alas, we cannot put them in a blender to puree them to create one perfect at-large city commissioner. But we expect once elected, they will recognize the skills each brings to the commission table and respect the need for different approaches to governance. Suzanne Atwell is a so cial worker by trade. She is everybodys best friend, and she revels in her current role as mayor. When it comes to kissing babies and cutting ribbons and spread ing oil on troubled waters, she is uncannily smooth. Peace follows in her wake. But she sometimes is lost in the details of policy, and she can be uncertain and sometimes silent on complex issues. Susan Chapman is a lawyer by trade. She has proven time and again to be a friend when one is needed. Her terms on the citys Planning Board have tempered her, but she is capable of scorching the earth in pursuit of fairness. She is fearless and tough as a top-kick sergeant. B y standing up for neighborhoods from all over the City of Sarasota in their times of need, she has won sincere admiration from the poorest and richest residential areas in town. EDITORIAL Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 69


ing controversial projects. Her department stores not allowed there opposition to the Walmart at Ringling Plaza is but one example. The City Commission found her argument per suasive enough that it overturned the Planning Boards approval of the Walmart proposal. Both Atwell and Chap man because of their service to the city are extremely knowledgeable about civic affairs. They should be able to hit the ground running to tackle existing and looming troubles. We have less good to say about the third candidate in the race, Richard Dorfman. His knowledge of and involvement in civic affairs is thin and sketchy. And he has yet to master his ready-re-aim method of problem solving. While he purports to be the candidate of business, his recent business history has al legedly had many failures. He is considerably less qualied on many levels to serve as a city commissioner. When voters t ake up their ballots, they can vote for two of the three candidates. While you will hear people urge that you vote for only one, because that purportedly gives some statistical edge, do not heed their advice. We need two qualied and eager commissioners. While their traits may differ, their commitment to Sarasota is both deep and strong. Vote for Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman. % Both ca ndida tes have made enemies for var ious reasons. As the only incumbent in the race, Atwell takes all the arrows for bad com mission decisions in the past. Parking meters, the Bartolotta witch hunt, a seeming (but not actual) ip-op on Walmart: Four years is enough time in ofce to irritate everybody about something. Sarasota is very hard on incumbents, and the landscape is lit tered with one-term commissioners which is all the more reason to vote for Atwell. She has made appropriate decisions, but more importantly, she brings consensus building to City Hall. We need that more than ever before. Chapman does not carry the burden of of cial incumbency, but her efforts on behalf of neighborhoods and citizens have been polar izing. After the Alta Vista neighborhood failed to stop a proposed School Avenue high-rise project before the recession, Chapman helped to craft the appeal to the Department of Com munity Affairs that brought harmony back to the development and neighbors. And after multiple complaints of police misconduct, Chapman led a city advisory group, which re sulted in the creation of two civilian oversight boards. Chapmans service on the Planning Board has been another source of controversy. Even though the huge majority of decisions are unanimous, Chapman has been in the mi nority at times, nding legal basis for oppos Both Atwell and Chapman because of their service to the city are extremely knowledgeable about civic affairs. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 70


merl an, and their two daughters joined them in 2003. The family was reunited in Boston. In Boston, Anzor found work as an auto me chanic. Although skilled, he could not support his family as a mechanic. After a decade of struggling, Anzor returned to Russia in May 2012. He explained that he was leaving to seek medical treatment for injuries stemming from a severe beating he received sometime before emigrating from Russia. Zubeidat was a beautician who saw female clients only in the familys apartment. Clients praised her facials. Zubeidat followed her then ex-hus band to Russia a short time later, reportedly because she was homesick. Another incentive for her to return may have been her arrest on June 19, 2012 for shoplift ing clothing valued at $1,624 from the Lord & Taylor store in Natick, MA. She also attempted to disable the anti-theft tags attached to the clothes. While still in the U.S., Anzor and Zubeidat di vorced. The cause was irreconcilable differ ences. The source of those differences was Zubeidats embrace of conservative Islam. She encouraged Tamerlan to follow her down this path. He did. COMMENTARY Since last weeks shooting death of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the capture of Dz hokhar Tsarnaev, the two ethnic Chechen brothers who are the prime suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, much has been written and broadcast by the news media and on blog sites speculating on their possible mo tives for having undertaken this act of terror ism. Thus far, only one commentator seems to have the right answers: Ruslan Tsarni, the mens paternal uncle. He called his nephews los ers, adding that Tamerlan, a convert to a rad ical form of Islam, had corrupted his younger brother. Reporting on the Tsarn aevs life in the U.S. describes a highly dysfunctional family. Anzor, the father, was trained as a lawyer and held responsible positions in the Kyrgyzstan bu reaucracy. He is an ethnic Chechen. His wife, Zubeidat, is an ethnic Avar. Between 1991 and 2002, they and their children shuttled between Kyrgyzstan and Dagestan. In each location, and for differing reasons, they were consid ered undesirables. In 2002, Anzor, Zubeidat and their younger son, Dzhokhar, immigrated to the U.S. as refugees. Their elder son, Ta THE DECEASED BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECT TRAVELED A YEARS-LONG PATH INTO RELIGIOUS FANATICISM By David Staats Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 71


merlan, whom they suspected to be a Mus lim militant. The FBI reportedly replied to the Russians that it found Tamerlan without a connection to any militant group. Tamerlan departed the U.S. for Russia on Jan. 12, 2012, returning on July 17, 2012. He visited Chechnya and Dagestan, but the details of his activities there are not known. After his return to the U.S., Tamerlan created social media ac counts, several with postings which glorify ji had The Imarat Kavkaz (The Emirate of the Caucasus), which the U.S. has declared a ter rorist organization, is also featured. Tamerlan warned Muslims not to allow their children to watch Harry Potter movies. On Sept. 5, 2012, Tamerlan applied for U.S. citizenship. Two months later he interrupted a sermon at his local mosque, calling the imam an indel and a hypocrite for encouraging Muslims to join in Thanksgiving Day celebra tions. Tamerla ns desc ent into fanaticism began in childhood. During the Soviet period, he and his family lived in internal exile in Kyrgyz stan, whose native population had little in common with, and scant sympathy for, Chech ens. After the implosion of the USSR in 1991, the veneer of ofcial Kyrgyz tolerance for displaced minorities, such as Chechens, Ui ghurs and Koreans, was peeled away. These foreigners were not wanted by the Kyrgyz. Tamerlans father lost his high-level govern ment post and mo ved the family to the North Tamerlan was born on Oct. 21, 1986 in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan. He claimed (falsely) in an interview with the Lowell Sun that he had been raised in Grozny, Chechnya, before en tering the U.S. Tamerlan showed early prom ise as a boxer. He also exhibited talent as a musician. As a part-time student at Bunker Hill Community College, however, his per formance was unimpressive and he stopped going to classes. It was about this same time in 2008 that Tamerlans interest in his moth ers brand of conservative Islam began to take root. The following year, Ruslan Tsarni told CNN, Tamerlan, in a telephone call, declared that studies and work were irrelevant to him be cause Allah had a mission for him. TURNING POINTS Also in 2009, Tamerlan was charged with do mestic abuse for slapping his then girlfriend. Later, he lost in the rst round of the Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City. Tamerlan marrie d Katherine Russell in the summer of 2010. A Christian, Katherine con verted to Islam. Tamerlan stayed home to care for their daughter while Katherine worked long hours as a home healthcare aid to pro vide for the family. They also applied for, and received, welfare payments. In early 2011, the Russian Federal Security Service requested the FBI to investigate Ta Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 72


Hi s status as a househusband steadily eroded his self-esteem. Katherine earned money and put bread on the table; he changed diapers. Tamerlan felt himself shamed as a man. A man provides for his family; but like his father, he could not. His father was a loser. Tamerlan was a second-generation loser. Tamerlans conscious drift into religious fa naticism was the logical next step toward self-destruction. In order to conrm to himself the correctness of his commitment, Tamerlan needed a pliable acolyte whom he could ma nipulate. His brother, Dzhokhar, proved a will ing recruit. Dzhokhar appears to have had no moral compass whatsoever. He neither sup ported terrorism, nor disavowed it; he sim ply rationalized it in order to please his elder brother. Tamerlan made no escape plan. He was shot to death in a gun battle with law enforcement ofcers, becoming in his own mind, at least shahid a martyr for Islam. As of this writ ing, no one has claimed his body for burial. Burial is a prerequisite for entering the mar tyrs paradise, so even in death, Tamerlan re mains a loser. % Caucasus. Life t here was so much worse that the family returned to Kyrgyzstan within a year and applied to the U.S. for refugee status. In the U.S., Tamerlan aggressively pursued amateur boxing. It was to be his way out of poverty and obscurity. Tamerlan aspired to join the U.S. Olympic boxing team and hoped one day to turn pro. For a number of years Tamerlan did well in the ring. Tamerlan did not have the skills necessary to become a champion. After losing an important bout, he gave up boxing. Later, and after con verting to conservative Islam, he explained that he disavowed boxing because no Muslim should hit a man in the face. Muhammad Ali might have differed with him on this point. One can almost hear Tamerlan speak the lines spoken by Marlon Brandos character, Terry Molloy another washed-up boxer in the lm On the Waterfront : I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been some body, instead of a bum, which I am, lets face it. Tamerlan was a bum. He failed at everything he touched: boxing, school, work, m arriage. The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 73


To the editor: Sarasota City Commission candidate Susan Chapman is a 23-year resident of the city of Sarasota and has actively participated in shap ing the citys future, but she also recognizes the importance of preserving, protecting and enhancing Sarasotas heritage. Sarasota has a long history of inclusive com munity planning. As a result, the city has suc cessfully guided, encouraged and approved many signicant development projects and hundreds of new residential units in the core of downtown. In recent years, only a few ex amples of this success include the Ritz-Carl ton, Whole Foods, Plaza at Five Points, City Place and the Rivo at Ringling. In addition, Palm Avenue, Golden Gate Point, the Rosemary District, Laurel Park and Gilles pie Park are more desirable communities than ever. The people who live in these neighbor hoods and new buildings (some with white hair) are customers for the many new busi nesses. These residents, simply by their pres ence, have enlivened downtown and improved public safety. Unfortunately, selective campaign rhetoric ig nores how much successful development and redevelopment the city has achieved. Candi dates who were not even living in Sarasota when the community planning occurred now present their new ideas, already adopted in the Downtown Master Plan, as a means to cure the citys nancial crisis. Ms. Chapman understands the city must con tinue to grow and embrace newcomers, but not at the expense of violating the public trust or ignoring the community development reg ulations that have successfully remade Sara sota into a great place to live, work and play. As a member of the Planning Board and as an attorney, Ms. Chapman will make a differ ence on the City Commission by bringing factbased decision making to the table. The city needs leaders not politicians. Su san Chapman is a leader and the only candi date who can be trusted to shape Sarasotas future by being inclusive. Mike Taylor Sarasota CHAPMAN A DESERVING CANDIDATE FOR COMMISSION LETTERS TO THE EDITOR LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and in clude the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Letters ac tually printed will be selected based on space avail able, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted be come the property of The Sarasota News Leader. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 74




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Late-term ab ortion clinics, LGBT issues, school violence, conservation of indigenous cultures and potable water shortages in un derdeveloped countries were just a sampling of the provocative topics presented in the lms recognized this year at the Filmmaker Tribute Awards, which closed the 15th annual Sarasota Film Festival (SFF). The ceremony took place at the Sarasota Op era House on the evening of Saturday, April 13, featuring both jury and audience-selected awards in narrative and documentary feature divisions and other c ategories. Hosted by comedic actress, director and producer Cheryl Hines ( Curb Your Enthusi asm Suburgatory ), the event was followed by a closing night screening of Frances Ha a light-hearted indie lm about friendship and the difculties of tting into modern society. It was written and directed by Noah Baum bach ( The Squid and the Whale Margot at the Wedding ). OPENING REMARKS In her introduction to the Filmmaker Tribute Awards, Hines lauded Sarasota for being an It Felt Like Love Director Eliza Hittman accepts the Narrative Feature Competitions Special Jury Prize for Creative Achievement at the Sarasota Opera House on April 13. She is joined on stage by (from left) jury members Joshua Rothkopf, Miranda Siegel and Alicia Van Couvering. All photos by Arielle Scherr 2013 SARASOTA FILM FESTIVAL SCREENS AND HONORS PROVOCATIVE FILMS; FOSTERS DIALOGUE BETWEEN AUDIENCE MEMBERS AND FILMMAKERS LIGHTS! CAMERA! DISCUSSION! By Tyler Whitson Staff Writer


environment that fosters lmmaking. I know how hard it is to make a lm ... and I know how important it is for lmmakers to feel sup port from the community, she said. I really feel that here from the community and from other lmmakers supporting each other. Still, Hines was not afraid to poke a bit of fun at the SFF, pointing out its penchant for some times lavish parties, many of which she was obliged to attend as host of the awards cere mony. Ive been to a lot of lm festivals ... and Ive never seen so much mandatory partying, she joked. I feel like Im doing my best, but I cant keep up with you people! Hines went on to introduce SFF Director of Education Allison Koehler, who gave a short prese ntation about the free festival program she oversees; it reached more than 5,000 pub lic school students of varied ages this year. For example, the Young Filmmakers Show case gave students the opportunity to submit short lms in a competition for scholarships, other prizes and screenings. Koehler noted that SFF Education also teach es students media literacy skills through a va riety of programs, including Classroom Critic and See Jane Studio, which focus on basic lm analysis and exploration of gender represen tation in lm, respectively. THE TERRY PORTER VISIONARY AWARD The rst prize presented at the Filmmaker Tribute Awards was the Terry Porter Visionary Sarasota Film Festival President Mark Famiglio thanks sponsors at the beginning of the SFFs Filmmaker Tribute Awards. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 78


Aw ard, name d after the late Sarasota resident and SFF ally who managed the independent video rental store Video Renaissance. Created three years ago, the award goes to a lm that pushes boundaries and is not afraid to chal lenge audiences with unique conceptual ideas and innovative processes. The 2013 winner, Computer Chess a narra tive feature set in the early 1980s is about an annual conference of computer program mers, where developers tested their own chess-playing applications against each other in the hopes of eventually defeating a human chess master. Recorded primarily in black and white on period equipment, it features an ac curate representation of computer technology from the time. Robin S chwarz, an actress in the lm, was present for the honor. On behalf of all of the men in Computer Chess I would like to thank you guys for this award, she said, nodding slyly to the fact that she plays the only female programmer in the movie. I know that every body in the lm would have been the type who would have wanted to hang out with Terry, she added. AUDIENCE AWARDS The next prizes were the Audience Awards, which were tabulated directly from votes of audience members who lled out and turned in ballots to SFF volunteers following the 2013 screenings. (From left) Pasadena cast members Peter Bogdanovich, Cheryl Hines and Alicia Witt and Director Will Slocombe answer questions from audience members following the lms world premiere at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 on April 13. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 79


The first honor pr esented in this division was for Best in World Cinema; it went to Ken Loachs The Angels Share a Scottish come dy about an ex-convict who wants to create a better life for his newborn son and discovers that the ne malt whiskey business might be the way to do so. Recognition for Best Documentary Feature went to Suzanne Mitchells Running Wild an American lm about the life of an elderly cow boy, conservationist and author named Day ton O. Hyde, who dedicates much of his time to protecting wild horses. The Audience Award for Best Narrative Fea ture went to Andrew Mudges The Forgotten Kingdom, an American and South African lm about a young man named Atang who lives in Johannesburg but returns to his ancestral village in the small nation of Lesotho for his fathers funeral. There, he develops a renewed interest in his heritage and the countrys cul tural traditions. The nal Audience Award, for Best Short Film, went to Chad Hartigans This is Normal an American and Zambian documentary about how nearly half the worlds population must walk several miles daily to collect water that is often contaminated or unsafe to drink. JURIED AWARDS Next, the juried prizes were presented by members of the groups that made the selec tions. Each category includes two awards rst prize and runner-up. The rst of these sets was in the popular Inde pendent Vision category, reserved for unique ( From left) Angela Wright Co-Producer, Screenwriter and lead actress Genevieve Farrell; The Oppor tunity Ofce Director, Producer, Screenwriter and lead actress Chelsea OConnor; and Tipping Point Director, Producer and Screenwriter Leonardo Foti pose on the red carpet prior to the Filmmaker Tribute Awards. All three lms are narrative shorts. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 80


lms that accomp lish a lot with very limited resources. The primary award went to Matthew John sons The Dirties a Canadian narrative fea ture about two socially awkward high school students who are frequently bullied by a group of students referred to as The Dirties and the fantasies they have about exacting revenge. The secondary award known as the Gold en Pond Award for Artistic Accomplishment went to Chad Hartigans This is Martin Bonner an American narrative feature about a lonely man in his 50s who attempts to start a new life in Reno, NV, and ends up forming an unli kely friendship with a man who has re cently been released from prison. In the Documentary Feature Competition, the main award went to Martha Shane and Lana Wilsons After Tiller an American lm about the four remaining late-term abortion physi cians in the United States, their clinics, their employees, their patients and the risks they take daily to do their work. The competitions Special Prize for Direction went to Benjamin Greens Survival Prayer a Canadian and American lm about mem bers of an indigenous community who live on a small archipelago northwest of British Co lumbia called H aida Gwaii. The movie focus Narrative short Tina for President Director Carmen Emmi (right) poses for photos with his mother on the red carpet prior to the Filmmaker Tribute Awards. The lm was shown as part of the SFFs Youthfest program for children. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 81


es on how they face the threat of losing their ancient language because of the after-effects of Colonialism. Finally, a group of jurors took to the stage to announce the Narrative Feature Competition winners. The principal award went to Xavier Dolans Laurence Anyway s, a Canadian lm about a transgender woman, her romantic struggles and the discrimination she faced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Narrative Feature Competitions Special Jury Prize for Creative Achievement went to Eliza Hittmans It Felt Like Love an American lm about a young girls journey to adulthood, her efforts to nd love and her experiences navigating a world dominated by masculinity. SPOTLIGHTS AND CENTERPIECES In addition to the award-winning lms, the closing night movie and the opening night lm Blacksh a number of spotlight and cen terpiece lms received special attention at the SFF. For all of them, the directors and some times cast members were present to answer audience members questions. This years centerpiece lms were Barbara Koppels Running from Crazy and James Ponsoldts The Spectacular Now The spot Narrative short Shades of Living Director Aurora Fearnley poses for photos on the red carpet prior to the Filmmaker Tribute Awards. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 82


light movies were C arlos Pugas Burma Jus tin Schwarzs The Discoverers and Will Slo combes Pasadena All were produced in the United States. One of these special screenings had a particu larly bright glow: It was the rst time anyone not close to the production had seen it. Pasadena which concluded its premiere just before the Filmmaker Tribute Awards, is a co medic drama about a ludicrously dysfunction al and idiosyncratic family trying desperately to get along on its rst Thanksgiving togeth er in several years. The lm stars Peter Bog danovich, Alicia Witt and Hines, who made her way to the Sarasota Opera House right after the post-showing Q&A session. That ses sion featured all of the aforementioned cast members as well as Slocombe. The director stayed at the theater for a few minutes after the discussion, agreeing to a short interview with The Sarasota News Lead er. Asked about debuting his lm at the SFF, Slo combe responded excitedly, I feel great about it! he said. Ive felt so taken care of from the second I landed, he continued. This has been fantastic. When asked what he knew about the SFF pri or to his own involvement with it, the Los An geles-based director said he has seen it as a legitimate, up-and-coming festival and that it is highly esteemed by many of his colleagues and peers. I think its a really fast-growing, really good festival, he added. Everyone told me that this would be a great t and it has been. Slocombe went on to note that SFF Director Tom Hall is incredibly well-respected, with a strong reputation among members of the na tional lm programming community. I think that he sort of has the ear of New York, in some interesting ways, Slocombe noted. A GROWING REPUTATION Slocombe pointed out in the interview that he is impressed with how quickly the SFF has de veloped, growing from an eight-day/eight-lm program 15 years ago to a nine-day festival screening more than 220 lms from 30 nations this year. According to the SFFs website, www.saraso turnout for this years fes tival was particularly impressive, too, with a sold-out opening night at the Van Wezel Per forming Arts Hall and a number of sold-out screenings. In addition, the SFF website notes the festival received a record number of sub missions from lmmakers all over the world this year, a clear indication word about the event has been spreading. This years success, however, has not daz zled the SFF staff members into complacen cy. Rather than resting on their laurels, they have already begun planning for next years festival. A quick visit to the SFF website reveals, by way of a conspicuous banner, that the dates for the 16th annual SFF have already been conrmed. The projectors will roll once again from April 4-13, 2014. If this years success can be taken as a sign, SFF fans have plenty to look forward to in t he future. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 83


Feeling depleted by the news from Boston last week, I abandoned my schedule and took to the woods. At Sleeping Turtles Preserve in Venice, I stepped out of the van onto a carpet of wild owers frog fruit, blue-eyed grass, day owers. On the trail around the lake, beautiful scenes presented themselves. A giant sulphur buttery circled round and round me. Dew berries ripe for the picking were sprinkled along the path. Nature can be a restorative tonic! In the woods we return to reason and faith, Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote. The conserva tio nist John Muir could hardly wait to get out in heavens light. On his thousand-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico, he convalesced from malaria at Cedar Key, lying beneath the ample arms of live oaks listening to the winds and the birds. Recent experiments have shown that brain function can be improved by a visit to a green space. Being close to trees builds the immune system, protecting people from can cers and other diseases. Daniel Janzen a con servation biologist says we will be at the top of our game with occasional forays into a green world. LET NATURE BE THE TONIC FOR TRAUMATIC TIMES HEALING CREATION Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer


Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 85


If you are stuc k in a leaess place, bring the outdoors in. New Yorkers are masters of this. Enduring memories I have of a stay in Manhat tan are trees sprouting from the tops of sky scrapers and ower sellers on every corner. Nature is not just a place to visit. It is the slowing down, the change of pace, the being that is important. In Pilgrimage to Villambro sa John Elder writes, Our expeditions away from routine are not for the purpose of discov ering wildness in the world outside ourselves but rather for recovering it within us. Wil dness is easy to come by in this area. Sara sota County has dozens of parks (visit www. ). Two state parks Myakka River and Oscar Scherer offer miles of trails. But you do not have to hike. You can picnic or sit on a bench and take in the view. Wilderness settles peace on the soul says Ed ward O. Wilson, the Harvard biologist who has spent a lifetime studying the natural world. So when you are depressed by the news or your appointment book is overly full, remem ber that healing creation is always available to us. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 86


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


ASK OTUS Dear Readers, In 1736, Benja min Franklin, writing his Al manack under the pseudonym Poor Richard, declared that Fish & Visitors stink in three days. Franklins problem with stinky house guests and sh was due to the unavailability in 18th century Philadelphia of electric power. That lack led to improperly controlled cold storage and to quick decomposition of per ishable items. Aware of this, Franklin would devote the next 16 years to working feverishly on problems of electrical conductivity. In 1752, he invented the lightning rod, whic h, when grounded in a particular way, is an effective, albeit some what drastic, means of ridding oneself of noi some four-day-old houseguests and sh. Poor Richard, indeed! If only he could be here now to see the splendid improvements in cold storage made possible by harnessed electri cal power. Todays state-of-the-art refrigerator keeps houseguests fresh as daisies, although you might need to change the sh every few days. If your houseguests have eaten the sh, you will need to buy another sh. And writing this reminds me that it is now time to check on the sh! O tus A READER SUBMITS A HEARTWARMING STORY ABOUT THE RESCUE OF A GREAT BLUE HERON ON SIESTA KEY Otus house guest in the fridge. File photo 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.


Dear Otus, I thought you would be interested in this story of a wonderful bird rescue on Siesta Key. Tatiana Staats Dear Tatiana, Interested? I was downright fascinated and I would like to share your tale and your superb photos with my readership. It is not every day people have the opportunity to see the stepby-step process involved in the rescue of a wild bird, especially one this size with a for midably dangerous beak and sharp talons. A picture is worth a thousand words, so all I have to say is thank you and the volunteers at Wildlife Center of Venice. Thank you ever so much! Otus Charlie, a Great Blue Heron who lives on south Siesta Key, became entangled in sh ing line to such an extent that he was hobbled at the ankles in such a way that he was able to stand on one foot only. His left foot was bound awkwardly to his right leg. Fishhooks appeared imbedded in both legs. Charlie rises to the bait. All photos courtesy of Tatiana Staats Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 89


Charlie was clearly in pain and exhaust ed. Unable to hunt and sh, he was slowly starving. Residents in the area where Charlie made his home telephoned The Wildlife Center of Venice Inc., which rescues and rehabilitates injured birds and other animals. Successful ly rehabilitated animals are released back into the wild. Those unable to be returned to the outdoors spend their lives comfort ably at the Center. Charlie takes the bait and is expertly and harmlessly secured by the rescue line. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 90


Jessi Leis and Jan Stebel assess damages to Charlie. While cutting off laments, they see two shing hooks embedded in both his feet. On Saturday afternoon, April 20, the Center dispatched two volunteer rescue specialists, Jan Stebel, a Si esta Key resident, and Jessi Leis. Rescuing wild animals can be a dangerous undertak ing in any circumstances. A terried Great Blue Her on, for example, may at tack a rescuers eyes with its beak. Please leave res cues to persons who have been trained for this highly specialized work. If you see an injured wild animal, call the Center at 941-484-9657. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 91


Jessi tossed sh to Charlie, who ate them greedily, luring him closer to her. When Char lie was within capture range, Jan tossed a sh secured on a hookless shing line. Char lie went after the bait as Jan reeled it in. Be fore Charlie could make good his catch, Jessi tackled him, carefully securing his beak and legs. Jan quickly clipped the shing line from Charlies feet and legs and then helped Jessi carefully place Charlie in a travel case for a large pet, which they put in the back of Jessis SUV. Once secured in the travel case, Charlie fell asleep. Jessi and Jans cursory inspection of Charlie upon capture led them to say that with proper medical attention, regular feedings and suf cient rest, he should make a full recovery. This prognosis was subsequently conrmed by one of the Centers veterinarians, who examined Charlie. Once Charlies convalescence was complete, the veterinarian said, he would be returned to south Siesta Key to resume his normal life. Charlies condition requires professional veterinary attention and convalescent time. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 92


Once again, Charlies legs are free. Charlie is ready to be released into the wild. By the way, Charlie may be the only Great Blue Heron on Siesta Key to ride in a chauffeured Lexus. Early Saturday afternoon, Jan and Jessi were able to return Charlie to his pond on south Siesta Key. After emerging from his travel case, Charlie spread his wings and ew gracefully away. For more information on the work of The Wildlife Center of Venice Inc., as well as its resources, activities and volunteer opportu nities, please visit www.wildlifecenterofven The Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprot organization. All donations to it are fully tax-deductible. % Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 93


Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano in La Fille mal Garde. Photo by Frank Atura A CLEAR WINNER


No doubt about it: S arasota Ballet has a win ner with La Fille mal Garde. It is a whimsi cal, entertaining uff of a ballet that has been an audience favorite since Sir Frederick Ash ton debuted his clever 1960 transformation of the 1789 original. The story and it is a full three-act story bal let is simple: A domineering mother (Ricki Bertoni) wants her daughter (Kate Honea) to marry the childish son (Logan Learned) of a wealthy man (Steven Windsor) instead of the poor farmer (Ricardo Graziano) the daugh ter loves. But when the ballet opens with the entrance of a large cockerel (Alex Harrison) apping its wings, it is obvious we are in Ash tons world. Yes, the mother (Widow Simone) is always performed in drag. Ricki Bertonis exaggerat ed rump and shufing demeanor, though edg ing towards caricature, captured the widows mixture of greed and concern. But that did not stop him from happily clicking his wooden heels in the clog dance, one of the set pieces that make this ballet so delightful. There are other set pieces in this peaceful bu colic world (the charming sets and costumes The set design was by Doug Nicholson. Contributed photo SARASOTA BALLET DELIGHTS AUDIENCES WITH FULL-LENGTH ASHTON PRODUCTION By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 95


were borrowed from the Birmingham Royal Ballet), with the entire cast weaving through the colored ribbons of an improvised maypole or juggling sticks while balancing sheaves of wheat and lling the stage with balletic folk danc ing. How ever, the focus of the ballet is on the storytell ing, and Ash ton has cho reographed a defining solo for each of the main characters that challenges both their acting and dancing abil ity. Logan Learned, in his role as the childish, inno cent Alain the rich mans son and prospective bride groom was not able to capture the heart of Lise, as his father intended, but he did capture the heart of the audience at Thursday nights per formance. Completely immersed in his role, Learned was amusing and pa thetic as he made his way across the stage in mincing steps. There was a hint of a recurring smile and a knowing nod to his head as he turned his umbrella into a hob byhorse and charged forward in fast, unre lenting scissor kicks; or when he delighted in jumping like an automated toy. Al ways charismatic, Learned was both touching and elo quent in his por trayal of a young man lost in childhood. Ricardo Gra ziano (Colas, the boyfriend) has an easy presence. He was grace ful and musical, handling the many challeng ing bra vura so los that fol lowed one an other like a rush ing cascade including inventive jumps and turns that climaxed in the high, split jumps of the bottle dance with a natural lan. He was an attentive part The cover of the program for La Fille mal Garde features a scene from the clog dance. Cover photo by Frank Atura Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 96


ner and playf ul in his relationship with Kate Honea (Lise), but their relationship was like puppy love with little ardor. In their rst challenging pas de deux, when they played with a long pink ribbon that clev erly brought them together in a cats cradle, they handled the tricky choreography with ease; but there was little or no sexual tension. However, it was Ashtons version of a bucolic world and, choreographically, playfulness may be the correct interpretation of the characters. Nonetheless, I do think that this is a ballet in which each of the individual portrayals is an important part of the entire production. Honea handled the difcult choreography with a joyful exuberance that reected the happi ness of her character. She met each challenge of Ashtons intricate, technically demanding vocabulary of quick-spinning pirouettes fol lowed by bounding leaps, solo balances and especially the on pointe eet footwork with a quick deftness. While Honea has always had an afnity for roles depicting saucy, piquant characters, creating the part of Lise gave her an opportunity to fully explore this aspect of her talent. It was an added pleasure to have an orchestra for this performance and the music, by Fer dinand Herold arranged by John Lanch bery sparkled under the baton of Ormsby Wilkins, the guest conductor from American Ballet Theater. Both Sarasota Ballet Assistant Director Margaret Barbieri and Director Iain Webb danced in productions of La Fille mal Gardee under the watchful eye of Sir Freder ick, and together they staged this production. The Sarasota Ballet season will end in May with a program choreographed by individual members of the company. % Logan Learned/Contributed photo Ricki Bertoni/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 97


SIESTA SEEN Mark Smith, c hairman of the Siesta Key Vil lage Maintenance Corp., is spreading some ex cellent news to the property owners who are assessed for the upkeep, he told me last week. The county scal year will not end until Sept. 30, but all signs indicate the property owners will see a signicant reduction in their assess ments in coming years, Smith said on April 17 about 50 percent over the next three years. The actual bills so far for FY 2013 to tal $53,456.54, Smith pointed out, but a few other encumbrances bring the tally to about $62,000. Yet, for this fiscal year, the total dis trict assessment was $210,719, Smith not ed. In a recent meeting with Sarasota County staff members Ryan Montague of the Traf c/Mobility Ofce and Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations in the Public Works Department, Smith reviewed all the expenses that have been incurred, he reported. In September 2012 months after the county had taken over the upkeep Champi onship Landscape Maintenance Professionals of Fort Myers began keeping the Village clean, having won the approval of the County Com mission with a bid of $97,417.70. Bottom line, Smith said on April 17: With Championship on board, its costing us less. It always creates an uneasy feeling, he add ed, when a local gov ernment body has more of your money than theyre supposed to, but it appears the situation this time will work out well for the property owners VILLAGE PROPERTY OWNERS CAN EXPECT TO PAY THE COUNTY LESS FOR UPKEEP IN COMING YEARS; DATA SHOWS THE RADAR SIGNS ON SIESTA ARE SLOWING DOWN DRIVERS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Mark Smith. Photo by Rachel Hackney


The Count y Commission will have to vote formally on the reduced assessment before it goes into effect, he added. RUMOR HAS IT It has come to my attention recently that res idents have been talking in very preliminary stages with representatives of the Florida De partment of Transp ortation about the possibil ity of FD OT constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and South Midnight Pass Road. When I broached that topic last week with Robin Stublen, the communications special ist with FDOT in District One, he was quick to reply by email, There has not been a decision made as this is only one option for this area. Lower costs for keeping Siesta Village clean this year will lead to reduced assessments for property owners, county ofcials say. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 99

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When I asked for more details, Stublen called. They havent really done anything, he said of FDOT engineers in Sarasota County. Its just like a water-cooler-type deal at this time, he added. No studies have been undertaken yet of the possibility. He promised to let me know if the situation changes. THAT LIGHT POLE On a not-so-happy note from my discussion with Mark Smith: Regular readers of this col umn will recall that shortly after Champion ship took ov er the Village maintenance last year, a driver knocked down the light pole near Siesta Beach Resort & Suites, located at 5311 Ocean Blvd. An allegedly drunken female driver was at fault, Smith has explained in past Siesta Key Village Association meetings, and Sarasota County staff has been pursuing payment for a new pole from the drivers insurance com pany. During the SKVA meeting on April 2, Smith noted the pole is currently missing in action. When I asked for an update on that status last week, he replied, The light pole [situation] has just been a asco. I feel like its being held hostage by the company that has [the pole]. The latest news, Smith said, is that Champion ship has paid about $2,600 for the new pole, but it just hasnt b een shipped. Smith added for verication that he has seen Championships invoice. Hopefully, in our lifetime, well get [a pole] back, he said. SPEAKING OF SPEEDING DRIVERS During the April 4 Siesta Key Association meeting, Ryan Montague from the countys Trafc/Mobility Ofce reported on data from the radar signs the county installed on Siesta Key about 18 months ago at the urging of the SKA. He explained that the signs were set in stealth mode at the outset, to create a baseline for the information they would record about driv ers speeds. In that stealth mode, he pointed out, they were on but not ashing speeds as vehicles passed them. During that initial period, Montague said, trafc heading west near Siesta Public Beach drove an average of 32 mph, while eastbound trafc registered an average of 30 mph. The speed limit on that portion of Beach Road is 30 mph. For Ocean Boulevard: trafc headed north bound out of Siesta Village had an average speed of 34 mph in the 35 mph zone, and northbound trafc on Midnight Pass Road had an average speed of 51 mph in the 40 mph zone. SKA members long had complained of traf c moving rather fast on the long straight stretch of Midnight P ass Ro ad near the Higel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 100

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Avenue intersection, where that one sign was installed. Then Montague presented the latest speed data compiled from December 2012 through late March: For westbound trafc near Siesta Public Beach, the average speed had dropped to 22 mph. For eastbound trafc near the beach, the average speed was 19 mph. For the northbound trafc on Midnight Pass Road, the average was 37 mph, which is a pretty signicant reduction, Montague noted. For northbound trafc on Ocean Boulevard, the average was 28 mph. Were doing good; thats really good, he said. The highest speed recorded by any of the signs was 94 mph for northbound Midnight Pass Road trafc. (Montague explained he had no gures for the sign facing southbound trafc on Midnight Pass Road, which was installed after the other signs went in. Apparently a computer glitch made it impossible for him to obtain the data.) Nearby homeowners say drivers ignore caution signs advising a lower speed limit in the curve near St. Michael the Archangel Church on Midnight Pass Road. File photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 101

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The fastest speed recorded by the Ocean Bou levard sign was 69 mph, he said. In response to the audience and board mem bers gasps at the mention of those speeds, Montague said, Its important to note that these devices are not infallible. For example, he pointed out, they sometimes pick up the speed of bicycle spokes. Moreover, the speeds recorded are not just for cars and trucks; they also can include bicycle trafc. Overall, less than 2 percent of the vehicles traveled at a rate of speed above the posted limit on Midnight Pass Road and less than 1 perc ent was above the posted speed on Ocean Boulevard, Montague pointed out. Thats pretty unique for Sarasota County, he added. Generally, as indicated by radar signs in other areas, 15 percent of the vehicles op erate faster than the allowed speed limit. When SKA Vice President Michael Shay point ed out that the speeds were recorded during season, Montague responded that the data the signs had recorded was pretty consistent over the past 18 months. Theres nothing that jumped out at me to indicate the recent g ures were related to seasonal drivers and traf c tie-ups, he pointed out. Siesta Isles residents on Siesta Key may seek county help in reducing speeding through the curve near their neighborhood. File photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 102

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When Shay asked whether he had looked at the data for June, July and August 2012, Mon tague replied, It wasnt signicantly greater. Interesting, Shay mused. Drivers tend to become inured to radar signs in other areas, Montague also noted, gradually letting their speeds rise in areas after the signs have been up for a while. That has not been the case on Siesta, he said, adding, We dont expect that to change. However, Deet Jonker pointed out that resi dential areas on the island continue to experi ence problems with speeders. Siesta Isles res idents, for example, remain concerned about speeding in the curve by their neighborhood, Jonker added. That is the curve near St. Michael the Archan gel Church on Midnight Pass Road. They want calming devices, he said of the Siesta Isles residents. Now, none of us want bumps in the road, Jonker continued, but ra dar signs in both directions probably would have the same effect. When Jonker then asked whether the coun ty intends to put more radar signs on Siesta, Montague said no such plans are in the works. Still, Montague added, If we get a request, well evaluate it. The radar signs cost about $2,000, he noted. When SKA President Catherine Luckner asked whether county staff had any plans to move the current signs to other locations, Montague said no suc h plans existed. At this time, [the signs are] basically considered permanent. Sure seems like theyre doing a great job, Luckner told him. Montague agreed: These signs are more ef fective than what we see with speed tables. TOURNEY TIME REMINDER The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce is seeking donations of silent auction items, with preparations in full swing so to speak for its 14 th Annual Paul Ralston Golf Tour nament, set for Monday, May 6. Silent Auction donations not only are a great way to be seen and to gain new clientele, but are fundamental to the success of our Golf Tournament as one of the major fundraisers for the Chamber, a note to members says. Your generosity supports the many functions that benet our members and our surrounding community! One big event the Chambers fundraisers sup port is the July Fourth reworks show at Si esta Public Beach. For silent auction donations and information, contact Chastanna at 349-3800. The tournament will be held at The Found ers Club 3800 Golf Hall Drive, Sarasota. For single players who wish to stay for the dinner and auction, the fee is $150. For members of foursomes planning to participate in the din ner and other evening activities, the c ost is $550. A person interested just in attending the dinner pays only $35. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 103

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KEEP THAT BEA CH CLEAN Finally, and certainly not the least of the is land news this week, it is not too late to sign up for The Great American Cleanup on Satur day, April 27. The Siesta Key Association will have groups working from Beach Access 2 to Access 11. The countys Keep Sarasota County Beauti ful ofce will supply T-shirts, gloves and trash bags to those who sign up in advance, while supplies last. Anyone interested in joining the SKA volunteers may send and email to info@ % The Siesta Key Association will have volunteers participating in The Great American Cleanup on Siesta Public Beach April 27. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 104

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The Sarasota High School Theater Depart ment will present a special student production of Les Misrables the musical by Claude-Mi chel Schonberg and Alain Boubil with English lyrics by Howard Kretzmer. The play is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. Performances began on Wednesday evening and will continue at 7 p.m. Friday and Sat urday, April 26-27, with an additional perfor mance at 2 p.m. Saturday. The show will be staged in the SHS Theater, a school news re lease says. Weve prided ourselves through the years on taking chances and pushing the limits, said drama teacher Melissa Dweck in the news re lease. As a teacher and director, Ive enjoyed watching the students grow, not just as ac tors, singers and performers, but as people. The harder the show, the more pressure they are under. It isnt just learning their lines or music but managing their time, and keeping their grades up. Dweck added in the release that her students knew going into Les Miz that it would be one of the hardest musicals they have tackled and that there might be people who thought they couldnt do it. She said that inspired them, like the characters in the show, to ght on and prove themselves. I hope that when audiences nish watching this show, they will understand the passion, the sweat and the love that has gone into ev ery second of this musical from the sets, to the costumes, to the emotion that hangs in ev ery word they sing, she notes in the release. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted. The SHS Theater box ofce is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. The phone number is 361-6288. The SHS Theater is located at 1000 S. School Ave., Sarasota. Kelsey McNatt (foreground) and Chris McCoy (with rie prop) join fellow cast members as they re hearse for the Sarasota High School production of Les Misrables. Contributed photo SARASOTA HIGH TO STAGE STUDENT VERSION OF LES MISRABLES A&E BRIEFS

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Inspiration and Collaboration featuring pho tography by John Kokajko, will open in the Unitarian Universalist Gallery in Sarasota on May 5 and continue through July 3, the gallery has announced. A reception will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 5. The public is welcome. Kokajko says in a news release, Photogra phy has been an important tool for me since the 1960s. In 2011 I set myself the challenges of creating a series that expresses my central artistic vision; in addition I stepped up my collaborative efforts, joining Claudia Deschu for an ArtSlam2011 team project, Art in the JOHN KOKAJKO PHOTO EXHIBIT TO OPEN MAY 5 A photo by John Kokajko shows Ann Rogers leading a choir. Contributed image air : 1,000 colorful paper aircraft launched to soul-stirring music. The release adds that, using native and import ed plants found on the Florida Gulf Coast as his subject matter, Kokajko also has created images that express his respect for form and structure. Cues for actual size are missing or altered, the release notes. A spiral coiled fern becomes visually equivalent to a Hubble telescope view of the Whirlpool Galaxy, for example, it says. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tues day through Friday and on Sundays after ser vices. It is located at 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 106

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Building fr om the momentum of its current season, The Sarasota Ballet says it is pre pared to awe and inspire ballet patrons and newcomers alike with its 2013-2014 season. Described by Director Iain Webb as anoth er exhilarating step forward, the Ballets 23 rd season will feature seven different programs and end with the Sir Frederick Ashton Festi val 2014 which will celebrate the internation al dancer and choreographer, a news release says. Weve scheduled everything purposefully and strategically, hoping to continually build and meet the expectations of our audiences, said Webb in the release. Normally reserved for the end of each season, the Theatre of Dreams program will open the season in October, the release notes. High lighting the original works of select Sarasota Ballet company members, this program is al ways a favorite, the release adds. Following in November, Program Two will showcase George Balanchines Serenade, Ashtons Les Illuminations and Balanchines Who Cares As a company premiere, Les Il luminations will complement Balanchines ballets perfectly, the release notes, because both were huge successes when they origi nally debuted at The Sarasota Ballet. In December, the company will revive Mat thew Harts John Ringlings Circus Nutcrack er which had its premiere in December 2012. This circus-themed production was inspired by the rich heritage that Sarasota shares with the Ringling Bros. Circus, the release says. It follows the traditional storyline and uses the Tchaikovsky score. The fourth program of the season will fea ture Balanchines Four Temperaments, a Will Tuckett world premiere and Ashtons Sinfo nietta. In February 2014, the Ballets fth pro gram will bring yet another world premiere to the Sarasota community, choreographed by company principal Ricardo Graziano. Also in Program Five will be Ashtons Monotones I & II and Agnes DeMilles Rodeo Program Six, in early April 2014, will comprise Ashtons Birthday Offering, Grazianos Sym phony of Sorrows and Antony Tudors Gala Performance the Tudor piece yet another company premiere. For Program Seven, April 25-26, 2014, The Sarasota Ballet will feature performances by Johan Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru and a number of their friends from major ballet companies throughout the world, the release notes. Kobborg and Cojocaru last appeared in Sarasota in the lead roles in a 2009 production of Giselle SARASOTA BALLET ANNOUNCES ITS 23RD SEASON LINEUP Sarasota Ballet Director Iain Webb (seated front center) poses with the company before the start of the 2012-13 season. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 107

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The Asolo R eper tory Theatre will host local auditions by appointment for its 2013-2014 season on Sunday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, April 29, from 3 to 7 p.m., the theatre has announced. Actors who audition must be able to attend callbacks on Monday, June 24, from 4 to 8 p.m., a news release says. The production team is seeking to cast Equity and non-Equi ty roles for the fall musical Show Boat and for other roles throughout the 2013-2014 sea son, the release adds, noting, The theatre is seeking a wide range of diverse actors and is looking to cast a signicant number of local adult and child actors. Asolo Rep Literary Manager and Local Cast ing Directo r Lauryn Sasso says in the release, We are thrilled to have such a large number of roles open for potential casting from the local community. Its a very exciting year to be auditioning for Asolo Rep. Full information regarding the available roles may be found on the AEA casting notice web site, or on the Asolo Repertory Theatre website at www.asolorep. org/auditions Auditions will be held in three-minute slots in the Asolo Repertory Theatre Rehearsal Hall located in The Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts on the grounds of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. To schedule an appointment, call the audi tion hotline at 351-9010, Ext. 3311, and leave ACTORS WELCOME TO SIGN UP FOR ASOLO REP AUDITIONS The Asolo Repertory Theatre will be holding auditions for its upcoming season. Photo by Ebaybe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 108

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Florida Studio Theatre has announced its annual Richard and Betty Burdick New Play Reading Series will present three performanc es of works by contemporary American play wrights in the Keating Theatre on Monday, April 29; Monday, May 6; and Monday, May 13, all at 7 p.m. The events are part of FSTs Sarasota Festival of New Plays The series will begin on April 29 with Two Point Oh by Jeffrey Jackson, a thrilling play that questions the limits of technology and the reality of existence, a news release says. Though Elliot leads the world in software de velopment, he dwells far back in the ranks of husbands. But when he dies in a plane crash, a mysterious disk appears in wife Melanies pile of mail. When loaded into a computer, El liot seemingly springs back to life in the virtu al world, sustained by software he had writ ten, the release adds. Gidions Knot by Johnna Adams will be per formed on May 6. There are some things that just arent expected after the death of a child, the release continues. One of those is a par ent-teacher conference. When Corryn shows up for her scheduled appointment, Heather uses every stalling technique in her teacher handbook until she nally reveals why Cor ryns child was suspended the day before he killed himself. The play is a heartfelt explora tion of loss and art. In the nal play of the series, Hell: Paradise Found by Seth Panitch, recently deceased lawyer Simon Ackerman suddenly nds him self desperate to get into Hell, which, God for bid, turns out to be the better place to both visit and spend Eternity, the release adds. Struggling against the demons before him as well as the demons within, Simon encounters other proud and famous denizens of Hell. Each of the plays is in varying stages of de velopment, from draft to post-premiere edits, the release points out. Every reading will be followed by a discussion with the playwright, giving audience members the opportunity to provide feedback. Tickets for all three plays are $25; individual play readings are $10. Additionally, Friends of FST may purchase a subscription for the series for $15. Tickets are available at the FST box ofce at 366-9000 or by visiting www.oridastudiothe FST TO PRESENT THE SARASOTA FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS a message with the name of the person audi tioning, contact number, preferred time slot and whether it will be a dramatic or musical audition, the release points out. For dramat ic auditions, please prepare two contrasting monologues, no more than three minutes to tal, the release adds. For musical auditions, please prepare either a brief song (musical theatre, pop/rock, or gospel) or 16 bars of a song and a one-minute contemporary monologue. An accompanist will be provided. Please bring two copies of headshots with resumes attached, the release notes. Asolo Rep is also seeking mature men and wom en, young men and women and children be tween the ages of nine and 13 to ll understudy roles throughout the 2013-2014 season, it says. Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 109

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The Jazz Club of Sarasota will present its an nual Jazz on the Water cruise Sunday, May 5, 3 to 5 p.m., aboard LeBarge, which departs from Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota. Guests will enjoy the swinging sounds of Henry Ashwood and his Ashwood Jazz Trio, a news release says. Ashwoods style of sax playing has been lik ened to that of jazz legend Paul Desmond, the release adds, noting he is in constant demand as a performer at venues throughout the state. Drummer Fred Edinborgh and keyboardist Kevin Wilder will join Ashwood in this con cert that they guarantee will have audience members snapping their ngers and tapping their feet, the release continues. Edinborgh has been performing professionally for more than 25 years, playing with such jazz notables as Chet Baker, Tom Harrel and Ray Drummond. Wilder is known for combining jazz, pop, soul and funk in unexpected ways, the release says. He has played with such jazz luminaries as Duke Ellington, Woody Herman and Ray Charles. The jazz cruise has been a favorite Jazz Club event for over 10 years, says Rick Gee, a Jazz Club of Sarasota board member, in the release. What better way to enjoy a beautiful spring day than to sail on Sarasota waters while en joying great jazz? Our mission is to present the nest jazz music on Sarasota waters. We believe we do just that with this event. Tickets are $30 for Jazz Club members and $35 for non-members. Snacks and beverages will be available for sale; guests are requested not to bring coolers. Boarding will begin at 2:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call 366-1552. For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, visit % JAZZ CLUB TO PRESENT JAZZ ON THE WATER MAY 5 LeBarge will depart from the Bayfront Park docks on May 5 for Jazz on the Water. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 110

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The Rev. Daito Zenei Thompson, a Zen priest and the spiritual director of the new Sarasota Zen Center, will give a one-hour Zen talk at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Friday, May 3, starting at 10 a.m. The church is located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition that encourages a clear, dont know mind, a news release says. If you do not know anything about Zen, you are in the proper frame of mind to learn, it adds. If you would like to learn, the time for Zen is now. People from many religious and philosophical traditions practice Zen, the release continues. T hompsons presentation is sponsored by the Free thinkers Forum, created in 2007 to stimulate discus sion on a wide range of is sues affecting religion, mo rality, justice and ethics in society. The Forum meets monthly at the Unitari an Universalist Church of Sarasota, serving Sarasota and Manatee counties, the release notes. The director of the new Sarasota Zen Center will speak at the Unitarian Universalist Church on May 3. File photo ZEN TO BE FOCUS OF MAY 3 PROGRAM AT UNITARIAN CHURCH RELIGION BRIEFS The Rev. Daito Zenei Thompson/ Contributed photo

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More than 150 attendees feted Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman at Temple Emanu-El Sister hoods annual Honors Luncheon, held April 14 at the Lakewood Ranch Country Club. Glickman was recognized for her service to Temple Emanu-El where she serves on the Sisterhood board; chairs the religious school social committee, Tot Shabbat and the pre school; teaches adult learning courses; and oversees Mitzvah Day, which draws more than 225 volunteers annually for hands-on commu nity service projects and the general com munity, where she serves on the executive board of All Faiths Food Bank and supports many other charitable organizations. During the event, Glickman was presented with framed original artwork bearing the Hebrew phrase, Eshet Chayil which means Woman of Valor In addition to words of tribute and bless ing from Temple President Michael Richker; Glickmans father, Dr. Larry Rose; and board member/good friend Sharon Kunkel, the event featured a video presentation, door prizes, a rafe, a silent auction and a performance by local singer Alli Fuchs, accompanied by gui tarist Scott Stevenson. Glickman was also pre sented with a proclamation from the Sarasota County Commission marking April 14 as Rab bi Elaine Rose Glickman Day Event co-chairwomen were Cindy Gilburne and Ethel Gross. Luncheon proceeds benet ed the educational and scholarship programs of Temple Emanu-El Religious School. Glickmans husband is the Temples spiritual leader, Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman. The Glickman family is (from left, clockwise) Rabbi Elaine, Eden, Rabbi Brenner, Mo and Leo. Contributed photo (From left) Faith Lipton, Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman, Temple Emanu-El President Mi chael Richker and Temple Emanu-El Reli gious School Director Sabrina Silberberg. Contributed photo Event Co-Chairwoman Cindy Gilburne pres ents the Woman of Valor award to Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman. Contributed photo TEMPLE EMANU-EL SISTERHOOD FETES RABBI ELAINE ROSE GLICKMAN Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 112

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Sarasota Or chestra principal cellist Abraham Feder will perform Ravels Kaddish during Shabbat services at Temple Emanu-El, 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, on Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m., the Temple has announced This Sarasota debut of Kaddish is free and open to members of the community, a news release says. In addition to being an acclaimed cellist who also performs with the Sarasota String Quar tet and Chroma Quartet, Feder is a member of Temple Emanu-El who lends his musical tal ents to the congregation, the release adds. His performance of Kaddish will be preced ed by a brief talk by Rabbi Brenner J. Glick man, who will introduce the piece and explain the signicance of the Kaddish the Jewish prayer for the dead in Jewish ritual. For more information, call 371-2788. % Abe Feder/Contributed photo SARASOTA ORCHESTRA PRINCIPAL CELLIST FEDER TO DEBUT KADDISH I am so incredibly pleased, with my beautiful smile and my comfortable and natural bite. Barbara LeeFor a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Sarasota News Leader April 26, 2013 Page 113

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26+ APRIL Candida by George Bernard Shaw April 26-27 at 8 p.m., April 28 at 2 p.m., Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets: $29, evenings; $28, matinee; 351-8000 or 26+ APRIL FST Improv presents April Fools April 26-27, 8:30 p.m., John C. Court Cabaret, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Tickets: $12; 366-9000 or 26+ APRIL Venus in Fur (for mature audiences) Through April 28, 8 p.m. and some matinees; Historic Asolo Theater, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Tickets: $25 to $40; purchase at 351-8000 or 26+ APRIL Dabbert Gallery presents Lasting Impressions featuring ve local artists Through April 29, Dabbert Gallery, 76 S. Palm Ave. Free admission. Visit 11 MAY WSLR presents the Whitney James Jazz Quintet May 11, 7:30 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $12 in advance; $15 at the door; 894-6469 or 18 MAY Bryan Adams Solo and Acoustic Tour May 18, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $35 to $75; call 953-3368 or buy them online at 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:

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

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