Sarasota News Leader


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Sarasota News Leader
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Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
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Sarasota, FL


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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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COVER Inside ON THE LINE FOR FUNDS A RESORT WITHOUT A FUTURE? TENNIS, ANYONE? Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. THE SARASOTA News Leader The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida No. 36 May 24, 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


If Cooper Levey-Baker and I could have found a way to add more hours to our days this week, we would have been able to provide even more coverage of the Sarasota County Commission meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday than you will see in this issue. Then again, it is probably a very good thing for all of us that we cannot wave a magic wand and conjure up extra time. How would you ever nish reading the stories? And how much harder would we have to work to scrounge up ideas for the issue right after the Memorial Day holiday? Fortunately, too, for those of you who are not just interested in coun ty doings, Scott Proftt has updates this week both on the Sarasota High tennis courts issue and the effects of the Legislatures actions on the school districts budget. Reecting on the continuing controversies over the homeless in Sarasota, Stan Zimmerman has served up another meaty story in his own inimitable style. And on the Sarasota Leisure side, we present a sampling that ranges from a recap of the Harvey Milk Festival to chasing dashing tennis stars to chasing gorgeous butteries. While I generally plug our stories in this space, I realize this is an excellent opportunity once again to offer heartfelt thanks to our staff pho tographer, Norman Schimmel. Every week, he not only seeks out iconic shots for his Schim mel Sightings feature, but he also manages to be right there where I need him most at a County Commission meeting, on Main Street or at Benderson Park, offering us glimpses of the progress on the rowing venue. Without his photos to illustrate our stories, you would have some pretty dull pages to peruse. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


ON THE LINE FOR FUNDS NOT GIVING UP NEWS & COMMENTARY ON THE LINE FOR FUNDS 8 The international rowing federation wants Sarasota and Manatee counties to guarantee they will cover any shortfall if Benderson Park lands the 2017 World Rowing Championships and revenue does not cover expenses Rachel Brown Hackney A RESORT WITHOUT A FUTURE? 14 No Warm Mineral Springs resolution in sight Cooper Levey-Baker TENNIS, ANYONE? 18 The public peppers the School Board with protests about the pending demolition of Sarasota Highs tennis courts Scott Proftt SLO-MO RUMBLE 22 Analysis: The prospect of a railroad track tent city for the homeless in Sarasota is raising issues galore Stan Zimmerman THE SHERIFF AND THE EOC 26 The County Commission agrees a new Sheriffs Ofce campus should be adjacent to the planned Emergency Operations Center on Cattlemen Road Rachel Brown Hackney WERE HIRING 32 County beefs up permits, inspections and planning staff in response to increased development Cooper Levey-Baker REASSERTING THEIR REASONING 34 County commissioners decline a Planning Commission members suggestion for his board to be more engaged in the revising of the 2050 Plan Rachel Brown Hackney NOT GIVING UP 39 In a split vote, the County Commission turns down a request for parking restrictions on a Siesta Key street, seeking instead a recommendation from the Sheriffs Ofce and staff on how to handle problems Rachel Brown Hackney THE HITS KEEP COMING 45 Extra school funding initiatives approved by the Legislature pose more headaches for the Sarasota district Scott Proftt THE NEW CITY COMMISSION 48 Atwell and Chapman are sworn in; Snyder is elected mayor of Sarasota Staff Reports TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Afternoon Glow Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: A Three-Hour Tour Norman Schimmel No. 36 May 24, 2013


ARTS AND A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE CHASING RAFA NE WS BRIEFS 50 CRIME BLOTTER 58 OPINI ON EDITORIAL 62 Potential City Commission triumvirate a troubling development LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 64 SARASOTA LEISURE ARTS AND A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE 68 Harvey Milk Festival entertains as it urges people to stand up for tolerance Staff Reports ASK OTUS 72 Readers questions lead to explanations about birds and butteries Otus Rufous CHASING RAFA 83 A fan feeds her fantasy by traveling to Barcelona to see the tennis star win on the red clay courts Harriet Cuthbert SIESTA SEEN 86 Underage drinking during spring break, Wheelchair Man and July Fourth preparations all in the spotlight Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 92 RELIGION BRIEFS 97 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 99 SCHIMMEL SIG HTINGS 100 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For The Best Reading Experience Try Reading The Sarasota News Leader On Your Tablet No. 36 May 24, 2013


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After Chairwoman Nora Patterson said she was caught by surprise with the request just as they were, the members of the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council nally agreed unanimously on May 16 to go along with a new element of Nathan Benderson Parks bid to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships. They recommended that the County Com mission sign a letter guaranteeing it would co ver half of any shortfall up to a total esti mate of about $6 million if Benderson Park hosts the 2017 event and the resulting revenue does not pay for all the expenses. The County Commission is scheduled to vote on the request the rst week of June, Virgin ia Haley, president of the countys tourism office, Visit Saraso ta County, told the TDC during its regular meeting last week in Sarasota. Rowing teams prepare to compete at Benderson Park in mid-March, with construction materials as their backdrop. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE INTERNATIONAL ROWING FEDERATION WANTS SARASOTA AND MANATEE COUNTIES TO GUARANTEE THEY WILL COVER ANY SHORTFALL IF BENDERSON PARK LANDS THE 2017 WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS AND REVENUE DOES NOT COVER EXPENSES ON THE LINE FOR FUNDS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY I was somewhat surprised at this myself, but I think it will work out OK. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County


The Manatee County Tourist Development Council unanimously approved a similar mo tion the day before, Haley noted. The international rowing federation FISA is only used to dealing with governments, Haley explained. Generally, theyre countries, not even states and cities and counties. Therefore, she continued, when a FISA del egation visited the area in April to conduct a site inspection as part of Benderson Parks effort to win the 2017 World Championships, the delegation made it clear the letter from both counties should be part of the nal bid package, which is due in late June. Based on preliminary budget gures, Haley said, she anticipated the counties were being asked to guarantee between $2.5 million and $3 million each. However, she pointed out, money the Sarasota County Commission al ready has committed over the next ve years to help Benderson Park win the bid for the event is included in its share. During the Jan. 17 TDC meeting, Haley re ported that the total expenditure of Sarasota County tourist development tax revenue relat ed to the bid over ve years would be $1.178 million. Moreover, Haley said on May 16, I think we have a sound business plan to cover [the ex penses] and to make sure [no extra money would have to be paid]. When Patterson asked Paul Blackketter, chief operating ofcer of the SunCoast Aquatic Na ture Center Association (SANCA) which manages the rowing facilities in the two coun ties whether he felt certain the income Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 9 A January 2011 artists rendering shows how Benderson Parks rowing facilities may appear when completed. Image courtesy Sarasota County


from the World Rowing Championships would cover the total the counties were being asked to guarantee, he replied, I cant promise that actually; I dont think anybody would. However, Blackketter added, considering the projections for attendance and sponsorships, he felt the event has the potential of doing so. Patterson pressed him: Somebodys crunched some numbers to see if its even in the ball park, right? Aside from hoping? Its in the ballpark, yes, he replied. The guarantee is a standard operating pro cedure for that type of event, Blackketter pointed out. [FISA is] basically saying that the governments must back it, he added. Its our job to see if its feasible to do that, though, Patterson told him. SANCA has been working hard on the events budget, Blackketter said, and has condence in it. The No. 1 goal is to reimburse the coun ties investment, he added. When Patterson then asked whether the rev enue generated by the event is to come to the two counties a question one of the TDC members had asked earlier Blackketter said, Yes, thats correct. He missed the TDCs earlier discussion, he ex plained, because he had hosted Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and members of the Florida House for a tour of the rowing venue that day. It exceeded their expectations, he added. The state budget Gov. Rick Scott signed this week included another $5 million for the park facilities. VOICING WORRIES When the FISA delegation members met with representatives of the two counties last month, Haley pointed out, they went over the preliminary budget line by line. Even though we dont believe it would ever happen, Haley said of a shortfall, we believe you should go into this with a very conservative approach that considers the worst-case scenario. Patterson told the TDC members that County Administrator Randall Reid had just brought the issue to her attention the previous day. Nonetheless, she said, Were going to have to sign [this letter] if we want this event. It was really heartening, Patterson added, that the Manatee TDC was receptive to the idea. Haley noted that the Manatee TDC vote was unanimous. Sarasota County TDC member David Brenner, a member of the Longboat Town Commission, suggested the letter provide specics about what we might get stuck with. He wanted to make certain, he continued, that it also is clear about what event revenue is to come to the two counties. The anticipation, Patterson said earlier, is that the income from tickets, parking and T-shirt sales, for example, will cover the event ex penses. Regarding Brenners comments, Patterson said, I think those are very good suggestions. She added that she felt the County Attorneys Ofce would look over the letter pretty close ly before the County Commission signed any thing. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 10


Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 11 A chart shows projected Sarasota County expenses linked to landing the 2017 World Rowing Champi onships at Nathan Benderson Park. The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau would split the costs of items marked with ** according to county ofcials. Image courtesy Visit Sarasota County


Yet, when Pat terson asked if she had a copy of the type of letter FISA expects, Haley read what she called a very, very general docu ment. It mentioned no specics about reve nue. Haley did point out that the letter would spec ify the value of Euros at the time it is signed, to ensure the counties would not end up with a potentially bigger shortfall if the value of the euro uctuated signicantly over the next several years. Patterson then told her board members that if they did not feel they had enough information to act on the request, she understood. None theless, because of the need for the County Commission to act in early June, she said, the TDC would not have another chance to vote on it. Im sure therell be lots of questions at the commission table I would hope, she add ed. Vice Chairman John Ryan replied that his con cern was the lack o f detail. I understand the difculty, Patterson told him. I was somewhat surprised at this myself, but I think it will work out OK. The request would have been really tough if [the Manatee TDC] had not agreed to [the let ter], she added. And with great enthusiasm, Haley noted. Finally, after a few moments of silence, TDC member Sharon Cunningham made a motion to recommend the County Commission sign the letter. Patterson suggested it be eshed out to make certain the letter indicates the county will be committing to only half the shortfall. Cunningham agreed to that. Haley told the TDC that a Sarasota County commissioner and County Administrator Reid would be hand-delivering the bid package to FISA in July. The winner of the bid for the 2017 World Championships will be announced in early September in South Korea, Blackketter has said. % Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among sub scribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click to Subscribe Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 12


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Its been obvious for months that the North Port and Sarasota County commissions dont agree on how to move forward on Warm Mineral Springs, the 87-degree Fountain of Youth jointly purchased by the two boards in 2010, but this week showed they cant even agree on what they agreed to two months ago. Both com missions met this week to discuss a draft of an interlocal agreement drawn up by both city and coun ty staffers. The docu ment was intended to memoriali ze a rough agreement reached during a long, feisty me diation held April 17, and it contains a broad list of principles covering topics such as the process for the long-term development of the land, as well as how to identify a short-term management partner. That second piece is particularly vital since the contract with the company currently managing the springs runs out at the end of June. If the two com missions cant agree on how to oversee the Visitors relish the warm water of Warm Mineral Springs. Photo by Rachel Levey-Baker NO WARM MINERAL SPRINGS RESOLUTION IN SIGHT A RESORT WITHOUT A FUTURE? We gave it our best shot, and its clear we just have two different visions. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


short-term operati on of the springs, the attrac tion will close July 1. Nort h Port had rst crack at the interlocal document, and after 49 minutes of staff and public discussion, Commissioner Cheryl Cook quickly moved to reject the agreement. There are a number of inaccurate things in these files, she said, pointing out that while Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco had supported a long-term procurement process for the springs at the mediation, her abrupt the next morning should cancel out her consent. There should not even be in existence this interlocal, said Cook. The city and county do not have legal standing to vote on this doc ument because it memorializes an agreement that never happened. Vice Mayor Jim Blucher tried to nd middle ground, arguing DiFrancos ip-op only af fected the long-term plans for the springs and that the boards had indeed agreed to princi ples to guide a short-term contract. But the majority of the commission wasnt having it. Cook, DiFranco and Mayor Linda Yates even tually voted to reject the interlocal entire ly. The board also lat er voted 4-1 to shoot down a list of modi cations to the interlo cal suggested by Yates. The only thing they could agree on? An other meeting. The North Port city attor ney and manager asked the commission to request another mediation with the county, and the commissioners agreed unanimously. The next day, the County Commission tossed that idea on the scrap heap. County Administrator Randy Reid recom mended that his commission approve the in terlocal as proof of good faith and indicate that we did not wish to meet. Im extremely disappointed in the fact that they didnt even come up with a s olution last The Sarasota County Commission considers an agenda item on May 21. Photo by Rachel Hackney The city and county do not have legal standing to vote on this document because it memorializes an agreement that never happened. Cheryl Cook Commissioner City of North Port Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 15


night, said Comm issioner Christine Robin son. They didnt change the interlocal agree ment. The denition of insanity is repeating yourself over and over again. After joint meetings last summer and this spring, were repeating ourselves, she added. I dont know what a third meeting would do. Commissioner Joe Barbetta said the North Port board was making some wild state ments. Were wasting our time, he added. In the dispute resolution process you have gone through the joint public meeting if that fails, then the next step is mediation in the sense were used to in legal proceed ings, where representatives would meet, said County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh. There would not be a joint meeting. If they dont want to mediate, then weve done our best, he added. And if mediation fails? It allows one party or the other to sue, DeMarsh said. The County Commission eventually approved the interlocal agreement unanimously and said no to another joint sit-down. Commis sioner Charles Hines summed it up: We gave it our best shot, and its clear we just have two different visions. % The North Port City Commission. Photo courtesy City of North Port County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 16


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Whil e it might be said the Sarasota County School Board has been focused on budget is sues, most people at the boards May 21 reg ular meeting were focused on tennis or, rather, the lack thereof that will be the case quite soon at Sarasota High School. Big changes are imminent on the Sarasota High campus, starting this very summer. While the exterior of world-renowned architect Paul Rudolphs Building 4 will be saved, the tennis courts are slated for demolition to make way for a new vehicle loop to allow parents to pick up and drop off studen ts at the school. A number of neighborhood tennis players at tended the May 21 School Board meeting to speak about community/school interaction, the obesity and diabetes epidemic and the value of tennis courts. Among those who ad dressed the board was Elmer Berkel, one-time mayor and long-time resident of Sarasota. Some mentioned a long-ago agreement be tween the City of Sarasota and the board to keep the facilities in place, with the city hav ing paid to resurface the courts. Mike Lichet presented a petition signed by 750 people opposing the demolition. Supporters of a move to save the Sarasota High tennis courts sit together at the May 21 School Board meeting. Photo by Scott Proftt THE PUBLIC PEPPERS THE SCHOOL BOARD WITH PROTESTS ABOUT THE PENDING DEMOLITION OF SARASOTA HIGHS TENNIS COURTS TENNIS, ANYONE? By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


A sign marks the Payne Park Tennis Center in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Scott Proftt Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 19


Former City Com mission candidate Pete The isen questioned why all the board members were not in prison for their willingness to al low the loss of the courts. Resident Michael Figgins pointed out that high schools, unlike elementary and middle schools, have a limited need for student dropoff. Nonetheless, the School Board members seemed resolute in their decision to eliminate the tennis courts. Additionally, hundreds of emails reportedly have been sent to School Board members to argue for saving the courts. Comments at the meeting indicated more will be written. The next board session will likely see a re quest by Scott Lempe, the districts chief op erating ofcer, to fast-track the demolition so the vehicle loop will be ready for the start of the 2013-14 school year. At the same time, administrative staff and the School Board are looking into reopening the Brookside Middle School courts to the pub lic. That access was closed after an incident in which someone lit a bonre on the courts after school hours. While there are 12 Har-Tru courts at Payne Park in downtown Sarasota, people have to pay to use them. When this reporter dropped by those courts, known ofcially as the Payne Park Tennis Center, Sean Rogers, the program coordina tor at the city-owned/county-managed facili ty, was on hand. Rogers said he was familiar with the impending loss of courts at Sarasota High, a nd he expressed a willingness to work with the SHS tennis team and residents of that neighborhood. We want the community to use this facility, Rogers said. We will make every effort to ac commodate their needs, he added of the SHS tennis team. He also pointed out, Well be offering a sum mer special that comes to less than a dollar a day through September. The norm al rate is $8 an hour per player, with monthly passes starting at $82.50 and annual family passes around $750. Residents have been able to play at the SHS courts fo r free. % A player awaits a serve on a Payne Park ten nis court. Photo by Scott Proftt Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 20


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


A piece of property on the northeast corner of Washington Boulevard, along the Seminole Gulf Railroad tracks near 10 th Street, threatens to become a political bomb with a sputtering fuse. On May 6, Vallerie Guillory, executive director of Trinity Without Borders, announced she was in discussion with the owner of 1003 N. Wash ington Blvd. about using the property, and on May 21, she said it was under lease. Guillory wants to turn the 4-acre parcel into a tent city for Sara sotas homeless, and she believes her plan is almost ready to be launched. The neighbors with homes in adjacent Gillespie Park are agha st. Please dont turn our neighborhood into a shanty town, Wayne Zlair begged the city commissioners Monday evening, May 20. THE POOR HAVE BEEN WITH US FOREVER Virtually every religious tract in the world talks about the poor. Allah smiles on those who give alms. Matthew 26:11 says in part: The poor you will always have with you Sarasota has struggled with the homeless poor for decades. But in re cent times, the situa tion has changed. The numbers are growing. A bienni al survey and anecdotal data show the population is Plans are under way to create a tent city for the homeless at 1003 N. Washington Blvd. in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: THE PROSPECT OF A RAILROAD TRACK TENT CITY FOR THE HOMELESS IN SARASOTA IS RAISING ISSUES GALORE SLO-MO RUMBLE People on the street are engaged in this perpetual circumstance of moving. Tom Barwin City Manager By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Earlier this year, Florida Avenue was the scene of a homeless camp in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Florida Avenue was cleared of the homeless several weeks ago. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 23


gro wing at a faster pace than the overall city popul ation. The most visible homeless are those down town. Well after the peak of tourist season, the Salvation Army on May 21 housed 178 peo ple overnight, only two shy of lling all the 180 beds available at the 10 th Street facility. In reality, the homeless are everywhere. The Cel ery Fields northeast of downtown, Nokomis, Venice and North Port all have clandestine homeless camps. The only facilities and organizations focused on aiding the homeless in Sarasota County are in the City of Sarasota. So it is no surprise the clients are most visible in the city. They do not have a spokesman or a public relations ad vocate. Without some insight, understanding their plight is akin to blind men describing an elephant. THIS PERPETUAL CIRCUMSTANCE Homelessness is rootlessness, even in a com munity you might call home. No place is per manent. People on the street are engaged in this perpetual circumstance of moving, said City Manager Tom Barwin. He spoke to a long-standing focus group on Tuesday afternoon, May 21. Meeting since 2009, it is an informal, unappointed collec tion of caregivers, law enforcement ofcials and the homeless. It reports to no one and is exempt from Floridas Government in the Sunshine Laws. The members spoke candidly about what they knew, hoped and feared. And they let this reporter sit in. Much of the discussion centered on two Pi nellas County homeless facilities. One is adja cent to the county jail, called Safe Harbor. The sheriff staffs it, and to be blunt, it is for the losers the dopers, the psychos, the socio paths, the dangerous ones. It is the brainchild of Robert Marbut, of Marbut Consulting. Another facility, run by Catholic Charities, is called Pinellas Hope. It is self-described as the countys primary way station for the homeless, and it encompasses 13 acres and receives more than $1 million in public fund ing annually. About 800 people go through the facility each year. It allows no dopers, no pe dophiles and no alcohol. Background checks are required before people can enter Pinellas Hope. The Tampa Bay Times wrote, Organizers say they help move many into long-term housing, but their statistics show that nearly just as many four of 10 residents are likely to get kicked out, land in jail, or simply disap pear. Marbut was active in Clearwater a year ago under a $16,000 contract, where he urged a crackdown on lax police enforcement, public restrooms and public feeding of the homeless. There are efforts to bring Marbut to Sarasota. City Manager Tom Barwin sought collabora tion from the Sarasota County Commission in February to deal with the homeless. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 24


SPIN CY CLING One of the participants in the focus group was a civilian sheriffs employee who works at the county jail. On her own time, she came to participate. We keep spin-cycling, she said. Mental health and medical issues come rst. That will take care of most of the problems. But we have to x our mental health system. Floridas mental health system is not bro ken; it has vanished. When President Ronald Reagan closed the tap on federal funding for mental health care, facilities across Florida closed their doors. It is either family help or the streets for delusional people. Floridas Baker Act is only good for a three-day-stay at public expense in the psychiatric wing of a public hospital. Then the person is spin-cy cled back to the streets. The parting advice is always the same: Dont forget to take your meds. Sarasotas homeless population is not mono lithic. A fraction has addiction problems, and the list of addictive substances is long. Others are criminals without the overhead of a car or apartment. Barwin told the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations on May 4 that 13.3 percent of all robberies in 2012 were cleared with arrest of a person with no permanent address. For burglaries, the statistic was 23 percent. For all arrests felony and misde meanor 23.7 percent of those arrested had no address. While Barwin searches for a solution, two key city stakeholders are getting angry. Downtown merchants made their displeasure known May 6. Customers dont feel safe, one told the City Commission. And the owner of a building across the street fro m City Hall testied, We realized very quickly the side of our building was a toilet. Then on May 20, Gillespie Park residents trooped to City Hall to vent their concerns. Is this the direction the city should go? asked Dale Attic. Do you realize how hard this neighborhood has worked to come back as a great downtown neighborhood? Bill Holland of Gillespie Park said, A tent city would be a detriment to the area. And Linda Holland (no relation) said the Gillespie Park Neighborhood Association expresses con cern to any increased concentration of social services for the homeless in the downtown area. COMING SOON? Armed with a lease and her personal interpre tation of the zoning code, Vallerie Guillory is ready to start raising tents. Within a week, theres going to be a tent up there, she told the focus group, referring to the North Wash ington Boulevard site. Now that we have a license and a lease and a permitted use, they cant ght it. She said she will start conducting background checks on people who want to camp there, similar to the Pinellas Hope facility. And she is raising money to bring Marbut to town, collecting dollar bills and quarters from the homeless to defray his costs. City ofc ials do not believe the site is ap proved for a tent city, and they already have run off one camper. But Guillory is convinced the zoning code is on her side. The two top city zoning officials were not available at press time to conrm or deny her ability to erect a tent city on the property zoned com mercial-inte nsive. % Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 25


Saraso ta County Commissioner Joe Barbetta remained adamant this week on a point he has made numerous times in the past: The county should sell prime frontage property it owns on Cattlemen Road in stead of putting gov ernment structures there. However, he agreed with his fellow board members on May 21 that the future cam pus of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofces should be close to the countys new 911/Emer gency Operations Center at 1301 Cattlemen Road. Barbetta later did op pose the withdrawal of a petition to rezone a 2.1-acre parcel at that Cattlemen site ac tion the board initiat ed in August 2012 with an eye to the potential One option for a new Sheriffs Ofce campus would include structures fronting on Cattlemen Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION AGREES A NEW SHERIFFS OFFICE CAMPUS SHOULD BE ADJACENT TO THE PLANNED EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER ON CATTLEMEN ROAD THE SHERIFF AND THE EOC I think we should be choosing the ideal and safest site, and I think [the Cattlemen property] is it. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


sale of that property. Vice Chairman Charles Hines joined Barbetta in the 3-2 split vote. Bill Spitler, director of research and planning for the Sheriffs Ofce, had told the County Commission during its May 21 regular meet ing that Sheriff Tom Knight preferred relocat ing his facilities to the Cattlemen site because of the advantages of proximity to the EOC at the time of an emergency, such as a hurricane strike. Knight was unable to attend the session, Ed Gable, director of the countys Facilities Ser vices Ofce, told the commission. In response to a request for comment from The Sarasota News Leader, Knight said on May 22, As [the News Leader ] reported in January of this year, our facilities are vulnerable to nat ural disasters, personnel are spread between more than 20 different buildings and we are operating in about half the space currently needed for the size and caliber of this agen cy. He added, I am grateful that the Board of County Commissioners took seriously the space needs assessment that we provided to them and incorporated that information into their plans for the future. Ultimately, where and how this agency is housed is their deci sion, and we appreciate that they took anoth er step forward in this process. Although Gable had presented options for the new Sheriffs Of ce campus on two piec Option 2c calls for an eight-story Sheriffs Ofce facility at 1301 Cattlemen Road. Image Courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 27


es of county property kno wn as the Quads near the intersection of Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road Commissioner Christine Robinson pointed to potential drawbacks of those sites, including the fact they are in an area that could ood. When we were placing the EOC, she said, it was a painful process to choose the property. We would not even consider putting it in any sort of ood zone While she added that she respected Barbettas position about not building on prime highway frontage, the benets [of the Cattlemen site] outweigh it. It just doesnt make any sense to me to locate [the Sheriffs Ofce and EOC] apart. I think we should be choosing the ideal and safest site, Commissioner Nora Patterson added, and I think [the Cattlemen property] is it. I can accept putting [the sheriffs new facil ities] at Cattlemen Road, Barbetta told his colleagues, but he felt the best option was one Gable showed that called for an eight-story administrative and joint training facility with parking beneath it. That would still enable County staff proposed Sheriffs Ofce campus options at the intersection of Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 28


the county to sel l the 2.1 -acre parcel as well as another, 2.7-acre lot it owns on Cattlemen Road, he pointed out. He argued for the need to get those parcels on the county tax rolls, with the potential for extra ad valorem tax revenue stemming from their development. The money youd recoup from that wouldnt even make a dent in the cost of the [sheriffs] facilities, Patterson told him. During the boards rst discussion of the Cat tlemen Road site for the new sheriffs campus on March 20 Barbetta estimated the cost of the facilities at $150 million to $ 200 million. COMPARING COSTS In their nal vote on the topic during the May 21 meeting, Robinson made a motion request ing a scal and safety analysis comparing the construction of a three-story, 125,000-squarefoot building and an eight-story structure of the same size with a 500-space parking garage beneath it, as proposed in the option Barbetta preferred. Robinson noted that wind load would be a fac tor in the expense of the higher building. Gable already had told the commissioners that staff was a little concerned about the cost of Some existing Sheriffs Ofce facilities are in the Justice Center in downtown Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 29


the taller str ucture. Extra soil analysis would be required to see if the site could support an eight-story building if the board opted for that site plan, he noted. His experience, Gable continued, also led him to assert, It is more expensive the higher you go. During discus sion of the motion, Barbetta pointed out that a stormwater analysis also would be necessary for the surface parking lot that would have to serve the three-story structure. I think the numbers arent going to mean anything when we get them, he added of the analysis Robinson and Patterson wanted. The information might lead me to join your cause on this, Robinson told him. Patterson added that she felt a ballpark gure is pretty helpful. Barbetta argued that they had no way of knowing how much ad valorem tax revenue the county could realize over the next 20 years if it sold the two Cattlemen parcels. Only with that potential income factored in, he said, would the analysis make sense. If the cost of the two structures came out pretty close, Patterson told him, youd prob ably win the day. She the n pointed out, Its up to the commis sion whether they want the information or not. THE OPTIONS During the March meeting with Sheriff Knight and members of his staff, Spitler pointed out not only that the Sheriffs Ofce facilities are spread across the county, but also that evi dence and investigations are threatened by the inadequacies of some of those locations. One prime example he noted was the exposure of the sheriffs eet to the weather. Among those $7.3 million in assets, Spitler said, are special ized units, such as the one used in response to bomb threats. When Gable made his May 21 presentation to the commission he said staff used a 2.5-mile Commissioner Joe Barbetta. File photo No government building should be built on a major highway or prime piece of property that we own. Its just a waste. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 30


radius fro m the EOC site to select other po tential locations for the Sheriffs Ofce cam pus. Among the considerations was proximity to Interstate 75. The Quads satisfy most of the needs, Gable pointed out, and they are ready to be devel oped. Stormwater and utilities are ready to go, he said. However, staff would need to investigate potential problems with soil con tamination, Gable added, and the sites are in Flood Zone A. According to the countys Emergency Man agement Department, Zone A has a 1 percent chance of ooding in any year and a 26 per cent chance of ooding over a 30-year period. THE DEBATE After Gable completed his presentation, Bar betta pointed to the acreage available on the Quads sites and the fact they already have ll and utilities. He also reiterated a point he made during the August 2012 discussion and the March session with the sheriff: No gov ernment building should be built on a major highway or prime piece of property that we own. Its just a waste. Patterson, however, pointed to the synergy of placing the Sheriffs Ofce facilities adja cent to the new EOC, which is scheduled for completion in late 2014 or early 2015. Gable also noted that the Cattlemen site has easier access to I-75. If Sheriffs Ofce per sonnel needed to do so in an emergency, he said, they could drive right off the property and onto the interstate. Spitler told the board one concern about put ting the facilities on the Quads property would be the poten tial for ooding beneath I-75 at Palmer Boulevard: Wed have to go out to Fruitville Road and around to reach the EOC; it would not be the half-mile trip suggested by the map. Spitler added, though, I cant swear to that [ooding potential], but supposedly that [area] does ood. It has in the past. After Robinson made her motion to opt for the Cattlemen Road property, Hines thanked staff for presenting the pros and cons on the sites. While he agreed with Barbetta that govern ment should not use prime highway frontage for its own buildings, he said, the advantages of having the Sheriffs Ofce facilities at Cat tlemen outweighed that factor. At Barbettas suggestion, Robinson made two motions. The rst called for development of a plan of action to relocate the Sheriffs Of ce facilities to 1301 Cattlemen Road. After that passed unanimously, she made the sec ond motion to withdraw the authorization for rezoning of the county parcel on Cattlemen. Patterson voiced concern that if the board re zoned the property, it might have to end up rezoning the site again if the county needed it for part of the sheriffs campus. When Hines asked whether the matter could be tabled, County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh advised the commissioners that tabling the matter would in effect be treating it as a with drawal of the authorization for rezoning. Chairwoman Car olyn Mason then joined Rob inson and Patterson in supporting the motion to withdraw the pe tition. % Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 31


The number of Sarasota County permits and inspections has shot up over the last two years, and soon, so will the number of county staffers assigned to deal with them. The countys Planning and Development Ser vices department won approval from the Coun ty Commission Tues day, May 21, to hire nine new full-timers, a request sparked by a sharp uptick in the number of permit and inspection requests coming into the county. According to a staff report discussed Tuesday, in [scal year 2012] New Single Family hous ing permits increased 32% from [2011], noting the highest increases from July thru the end of the scal year. On top of that, the report found that 2013 is already quickly outpacing 2012: A chart shows that the number of sin gle-family permits is sued in February 2012 was almost doubled in February 2013, grow ing from 53 to 104. The beginning of [2013] permitting resi A house is under construction in the Forest Lakes area of Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney COUNTY BEEFS UP PERMITS, INSPECTIONS AND PLANNING STAFF IN RESPONSE TO INCREASED DEVELOPMENT WERE HIRING We need to have those phones answered. Randall Reid Administrator Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


dential and com mercial workloads continue to increase justifying the need for additional [full-time employees] to meet our expected level of customer service, the report argues. The county hasnt seen numbers like that since 2005, Greg Yantorno, the countys build ing ofcial, told the commission. The nine new positions will include one build ing plans examiner, four building code inspec tors, two planners and two customer service representatives. Those customer service reps are needed to deal with the extraordinary in crease in calls made to Planning and Devel opment Services, department Director Tom Polk told the commission. We have phone calls coming into the department that we just cant handle, he said. On-hold wait times can last as long as 20 minutes or a half-hour. We need to get that under control. One of the new planners will take the lead on overhauling the Sarasota 2050 plan, according to the staff report. In a controversial decision, the commission recently gave the go-ahead to begin modifying the detailed land-use plan in tended to promote walkable, mixed-use com munities, arguing that the 2050 plan was sti ing new construction. (See the related story in this issue.) The county wants a candidate with a strong New Urbanism/Design/FormBased-Coding background and emphasis to oversee the 2050 changes, the staff report says. Seven of the positions will be fully funded through additional revenue generated by the department, while sufcient funds already exist to cover the two planning jobs. The to tal ongoing annual cost for the new positions adds up to $730,000. County Administrator Randy Reid argued for the staff increase, pointing out that Planning and Development Services resources were the rst to land on the chopping block when the construction economy tanked. If the county wants to be a place where companies want to do business, we need to have those phones answered, he said. Commissioner Nora Patterson moved to ap prove the request immediately, but the motion died with no second. Im willing to trust you, as I indicated with my motion, that youre not going to hire people to stand around, she told Polk. After a short back-and-forth, during which Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Christine Rob inson and Charles Hines seemed to have their concerns assuaged, Patterson put her motion back out there, and it passed unanimously. Patterson said the permit and inspection numbers reect a growing sense of optimism about the economy, and the county should be ready to meet that demand: I think we need to be prepared. % Planning and Development Services Director Tom Polk. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 33


Roland Pi ccone is the only remaining mem ber of the Sarasota Planning Commission who worked on the countys 2050 Plan from its in ception. And when he started looking over all the ma terials he had accumu lated on that process since 1999 a vision for creating more walkable communities with greener spaces east of Interstate 75 he began having sec ond thoughts on a vote th e County Commission took on May 8. We are, in fact, designated as the local plan ning agency, he told the county commission ers during a joint meeting they hosted with the planning c ommission ers on May 22. And the statute is very clear on what the local planning agency does, Piccone continued. Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson listen to a presentation earlier this year. File photo COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DECLINE A PLANNING COMMISSION MEMBERS SUGGESTION FOR HIS BOARD TO BE MORE ENGAGED IN THE REVISING OF THE 2050 PLAN REASSERTING THEIR REASONING Absolutely no way is the Planning Commission or the public going to be cut out of this. Charles Hines Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Yet, it seemed one part of the process relat ed to potential changes in the plan had been omitted by the County Commissions vote a couple of weeks ago, he continued. Its a better product when it comes to you, he said, if the Planning Commission has been able to weigh in on it. I thought that possi bly we may be able to provide an element of vetting that might otherwise be missed, he added. Jono Miller, a former member of the countys Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee, made a similar point in public commen ts to the County Commission prior to a May 14 budget workshop. We may come up with something that might turn on the light switch for this, Piccone told the county commissioners, though he added, obviously its up to you guys. Still, he pointed out, If weve waited 10 years to review [the plan] again, waiting another two months may not have any effect whatsoever. Commissioner Christine Robinson responded, I actually was on the Planning Commission when I proposed that we add [a new look at A map shows the designation of areas of the county as applied through the 2050 Plan. Image cour tesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 35


2050] to our major issues. That was Septem ber 2010, when the process started. Robinson added, Anybody who says were speeding the process along is terribly mistak en, because were approaching three years of examining 2050 She also pointed out that she had attended the two public meetings county staff had held on the 2050 Plan before the County Commission discussed it on May 8. Not only were county documents available about the plan, she said, but other groups provided materials reecting their views on it. Moreover, Robinson told Piccone, We are not excluding the Planning Commission from this process. [The 2050 Plan] is going to go b ack to the public and back to the Planning Commission and back to us again. But for goodness sake, approaching three years to do this is just mind-boggling to me. The process epitomizes complaints the coun ty has received from people in the business community about difculties and delays they encounter dealing with county procedures, she added. Developers have complained to county com missioners that the 2050 guidelines are so strict, it is practically impossible to start projects. However, advocates of the plan have maintained the recession was the real reason development has not proceeded as envisioned. The 2050 Plan was designed to manage growth in the county east of Interstate 75. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 36


Weve got to d o something to get this mov ing, Robinson said. I dont disagree with you, Piccone told her. Whatever happens, he added, term limits will soon end his service on the Planning Commis sion. (His term is up in August.) Ill get my three minutes like anyone else will, he said, referring to the time limit for public comments at county meetings. Commissioner Nora Patterson who cast the lone No vote on May 8 told Piccone that she wanted a longer process for revising 2050, but the majority of the boards not going to reverse [its May 8 decision]. Nevertheless, she added, I think it would be a positive thing to have more Planning Com mission involvement. County Commissioner Charles Hines said he agreed with Robinson. I want to hear publicly from our staff what their suggestions are for revising the plan, he told Piccone. Staff members have been taking suggestions from the public and working with 2050, he pointed out. Theyve had to le a number of amend ments and varian ces to make this plan work. I want to hear points from staff Then it comes back to you and it comes back to the public. Hines added, Absolutely no way is the Plan ning Commission or the public going to be cut out of this. Commissioner Joe Barbetta also agreed with Robinson, he told Piccone. Were not gutting the plan, he said. There are about ve or six things that need to be changed, tweaked, to make it work. Otherwise, weve wasted $4 mil lion and 11 years. Patterson interjected as she had during an earlier board discussion that she wanted it to be clear, for the record, that the plan was still in draft form in July 2004, which made it only nine years old. The correct record is that it was passed in July 2002, Barbetta responded. A legal chal lenge tied it up in court for two years, he pointed out. Nine years of opportunity to implement it and it isnt working, Barbetta adde d. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 37


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As Siesta K ey resident Marlene Merkle put it to The Sarasota News Leader after a Saraso ta County Commission vote went against her on May 21, We can lose a battle, but we can still win the war. Splitting 3-2, the board denied Merkles re quest to ban parking on part of the south side of Avenida de Mayo the s treet on which she built her island home 25 years ago. Instead, the commis sion unanimously approved a motion calling for county transportation plan ning staff to work with the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office and countys EMS and Fire Department pe rsonnel A map shows the area of Avenida de Mayo where the parking ban was proposed. Image courtesy Sarasota County IN A SPLIT VOTE, THE COUNTY COMMISSION TURNS DOWN A REQUEST FOR PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON A SIESTA KEY STREET, SEEKING INSTEAD A RECOMMENDATION FROM THE SHERIFFS OFFICE AND STAFF ON HOW TO HANDLE PROBLEMS NOT GIVING UP We pay high property taxes with the expectation to enjoy a good quality of life, which includes safety as we use our properties. Marlene Merkle Resident Siesta Key By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


on a recommendation that addresses routine parking violations along Avenida de Mayo that potentially can make it impossible for an emergency vehicle to travel down the street. That motion, by Com missioner Nora Pat terson a Siesta resident also invit ed more comments from business own ers on the island and it requested staff to research the cost of establishing a residential parking permit pro gram for the affected area. The Siesta Key Association (SKA) had recom mended parking permits for residents on the south side of the road as well as a parking pro hibition on the north side of Avenida de Mayo and the erection of Tow Away Zone signs. Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Charles Hines were in the minority on the split vote; both agreed with Merkle and other speakers who voiced concerns about safety. Barbetta also refer enced a point Merkle had made to the board: Its not fair for people paying pretty substan tial property taxes to have this happening in their front yard, Bar betta said. If we saw cars that were there all day [in front of our homes], we wouldnt be very happy. However, Commissioner Christine Robinson pointed out that it is against the law to block a street. She also noted that the ban would have a real heavy-handed effect on not just businesses but also on the local residents Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson listen to remarks by Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner. Photo by Norman Schimmel This street was not designed to be a parking lot. Catherine Luckner President Siesta Key Association Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 40


if they have guests wh o need to park on the street. Patterson concurred with the latter remark. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason, who cast the deciding vote in the 3-2 denial of Merkles pe tition, said she preferred to see whether the Sheriffs Ofce could alleviate the problem without the implementation of parking restric tions. LAYING OUT THE DETAILS Merkle, SKA President Catherine Luckner and SKA Vice President Michael Shay all pointed to safety concerns as the reason for Merkles re quest for the parking ban on the south side of Avenida de Mayo, which connects Canal Road to Avenida del Norte just outside Siesta Village On March 11, the county Traffic Adviso ry Council (TAC) split on a motion to deny Merkles request. Because only four board members were present, Chairman Frank Do mingo recommended forwarding the matter to the County Commission, even though tie votes routinely serve as a denial of a petition. Merkle had sent county staff numerous photos showing cars parked on both sides of Avenida de Mayo including one of a vehicle parked next to a re hydrant, which is illegal. While parking spillover on her street was an occasional problem years ago during special events such as the spring Siesta Fiesta arts and crafts show, Merkle told the TAC mem bers it has become routine. A vehicle recently remained next to a re hydrant on Avenida de Mayo for eight hours, resident Marlene Merkle reported. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 41


She reiterated that point to the County Com mission. People leave vehicles on Avenida de Mayo because of its close proximity to beach accesses and Siesta Village, she said, and that results in the street being reduced to one lane. I dont know if [re trucks and rescue squads would] be able to get down our street if there were a true emergency, Merkle added. Moreove r, she said, people trying to access Avenida de Mayo from side streets and those backing out of driveways have great difculty seeing around the parked vehicles. She wit nessed a near accident on April 6, Merkle con tinued, and her neighbor nearly struck two youths on skateboards several weeks ago as the neighbor was attempting to back into the street. A photo documents several parking problems on Avenida de Mayo. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 42


Merkle continu ed, We pay high property tax es with the expectation to enjoy a good quality of life, which includes safety as we use our properties. Finally, she said, I do understand the value of business and tourism and the need for a shared effort as we grow our community, not ing she has been the executive vice president of the Venice Board of Realtors for more than 30 years. Nonetheless, Merkle told the board, some type of parking restriction needs to be put in place to guarantee two open passable lanes of use Luckner emphasized that last point: Its a safety issue for the residents, the business owners and especially for everyone that uses that street. Shay had measured the road, Luckner pointed out. The width ranges from 20.5 feet to 22.5 feet, she added. The SKA had checked with the county re marshal, Luckner said, and he had conrmed that an emergency vehicle needs 20 feet of unobstructed passageway. She also noted that Avenida de Mayo has no streetlights, which exacerbates the problems for residents and other people trying to use it at night. This street was not designed to be a parking lot, Luckner told the board. The only person who spoke against the peti tion on May 21 was Kevin Cooper, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Com merce. He told the board he was representing the Siesta Key Village Association as well. It is not the opinion of t he business commu nity on Siesta Key that it is in the best interest of Siesta Key or Sarasota County to begin re moving parking spaces from the key, particu larly those that surround our beaches and our commercial districts, he said, unless parking areas can be created to replace them. According to an exchange of email among Patterson, Luckner and Cooper a copy of which the News Leader obtained Patterson made certain on May 20 to alert Cooper to the fact that the Avenida de Mayo request would be on the commissions agenda the next day. Have the chamber and the Village Associa tion been aware of this? Patterson added in her email to Cooper. The News Leader learned of Merkles petition during the March 5 meeting of the Village As sociation, when board member Mark Smith provided information about it. Shay, who represents the SKA at the Village Association meetings, stressed to the News Leader on May 21, This is not the residents versus the businesses. This is a safety issue. Strictly safety. Transportation Planning Manager Paula Wiggins addresses the County Commission. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 43


DELVING INT O D ETAILS When Patterson asked Merkle whether Aveni da de Mayo residents understood they would not be able to park on their own street if a ban were put into effect, Merkle replied, I believe so. Regarding the 48 houses along the street, Merkle added, I dont believe there are any large families, to be honest. Patterson suggested one solution would be to widen the street and include standard curbing so people could park on the sides, with am ple travel room remaining. She likened that to the situation during the height of season on St. Armands, where people regularly park in front of homes. (Patterson earlier noted that Avenida de Mayo has low or no curbing.) That would be great if the county would do that, Merkle responded. Then Patterson told her, Thats a pretty ex pensive venture. When Hines asked whether staff had commu nicated with the Sheriffs Ofce about Merkles petition, Paula Wiggins, the countys trans portation planning manager, said she was not sure the ofce had been asked for comments, except for those of the ofcer serving on the TAC. (TAC member Sgt. Darrell Seckendorf of the Sheriffs Ofce seconded the motion to deny Merkles request after she appeared be fore that board on March 11.) Hines co ntinued, Tickets can be written based on what Im looking at in these pic tures, referring to the photos Merkle had sub mitted to the c ounty. I dont know if they have been issuing tickets or not, Wiggins responded. As a former prosecutor, Robinson pointed out, I can probably write about a dozen tick ets Merkle told the News Leader that in all her 25 years on Avenida de Mayo, Ive never seen anyone get a ticket When Patterson asked Wiggins how many spaces would be lost if the parking were pro hibited on the south side of the street from Canal Road to Avenida de Cortez, Wiggins said her estimate was 14 or 15. Merkle told the News Leader only 10 spaces would be lost, because the extra vehicles in Wiggins count were parking in front of drive ways. Patterson told her fellow board members, I think we need a more sophisticated solution [than parking restrictions] and, frankly, I think we need to provide more parking on the key, more legitimate parking. Robinson reiterated the need to work with the Sheriffs Ofce on enforcement before imple menting parking restrictions, adding that she also feared a domino effect, with residents on other Siesta Key residential streets seeking similar protection if the County Commission approved the request. However, Luckner pointed out to the News Leader after the meeting that Sheriffs Ofce personnel have told the SKA board numerous times in recent years that only three deputies per shift routinely patrol Siesta Key. There is insufcient staff to provide routine parking enforcement, Luckner said. % Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 44


Durin g t he May 21 Sarasota County School Board workshop, Al Weidner, the deputy chief nancial ofcer for the district, once again made the case for further cuts to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget with the Florida Legisla ture this year having created more school-re lated mandates with out providing money for them. It also approved an increase i n the local millage rate a re sponsibility it handles by law. Tax rolls are su pposed to go up by 12.5 mills, noted Weidner. The Legislature funded our teacher pay in creases by raising local taxes, School Board member Shirley Brown, who previously served in the Legislature, summed it up. I think the im portant thing to re member is that the state legislated the increase, not us, board member Carol Todd pointed out. Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner discusses budget matters with the School Board late last year. Photo by Scott Proftt EXTRA SCHOOL FUNDING INITIATIVES APPROVED BY THE LEGISLATURE POSE MORE HEADACHES FOR THE SARASOTA DISTRICT THE HITS KEEP COMING The Legislature funded our teacher pay increases by raising local taxes. Shirley Brown School Board Member Sarasota County By Scott Proftt Staff Writer


The School Board and district administrative staff had been waiting for the Legislature to complete its budget before taking another look at local spending and anticipated ex penses. Final approval of the district budget will come in September, but the preliminary spending plan will be adopted in July. Among the Legislatures actions this year was approval of $3,500 in bonus pay per teach er. However, details about how that money will actually ow to the teachers remain to be hashed out between district administra tors and unions all over the state. In Sarasota Countys case, the administrative staff will ne gotiate with the Sarasota Classied/Teachers Association. And that is not the only aspect of the bonus es that necessitates more explanation. When asked if state money would cover the extra pay, Weidner, said, No, it does not cover the requisite increase; [it is] closer to $2,300 per teacher. Long-time board member Caroline Zucker asked if the money was for teachers or all em ployees. I anticipate further clarications, but right now it would be for all staff, instructional and classied, Weidner replied. Classied refers to most of the other district employees who are not involved directly in teaching. Another act by the Legislature the district like ly will end up having to cover, according to Weidner, will be an allocation of an extra $250 per teacher for classroom supplies. Teachers The Florida Legislature approved a number of measures this year related to school funding. Photo by iStock Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 46


have had to resor t to buying many of their own supplies for a long time. Yet another signicant change in school fund ing revolves around the proliferation of virtual schools, or the offering of online courses. The Legislature has mandated that every student take online courses, but it also has decreed that the districts will pay for them. I guess the good news is, that at the end of this year we will still be above our reserve, Weidner told the board members, reecting on the expected state funding. The districts reserve account represents 7.5 percent of its operating expenses. With about $30 million, the account used to be thought of as a rainy day fund, but it is actually a bit more complicated than t hat. The schools need money each year before the county property tax revenue comes in. In fact, they need a lot of money. School starts in late August, but most people send their checks to the Sarasota County Tax Collector in December or January, so there are several months when lots of mon ey is being spent and not much is coming in. The School Board can borrow money, but that means interest payments. Moreover, while pundits, politicians and some regular people are seeing great improvements in the states economy, others are not. Count school district administrators among the lat ter group. Yes, the real estate market is re covering, but it has not recovered completely, meaning ad valorem tax values are still down. Sarasota County lost about 40 percent of the worth of its property from 2005 to 2012. % Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a weekly notication when the latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 47


The City of Sar asotas two at-large commis sioners, Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman, were sworn into ofce on Friday afternoon, May 17, during a statutory City Commission meeting. They were the winners of the May 14 runoff with a third candidate, Richard Dorfman. Following the ceremony, District 3 Commis sioner Shannon Snyder was selected by the City Commission to serve as mayor for the next year. Chapman had nominated Vice May or Willie Shaw for the position. Then Com missioner Paul Caragiulo nominated Snyder. Atwell voted for Snyder. Shaw was chosen to serve again as vice may or. Prior to the selection of the new mayor, Atwell presented the State of the City address. Snyder presided over his rst regular City Commission meeting on May 20. % City Commissioners Suzanne Atwell (left) and Susan Chapman take the oath of ofce from City Au ditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini. Photos by Norman Schimmel ATWELL AND CHAPMAN ARE SWORN IN; SNYDER IS ELECTED MAYOR OF SARASOTA THE NEW CITY COMMISSION Staff Reports


Shannon Snyder takes the mayors position at the dais. Outgoing Mayor Suzanne Atwell gives the State of the City address. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 49


The Sarasota Patriotic Observance Commit tee and the Venice Area Veterans Council, in coordination with Sarasota Countys Veterans Benets Unit, have announced plans for Me morial Day parades and ceremonies in Sara sota and Venice. The Sarasota parade will begin at 10 a.m. Mon day, May 27, at Main Street and Osprey Ave nue. Entries will move west along Main Street to Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park on Gulfstream Avenue. The ceremony at Hamel Park will begin imme diately after the parade, a county news release says. John Rosentrater, director of Sarasota National Cemetery, will be the guest speaker. Among the marching units will be veterans service organizations, law enforcement agen cies, re departments and their color guards, civic organizations, high school bands, Re serve Ofcer Training Corps members and veterans with historical military equipment. The theme of the Sarasota parade and cere mony is Never Forget the release says. The parade and ceremony are opportunities for citizens of Sarasota to honor veterans of the armed services, police ofcers, Sheriffs Ofce deputies, reghters and emergency medical personnel, said Patriotic Observance Committee President Dan Kunkel in the re lease. The cities of Venice and Sarasota will host Memorial Day parades on May 27. Photo by Norman Schimmel VETERANS PLAN MEMORIAL DAY PARADES AND CEREMONIES NEWS BRIEFS


The Venice cer emony, hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8118, will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at Patriots Park at the northern junction of Business 41 and Bypass 41. The guest speaker will be Randy Smith, who, as a 17-year-old Marine, lowered the ag Flags y at Patriots park in Venice. Photo by Norman Schimmel at th e American Embassy in Saigon on April 29, 1975, the release notes. He left on one of the last helicopters departing from Vietnam, it adds. Attendees to the events should bring their own chairs. Water will be provided, the release sa ys. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 51


Zero percent d eferr ed home repair loans are available for eligible homeowners through the Sarasota Ofce of Housing and Community Development, the city has announced. The program allows income-eligible home owners to improve their houses by making necessary repairs such as adding new roofs, air conditioning, windows and doors, a news release says. No monthly payment is required, the release notes, adding, The loan will be repaid when the home is sold, no longer owner occupied or in 30 years, whichever comes rst. The maximum loan is $60,000, the release says. Individuals must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the program: INTEREST-FREE HOME REPAIR LOANS AVAILABLE Home v alu e cannot exceed $272,195. Income must fall within program guide lines: For a one-person household max imum income of $33,550; for a two-person household, $38,350; and for a four-person household, $47,900. Property must be owner-occupied and lo cated within Sarasota County. The owner must be current with property taxes. For more information, visit http://www.ohcd. or contact Jane Hindall, Sarasota Ofce of Housing and Community Development program manager, at 951-3640. Fifteen high school seniors from area public schools who took part in The Ringling Col lege Library Association (RCLA) Town Hall Lecture Series have been selected to receive college scholarships from the Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf Town Hall Scholarship Fund and the Dorothy B. Templeton Scholarship Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County (CFSC) and the RCLA, the Community Foundation has an nounced. The students were among the more than 120 high school seniors sponsored by CFSC and private donors, with signicant organization al support from the Sarasota County School District, to attend one of the ve RCLA 2013 evening lectures at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall as RCLA Town Hall Scholars, a news release says. FIFTEEN RCLA TOWN HALL SCHOLARS AWARDED SCHOLARSHIPS School principals selected students to attend based upon academics and community ser vice, the release notes. After the lectures, the seniors were invited to submit a 900-word essay about their experiences meeting and listening to the presentations of Walter Isaac son, Robert Gates, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Capt. Mark Kelly and Tom Brokaw. The 15 top essayists, selected from 52 ap plicants, were each awarded $2,000 college scholarships and were recognized at the Sara sota County School Board meeting on May 21, the release notes. Two students read excerpts from their essays. Scholarships were awarded to Ellis Adler, Sarasota High School; Alexandra Barth, Car dinal Mooney High School; Katarina Boehm, Booker High Scho ol; Sarah Brickman, Pine Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 52


The Ringling Town Hall Scholars gather with (far left) Ringling College Library Association Pres ident Kristine Nickel and Community Foundation of Sarasota County President and CEO Roxie Jerde, (far right, front row) scholarship funders Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf and (far right, back row) CFSC Grants and Scholarships Coordinator Earl Young. Photos by Sharon Kunkel/Community Foundation of Sarasota County Pine View students Arjun Byju, Laura OConnell, Sarah Brickman and Sneha Pandya with Princi pal Steve Largo. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 53


View School; Arjun Byju, Pine View School; Zachary Carroll, Venice High School; Cristina Chiodi, Riverview High School; Alicia Miller, Venice High School; Jacquelyn Mogensen, Sarasota High School; Brittany Molinari, Lakewood Ranch High School; Ljubica Ni kolic, Booker High School; Laura OConnell, Pine View School; Sneha Pandya, Pine View School; Christopher Rollins, Sarasota High School; and Carolyn Silverman, Booker High School. Were so delighted to partner with our do nors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf, Ringling College Library Association and the Sarasota County school district on this wonderful pro gram, said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO Riverview student Christina Chiodi with Principal Linda Nook. of the Commun ity Foundation of Sarasota County, in the release. With the support and passion of our donors, we invest heavily in literacy, education and scholarships and the Town Hall Scholars program is a combination of all of those areas of focus. Not only do area students get the benet of hearing from a wide range of inuential thinkers and articulate what they learned through the essay, they also get to carry that learning into their college ex perience, she added in the release. Town Hall Scholars is a very special pro gram that has become a great connector for the Town Hall Lecture Series to the Saraso ta youth, said Stephanie Grosskreutz, chair woman of the 2013 RCLA Town Hall Lecture Series, in the release. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 54


The Sarasota County Commission on May 21 approved a $7.7 million contract amendment for construction of a new Gulf Gate Library at the site of the existing library, 7112 Curtiss Ave., Sarasota. As the Construction Manager at Risk for the project, Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. of Sarasota will manage the building of the 25,800-square-foot, two-story library, a coun ty news release notes. Construction is expected to start in June and be completed in late summer 2014, according to the news release. The County Commission hired the Willis A. Smith rm in June 2012 for preconstruction management services for the rst phase of the library project, the release adds. That $65,000 contract included reviews of design and con struction elements, preparation of project es timates, bidding assistance and construction administration. The cont ract amendment approved by the board this week includes a Guaranteed Max imum Price (GMP) for construction of the library, incorporating the latest practices in service delivery with more traditional li brary services, the release says. The new library will offer lending, reference, children and youth services; public access computers and wireless Internet access; informational and educational programs; automated book returns and sorting; and community gather ing places such as meeting rooms, the release points out. Harvard Jolly Inc. of Sarasota and St. Peters burg provided architectural and engineering services for the project. Since closing at the Curtiss Avenue site in February, Gulf Gate Library has been housed in temporary but larger quarters of more than 18,000 square feet less than 2 miles away, at the southern end of the Westeld Sarasota Square Mall, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail. The library had been at the Curtiss Avenue site since 1983. An architects rendering shows the concept for the design of the new Gulf Gate Library. Image cour tesy of Sarasota County CONTRACT AMENDMENT OKD FOR GULF GATE LIBRARY PROJECT Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 55


High Five Dragon Boat LLC is seeking teams from Sarasota and Manatee counties to com pete in the dragon boat races to be showcased at the 2013 Sarasota Bay Water Festival. The regional event will be held at City Islands Ken Thompson Park on Saturday, Nov. 2, a news release says. High Five provides each registered team with a boat, paddles, life vests, a steersperson and training prior to the event, the release adds. The training includes practicing the proper paddling techniques and racing etiquette, it notes. Each dragon boat is 42 feet in length. Coed teams consist of 20 paddlers, with a minimum of eight being female, the release continues. Participants must be 14 years of age or older. The races involve three race heats during the day on a 350-meter course. Participants may enjoy activities at the Water Festival between the scheduled heats, the release adds. This is a great way for local businesses and other organizations to encourage team-build ing while promoting their brand, said Chris tine Canevari with High Five in the release. We already have teams committed from the Tampa Bay area, she added in the release, noting the goal is to add more teams from Sarasota and Manatee counties. Dragon boat racing is popular worldwide, with hundreds of events each year throughout the U.S. and many other nations, the release points out. Most participants race for fun, it notes, but there are also highly competitive club-level teams. The world championship was held in Tampa in 2011. Registration information about the Nov. 2 event and guidelines are available at saraso Dragon Boat Races are among the activities at the 2013 Sarasota Bay Water Festival. Contributed photo LOCAL TEAMS SOUGHT FOR FESTIVALS DRAGON BOAT RACES Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 56


Most Sarasota Coun ty government ofces, li braries, recreation centers and transit services will be closed Monday, May 27, to observe the national Memorial Day holiday, the county has announced. However, Payne Park Tennis Center will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the Arling ton Park Recreation Center will be open from noon to 5 p.m., a news release says. Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will not operate on Memorial Day. The collection schedule for solid waste, yard waste and recyclables will not change, the release adds. MOST COUNTY OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY The land ll at 4000 Knights Trail Road in No komis will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; however, the administrative ofce will be closed. Also closed will be Sarasota Countys chemical col lection centers at 8750 Bee Ridge Road, Sara sota, and 250 S. Jackson Road, Venice. The chemical collection center at 4010 Knights Trail Road, Nokomis, will be open on May 27, the release notes. For more information about Memorial Day schedules, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 (TTY 7-1-1). Keep Sarasota County Beaut iful (KSCB) has nished gathering data from the Great Amer ican Cleanup held on April 27, with the pro gram coordinator reporting that more than 680 volunteers picked up 6,371 pounds of trash, recyclables and other refuse at loca tions across the county, the county has an nounced. The Great American Cleanup brought a va riety of residents together from individual seniors to families with young children to clean our parks, neighborhoods and beach es, said Wendi Crisp, KSCB program coordi nator, in a news release. It was an incredible turnout and a testament to just how much the residents of Sarasota County love their com munity, she added in the release. Altogether, volunteers donated more than 1,500 hours to the effort, the release notes. The Great American Cleanup has made an impact on Sarasota County by creating a cleaner, safer and more beautiful environment for more than 20 years, the release continues. The nations largest cleanup, beautication and community improvement program is built on a foundation of individual responsibility and civic pride. % TONS OF TRASH COLLECTED DURING GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 57


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested a woman for allegedly defrauding her Tampa employer of more than $56,000 over a period of 13 months. The manager of Broadspire, a division of Crawford & Co. that handles workers com pensation claims, reported a grand theft of tens of thousands of dollars, according to a Sheriffs Office report. Firm employees learned of the impropriety from a client who received a 1099 tax form from Broadspire that reected more than the amount received in benets, the report says. The Tampa Police Department contacted Sarasota County detec tives, because an internal audit of Broadspire records indicat ed Joanne Bell, 37, of 525 Hand Ave., Sarasota, was involved, the report notes. The investigation revealed that Bell, who worked as a claims examiner, issued four checks in the clients name but mailed them to her post ofce box in Sarasota, the report says. Ultimately, 35 checks totaling $56,195.66 were sent to Bell and deposited into her Chase Bank account between November 2011 and January 2013, the report continues. Bell was arrested May 20 and charged with Scheme to Defraud. She was released from the Sarasota County Jail after posting $20,000 bond, the report notes. Joanne Bell/Contributed photo WOMAN ARRESTED IN FRAUD CASE INVOLVING MORE THAN $56,000 CRIME BLOTTER


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has ar rested Robert Kulsar, 18, of 2541 Englewood Road, Englewood, on child pornography charges. Detectives learned that a computer user in Sarasota County was downloading and shar ing child pornography on the Internet, us ing peer-to-peer software from a specic IP address, a Sheriffs Ofce report says. After viewing an extensive list of les available from that address, the report continues, detectives determined many of the titles suggested con tent including sexual abuse or sexual exploita tion of children. Detectives executed a search warrant on May 22 at the location for that IP address, which is Kulsars residence, the report adds. A fo rensic examination of his computer revealed more than 32 images containing children in volved in sexual conduct, the report says. ENGLEWOOD MAN CHARGED IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE Robert Kulsar/Contributed photo Kulsar is charged with 18 counts of Promo tion of Sexual Performance by a Child and 32 counts of Possession of Sexual Performance by a Child. He is being held in the Sarasota County Jail without bond. The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Ofce is again participating in the National Click It or Ticket Campaign to save lives and remind motorists that the law requires them to buckle up. Through June 2, law enforcement agencies throughout the United States are intensifying efforts to enforce seat belt laws for all motor ists around the clock, a Sheriffs Ofce news release notes. In Sarasota County, failing to wear a seatbelt will cost drivers $116. Every year during the Memorial Day holiday, agencies join forces to send one clear mes sage: 24 hours a day, seven days a week and from coast to coast, Click it or Ticket, the release points out. In Florida, all motorists are required to buckle up when riding in the front seat, and passen gers under the age of 18 must use proper seat restraints regardless of where they are posi tioned in the vehicle, the release adds. Thanks to awareness campaigns such as this, the National Highway Trafc Safety Admin istration (NHTSA) reports that seat belt use reached 86 percent in 2012, an increase from 84 percent the year before, the release notes. According to NHTSA research, men ages 18 to 34 are least likely to buckle up. CLICK IT OR TICKET CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY IN COUNTY Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 59


The Sarasot a County Sheriffs Ofce will use enhanced trafc enforcement over the Memo rial Day weekend to keep streets safe and take impaired drivers off the road, the ofce has announced. Deputies will use saturation patrols over the Memorial Day holiday weekend to look for trafc offenses, motorists driving without a li cense, those with warrants and drunk drivers. Instead of setting up what is known as a DUI checkpoint, a number of Patrol and Trafc deputies will work targeted zones at the same time and monitor the activity of motorists, a news release says. These saturation patrols will take place in different areas of the coun ty, it adds. Aggressive drivers and people who get be hind the wheel while impaired put themselves and others at risk, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. We want citizens and visitors to know we are working diligently to ensure their safety on Sa rasota County roads. % Sheriff Tom Knight/Contributed photo SHERIFFS OFFICE TO RAMP UP TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among sub scribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click to Subscribe Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 60


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EDITORIAL OPINION POTENTIAL CITY COMMISSION TRIUMVIRATE A TROUBLING DEVELOPMENT EDITORIAL Newly elected City Commissioner Susan Chapman took her place beside Mayor Su zanne Atwell, who had been re-elected to a second term, at the swearing-in ceremony that preceded the City Commission meeting on May 17. Once they had joined the other three com missioners on the dais, the rst order of busi ness was the election of a mayor to serve in the largely ceremonial post for the next year. Atwell had surprised many when she was elected to a second one-year term as may or in May 2012. And, given her first-place finish in the r unoff election on May 14, man y thought she could earn another term from her fellow commis sioners. Since none other than commissioner Paul Caragiulo publicly broached that possi bility, there was good reason for her optimism. Susan Chapman wasted no time in nominating Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, who many observ ers thought had earned his place at the center of the table. But only the most cold-hearted would have failed to wince at the crestfallen expression on Atwells face when Paul Cara giulo then nominat ed Shannon Snyder. Atwell waited in vain for someone else to place a third name in nomination, perhaps not reali zing that she We never have liked the notion of commissioners having a turn at mayor.


was the only remai ning member not yet com mitted. Then the nominations were closed and a vote was taken, with Atwell joining Snyder and Caragiulo in electing Snyder as mayor, and Shaw and Chapman voting for Shaw. With that important rst vote, much was re vealed about the prospects for the City Com mission and, by extension, the city itself for the next two years: A voting bloc made up of Snyder, Caragiulo and Atwell could re dene how important issues in the city are dealt with in the immediate future. We have two signicant concerns about this potential development. First, we never have liked the notion of com missioners having a turn at mayor. Admit tedly, it is largely a ceremonial post, but it still makes the individual holding that ofce for better or worse the face of the city. Snyder, however, was not even next in line for the job. That would have been Vice May or Willie Shaw. In addition, Snyder never has impressed us as the intellectual pillar of the commission, nor has he the reputation of a philosopher. In fact, his term on the City Com mission has been similar to Antonin Scalias term on the U.S. Supreme Court: He often has something to say, but it typically is not awe-in spiring. For example, to preserve the Paul Rudolph-de signed Building 4 at Sarasota High School, he suggested that students move back into the abandoned facility on Tamiami Trail, which is slated to become the Sarasota Museum of Art. Apparently, he was unaware of evolving standard s for public school facilities, which made the old campus wholly unsuitable. He also has fretted about the difculty pedes trians have crossing Fruitville Road in down town Sarasota. His proposed solution, for a vi tal trafc artery that is the principal east-west corridor feeding downtown and connecting to the north-south U.S. 41 corridor, is to ta per the already narrow four-lane street to two lanes and add landscaping and other features to make it more resemble Main Street. This indicates he does not have sufcient exper tise in trafc engineering to fully comprehend the concept of a bottleneck and its negative impact on trafc ow. But at least pedestrian movement across Fruitville would be eased, as people threaded their way between the many wrecks that would block the remaining two lanes. He also is the principal advocate on the City Commission for the city to end participation in the Community Redevelopment Area. He does not mind if the county continues to pour funding into the CRA; he just does not want the city to do so (and the county understand ably is weighing whether to continue such a one-sided relationship). Downtown Sarasota will be the loser. With Snyder occupying the mayors seat, we fear even more ahem! unconventional proposals. Even worse, the voting bloc of Snyder, Caragi ulo and Atwell does not ll us with optimism about the citys progress in the next year. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 63


As Ter ry Turner pointed out in taking his leave from the City Commission, the city faces some signicant problems in the months ahead. Giv en the incumbents lack of progress in dealing with those problems, we had hoped Chapman would be able to assume a larger role in ar ticulating some possible solutions. But, as things now stand, we fear she largely will be ignored, and the city will continue to struggle. That makes the former mayor, ironically, the linchpin in the citys future progress or lack there of. % Whe n we c onsider which commissioners might be most likely to put aside personal prejudices or self-interests in considering ac tions for the good of the city, we think rst of Shaw and Chapman. We had hoped Atwell would have aligned herself with these com missioners to form a voting bloc more likely to advance an agenda that would positively benet the city. But Atwell may be more concerned about be ing liked, so she appears to have cast her lot with Snyder and Caragiulo. While the results of this collaboration have yet to play out, we are not hopeful about them. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR To the ed itor: To say I was disappointed to read a blatant anti-Obama screed in the pages of The Pro gressive Voice of Southwest Florida is an understatement ( The Tao of Barack Hussein Obama May 17). If I had not been reading it on my iPad, I would have looked to see if I had inadvertently picked up a copy of the rightwing Sarasota Observer The Right wastes no opportunity to discred it the Obama presidency by elevating every single untoward occurrence to the level of worst scandal in history. In this case, it has dishonored Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the others who died in Benghazi during the attack on Sept. 11, 2012. While security in Benghazi might have been inadequate, Republicans in Congress have to accept some of the responsibility. After all, they tried to strip $450 million from the presi dents budget for embassy security stafng in 2011 and 2012. Interestingly enough, congressional Republi cans also seem to have developed collective amnesia regarding the 54 attacks on U.S. dip lomatic targets during George W. Bushs ad ministration; yet, those resulted in a far great er loss of life. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 64


Editors Note: We appreciate the many ex pressions of concern we received about the commentary that ran in our May 17 issue. Like most new s publications, whether ac knowledged as liberal or conservative, we seek to provide essays that reect the full spectrum of opinion. Regardless, we also rec ognize that the responsibility of a commu nity newspaper is to provide comprehensive coverage of events in that community and to provide opinion relevant to that prima ry mission. Accordingly, we will henceforth limit non-editorial commentaries to local and state topics. Finally, R epublic ans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have falsely portrayed the testimony of Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Tripoli at the time of the Benghazi attack, omitting portions of his testimony given during the pre-hearing interview with the committee that did not support the Republicans anti-Obama narrative. The Right, including your columnist, also have insinuated that Mr. Hicks was demoted because he was not loyal to the administra tions account of events. A more likely reason for his stalled career might be his failure on two occasions to answer emergency phone calls from Ambassador Stevens during the Benghazi attack, when Ambassador Stevens was trying to alert the embassy to what was happening. Public concern over the IRS handling of con servative nonprot applications or the FBIs secret monitoring of AP phone records might be legitimate areas of concern and fodder for righteous Republican indignation but the Republicans continue to focus almost ex clusively on Benghazi. Why? Because their greatest fear is losing yet another presidential election. They arent really concerned about preventing future terrorist attacks against American interests. They just want to do any thing possible to keep former Secretary of State Hillar y Rodham Clinton from winning the White House in 2016. Now that is tragic! Darryl Wilson Sarasot a LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and oth er factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spell ing, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 65




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For the fourth consecutive year, Sarasota rev elers with a social conscience made the most of an event created to honor the life and work of Harvey Milk, the rst openly gay man elect ed to public ofce in California. Harvey Milk Festival President Shannon Fort ner described the event held May 16-18 as a call to action. And while it featured art and music, it also offered plenty of opportunities for participants to reect on Milks legacy. % (Above) The Beyond Bullying exhibit at The Equality Gallery on May 17 included among its works Holy Roller by George Box (center) and paintings Grief by Alan ReNae Neal, look too soon by Cait lin Burns, Being Real in the Reels by Professor Oni, Untitled by John Lichtenstein, Green Hearts Escape by Heather Manley and Occupy This by Suzy Kelly. All photos by Arielle Scherr HARVEY MILK FESTIVAL ENTERTAINS AS IT URGES PEOPLE TO STAND UP FOR TOLERANCE ARTS AND A SOCIAL CONSCIENCE Staff Reports


During a candlelight vigil that honored Harvey Milk, a short documentary The Milk Effect was shown about his impact on LGBTQ politicians. New York band Clementine and the Galaxy performs on May 18. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 69


Robert Perlick-Molinari (foreground) and his brother, David, delight the crowd as part of French Horn Rebellion. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 70


Sarasota band MeteorEYES performs on May 18. The lead singer, Shannon Fortner (center), is also the president of the Harvey Milk Festival. Graduating New College of Florida student Kyra Berman-Gestring paints in The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path, a maze made of plywood which appeared to symbolize LGBTQ persons experiences in the world as they relate to equality and coming out. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 71


ASK OTUS Dear Readers, I have a veritable ol l a podrida of Florida na ture photos as well as questions in my Inbox that I would like you to enjoy before the stews heady fragrance turns! First, Mark DeWitte, who lives in Osprey, wrote, Dear Otus, Ill bet you cant tell us what this bird is. Weve been seeing and hearing it a lot lately but it stays so high up in the trees and fli es around so fast we ca nt get a good photo of it. Thank you for trying. Well, Mark, oddly enough, I actually can iden tify your bird as the Great Crested Flycatcher ( Myiarchus crinitus ). Its shape and shading are unmistakable a large dark crested-head with a thick jutting bill, white wing-bars and a pale belly. One can actually see the muted yellow shade of its breast feathers from your photo. This bird is being sig hted all over Sara A Great Crested Flycatcher. Photo courtesy of Mark DeWitte READERS QUESTIONS LEAD TO EXPLANATIONS ABOUT BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES 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.


sota County as well as right here on south Si esta Key (right across the bay from you). Sarasota Audubon Society reports that to ev eryones delight these birds have returned in record numbers this April. They leave us in winter and sojourn in Central America but faithfully return to Florida to nest. Reading between the lines, I sense you were frustrated by failing to get a better photo. Here is what th e Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) writes about this bird: the Great Crested Fly catcher is easier to hear than to see [It] is a bird of the treetops. It spends very little time on the ground, and does not hop or walk. ... [It] sallies out from perches after ying insects [It] hunts primarily in top of canopy. In other words, you did remarkably well in cap turing its image as it perched way high up in the shadows of t hat slash pine. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 73


Other interesting a nd fun facts from CLOs site: Many, but not all, Great Crested Fly catcher nests contain shed snakeskin. Other crinkly materials, such as plastic wrappers, cellophane, and onion skin, may be used. The Great Crested Flycatcher makes the same wee-eep calls on the wintering grounds that it makes in summer. This birds diet consists primarily of ies. I am not certain how interesting the wee-eep call information is, but it is fun to contemplate stumbling across an abandoned nest (this spe cies nests in tree cavities) and perhaps nding some little treasure in it! You would be sur prised at what turns up in Blue Jay nests, and this bird seems equally attracted to hoarding small shiny objets dart I have included a couple of photos of the Great Crested Flycatcher. Male or female? Well, this is yet another bird that does not display sexu al dimorphism. I maintain that as long as the birds know who is what, well, we do not really need to pry! Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 74


These photos w ere taken at Florida Native Plants Nursery Be certain to click on the charming thumbnail image, Composting with Worms and Wabbits Well, they spell it Rab bits. And, Mark, who knows? Perhaps if you have a chance to visit Florida Native Plants, you will have an opportunity to see a Great Crested Flycatcher close-up! If not, there are beautiful butteries and wabbits to see and a Florida-na tive and Florida-friendly plant to bring home to your garden. FNP is also pet-friendly; do bring Rover along to chec k it out! Secon d from my Inbox: Intrepid and adven turous naturalists Diane and Rick Wulterkens spent the morning of May 4 on a buttery eld trip to Red Bug Slough (RBS). It is sim ply awesome that such a wilderness exists in the heart of developed suburban Sarasota! I swooped by there a couple of years ago to check out a very attractive Eastern-screech Owl (thats another one like me!) but saw far too many Unidentied Flying Hawks there, so I returned permanently to my oak branch on south Si esta Key. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 75


Diane and Rick note d there is a lot more to RBS than just butteries. Early into their ex ploration of one of the trails that wind through the preserve, Rick observant hunter and sherman that he is spotted this lovely Rat Snake ( Pantherophis alleghaniensis) entwined in the branches of a tree. A couple of hours later, his and Dianes group discov ered it on the ground. I have provided a lovely close-up of this handsome snake making its way across their path. The snake was estimated to be almost 6 feet in length, which is about right for a mature, adult Rat Snake on May 4. By mid-August, when the Wulterkens children and grand children are visiting here from Wisconsin, the family will be more likely to see an 18-foot Albino Burmese Python something, unfor tunately, mad e quite possible around Florida because of the introduction of myriad inva sive, destructive non-native species (usually the result of illegal pet dumping in our deli cate ecosystem). As my readers are all anxiously wondering if this Rat Snake is venomous It is not! According to the Division of Herpetology, Florida Museum of Natural History, Univer sity of Florida, Gainesville, the Eastern Rat Snake is HARMLESS (Non-Venomous) It is primarily active at night and is both a terrestri al burrower and an extremely good climber. It is found under rocks and boards, and in trees under bark and within knot holes and palm fronds. As its common name implies, this snake feeds voraciously on rodents. Its diet also includes lizards, frogs, and birds and their eggs. Unfortunately, it will e at young chickens A rat snake is entwined around a tree branch. Photo courtesy of Rick Wulterkens Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 76


and chi cks, which is the source of one of its common names, chicken snake. It lays eggs. Breeding occurs from April-July; 5-27 eggs are laid during the summer, and newborns hatch from July-September. Oh! I should mention I knew that the Rat Snake is quite active at night, as are its tiny, delicious younguns! So, there is no need to worry that you will all be overrun with these tasty creatures, as I and many nocturnal and diurnal raptors are literally on top of the problem! As we are all human or animal enthralled or mesmerized to some degree by danger, please go to the excellent Florida Museum of Natural History website to see what poison ous snakes we actually do have around here! The Re d Bug Slough el d trip was sponsored by the Sarasota County Buttery Club which is proud to count among its membership high ly experienced amateur lepidopterists and ornithologists (and herpetologists!) to help guide and instruct novices on how to spot a buttery (not always that easy!) and how to identify one (seldom easy!). On this particular trek the president of the Sarasota Audubon Society again joined in and pointed out (and identied!) to amateur nature enthusiasts a Green Heron, deeply concealed in the man groves; an Anhinga drying its wings; and a Roseate Spoonbill. It is a thrill for people to see a Roseate Spoonbill in full breeding plum age. The contrast of its colors from its deep orange tourmaline eyes set in that pale Key lime face to de ep roseate feathers highlighting A close-up look at the Rat Snake. Photo courtesy of Rick Wulterkens Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 77


the soft pin ks is like, Wow! It i s also very helpful to have an expert point out to people that this bird is not a Flamingo! That is a fairly common error made around here, even among Florida residents. But this account is not really about the snakes, the birds or the re ants (do watch out for them at RBS!); it is about buttery identica tion. The group was fortunate to encounter some 12 species of butteries, including a gorgeous newly emerged Giant Swallowtail and a rare ly-seen Viceroy. But after the eld trip ended, and as Diane and Rick were driving out of the parking lot, they noticed a large all-white but tery it past them, and they are now report ing seeing a few of that very same description on a da ily basis around Siesta Key. To date, despite their efforts, they have not been able to get a photo of it as it keeps itting about too quickly. Can I identify it? I think so, because just as we are seeing this sudden and large presence of Flycatchers, I recently am sighting a delicious number of Great Southern White (Ascia mon uste) butteries nectaring and uttering about here. They are native to Florida and actually breed here. I really enjoy presenting to my readers some thing that they will probably never see close-up, and this buttery gives me the opportunity to show you something so common around here, yet so beautifu l and unexpectedly adorned. A Roseate Spoonbill. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 78


The club s (i .e., the tips) of their antennae are turquoise not jus t any turquoise, but the ena meled turquoise blue of a robins egg. I hope you readers will have a chance to ob serve this buttery in a still pose for a long enough period of nectaring time so you can see these exquisite details in the wild. Barring that, I have included photos of a male and female for you to enjoy. Yes! Some butter y species do display sexual dimorphism. Please note that in one photo, the unusual blue tinge on a females wings is not a trick shot or enhanced photography! The photo was taken in deep shade with the sunlight be hind the buttery. Lovely! Thank you Mark, Diane and Rick for your cu riosity and interest in our wondrous wildlife and for your great photos and questions! Otus % A Great Southern White male. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 79


Another Great Southern White male. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 80


A Great Southern White female. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 81


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


As a long-time tennis player and fan, I have always followed my favorites. Among the top players with very different styles and per sonalities who captured my attention were John McEnroe, Guillermo Vilas and Andre Agassi. The one common trait that defines these champions is their dynamic, charismatic and incredibly passionate style of playing. When they were at their best, you always knew they were giving 110 percent of themselves to the game. I never got tired of watching them and admired the purity of their performance on the court. T hey paved the way for my latest tennis ob session Rafael Rafa Nadal. Rafa, who is 26, literally burst on the tennis scene about eight years ago, and with his phenomenal talent especially on clay courts he has captivated fans worldwide. He seems to have always been a top-ve player, unlike many of his rivals, who have had to work much harder to gain such a level of tennis excellence. I saw Rafa play in person at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, but my real fantasy was to watch his mastery on his favorite turf the red clay courts. He has dominated this surface since he began playing. The ATP World Tennis Tournament is played at the Royal Tennis Club of Barcelona. Photo by www. via Wikimedia Commons A FAN FEEDS HER FANTASY BY TRAVELING TO BARCELONA TO SEE THE TENNIS STAR WIN ON THE RED CLAY COURTS CHASING RAFA By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer


I decided that the ATP W orld Tennis Tourna ment in Barcelona would be my rst choice. Fantasies are supposed to have happy end ings, but I was not sure about mine. In June 2012, after Rafa lost an early match at Wim bledon, he left tennis in agony, suffering from severe tendonitis in his left knee. (He would eventually be away from the game for seven months.) Sometime in November last year, I decided to book my ight to Barcelona for April 2013, absolutely condent Rafa would return to the game, but not really knowing that for certain. And once I paid for my ticket, I was mentally on my way to Spain. Researching hotels and read ing guidebooks are always at the top of my list when I plan a trip. I reserved a room in an ex cellent hotel in central Barcelona on the Ram bla recommended by my friend, Rick Steves. T he tournament is always held at the Royal Tennis Club of Barcelona, a very old and pres tigious private facility which is only open to the masses for this one public tournament of the year. I could not nd the club on any of the large city maps I examined, so at one point, I began to wonder how I would get there on public transportation. Continuing along in my fantasy, I saw online that tournament tickets would be available on March 1. I probably was rst in the virtual line to purchase mine. I chose the quarternals, deciding that if Rafa were playing, I would have my best chance of seeing him in those matches. I snared the perfect seat, about 10 rows up, and paid 62 euros. Still no word on whether he would be playing in Barcelona. The Barcelona skyline. Photo by Frank Muller via Flicker and Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 84


Did I forget to mention that he had won this very important tournament for the previous seven years? He began a clay-court warm-up for the Barce lona event by entering three ATP tournaments in South America, and he did very well. Final ly, the announcement came out online: Rafael Nadal was to be among the players in Barcelo na. All was in balance again in the wonderful world of tennis. I left Sarasota on April 20 with anticipation of having a marvelous trip and seeing Rafa play tennis again. The Barcelona weather was unusually cold and rainy, and on April 23, when Rafa was scheduled to play, his match was cancelled. But on April 24, the sun burst through the clouds about 10 a.m., and, as if on cue, Rafa walked onto the court, to the wild applause of the fans. And, once again, with his magic and mas tery, he won his match and reminded all of his followers why we are so passionate about watching him play. He continued his impos sible streak and also won the championship. Why is Rafael Nadal so universally admired in the world of tennis? Why does he appeal equally to males, females, the young, the old, boys and girls? If I had to sum up his personal ity in a few phrases, I would say he has impec cable manners; even though he is a tremen dous competitor, he has the highest respect for his fellow tennis players; he always focus es on praising his opponents instead of criti cizing them; he is ext remely humble about his success; and he always talks about improving. In short, Rafa Nadal is a true gentleman. And, since I will follow him anywhere, it is never too soon for my next fantasy the 2014 French Open. Paris awaits % Rafa waves to the crowd after a match. Pho to courtesy of Harriet Cuthbert Harriet Cuthbert poses at the Barcelona tour nament. Photo courtesy of Harriet Cuthbert Rafael Nadal awaits a serve in the ATP World Tennis Tournament in April. Photo courtesy of Harriet Cuthbert Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 85


SIESTA SEEN The Sarasota Cou nty Sheriffs Ofce issued 89 Notices to Appear for underage drinking on Siesta Key during its Operation Dry Spring, Deputy Jason Mruczek reported to Siesta Key Association members this month. Altogether, he said, ofcers wrote 141 Notices to Appear for that offense during the spring break weeks. Referring to the unexpectedly cooler weather in March, Mruczek added, I think that kept some of the crowds down. Deputy Kevin Blakely, who joined Mruczek at the May 2 meeting, explained that those notic es allow a person between the ages of 18 and 21, who has been found to illegally possess an alcoholic beverage, to pay a $284 civil ne before the court date to resolve the case. That way, if the person is from out of town, he or she does not have to return to Sarasota to ap pear before a judge. Most people just pay the ne, Mruczek point ed out. County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who was a guest at the meeting, told the audience By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor UNDERAGE DRINKING DURING SPRING BREAK, WHEELCHAIR MAN AND JULY FOURTH PREPARATIONS ALL IN THE SPOTLIGHT Sarasota County has been unable to enforce a no-smoking regulation at its beaches since December 2012 because of a judges decision in a Sarasota court case. Photo by Norman Schimmel


that in years p ast, other communities required similar youthful offenders to pick up garbage on the beach in lieu of paying a ne. We dont have the resources to monitor that type of community service, Blakely replied. Three people on a shift normally is the stafng level for the Sheriffs Ofce on the island, he indicated. Give them to us and well volunteer them for the cleanups [on Siesta], SKA Vice President Michael Shay responded. Shay organizes the quarterly Adopt-A-Road trash collections, a joint effort with the Sies ta Key Village Association. (The next cleanup is on June 1, with a free breakfast offered at 8 a.m. to those volunteers who come to Village Deputy Kevin Blakely speaks to Siesta Key Association members on May 2. Photo by Rachel Hack ney Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 87


Caf on Oce an Boulevard; the organizers re quest heavy tipping. The garbage collection will start at 9 a.m.) When SKA board member Ron Flynn asked whether deputies try to ascertain where the underage drinkers get their alcoholic bever ages, Blakely told him a lot of the teens 80 to 90 percent ll a water bottle with liquor from a family members stock and head out to the beach. The most common choices seem to be vodka and bourbon, he added. They typi cally will drink down the alcohol in about two hours, he continued, which contributes to a high blood-alcohol level. Deputies found one 16or 17-year-old girl during spring break who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.32, he pointed out. (The legal limit for drivers is below 0.08.) Our earnest objective is not nding a teenag er dead in the bushes the next day, Blakely said. Deputies also are noting a lot more marijuana use during the Drum Circles held on Sunday evenings on Siesta Public Beach, he added. When Shay asked whether that was as big a problem when the county was prohibiting smoking on the beach, Blakely told him, the smoking ban gave us a lot easier access, meaning they more readily could approach people who were smoking anything. In the aftermath of a 12 th Judicial Circuit Court decision regarding a City of Sarasota case in December 2012, local governments have been unable to use the state anti-smoking law to ban tobacco use on co un ty-owned property. We could hav e gotten something passed this legislative session to allow us to continue the No Smoking [prohibition], Patterson said, and it got stopped in the [State] House. Apparently there were lobbyists for certain industries that exerted pressure, she added. Next year, you guys all need to write to leg islators, Patterson continued, asking that they amend the state law to give local government bodies control over smoking. So we have to continue like this for another year? Shay asked. You bet, Patterson told him. We need to target [legislators] to get the right to govern our own parks, SKA President Catherine Luckner added. WHEELCHAIR MAN During the deputies report, Shay also took the opportunity to ask about the fellow known as Wheelchair Man, who has been a xture on the north part of the island for years. Lately, Shay explained, the SKA had been re ceiving numerous emails from residents about the man, who regularly is seen sitting in a wheelchair in the vicinity of 4708 Ocean Blvd., near the Windward Passage condominiums; there, he can remain in the shade of a tree. Residents hav e complained, Shay said, be cause the man stays on the sidewalk, making it necessary for pedestrians to use the bike lane to get around him. Now its a safet y issu e, Shay added. Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 88


Its a publi c sidewalk, Blakely responded. Its a judgment call, to be honest with you, he said, referring to how different deputies would handle the situation. Blakely noted that Sarasota Police Depart ment ofcers have been dealing with numer ous issues involving the homeless downtown. We have more of a problem with the land scapers blocking trafc by parking on side walks, Blakely told SKA members. Thats a black and white straight problem. On the other hand, he said, a man blocking 6 or 8 inches of a sidewalk, when people have the option of walking in a bike lane instead of in the street, is not as much of an issue. Shay replied that the sidewalk and bike lane where Wheelchair Man has been staying have a width of 4 feet. That can be addressed by talking to Lance [Wheelchair Man] and asking him to move back, Blakely told Shay, noting later that Lance used to be in Osprey. Nonetheless, Blakely pointed out, [Lance] can sit any where in the county with his wheelchair. It was a very, very touchy situation with the city. We want to make sure that we go about it correctly. Wheelchair Man sits near Windward Passage on Siesta Key in early May. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 89


Anyone who fee ls he has a problem with Lance should call the Sheriffs Ofce non-emergency number, Blakely said: 316-1201. A deputy can advise Lance to move along. When Ive seen him recently hes had a lot more belongings with him, Luckner said. Theres a lot of spread. A woman in the audience mentioned that Lance also recently had been spending more time sitting on a bench, with the wheelchair in front of him on the sidewalk. It varies, Luckner said. We fortunately dont have a large homeless problem here on the key. PREPARING FOR JULY FOURTH The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce already is beginning its preparations for the 23 rd an nual July Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza on Siesta Public Beach. The VIP party, held at the picnic shelter, costs $150 per person. It raises a signicant portion of the approximately $35,000 expense of the reworks. The package includes the follow ing: Convenient, reserved on-site parking at Si esta Beach. On-site catered picnic dinner for two people. Holly Ferguson starts the 2011 reworks at Siesta Public Beach. Photo courtesy of Remarkable Pho tography Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 90


Beer, wine a nd soft drinks. Live musical entertainment. Preferred viewing area for the 25-minute rework display. Acknowledgment in event advertising and on-site signage. To access the traditional VIP package order form, click here For questions, contact Chastanna at 349-3800 or email chastanna@siestakeycha For the third year, the Chamber also is selling chances to start the reworks. Tickets are $5; if you purchase four, you get an extra one for free. The name of the lucky winner will be drawn on July 2 at the Chambers Fourth of July kick off party, which will be held at 5 p.m. at Gil ligans in Siesta Village. The winner will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and view the pyrotechnic launch site, a Chamber news release notes. Following the tour, the winner will don an ofcial Zambelli Fireworks hardhat to actually kick off the reworks cele bration in front of the thousands of attendees by detonating a TNT plunger box (think Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner), the release adds. For more information, contact the Chamber at 349-3800 or email the Chamber by clicking here SALUTE THE TROOPS Three Siesta Village restaurants are joining forces on May 26 for a Salute-the-Troops Pub Crawl beginning at 9 p.m. in recognition of the Memorial Day holiday. The Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, Siesta Key Oys ter Bar and Gilligans Island Bar & Grill will offer live music and drink specials starting at 9 p.m., they have announced. % The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce has re leased its logo for the 2013 July Fourth reworks celebration. Image courtesy Siesta Chamber Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 91


Artist Nancy Hal l will host an open house at her new art and clothing studio in downtown Sarasota from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 24. She recently relocated to Sarasotas Histor ic Downtown Village at 1899 Fruitville Road, a news release says. Hall invites visitors to see her new space during the areas monthly Fourth Friday festivities, the release adds. The Historic Downtown Village is my new home and Im looking forward to sharing my latest series of oral paintings and art-inspired clothing with everyone in Sarasota, Hall said in the release. Hall is pri marily a self-taught artist, the re lease notes. Inspired by the work of Georgia OKeefe, she embarked upon her own artistic journey, studying design, architecture and art education at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Miami in Ohio before she began her career in fashion design and mer chandising, the release adds. She also designed her own line of stationery, and in doing so, found her passion for paint ing, the release continues. The progression of her work can be traced through her series of paintings: her oral works, Las Flores ; archi tectural views City Tropiscapes ; abstract paintings inspired by lush tropical foliage, La Selva ; and her collages, the release says. La Selva II by Nancy Hall. Contributed photo HALL TO HOST OPEN HOUSE AT NEW ART/CLOTHING STUDIO A&E BRIEFS


The artists of Art Uptown, Sarasotas oldest cooperative ne arts gallery, invite the public to join them for Artists in Action, a daylong program of artist demonstrations on the side walk in front of the gallery. The event will be held on Saturday, May 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a news release says. Among the artists participating will be Patri cia Sorg, Amy Webber, Cecile Moran, Jacquie Clark and Karen Schunk, the release notes. They will demonstrate oil painting, acrylic ART UPTOWN GALLERY TO FEATURE ARTISTS IN ACTION MAY 25 Art Uptown artists will welcome the public to Artists in Action on May 25. Contributed photo painting and resist techniques, watercolor techniques and ceramics work, the release adds. The gallery, located at 1367 Main St., Sarasota, has been continuously exhibiting the works of local artists for more than 30 years. Regu lar gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 955-5409 or visit m Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 93


The Sarasota B ay Estuary Program (SBEP) and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) have partnered to present Chasing the Waves: King Tide Photo Exhibit a free display that will open on Thursday, June 6 in the Federal Building in downtown Sarasota. Members of the public are welcome at a re ception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Federal Build ing is located at 111 S. Orange Ave. The photos will be on display during June and July before traveling to other venues in Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties, a news release says. KING TIDE PHOTO EXHIBIT TO OPEN JUNE 6` Work by Larry Stults was among the winning entries in the 2012 King Tide Photo Contest. Contrib uted photo Th e goa l of the exhibit is to raise awareness about conditions that will lead to future rises in sea level, the release notes. Among the im ages will be winning submissions to the King Tide Photo Contest held last year by SBEP and TBEP. The exhibit will also include pho tos from the U.S., Australia and small Pacic Island nations that show the global impact of rising sea levels, the release adds. For a complete list of exhibit dates and loca tions, visit the SBEP website Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 94


Gloria Musicae, Sarasota s professional cho rus which is celebrating its 34 th season in the region has announced that Steven Klindt has been hired as the new executive director. Klindt previously was director of development at the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota. He also served as director of development and public affairs for the Tampa Museum of Art, where he was in charge of programs for individual and major giving; government relations; foun dation grants; corporate underwriting and sponsorships; and a successful capital cam paign to build a new facility and increase the museums endowment, a news release says. We are very pleased to welcome Steven to Gloria Musicae, said Charles Chauncey, Glo ria Musicaes board president, in a news re lease. Steven brings more than 30 years ex perience in not-for-prot arts administration to the chorus. He will provide leadership for our fundraising, marketing and strategic plan ning all of which are areas where he has a great wealth of experience and success. In his new position, Klindt will work close ly with Gloria Musicae Artistic Director Dr. Joseph Holt to develop program and operat ing plans to meet the not-for-prot groups mission and vision, which celebrate the ex cel lence of choral music through innovative, stimulating performances and educational outreach, the release adds. Gloria Musicae is recognized as truly one of the gems of the performing arts in Sarasota and Manatee counties and throughout the southeast United States, Klindt noted in the release. Im very excited to join such a vital arts organization and I look forward to being an integral part in Gloria Musicaes future. For more information, visit www.GloriaMusi GLORIA MUSICAE SELECTS STEVEN KLINDT AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Steven Klindt/Contributed photo The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 95


Diana Ross will return t o the Van Wezel Per forming Arts Hall in Sarasota on Sept. 11, the hall has announced. An Academy Award-nominated actress for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues Ross is a Tony Award and Golden Globe win ner, a bestselling author, winner of eight Amer ican Music Awards and a recipient of The Ken nedy Center Honors, a news release points out. Ros s has sold more than 100 million records and has recorded 18 No. 1 hits, the release notes. Her music became the sound of young America in the s soon after she signed with Motown Records in 1961 with The Supremes, the release adds. She em barked on her extraordinary solo career in 1970, and has not stopped since. Tickets are priced from $30 to $115. For more information, call the box ofce at 9533368 or visit % TICKETS ON SALE AT THE VAN WEZEL FOR DIANA ROSS CONCERT Diana Ross. Contributed photo by Al Watson Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 96


More than 200 women of faith gathered May 8 at Temple Emanu-El for the congregations third annual Interfaith Tea. Hosted by Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, the Interfaith Tea unites women of various reli gious traditions for an afternoon of learning, sharing and building bridges, a news release says. A panel of representatives from four faiths Reconstructionist Judaism, Greek Orthodoxy, transdenominational Christianity and Hinduism spoke about their beliefs and the role of art, music and dance in their reli gions, the release adds. Socializing over tea and homemade sweets followed the presen tations. Past Interfaith Tea panels have included mem bers of the Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, hu manist, Muslim, Bahai and Mennonite com munities, the release notes. Opening the discussion was Dr. Bindu Nair, a member of the Hindu community. Stating, Hindus discovered art was a tool to invoke spirituality, she shared examples of Hindu art such as geometric patterns used to express the divine order and the qualities of various deities. Among these examples was the swas tika, which she explained was originally a symbol of world peace and prosperity that was misused and misrepresented by the Na zis, the release points out. Following Nair was the Rev. Celestine Camp bell, a transdenominational Christian who ex plained that her tradition is very inclusive of all a multiracial, multifaceted organization. Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Brenner Glickman greeted Sisterhood Interfaith Tea Co-Chairwomen Doro thy Quint and Aida Florsheim. Contributed photo TEMPLE EMANU-EL EVENT UNITES WOMEN OF FAITH RELIGION BRIEFS


She shared the story of her spiritual awak ening and her transformation from a self-de structive college student to a pious Christian, the release adds. The tears were just ow ing, she recalled, because I was having a per sonal relationship with the Lord. Stating that transdenominational Christianity employs a great deal of music and spiritual movement, the release continues, Campbell showed videos of her churchs chorus per forming the original composition, Havent I Promised You a Perfect Peace? The penultimate presenters at the Interfaith Tea were members of St. Barbara, the Greek Orthodox community in Tampa, who offered a detailed slideshow of examples of Byzan tine art and architecture. Among the high lights were depictions from Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which contains mosaics fro m the 6th cen tury, and a virtual tour of the St. Barba ra campus, featuring its mosaics and fresco paintings, the release says. The Interfaith Tea concluded with words from local educator and Reconstructionist Jewish leader Jennifer Singer, who shared with the attendees traditional ritual objects, including a shofar, a menorah and a tallit or prayer shawl, the release notes. Explaining the link between Jewish belief and works of art, she told them, Judaism is a religion of action. We do Jewish. And when we do it, we elevate it by beautifying it. And we hope its conta gious. The Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood Interfaith Tea was chaired by Dorothy Quint and Aida Florsheim. For more information about next years Interfaith Tea, call 371-2788. % Temple Emanu-El member Frank Schaal wel comed the Rev. Celestine Campbell, the Inter faith Teas transdenominational Christianity panelist. Contributed photo Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman welcomed Greek Orthodox priest Father John Bociu to the Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood Interfaith Tea. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 24, 2013 Page 98


24+ MAY Echoes of Spring Through May 31, at Dabbert Gallery, 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, featuring the works of 10 artists. For more information, visit 24+ MAY Landscapes, Mindscapes and Dreamscapes Through July 20, Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery, 1288 N. Palm Ave. Free admis sion. Information: 366-2454 or 24+ MAY Noah Raceys Pulse Through June 16 (times vary), FSU Performing Arts Center, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail. Tick ets: $20 to $72 Information: 351-8000 or 26 MAY Memorial Day Salute-the-Troops Pub Crawl May 26, 9 p.m., Siesta Key Village: Daiquiri Deck, Gilligans Island Bar & Grill and Siesta Key Oyster Bar. Information: 29 MAY Florida Studio Theatre presents The World Goes Round May 29 to June 23 (times vary), Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave. Tickets: $18 to $42 Information: 366-9000 or 31 MAY WSLR presents David Smash CD Release Party May 31, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court. Ad mission: $5. Information: 894-6469 or 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 DRAWING INSPIRATION FROM THE BAY SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS