Sarasota News Leader


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Sarasota News Leader
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Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
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Sarasota, FL
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July 12, 2013
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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 12 December 6, 2013 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida Inside A ROSEMARY SPRING AT WITS END SEIZE THE MOMENT




Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Roger Drouin County Editor Roger Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Letters To the Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney Opinion Editor / General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD The Sarasota News Leader and The Progressive Voice of Southwest Florida are registered trademarks of New Sheriff Publishing, Inc., which publishes The Sarasota News Leader. 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 Post Ofce Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277 941-227-1080


With the holiday season well under way, we have more features to offer in this issue from the lovely article by Fran Palmeri (with co-authorship by Laurel Schiller) I mentioned last week to photo essays covering the Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless to Siesta Keys annual Light Up the Village festivities to Selby Gardens Bromeliad Tree ceremony. Dare you think the news was light, fear not. City Editor Stan Zim merman must have cloned himself this week. He was all over the place. Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker put at the top of our story list Stans article about a proposal to revitalize the Rosemary District another coup in coverage for Stan. Not to be outdone, Cooper must have been the only reporter in town to attend the Dec. 4 meeting of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, and he heard some new points regarding consultant Robert Marbuts recommendations. On the same topic, County Editor Roger Drouin talked to city and county leaders to learn the latest in the steps for implementation of Marbuts proposal. And then there is Bobs Boathouse: I spent not a little time delving into the controversy sur rounding that South Tamiami Trail business and its live entertainment. Siesta Key has plenty going on, too. Village Association members were practically giddy this week thanks to putting behind them the very successful Light Up the Village event and the Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpt ing Competition. Our issues understandably may be heavier on features over the next couple of weeks, but we will continue to do our best to fer ret out the news you need to know. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


A ROSEMARY SPRING AT WITS END NEWS & COMMENTARY A ROSEMARY SPRING 9 The City of Sarasota has received a proposal to turn the old community garden on the Boulevard of the Arts into a public plaza surrounded by mixed-use development Stan Zimmerman AT WITS END 15 Neighbors of Bobs Boathouse continue to complain about noise as Sarasota County staff and the Sheriffs Ofce work on remedies Rachel Brown Hackney SEIZE THE MOMENT 25 Support, and questions, for the Marbut plan among homeless advocates Cooper LeveyBaker A REPRIEVE 29 The City Commission reverses course and votes to pay Commissioner Susan Chapmans legal fees for another 90 days Stan Zimmerman NEXT STEPS 34 City and county staff hope to have an environmental analysis back in about two months on the three sites short-listed for a permanent homeless shelter Roger Drouin ATWELL PROVES KEY TO ACTION 40 The City Commission splits on six votes, ranging from funding for a position to assist with homelessness issues to providing pianos for people to play at a few outdoor sites downtown Stan Zimmerman NEW CONDOS BEYOND THE BRIDGE 45 While the citys Development Review Committee has lots of questions about a proposed Lido complex, the Gulfstream Sarasota sees smoother sailing Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Santas Boat? Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: Monarch of the Garden Robert Hackney


OPINION NEWS BRIEFS CITY BRIEFS 48 Advisory board members go to the woodshed over the Sunshine laws and a Payne Park master planning workshop is scheduled Stan Zimmerman LOOKING AFTER LOST MONEY 50 During its annual meeting, the citys Citizen Tax Oversight Committee gets an update on the shufing of revenue for projects Stan Zimmerman FOCUS ON ROAD FLOODING 53 Sarasota County staff plans further discussions on how best to warn motorists about roads where water tends to stand in storm events Rachel Brown Hackney SKOD REVISION PROCEEDING 56 A committee comprising Siesta Key business owners is about a week away from completing a new proposal regarding outdoor merchandise displays Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 61 CRIME BLOTTER 76 OPINION EDITORIAL 81 The cancerous decline of Siesta Key Public Beach Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


FOR THE BIRDS SIESTA SEEN SA RASOTA LEISURE FOR THE BIRDS 85 Save Our Seabirds will host a family event designed to make the holidays extra special for the areas feathered natives and guests Laurel Schiller and Fran Palmeri FOR A VERY WORTHY CAUSE 91 The Sarasota Ministerial Association feeds a record crowd during its annual Thanksgiving Luncheon Staff Reports LIGHTING UP THE FACES 100 Siesta Villages kickoff of the holiday season brings bustle to Ocean Boulevard Rachel Brown Hackney MAGIC IN THE AIR 109 Selby Gardens adds its glow to the holiday season Staff Reports SIESTA SEEN 111 The Crystal Classic ended up with good attendance in spite of the weather; the Sabal Drive house is almost fully in compliance with code again; and volunteers collected a record amount of trash in their latest Adopt-A-Road endeavor Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 118 RELIGION BRIEFS 126 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 134 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 136 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime Day or Night


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While downt own Sarasota has basked in a golden shower of tax dollars for beautication, infrastructure, public-private partnerships, promotion and enhanced police presence, the Rosemary District a stones throw to the north has struggled on its own. And it shows. But change is in the air. A proposal to turn the old community garden on the Boulevard of the Arts (aka Sixth Street) into a public plaza surrounded by mixed-use development is under evaluation by city staff. It will be under a go/no-go de cision on Dec. 17. The project is called Rosemary Square. City staff is also working on a different devel opers proposal to double or even triple the allowable residential density in the Rosemary District. The details of that specic develop ment even its location has not been revealed, but the intention is to provide small rental units for the downtown workforce. Development consultant Joel Freedman tells The Sarasota News Le ader the rental The Rosemary Square proposal includes a conceptual plan for lower level development. Image courtesy City of Sarasota THE CITY OF SARASOTA HAS RECEIVED A PROPOSAL TO TURN THE OLD COMMUNITY GARDEN ON THE BOULEVARD OF THE ARTS INTO A PUBLIC PLAZA SURROUNDED BY MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT A ROSEMARY SPRING By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


The proposal lays out costs and benets. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 10


buildings w ill be three or four stories in height, not Stalinesque high-rises. ANYBODY WANT TO NEGOTIATE? Almost exactly one year ago, the city held a community discussion about the future of the Rosemary District, located north of down town and Fruitville Road (aka Third Street). At issue was the fate of about 1 acre of cityowned land in two parcels between Fifth and Sixth streets. One property previously was a community garden, but then it was fenced off and allowed to go fallow. The other was a small surface parking lot. At the Dec. 10, 2012, meeting, one stake holder said, The Rosemary District is almost like a blank palette. A lot of good things are happening there. It seems to me to offer the opportunity to be a bit more edgy than down town or Towles Court. Another stakeholder voiced a question sev eral others repeated. What does the district want to be? Right now, its half blight. Several months later the city released an ITN an Invitation to Negotiate for the propertys future. The deadline for responses was mid-October, and only one proposal was received. A drawing shows how residential apartments would be incorporated into the plan. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 11


ROSEMA RY SQUARE The ITN response was spearheaded by two local professionals. Dr. Mark Kauffman and architect Jonathan Parks propose to enlarge the 1.1-acre parcel by adding one-third of an acre at the corner of Coconut Avenue and Sixth Street. Kauffman and Parks team have an option on the so-called Parker property at the corner, which may account for theirs being the only response to the ITN. Their submission to the city says, The Rosemary Square proposal, with the Parker property, will have a far greater economic impact in the Rosemary District than could be achieved with the City property alone. As the principals of Rosemary Square control the Parker property, no other proposal could offer the same economic impact. The project is pure inll. Based on current Downtown Edge zoning, the 1.58-acre parcel will accommodate 40 residential units. It will include 34,000 square feet of ofce, retail and arts space, and a 7,000-square-foot urban town square creating a lively outdoor focal point for use by residents, cafes, business and the public. A second phase will add space for a boutique cinema or a live theater com pany, as well as a parking structure. If Rosemary Square LLCs proposal is accepted, it will become the starting point for negotiations with the city THRASHING THROUGH THE TERMS Failure of the Rosemary District to attract investment and redevelopment at a signi cant scale is due partly to economic factors, but more signicantly to the perception that the Rosemary District is not a safe place for invest ment, says the developers response to the ITN. Kauffman and company are willing to take the risk, but they are asking the city to come to the table ready to work out the details. For example, the ITN calls for development of 40 public parking spaces. At $30,000 per space, that is $1.2 million the company needs to put up for a public amenity. In return, the group would like to pick up the 1.1 acres of city property for a at $100. While city water, sewer and stormwater facili ties are available, they will need to be upgraded to accommodate the new Rosemary Square development and future redevelopment of the block and surrounding properties, the proposal also says. In return, Kauffman and his partners will pay $500,000 to bring the Parker property into the plan, $400,000 in impact fees, $175,000 in building permit fees and $100,000 to move overhead power lines underground. Construction of the buildings and park ing will cost an estimated $14 million, with other soft expenses for design, marketing, commissions and legal and other charges expected to exceed $1 million. The total cost of development is estimated at $19.8 million. Construction could begin in January 2016. The ITN response indicates the development would generate $335,000 in annual property taxes and more than $1 million in sales tax. The retail and ofce spaces would create 170 jobs. The citys property is now zoned G for gov ernment, and Kauffmans rm wants the city to bear the cost of rezoning it to Downtown Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 12


Edge. L astly, the company wants the city to improve the sidewalks around the property. If the selection committee gives the green light to the proposal, the city would then begin negotiations to reach a deal. Meanwhile, the proposal to create a higher-density overlay district could be done by summer. That might allow Rosemary Square to ask for higher den sity as well. One source close to the negotiations said the nal deal might give Kauffman and his part ners the ability to bump up density. But the source indicated the proposal now on the table is already structured to ensure prot ability, so the increased density is not required to achieve nancial feasibility. The Kauffman team is a whos who of local development. Dr. Mark Kauffman has been involved in deve loping P.F. Changs near downto wn, the Roys/Flemings restaurant building at the corner of U.S. 41 and Siesta Drive, the Hollywood 20 theaters, Links Plaza and Park (where Eat Here is located on Main Street) and the Florida Cancer Center, among others. Architect Jonathan Parks has worked on the Palm Avenue Parking Garage, the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences, the Palm Avenue hotel project (Floridays) and downtowns Ivory Lounge. Other team members are Mindy Kauffman as leasing agent and property manager; Michael Beaumier as construction manager; and Brenda Patten as legal advisor. Patten has served as counsel for development of the RitzCarlton, Pineapple Square, the downtown Whole Foods grocery and the headquarters of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune % The Rosemary Square proposal includes a concept drawing for retail space. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 13


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The sign on South Tamiami Trail advertises karaoke on the night of Dec. 3. Photo by Rachel Hackney AT WITS END I can now understand how a prisoner of war can be broken down so quickly with noise, lack of sleep and stress. I am at my [wits] end crying at the drop of a hat. Michelle Lee Montclair Drive Resident And Neighbor of Bobs Boathouse


At 12:50 a .m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, Michelle Lee, who lives near Bobs Boathouse on South Tamiami Trail, emailed Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta to describe an ordeal that threatened her enjoy ment of the holiday. The blasts of music that travel across the water whenever anyone goes outside to the deck [keep] me on edge until I just cannot take it any more. So I get up, take a sleeping pill, and start working on doing what I can about this nightmare. My neighbor said it is [not] a nightmare because you wake up from those. We never get away from the cacophony of noises that bombard us all day and night long. M y stress level is through the roof, I am exha usted, my back is in knots and I am so tired of taking over-the-counter sleeping pills. This is just not right!!! She was writing about Bobs Boathouse, which opened on Nov. 3 at 5515 S. Tamiami Trail, right across Phillippi Creek from her home. Eight days earlier, the County Commission unanimously voted to ask Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer to work with staff and the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce with a sense of urgency, as Commissioner Christine Robinson put it to come up with a plan of action to address the multitude of complaints from neighbors of the restaurant and bar. The South Trail Church of Christ is visible from the back deck of Bobs Boathouse. Photo by Rachel Hackney NEIGHBORS OF BOBS BOATHOUSE CONTINUE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT NOISE AS SARASOTA COUNTY STAFF AND THE SHERIFFS OFFICE WORK ON REMEDIES By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 16


In his Nov. 27 response to the board, Harmer wrote that the following actions would be taken to ensure Bobs Boathouse was in com pliance with the countys noise ordinance and zoning code: Code Enforcement will conduct random evening and weekend inspections for sound, light and zoning violations. Notices of violations and citations will be issued when applicable. Code Enforcement will keep a log to track its inspection activity. Zoning Administration staff will assist Code Enforcement ofcers with interpreting the code. All violations will be processed through a Special Magistrate and Circuit Court, when applicable. The Sa rasota County Sheriffs Ofce has been contacted, and Lt. Kevin Mcelyea has confirmed deputies will respond to any complaints phoned in to that ofce. The Sheriffs Ofce will provide its tracking reports to the Code Enforcement Ofce. On Dec. 10, sound level meter training is scheduled with Quest Technologies for both Sheriffs Ofce personnel and Code Enforcement staff to facilitate accurate decibel level measurements with noise meters. Yet, as a result of the most recent com plaints to commissioners, the issue will be back on the boards agenda next week at Barbettas request. In a Dec. 3 email to Tom Polk, the countys d irector of Planning and The front door of Bobs Boathouse is through part of a boat. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 17


Devel op ment Services Department, Barbetta requested that Polk or another staff mem ber provide us a detailed report about the efforts to deal with those ongoing complaints. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? On the website for Bobs Boathouse, the About Us story says the establishment orig inally opened on Stickney Point Road, near Siesta Key, in 1997. It is named for the father of owner Tom LeFevre. After several years, the story continues, Tom LeFevre dumped all his hard earned liv ing and borrowed above his means to build condos on the old Bobs Boathouse site. Unfortunately, the market began to crumble and he lost everything! Recently, the website adds, with a few old boats, a few old friends, a worn out workshop and a dream, [LeFevre] went to beg & borrow to reopen Bobs boathouse and go back to what he knows best! The Florida Secretary of State website says papers for the corporation papers were reactivated on July 12, 2012, with Richard Walkowiak of Fort Myers listed as the manager. According to the Bobs Boathouse website it had 4,362 Facebook friends as of midday on Dec. 4. It is open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The December calendar has a variety of entertainment list ings from KARAOKE to LATIN Tiki Night to LIVE music. But a perusal of County Commission email since late October shows a number of the neighbors of Bobs Boathouse feel the fur thest thing from affection for it. Jim McWhorter, vice president of the River Forest Civic Association, was among the rst to contact commissioners. In his Oct. 30 email, he wrote, The main concern has been [the restaurants] outdoor music and potential for high decibel noise levels infringing upon our Houses on Montclair Drive are just across Phillippi Creek from the restaurant. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 18


The sidewalk takes a sharp turn as a pedestrian heads toward the Bobs Boathouse sign on South Tamiami Trail. Photo by Rachel Hackney Anybody who reads English and sees the words completely enclosed building doesnt expect the completely enclosed building to have open windows and open doors. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 19


previously s erene environment in the area of Phillippi Creek just east of the Trail when we are trying to sleep. McWhorter also referenced the complaints Bobs Boathouse generated when it was located on Little Sarasota Bay, off Stickney Point Road. It was the regular focal point of frustrations aired at Siesta Key Association meetings, he pointed out. Commissioner Nora Patterson brought up all the recent email complaints during the boards Nov. 20 regular meeting in Sarasota. The list of problems cited, she pointed out, [is] really pretty extensive and expresses just a lack of general consideration for the neigh bors. Thats big. For one thing, she continued, she believed the county zoning code forbids commercial establishments from shining lights on res idential areas. Second, the ordinance does not allow outdoor food and drink service after a certain time, she said. Third, after 10 p.m., she recalled, the ordinance says live entertainment may be offered, but only in a completely enclosed building. While doors and windows obviously are regular features in structures, Patterson pointed out, Anybody who reads English and sees the words com pletely enclosed building doesnt expect the completely enclosed building to have open windows and open doors. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh reviewed the ordinance and concurred: One must close the windows at 10 p.m. Patterson said she understood the design of Bobs Boathouse incorporates numer ous openings facing an outdoor dining area, and microphones for performers are being pointed to patrons at those tables. Regarding the county code, she continued, I really do expect [staff] to interpret this in a fashion that makes common sense, and if we do that, then I think the neighborhood would be much better protected. In my mind, this particular operator needs to be made to follow the codes very strictly. Barbetta pointed out the restaurant is closer to the adjacent South Trail Church of Christ than the distance the county code allows for an establishment with a liquor license. He had visited the site, he told his colleagues. Although the sidewalk for Bobs is more than 873 feet from the church, he said, Its ludi crous the way that sidewalk goes. The driveways right in the center of the property, but the sidewalk meanders to maintain the mandatory distance for Bobs Boathouse to comply with the code. If the sidewalk followed the driveway, Barbetta continued, it would be only about 500 feet from the church at its greatest dis tance from the church property line. I dont think it follows the spirit of the ordi nance, Barbetta said. Because the property where Bobs is located was zoned for that type of business, the matter never came before the County Commission for approval, Barbetta pointed out. The loca tion of the church should have prevented Bobs Boathouse from obtaining a liquor license, he added, but staff says otherwise. When Patterson asked for her colleagues sup port on action to bring this down to a level of enforcement, Commis sioner Robinson asked Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 20


whe ther Patterson was seeking an authoriza tion of overtime work for Code Enforcement staff. If its necessary, Patterson replied. This is a crisis for these people. I agree, Robinson told her. Im asking for a common-sense approach to what the ordinance says and enforcement of the ordinances, Patterson said. That was when Robinson made the motion to have Harmer develop a plan of action as soon as possible. STAFF RESPONSE Before the commissioners voted on that motion, Vice Chairman Charles Hines asked for more information from staff. Polk, the director of the Planning and Development Services Department, told the board staff was monitoring the situation at Bobs. Were asking for an elevated level of atten tion to the situation, Robinson said. As of that date, Polk pointed out, Bobs had not been cited for music louder than allowed under the countys Air and Sound Pollution ordinance. However, the restaurant was cited on Nov. 17 for providing food service outside after 10 p.m., he said. When Patterson asked how many sound mea surements had been taken, Polk responded, Five. Its been going on for a while, Patterson told him, and it isnt happening all the time. Based on what residents had written, she The sidewalk can be seen (left) parallel to a portion of the driveway to the front of the building. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 21


BOBS BOATHOUSE CHURCH OF CHRIST continued, the sound goes down when Code Enforcement staff shows up to monitor it, and then the noise level increases again after staff leaves. In response to another question from Patterson, Assistant Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson explained that the ordi n ance does require sound levels to be lower after 10 p.m. unless a business has a special exception. Bobs does not. She also concurred with Pattersons earlier point. [The noise level] appears to exceed [the limit] after [Code Enforcement ofcers have] taken the readings and left the scene. An aerial image shows the proximity of Bobs Boathouse (upper right) to the South Trail Church of Christ. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 22


In his Nov. 27 memo to the County Commission, Harmer wrote that Code Enforcement staff met with four of the managers from Bobs Boathouse on Nov. 4 to inspect the acous tical arrangements and to explain the sound control ordinance requirements. The inspec tion found the musical speakers were placed randomly and suggestions were made as to how to place the speakers so the sound would be less intrusive to neighbors. Additionally, Harmer wrote, Code Enforcement staff received permission from several residents along Montclair Drive to access their properties for sound measure ments. Readings taken on Saturday, Nov. 23, between 9 p.m. and midnight and on Sunday, Nov. 24, between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. found the restaurant in compliance on every occa sion. However, a lighting inspection from a Montclair Drive address did result in a viola tion, Harmer noted. UPDATES FROM STAFF In a Dec. 3 email exchange with Barbetta, Polk explained that the restaurant is operating under a temporary certicate of occupancy (TCO). An additional 30-day extension of the TCO was issued on November 27, he added. As part of that extension, he continued, the countys deputy building ofcial outlined out standing items that needed completion prior to a nal completion issuance. These items included payment of building fees (including road impact fees), site and development certi cation shoreline plantings noted in [other staff] emails, water meter and capacity fees, and several building permits. As part of this let ter, the County notes the TCO is predicated on the expectation of the remaining outstanding issues being completed by D ecember 30, 2013. In a separ ate Dec. 3 email, Amy Meese, director of the countys Natural Resources Department, explained, A watercourse buf fer exists on site and must be planted and managed. [P]lantings in this area may pro vide some benet relative to mitigating noise over time as the plants mature. Barbetta responded to Polk, Im still trying to gure out how they were allowed to proceed with the initial opening without all the build ing fees, impact fees, certications, shoreline plantings and various other fees and permits being taken care of rst, prior to any TCO, since these arent minor items This is very confusing. Commissioner Robinson used almost the exact same words when The Sarasota News Leader contacted her on Dec. 4 about the ongoing issues. Im really confused, she said of the situation, declining to elaborate until the board hears the update next week. The News Leader was unable to obtain a comment from any representative of Bobs Boathouse. In the meantime, Michelle Lee emailed Barbetta in a separate note, We have a box fan on loud, our sliding glass doors are closed, even though we would prefer to have them open this time of year, and yet we still can hear the bass constantly with an occasional blast. Sh e added, I can now understand how a pris oner of war can be broken down so quickly with noise, lack of sleep and stress. I am at my [wits] end crying at the drop of a hat. % Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 23


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Homelessness has been a source of vexation, angst and controversy for Sarasota leaders and agencies for decades, but with the city and countys decision this year to hire Robert Marbut, theres unprecedented momen tum behind actually tackling the prob lem. Harvest House Executive Director Erin Minor has heard one particular joke on multiple occasions: Its sexy now to be involved in helping the home less. The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, a two-county consortium of social service agencies that formed in 2005, met Wednesday in part to discuss and debate the specics of Marbuts recommendations, unve iled with much pomp to the public before Thanksgiving. While Marbuts work specically focuses on the homeless problem in Sarasota County, it has big implica tions for Manatee. Executiv e Director The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness was created in 2005. Image from SUPPORT, AND QUESTIONS, FOR THE MARBUT PLAN AMONG HOMELESS ADVOCATES SEIZE THE MOMENT I think it was a very, very wise decision from our city and our county and our community foundations to bring Dr. Marbut to town, because it really motivated all the social agencies to unify. Erin Minor Executive Director Harvest House By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Leslie Loveless pointed that out to the 22 nonprot and government reps who attended Wednesdays meeting, many of them from organizations based in Manatee. While Sarasota County and its municipalities have agreed to synchronize new ordinances to ensure continuity across city lines, Manatee County has so far agreed to no such thing. Which means that even if Sarasota approves some of Marbuts recommendations, such as a ban on public feeding programs, the home less may just migrate to Manatee, or they may in fact be drawn to Sarasota because of its new emergency and transitional housing. The counties need parallel ordinances, Loveless suggested, arguing that government needs to think regionally about the issue. Minor tells The Sarasota News Leader that her agency, established rst as a mens drug and alcohol rehab facility in 1992, sees home less individuals from all over the region, from Tampa to Fort Myers. Its so important for us to have a bi-county agreement with some of these ordinances, she says. To have the homeless migrate back and forth between Sarasota and Manatee will only compli cate the problem. Sarasota wont succeed if Manatee doesnt come on board, Minor adds. Reaction to Marbuts recommendations was largely positive among Partnership members, but concern over the ne print did bubble up. Public feeding programs, for example, dont just support the homeless, one agency rep pointed out. Participants are often the work ing poor or needy seniors. How can churches Homeless people gather outside Selby Library in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 26


continue to serve the poor without enabling homelessness? Other questions about the report show how many details still need to be worked out. Would the emergency intake portal for fam ilies with children include families led by same-sex couples? What about minors with children: Will they be considered minors or parents? And what should the intake portal and emergency housing facilities look like? Partnership members want to make sure theyre designed in a non-institutional style. The Partnership only made it through the rst four of Marbuts 12 recommendations before the meeting had to be wrapped up due to time constraints, but the group expressed unani mous support for the sections it did address. Harvest House is moving ahead with its role in Marbuts report, Minor tells the News Leader The organization has a contract on the prop erty near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Tuttle Avenue that it hopes will become the new North County intake portal. While there are many variables in play, she says that if things go as planned, the portal should be open by May. At rst, that site would focus pri marily on providing emergency shelter for the homeless, before moving them to transitional housing for up to a year and then, ideally, into permanent housing. The joke about helping the homeless being sexy may be just that, a joke, but there is a sense of urgency to solving the homeless ness problem that didnt exist before. Minor says: I think it was a very, very wise decision from our city and our county and our commu nity foundations to bring Dr. Marbut to town, because it really motivated all the social agen cies to unify. % Gene Burgess and Melonie Burgess, licensed acupuncture physicians Serving Sarasota since 2008 Treatment rates are on a sliding scale, from $15-$35; new patients pay a one-time additional fee of $10 AFFORDABLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR EVERYONE 3615 Webber St Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4611 Open Tuesday through Saturday Our Mission To provide our community with high quality and affordable acupuncture and herbal medicine and to create a treatment space that connects people and builds community. Click for larger map and driving directions Click To Schedule An Appointment Online MENTION THIS AD TO RECEIVE $5 OFF THE NEW PATIENT FEE Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 27


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In a dramatic turnaround, the Sarasota City Commission on Dec. 2 agreed to extend the time it will pay for the defense of one of its members in a suit charging she violated the states open meetings law. City Attorney Bob Fournier opened the dis cussio n by changing the recommendation he previously made to the board. He had offered the commis sion three options: pay all of the legal fees for Commissioner Susan Chapman, pay installments or wait and see. The law requires full payment from the city if Chapman suc ceeds in her defense. The commissioners during that meeting voted to pay her legal bills for two weeks, ending Dec. 2. On Monday, Fournier endorsed one of his options. My recom mend ation: Authorize the full payment of Commissioner Chapmans attorneys fees, win or lose. If you have some discomfort, make it six-month or quarterly payments. The City Commission this week continued to debate Lady Justice in terms of a Sunshine lawsuit. Photo from Wikimedia Commons THE CITY COMMISSION REVERSES COURSE AND VOTES TO PAY COMMISSIONER SUSAN CHAPMANS LEGAL FEES FOR ANOTHER 90 DAYS A REPRIEVE If the city will not back up its commissioner, will it back up advisory panel members? Eileen Normile Member Independent Police Advisory Panel By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Commissioners Chapman and Suzanne Atwell met on Oct. 10 with downtown merchants to hear complaints about homelessness and vagrancy. On Oct. 18, Citizens for Sunshine, represented by Sarasota lawyer Andrea Mogensen, led suit against the city and the two commissioners individually. The city and Atwell quickly reached a settle ment in the case, but Chapman says she did not violate the law and instead has led a counterclaim against Citizens for Sunshine. According to public statements, the city and Atwell settled to prevent the city from pay ing legal fees to Mogensen (if she wins) and Fournier (regardless of the outcome). Because Chapman has a nancial stake in the outcome of the fee-payment discussions, she has been barred under state law from voting on any of the related motions. ONE FOR ALL Fournier offered three reasons for his rmer recommendation. It isnt about the four of you thinking about the strength of her case or her reason to proceed. It should be up to the individual being sued, he said. It should be a matter of individual conscience. The second reason: There are reasons that this needs to be adjudicated, added Fournier. Maybe its time for the court to weigh in on some of these issues. Is there a Sunshine law violation if two commissioners meet but dont say anything? Four speakers came Monday to support payment of Chapmans legal fees, making the total 17 in two weeks. Among them were Eileen Normile (far left) and Jude Levy (second from right). Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 30


And third, there is an overall benet to the city. If each of you feel you didnt violate the Sunshine law, wouldnt you like a defense? he asked. It calls for some display of unity on your part. Four more members of the public spoke Monday in favor of the commissions support ing Chapman. Two weeks earlier, 13 people spoke in her behalf. So far, no member of the public has advocated cutting Chapman loose. Jude Levy, a Laurel Park resident, told the commissioners Monday, I hope you all stand up and push back on this. This is not what the Sunshine law is about. Eileen Normile is an attorney serving on the citys Independent Police Advisory Panel. Im reevaluating my position on the advisory panel or any advisory panel. If the city will not back up its commissioner, will it back up advisory panel members? she asked. You need to stick together on this. You need to think big, and long-term if you want to take advantage of all the talent in this city. AND ALL FOR ONE We should go forward with full payment in the litigation of Ms. Chapmans case, said Vice Mayor Willie Shaw. Two weeks earlier, he cast the sole vote supporting the full pay ment of Chapmans fees. All the way to the [Florida] Supreme Court? Commissioner Paul Caragiulo responded. Shaw then moved to pay for Chapmans legal costs through the Circuit Court stage, but he received no second, so his motion died. What would you suggest? What are you looking for? asked Shaw. I feel really, really saddened that we would allow ourselves to be humiliated and intimidated. Mayor Shannon Snyder then passed the gavel and moved the commission pay all her legal (From left) Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner Susan Chapman participate in an earlier City Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 31


bills through the end of the week. That also found no second. We need more conversa tion here, said Snyder, reclaiming the gavel. Perhaps it would be inconsistent for me to approve this, offered Atwell. I made a deci sion to settle the lawsuit and Im pleased with my decision. This is not about me. I did not base my decision on emotion, anger or gos sip. I decided not to have all of you take on the courage of my convictions. Atwells settlement does not admit she vio lated the law. In a press release, she stated, I am rmly convinced that I did not violate the Sunshine Law This is bigger than us. This is bigger than the moment, said Shaw. Not everybody has the luxury of having the nancial stability that you may have had. Not everybody seeking a commission seat will have your resources. If I were on the street, Id say you were punking out. I think the law is ridiculous. Ive said it a thou sand times, added Caragiulo. The question going forward is, what is our responsibility? Fournier then reminded the commissioners, You need three afrmative votes to pass any thing. After today, there is no authorization to continue payment. Caragiulo then moved to extend payment of fees for the next 90 days. Shaw seconded it, and the motion passed 3-1, with Snyder in the minority. He then adjourned the meeting. % City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo made the motion that nally passed regarding Commissioner Susan Chapmans legal fees. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 32


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


Of consultant Robert Marbuts 12 strategic rec ommendations for addressing homelessness in Sarasota County, No. 4 on the list will likely prove the most challenging and the most controversial. City and county staffers and elected officials are already taking the next step in regard to No. 4 an environmental study of the th ree short-listed sites for a permanent homeless shelter in Sarasota. The r eport will look into issues such as possible contami nation and specific areas on each site that are buildable or not buildable. Once it is complete, county staff ers wi ll be able An aerial view shows the property at 1330 N. Osprey Ave. Image from Google Maps CITY AND COUNTY STAFF HOPE TO HAVE AN ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS BACK IN ABOUT TWO MONTHS ON THE THREE SITES SHORTLISTED FOR A PERMANENT HOMELESS SHELTER NEXT STEPS Nothing needs to happen until we have the environmental analysis back. Then it will get narrowed down further. Then we need to talk about funding. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


to put together cost projections for a shelter at each location, Wayne Applebee, Sarasota Countys director of homeless services, told The Sarasota News Leader this week. Applebee has been tasked with implementing Marbuts recommendations. I would hope within one to two months we would have [the environmental studies] wrapped up, Applebee said. After a site is chosen, the city and county lead ers will hold public meetings to begin vetting plans with the countys residents, Applebee added. All three of the sites would trigger some form of rezoning or lengthy permitting process under the citys development codes, Applebee pointed out. City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo expects that the path to building a facility will not be an easy one, but he believes the project can be accomplished if the city and county commissioners work together. Caragiulo has proposed setting up a series of meetings between the two boards. I see what were wandering at, if you will, as a collaborative utopia, and I think we should take it for a spin and see what we can get and not lock ourselves in a closet and get our tattoos and be partisan, Caragiulo said during Mondays City Commission meeting. In a series of votes on Nov. 25, the County and City commissions not only approved Marbuts 12 strategic action recommendations, but they also agreed to the following: to extend Marbuts contract to keep him working as a Homeless people were camping regularly on Florida Avenue in Sarasota until the police cleared the area in the spring. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 35


consultant; t o begin drafting a uniform code of ordinances covering crimes such as pan handling and camping on private property; and to move ahead with due diligence on the short list of three possible sites for a perma nent shelter a list narrowed down from Marbuts top four locations. THE NEXT POLICY STEPS A Phase One environmental assessment on each of those three sites will provide the boards clearer direction for their next step. The three locations are 1330 N. Osprey Ave. (a city-owned parcel) together with the adja cent 1530 N. Osprey Ave. property; 1121 Lewis Ave.; and 1800 East Ave. The rst two are in the city, while the third is located partially in the city. County Commissioner Nora Patterson said she does not favor one site over the other at this point. Although 1330 N. Osprey Ave. was Marbuts top choice, the other two are viable locations, Patterson noted. Nothing needs to happen until we have the environmental analysis back. Then it will get narrowed down further, Patterson told The Sarasota News Leader Then we need to talk about funding. Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder agreed. We have to get the environmental [studies] done before we can even rank the three. Not everyone will support the concept of a homeless shelter. Some are afraid it will be a magnet, Patterson said. But a shelter would Wayne Applebee speaks to the City and County commissions on Nov. 25. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 36


Homelessness consultant Robert Marbut makes his presentation to the City and County commissions on Nov. 25. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 37


be a signican t improvement over the current situation, she added. The [homeless] people are there. They are on the street, Patterson continued. They are better off the street than on the street, from every perspective, including the perspective of downtown businesses. When it comes to funding a shelter, a strategy will be necessary, Applebee said. We will be looking at all sources, governmental, grants, private. One new potential source of assistance could be a proposed state revenue stream cham pioned by Florida Rep. Kathleen M. Peters and state Sen. Jack Latvala, both of Pinellas County the county with one of the coun trys largest homeless populations. Cou nty staff are monitoring that closely, Applebee said about the state proposal. We believe homelessness will be a big priority at the Legislature. AN UNKNOWN AT OSPREY AVENUE In his report, Marbut wrote of the property at 1330 N. Osprey Ave., This is an ideal loca tion, because it has existing buffers and space for additional buffering. The site could also be the least expensive land option. But a big question lies under the surface. A memo from City Manager Tom Barwin urg ing caution about an underground storage well on the pro perty had some backers of shelter plans questioning whether Barwin supported the idea of a facility in the city limits. The mayor said changes made after Barwin issued his original memo about the water-treat ment storage well put emphasis on an issue that initially did not seem worrisome. Snyder added that he considered those changes in the memo evidence that the city manager was pushing against the idea of a shelter at 1330 N. Osprey Ave. (From left) County Commissioner Nora Patterson, City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell, County Commissioner Christine Robinson, City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and City Manager Tom Barwin participate in a joint meeting of their boards in October. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 38


Eight hours e arlie r, it was no operational problem. Then it became an issue that might endanger the citys water supply. They are playing games down there [at City Hall], Snyder told the News Leader During Mondays City Commission meet ing, Barwin addressed concerns that the city administration is not totally on board with Marbuts suggestion for a shelter anywhere in the city. I want to put that to rest right now and state clearly that we are prepared to enthusias tically implement whatever decisions this commission has made or will make, Barwin told the city commissioners. We will work in whatever capacity we can to make this work. It is a really tough challenge but an import ant one that we see through to fruition and success. The wrangling over the North Osprey site will likely subside as the Phase One environmen tal analysis clears up the question of whether the storage well would be an impediment. That will give a clear understanding, from an experts position, to tell us how we can or canno t manage that issue, Applebee said. We need to get that resolved, nd out how much of a hurdle that is if it is one at all. In an interview with the News Leader Dec. 4, Barwin said it is clear that both commis sions have given staff the direction to move forward with a shelter in the city. Barwin praised Applebee, who previously led the search for a new jail site when the county was considering such a facility. He said Applebee is a good choice to lead this process and that the city will work closely with him. If the North Osprey site remains on the table as a possibility after the environmental study is completed, the next question will be whether the city will make the site available for a shelter. Would they donate the site, maybe in lieu of contributing to building [the shelter]? If not, how much would they like for it? Patterson asked. But I dont think we should just focus on that site. % Your present circumstances dont determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. Nido Qubein Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 39


Monday, D ec. 2, e nded the Sarasota City Commissions calendar year of regularly scheduled sessions. While it displayed the boards unanimity on some small issues, six of the 11 policy votes were narrow victories. In every case, Commissioner Suzanne Atwell was on the winning side, often with the swing vote. The commission has settled into a 3-2 rhythm, with Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo pitted against Vice Mayor Wil lie Shaw and Commissioner Susan Chapman. Increasingly, it is Atwell deciding the citys policy and future course. RARE UNANIMITY On three issues, the board was unanimous. A proposal from the Downtown Improvement District to allow bars to have caf tables on the sidewalk failed to get a single vote. The idea was oated by the Gator Club as a test case, but it did not y. Therefore, city policy will continue to allow only establishments serving food to sell alcohol to patrons seated on the sidewalk. The City Commission voted against a request by the Gator Club for an ordinance change so it could serve drinks to patrons seated outside. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY COMMISSION SPLITS ON SIX VOTES, RANGING FROM FUNDING FOR A POSITION TO ASSIST WITH HOMELESSNESS ISSUES TO PROVIDING PIANOS FOR PEOPLE TO PLAY AT A FEW OUTDOOR SITES DOWNTOWN ATWELL PROVES KEY TO ACTION By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Having some fun downtown is not a bad thing. Shannon Snyder Mayor City of Sarasota Regarding a Proposal for Pianos At Downtown Locations


Another pl ea from businesses fell on more fertile ground. St. Armands merchants want to put the brakes on more events in the park at the center of the trafc circle during tourist season. They simply asked that a prior pol icy be revived, and the commissioners agreed unanimously. The plight of the St. Armands Business Improvement Districts Sunshine Law woes also solicited ve afrmative votes. Angry and worried the citys advisory boards were too cavalier in using personal email accounts to conduct city business, the commissioners ordered staff to telephone each member of the citys myriad advisory boards this week to warn him or her of the perils of outing the states public records laws. Were going to have to put an end to these committee meetings until we get these boards retrained, said Snyder. The nal item of unanimity was simply a con sensus not a vote to allow the petitioner in a Hampton Roads rezoning initiative to pro ceed as he desired. This long-dragging issue concerns an obscure change to the propertys designation from residential to commercial on the future land use map. The parcel lies along the north Tamiami Trail; the change has raised a huge brouhaha with the Tahiti Park Neighborhood Association. City Attorney Bob Fournier reported that he made an offer to buy the property for the city to short-circuit the controversy, but the owner declined it. Fournier then said the pro cess now in the rebuttal phase would start afresh. The City Commission has put the brakes on events in the circle at St. Armands during season. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 41


COMMON ACRIMONY Eight other issues ended with split votes Monday, and Atwell on the winning side each time. The Independent Police Advisory Panel came before the commission in the afternoon ses sion to ask for an expansion of its duties under the enabling ordinance. Panel Chairman Elmer Berkel recommended a rewrite to allow the board to make recommendations to the chief of police and city manager in addi tion to the City Commission. We may have actually violated the ordinance or stepped over it already, said Berkel. Commissioner Caragiulo replied, If you have faith in your police administration, if the chief is doing [her] job, I dont think we need this kind of panel. Snyder agreed, saying, I wont support this motion, either. But they were in the minority when the vote was taken to rewrite the ordinance to expand the police panels powers of recommendation. The next contentious issue was spending $30,000 to help fund an administrative sup port position for the director of homeless services. At a joint City-County commission meeting last month, Shaw asked for time to get public testimony before any signicant decisions were made on a plan to address homelessness and vagrancy produced by con sultant Robert Marbut. The wheels on this bus are starting to move very fast, said Shaw on Monday. Will citi zens have anything to say? Commissioners Susan Chapman (left) and Suzanne Atwell prepare for a City Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 42


Chapman asked, Are other cities being asked to pay for this position? The answer, said Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown, is No. Shaw moved to withhold the money until the City Commission or staff can have further discussions with county representatives. Chapman seconded the motion and added, I would like to see some discussion with other municipalities about sharing the burden of stafng. The motion failed 2-3, with Atwell voting against it. She then moved to approve the $30 ,000 funding, and that passed 3-2, with Shaw and Chapman in the minority. Shaw and Chapman were in the minority again on a lighter note, when they were outvoted on a downtown piano issue. During the sidewalk tables for bars discussion, City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw asked if the commission would object to putting several pianos downtown. Anybody could sit down and play, or try to play. Having some fun downtown is not a bad thing, said Snyder. Lets give it a year. The Francis, which provides banquet and meeting space, is adjacent to Louies Modern restaurant in the Palm Avenue garage. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 43


Cara giu lo a nd Atwell went along with Snyder, and the downtown piano playoff was approved 3-2. A proposal to allow a table or two in front of Parker Books for people to play chess or conduct book signings was also approved 4-1, with Shaw in the minority, and a plan to charge for parking in the Palm Avenue garage starting next month was shelved by a 4-1 vote, with Chapman in the minority. Parking will remain free until the end of the tourist season at the request of the owners of Louies Modern and The Francis, which will be marking their rst season on the ground oor of the garage. Another split vote was recorded when staff suggested a consistent method for grant applications. In the past, the process has been willy-nilly and often a last-minute dash for cash by nonprots. Planner Cliff Smith suggested the applicants instead make their requests during the budget planning for each scal year. Theyd have to be prepared and come early, as much as a year in advance, said Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown. Snyder was against any grants program. It took almost ve years to wean everybody off this grant money, he said. If we do it, the bud get process will get a lot more complicated. Chapman moved to approve Smiths sugges tion with an additional requirement that each applicant provide the city an audit of the orga nization if it was seeking money for an event it held the previous year. Her motion passed 3-2, with Snyder and Shaw in the minority. The nal issue of the evening concerned pay ment for Chapmans legal defense against a lawsuit led by Citizens for Sunshine. That tale is told elsewhere in this issue. For the purposes of this story, that vote was not unan imous, either. % Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 44


Plans for an 18-unit condom inium structure on the southern end of Lido Key offered an exam ple on Dec. 4 of why the citys Development Review Committee (DRC) was established. The owner, the architect and their legal rep resentative appeared before the group to respond to questions and comments. The DRC is compos ed of representatives from every city department, as well as the county Fire Department, that has a say in development. The required number of trees in the landscaping plan, sewer capacity, building regulations, re suppression requirements and a host of other rules are addressed at one meeting instead of a developer traipsing from ofce to ofce. Runners participating in the Fourth Annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day pass the site of the Gulfstream Sarasota at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue. Photo by Norman Schimmel WHILE THE CITYS DEVELOPMENT REVIEW COMMITTEE HAS LOTS OF QUESTIONS ABOUT A PROPOSED LIDO COMPLEX, THE GULFSTREAM SARASOTA SEES SMOOTHER SAILING NEW CONDOS BEYOND THE BRIDGE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


At the far end of the table, the development team for the Sarasota Gulfstream elds questions from building, planning, engineering and safety ofcials on the other three sides. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 46


Mark Sult ana is designing the condo complex, which is planned for three levels over parking at 129 Taft Drive. The site is just north of the popular mangrove tunnels on the southeast coast of Lido Key. His plan took hits on a variety of aspects. Why were four stairwells needed to access the roof? Landscape plans showed the use of pub lic right of way and used too many non-native plants. Youll need a right-of-way agreement for landscaping outside of public property, said City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw. Thats county parkland. Sultana held his own. When asked why the plans did not show the percentage of imper vious surface, he quietly showed city staffers where the information was on the plans. But the hits kept coming. There are some concerns about bedroom door access to the stairwell, said Senior Planner Courtney Mendez, who chairs the DRC. You cant have an access as a re escape if it goes through a sleeping room, which can be locked. Larry Murphy with the city Building Department said automatic re suppression sprinklers are required in the building, as is a Class One standpipe in all the stairwells. He did toss out a bone by reminding the devel oper that a building was demolished on the site some time ago, and the developer could use it to claim some credits on impact fees. Attorney Brenda Patten said that in fairness to her group, the development team had just received the staffs comm ents the day before, so so me of the questions and issues had not yet been addressed. GULFSTREAM FLOWS ALONG The DRC then faced a much larger proposal at a signature Sarasota crossroad. Plans call for an 18-story tower at the northwest corner of the Tamiami Trail and the John Ringling Causeway. It would hold 250 hotel rooms and 144 residential condominiums. The proposal called the Sarasota Gulfstream has been before the DRC before; it was back Wednesday so the developer could clear up any lingering details before moving ahead to seek permits. Bruce Franklin, a development consultant for the project, asked what credits the team would receive on impact fees for the Holiday Inn that previously stood at the intersection. We can give you room-for-room credit if the building was still standing 10 years ago, replied Murphy. Franklin then asked about credits for the Dennys restaurant that used to be adjacent to the Holiday Inn on the 2.9-acre site. For the Dennys, Ill have to research it, said Murphy. City Planner David Smith reminded everyone the Dennys was eventually closed and the structure became a sales ofce for the con dominium project originally planned for the location. DRC Chairwoman Mendez closed the agenda item saying, It looks like we are in pretty good shape and should be able to get a sign off on thes e plans. % Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 47


Members of t he citys multitude of advisory boards received telephone calls this week from city staffers reminding them in the stron gest terms to use their city email accounts for city work, and not to discuss any city busi ness in communications on their personal computers. At the advisory boards next meetings, the members will be confronted by a represen tative of the City Auditor and Clerks Ofce and her director of information technology, bearing handouts with new email addresses and passwords, as well as the log-in for a new two-min ute tutorial on public email and the Florida public records laws plus a sternly worded document they all must sign to acknowledge understanding of advisory board members responsibilities. The info blitz is a result of a City Commission demand for immediate action during the Monday, Dec. 2, meeting, when one of the boards was found to have been using private email accounts. A public records request led to private computer les being scrutinized by a forensic professional to extract if possible the public records. This is the sec ond time this year for such an incident. Both errant advisory boards are responsible for spending tax dollars. City advisory board members will get more marching orders about how to conduct public business. Photo by Norman Schimmel ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS GO TO THE WOODSHED OVER THE SUNSHINE LAWS AND A PAYNE PARK MASTER PLANNING WORKSHOP IS SCHEDULED CITY BRIEFS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Most advisory b oard s meet to discuss issues and make recommendations for action to the City Commission. Even the influential Planning Board can only offer guidance, and it has no access to public money. But two special taxing districts the Downtown Improvement District (DID) and the St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID) levy a property tax and spend the resulting revenue. And it was rst DID members and then BID members who admitted to using private email accounts for public business. Each time the district board members were asked for public records, it ended up cost ing the city money for legal attention to the issue as well as defense against a lawsuit. Historically, the city has defended members of its advisory boards from allegations of vio lating the states Open Meetings and Public Records statutes that collectively are known as the Gov ernment in the Sunshine law. ON A HAPPIER NOTE City residents are being invited to offer their thoughts on the Payne Park Master Plan. A community workshop will be held on Monday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Payne Park Auditorium, located at 2100 E. Laurel St., to discuss the plan and existing facilities. Since the Master Plan was adopted 10 years ago, the amenities and usage at the park have changed. Payne Park now is a signature urban greenspace and recreational area, a city news release says. Before moving for ward with any possible modications to the park or its facilities, city staff wants to hear from the public. Possible topics for focus at the meeting are the tennis courts, parking, the auditorium and new features along with funding for them. % City staff is seeking public comments on the Payne Park Master Plan. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 49


In 1998, the citizens of the City and County of Sarasota agreed to levy an extra one-cent sales tax to raise money for infrastructure. In the subsequent years, the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) has brought in millions for city and county projects. To ensure the City Commission properly man ages t he citys LOST income, the original ordinance set up a Citizen Tax Oversight Committee. That board meets once a year; this year that session was held on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 4. The 10-member committee almost did not manage a quorum; it had to wait until a fifth person showed up to begin the meeting. Eventually, a sixth member straggled into the City Commission Chambers. Deputy City Finance Director Kelly Strickland led the members through changes to the spending plan adopted in September, prior to the approval of the current fiscal years budget. The changes origin ated during an The penny-tax oversight committee holds its annual meeting. Among the attendees are Deputy Finance Director Kelly Strickland (lower left) and Jose Garnham (under the city logo). Photo by Stan Zimmerman DURING ITS ANNUAL MEETING, THE CITYS CITIZEN TAX OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE GETS AN UPDATE ON THE SHUFFLING OF REVENUE FOR PROJECTS LOOKING AFTER LOST MONEY Our function is not to evaluate the merit of the changes. Robert Casella Chairman Citizen Tax Oversight Committee City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


April City C ommission workshop, when the commissioners examined alterations to the citys capital improvement plan. While this sounds academic, in reality, it involves the shufing of large sums, essen tially moving money from one proposal to fund others. For example, there is a total of $28.5 million set aside over 15 years for street reconstruction in the third iteration of the LOST money program. In the previous scal year, the annual allotment for that pur pose was $1.5 million. But the September resolution raided more than $1 million from the account. The City Commission redistributed $180,000 for boardwalk improvements at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; $300,000 for bayshore protection; $125,000 for OLearys [Tiki Bar and Grill] shoreline protection; $150,000 for soil and erosion behind the Van Wezel; $125,000 for the Whitaker Gateway Park Seawall; and $180,000 for decks behind [the] Van Wezel. In other words, more than $1 mil lion was shifted from road reconstruction last year to seawalls, shoreline protection and Van Wezel improvements. When voters approved the extension of the LOST levy, they also approved a laundry list of projects (including the $28.5 million for street reconstruction). But city commission ers, with a public hearing and passage of a resolution, were able to divert the money to other uses. The oversight committee believes, however, that its job is ensure that proper notice was given, a public hearing was held and a City Commission resolution was passed. How the money got re-jigg ered is not its business. Our function is not to evaluate the merit of the changes, said committee Chairman Robert Casella. Committee member Jose Garnham asked, During the process of the year, did the [City] Commission add new projects? Strickland said, They did. They also deleted projects and moved money. Can the nature of the project change? asked Garnham. Some times there are completely new proj ects, replied Strickland. This year, street reconstruction had a big pot of money. They divided that out into specic projects. There are projects that are new, so they will take it from on e thats not as much of a priority. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall will benet this scal year from local option sales tax funds. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 51


All these projects were voted on by the vot ers [in referendum], noted Garnham. Does the City Commission have the ability to add projects? Can they diminish some and add new ones that were not in the referendum? The commission has the ability to do that, but it requires a public hearing, said Strickland. The LOST funds are audited annually, and no discrepancies have been reported. In the immediate past, the commissions rationale for moving money was easy to understand. The planned-for level of funds simply was not there. In the mid-decade bust, people spent less and LOST revenues tum bled. In the 2006-07 scal year, LOST revenue was $7.3 million. That was the year citizens re-upped the tax for 15 more years. The f ollowing year, the LOST revenue dropped to $6.4 million, and the year after that, to $5.2 million. Today the LOST levy from the 1-cent hike in the sales tax is producing about $5.6 million, so the fund has stabilized, but it is still bring ing in sums well below boom-time levels. With stable income, though, it is no longer neces sary to slash spending. Instead, this year the City Commission jug gled the money in April and moved more than $1 million from streets to shorelines. It then held a public hearing in September, and by December the Citizens Oversight Tax Committee was powerless to complain. The committee will meet again next December. % Shoreline stabilization at OLearys Tiki Bar and Grill also will benet from changes in plans for LOST revenue. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 52


In response to a request from the County Commission this fall, staff is continuing to work on how best to handle alerts to drivers on roads that tend to ood more frequently. Stormwater staff is scheduled to meet with the Transportation Operations staff to determine the proper applica tion of [ooded road warning] signs, says a Nov. 18 memo to the County Commission. While signage for areas that historically become dan ge rous during heav y/ prolonged rains alert drivers to the possible hazard, the signage could raise concerns from the neighborhood regarding the perceived impact on property values adds the memo from David A. Cash, interim direc tor of the Public Utilities Department, and Molly Williams, interim manager of the depart ments Stormwater Of ce. Prior to placement of the signage, an effort should be made to engage the residents to address their con cerns, it notes. A Sarasota County employee took this shot of ooding in the vicinity of Myakka Drive and Playmore Drive in Venice when Tropical Storm Debby was offshore in June 2012. Image from Sarasota County SARASOTA COUNTY STAFF PLANS FURTHER DISCUSSIONS ON HOW BEST TO WARN MOTORISTS ABOUT ROADS WHERE WATER TENDS TO STAND IN STORM EVENTS FOCUS ON ROAD FLOODING Prior to placement of the signage, an effort should be made to engage the residents to address their concerns. David A. Cash and Molly Williams Sarasota County Public Utilities By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Commissio ner Nora Patterson brought up the topic of ooded roads during the boards regular meeting on Oct. 8, referencing a let ter the commissioners had received from tourists whose car was damaged as they nav igated Siesta Keys Beach Road during the September week that saw signicant rainfall countywide. Patterson asked then County Administrator Randall Reid to talk with staff about whether it would be practical to keep signs handy to deploy on roads that typically ood in extreme weather conditions. Commissioner Christine Robinson told Patterson she saw motorists stranded in cars in Englewood during that same September perio d, while Vice Chairman Charles Hines pointed to problems in downtown Sarasota with street ooding. Therefore, Robinson sug gested staff assess the situation countywide. Reid mentioned the possible development of a Top 10 list of roads that ood often, along with some type of plan for keeping signs close by for deployment as needed to warn motorists. I dont know that anybody really wants per manent signs, Patterson told The Sarasota News Leader on Dec. 3 in response to the memo from Cash and Williams. I understand where theyre coming from, Robinson s aid in an interview with the News Beach Road is prone to ood during heavy rain events, especially near the entrance and exits for Siesta Public Beach. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 54


Leader on Dec. 4, referring to the concerns about potential impact on property values. What Patterson was more interested in, she told the News Leader was signage that could be put up easily if staff became aware of a situation in which a road might be blocked for several hours. Certain county employees already keep an eye on such developments, she added. The Nov. 18 memo explains, During storm events, the maintenance crews are organized based on priorities as reported and staff that normally works on [preventive] mainte nance (pipe repairs and canal maintenance) is deployed to address immediate concerns including roadway ooding and blockages that are creating a high water hazard. In addition, heavy equipment is on call and the vacuum trucks are deployed, one in North County and one in South County, to assist the crews, as necessary with debris removal. Given the fact that Sarasota County is a coastal community that sees a lot of water on roads from time to time including tide-related rises that subside naturally insufcient staff is available to put a warning sign up on every road with standing water, Patterson pointed out. If staff can respond sufciently to warn peo ple off [in the more critical situations], that will be great, she added. The memo from Cash and Williams also points out that 53 known problem areas are inves tigated and cleared prior to a storm event. During an event, Staff is actively evaluating these area s and [placing] road ... signage as required The memo adds that the Manual on Uniform Trafc Control Devices includes a section titled Weather Condition Signs which pro vides guidance for the placement of two specic types of signs. One says, ROAD MAY FLOOD, while the other serves as a depth gauge to show how high the water is on a road. The manual notes, If used, the Depth Gauge sign shall be in addition to the ROAD MAY FLOOD sign and shall indicate the depth of water at the deepest point on the roadway. Robinson said she would wait to see what other suggestions staff may provide after con tinued review of the matter. Thats a good thing, Patterson noted of the continued staff work on the issue. % W8-18 W8-19 The federal Manual on Uniform Trafc Control Devices includes two types of signs designed to warn motorists about ooded roads. Image from the Federal Highway Administration Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 55


In about a week, a committee working on a proposed zoning change to allow for lim ited outdoor merchandise displays on Siesta Key should have its draft ready for review, a spokesman for the group told the approx imately 20 people attending the Dec. 3 Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) meeting. Mark Toomey, owner of Robin Hood Rentals said he and the other committee members would like to make a presentation to representatives from the SKVA, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce once the draft has been completed. It would take about 20 to 30 minutes, he added. Furthermore, Toomey said, the group has been work ing on two different proposals one for businesses like his, (From left) James Ritter of Siesta Key Outtters, Maria Bankemper of the Best Western Plus Gateway Siesta Key, Lori Ann Steiner of Foxy Lady, Mark Toomey of Robin Hood Rentals, Martha Smith of Le Grand Bisou and Dave Ochsendorf of Siesta Key Sports and Physical Therapy participate in the Siesta Key Village Association meeting on Dec. 3. Photo by Rachel Hackney A COMMITTEE COMPRISING SIESTA KEY BUSINESS OWNERS IS ABOUT A WEEK AWAY FROM COMPLETING A NEW PROPOSAL REGARDING OUTDOOR MERCHANDISE DISPLAYS SKOD REVISION PROCEEDING You just need to come up with what youre going to propose, and [county staff will] do the legalese. Cheryl Gaddie President Siesta Key Village Association By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


which rent equipment such as bicycles and Segways for example; the other would cover retail companies. Several businesses on the south end of the island have been involved in the process along with those in Siesta Village, he noted. In May during a meeting organized by the SKVA, Sarasota County staff explained provisions of the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD), the zoning ordinance that governs all of Siesta Key. In the following weeks, several business owners protested that Code Enforcement staff had warned them they no longer could display merchandise outside their shops because the SKOD did not allow that. As a result of the crackdown, Martha Smith told SKVA members in June that she saw sales at her shop, Le Grand Bisou Caribbean Boutique drop from $1,600 a day to $195 a day in one week. James Ritter, owner of Siesta Key Outtters added that his sales fell 90 percent the day after a Code Enforcement ofcer told him he no longer could display items outside his front door to attract shoppers. The SKVA hosted another meeting on the SKOD on Nov. 12, SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie pointed out during the regular session on Dec. 3. About 30 people were present, she said. It was really a good forum. Le Grand Bisou had no outdoor displays after Code Enforcement staff warned business owners in late spring that such activity was not allowed by the Siesta Key zoning code. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 57


The rst draft of proposed changes to the Siesta Key zoning code, completed during the summer, included these provisions for outdoor displays. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 58


Toomey told SKVA members this week that the draft changes to the SKOD would not be too far away from what Kevin [Cooper] pro posed initially. During June, Cooper, then executive director of the Siesta Chamber, completed a pro posed revision of the outdoor display section of the SKOD after researching practices in other Florida resort communities. However, Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on the island, has told SKA members and The Sarasota News Leader that she felt Coopers draft was too lenient. That proposal restricted the outdoor display area to 6 feet above nished grade unless a greater height is permitted through the spe cial exception process. Further, the display area would be located only adjacent to and/ or again st a single building wall, or storefront, of the responsible business, and it could not extend further than 6 feet from that wall or storefront except by virtue of the special exception process. No tents or canopies would be allowed over the display area. Referring to Coopers proposal, Toomey told SKVA members on Dec. 3, Its very detailed, like maybe a lawyer wrote that. Therefore, he was hoping someone would be willing to volunteer to work with the committee mem bers to craft the nal document so it included more specicity. Gaddie responded that county staff will put such nishing touches on the document once you have a proposal that seem s feasible. Mannequins stood outside Le Grand Bisou in early October after Code Enforcement staff members were advised by the county zoning ofce not to enforce the outdoor display ban until island organizations had worked through a proposal to change the zoning code. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 59


Past SK VA President Russell Matthes con rmed that. You just need to come up with what youre going to propose, and theyll do the legalese, Gaddie added. After a version has won agreement from the SKVA, the SKA and the Siesta Chamber, she said, it will have to win County Commission approval before becoming part of the SKOD. As soon as the draft is ready, Gaddie asked that Toomey send it to her; Maria Bankemper, chairwoman of the Siesta Chamber; and Catherine Luckner, president of the SKA. We can look at it before we meet Once they have the document, Matthes pointed out, all three organization leaders could pro vide their board members with copies to review before the committee makes its pre sentation. Gaddie, Bankemper and Luckner also could suggest changes in advance, he added. Toomey said he hoped the committee could schedule appearances before the boards over the next couple of months. SKA Secretary Peter van Roekens also sug gested the committee members show the draft to county Code Enforcement staff, to be sure the changes can be enforced. When Toomey asked whether Code Enforcement Ofcer John Lally, who works on Siesta Key, would be the appropriate person to contact, van Roekens replied, I think so. He will be a good resource for you, Gaddie agreed, adding that Lally should be able to advise the committee of any needed changes from an enforcement standpoint. Gaddie further pointed out that Patterson had indicated to SKVA and Chamber representa tives that if changes were made to the SKOD to allow for some types of outdoor displays, Patterson felt the modications would never be revised again. However, Matthes responded, Never say, Never. Still, Gaddie told Toomey and the other com mittee members, Just keep that in mind. [The county commissioners are] going to be look ing at that [aspect] very closely. When SKVA Treasurer Roz Hyman asked for clarication about the plan to present two proposals, representing the different types of businesses, Toomey told her the committee members feel there is a wide gap between retail and rental companies. I think theyve got to be combined, Hyman replied of the proposals. Otherwise, she said, more problems might ensue. They could be the same proposal, but in two parts, Toomey told her. Gaddie also recommended the committee members photograph examples of the types of displays the draft will include as appropri ate. Visuals are important in conveying ideas, she pointed ou t. % The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 60


The Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at 7 p.m. at Main Street and U.S. 301, the Sarasota Police Department has announced. The parade will end at J.D. Hamel Park, which is located at Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue. Several vehicle tow-away zones and street clo sures will be in effect for the following times to make the parade possible, the department says in a news release: Noon: Main Street closed from U.S. 301 to School Avenue. 5 p.m.: Main Street closed from U.S. 301 to U.S. 41. 5 p.m .: Gulfstream Avenue closed from U.S. 41 to Church of the Redeemer (222 S. Palm Ave.). 5 p. m.: U.S. 301 closed between Fruitville Road and Ringling Boulevard. 6:30 p.m.: Hollywood 20 parking garage will close; Main Street will be completely shut down. 7 p.m.: Parade begins. Each road will reopen once the last unit of the parade has covered a two-block distance from each point of closure, the release notes. Towing will begin at 5:30 p.m. Vehicles not removed by the posted time will be towed at the owners expense, the release points out. For information on towed vehicles, contact Upmans Towing at 365-7084. St. Nicholas waves to the crowd during the 2012 Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade. Photo by Norman Schimmel ROAD CLOSURES ANNOUNCED FOR SARASOTA HOLIDAY PARADE NEWS BRIEFS


A map shows the streets that will be closed Saturday in preparation for the Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade. Image courtesy Sarasota Police Department Circus Sarasota and Sailor Circus performers team up to delight the crowd in the 2012 Holiday Parade. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 62


With the holida y season under way, the Baltimore Orioles will host a youth baseball tournament and help a worthy cause this Saturday, Dec. 7, the team has announced. The Orioles are inviting Sarasota area residents to bring new unwrapped toys for donation to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots pro gram to the Buck ONeil Baseball Complex in Twin Lakes Park between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Then everyone is welcome to stay to watch games during the Suncoast Travel Balls Toys for Tots Baseball Tournament, a news release notes. Donated toys will be distributed to economi cally disadvantaged children in the Sarasota area, the release adds. The Orioles are proud to support Toys for Tots, a program that recognizes and celebrates the value of play in every childs develop ment, says David Rovine, vice president for the Orioles-Sarasota, in the release. The tournament will bring in more than 85 youth baseball teams for games at vari ous locations in Sarasota County on Dec. 7 and 8, the rele ase continues. Teams in the tournament will also donate toys to the col lection, it points out. By the end of 2013, the Buck ONeil and Ed Smith Stadium complexes will have hosted 14 baseball tournaments and welcomed more than 25,000 players, families and spectators to various youth baseball practices, games, tournaments and clinics, the release adds. The Buck ONeil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park is located at 6700 Clark Road in Sarasota. Toys will be collected at the North entrance to the complex, directly behind the Buck ONeil administrative building. For additional information about Toys for Tots in Sarasota, call 925-4014. ORIOLES TO HOST TOYS FOR TOTS BASEBALL TOURNAMENT Image courtesy of Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 63


The Saras o t a County Sheriffs Office is teaming up with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to promote Safe Sleep, a campaign to educate new parents about proper sleeping environments for their newborns and to ask the public to support the initiative by donating brand new portable cribs for parents who cannot afford them. So far this year, DCF has investigated nearly 150 infant deaths in Florida attributed to unsafe sleeping environments, including two in Sarasota County, a Sheriffs Ofce news release says. Although many parents want to use soft bedding, uffy pillows and plush stuffed animals, these elements can prove dangerous to babies who are not old enough to move their heads to ensure clear airways, the release points out. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep alone, on thei r backs and in a crib or bas sin et that is clear of everything else, the release notes. In additio n to promoting a safe sleeping environment and distributing materials countywide in both English and Spanish, the campaign is encouraging the public to donate pack n plays or bassinets as well as new por table cribs. Drop-off points are the Sarasota County Sheriffs Offices Sarasota (2071 Ringling Blvd.) and Venice (4531 State Road 776) locations. The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, the Florida Department of Health and the Child Protection Center are also partner ing on this long-term effort. A publ ic service announcement and an edu cational video may be found on the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce YouTube channel, heriff SAFE SLEEP CAMPAIGN TO HELP NEW PARENTS IN THE COMMUNITY (From left): Department of Children and Families Regional Managing Director Mike Carroll, Healthy Start Executive Director Jennifer Highland and Sheriff Tom Knight gather to launch the Safe Sleep campaign. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 64


An Oak Par k School teacher who works with high school and adult students with special needs has been named the Florida Council for Exceptional Children Teacher of the Year, the Sarasota County School District has announced. Helen Pastore received the recognition at this years state conference, held Oct. 17-19 in St. Petersburg. She will represent Florida and compete for the national Teacher of the Year title at the CEC Convention and Expo sched uled for April 8-11, 2015, in San Diego, a news release notes. Many of Pastores students have autism; her goal is to bring the world to them, she says. She was the founder of the We-Work Lab, a campus-based wo rk program for students to learn work skills. Her class members also decorate bags for a local yarn shop, and they are learning to create other products with the help of a recently donated loom, the release continues. Additionally, Pastore has led the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops at Oak Park, which are the only two special needs Scout troops in the state of Florida. Helen has always readily welcomed new chal lenges and is one busy lady, said Elizabeth Lewis, a fellow Oak Park teacher who serves as president of the Sunset Chapter of CEC (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties), in the release. She is Oak Parks professional development coordinator and treasurer of our local CEC chapter. She also was our chapters 2012-13 Teacher of the Year. OAK PARK TEACHER WINS STATEWIDE RECOGNITION Helen Pastore (center) has been named the Florida Council for Exceptional Children Teacher of the Year. With her (front row, from left) are students Jesus Rodriguez, Derek Patton, Anushri Prakash and Kenia Sawyers-Montiell; along with (back row, from left) classroom staff Karen Sherrard, Pastore, Charles Hill and Darlene Jones. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 65


Helen Pastore displays her plaque. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 66


The Sist er Cities Association of Sarasota will rededicate an art piece given to Sarasotans years ago to commemorate the arrival of Scots as the areas very rst settlers, the City of Sarasota has announced. The ceremony will be held on Friday, Dec. 6, at 2 p.m. at the northwest corner of Main Street and Gulf Stream Avenue in downtown Sarasota, a news release says. The piece, known as the Corinthian Column, was given to Sarasotans from the City of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1985 to celebrate the centennial of 65 Scots arriving in Sarasota, the release points out. Although privately owned for years, the piece has been on public display at Five Points adjacent to a commercial build ing. Recently, the Corinthian Column was donated to the City of Sarasota and the deci sion was made to relocate it to Main Street and Gulf Stream Avenue, the release adds. Back in 1885, the area we now know as Main and Gulf Stream would have been the original landing site of the Scots, said Dr. Cliff Smith, the citys senior planner, in the release. That would have been the waters edge. So, from an historical perspective, it makes sense to relocate the piece there. The Corinthian Column is next to a Sarasota County historical marker that recognizes the Landing of the Scots. The rededication ceremony will include bagpipes, a welcome from Mayor Shannon Snyder, comments from City Manager Tom Barwin and an historic overview of the strong Sarasota-Scotland connection, presented by city staff and members of the Sister Cities Association, the release points out. Dunfermline, Scotland, is one of Sarasotas Sister Cities. The others are Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Merida (Yucatan), Mexico; Perpignan, France; Siming (Xiamen), China; Tel Mond, Israel; Treviso Province, Italy; and Vladimir, Russia. For more information on Sister Cities, visit SISTER CITIES GROUP TO REDEDICATE COMMEMORATIVE ARTWORK The Sister Cities Association of Sarasota will rededicate artwork commemorating the arrival of the citys rst settlers. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 67


Deborah Walk, Tibbals Curator of the Circus Museum and Curator of Historical Resources at the Ringling Museum, will take to the stage at the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, Dec. 10, for a conversation with three famous circus performers who will share insider sto ries about life under the big top, the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC) has announced. Joining Walk will be Jackie LeClaire, Karen Bell and Mary Jane Miller for an evening of thrills, chills and circus recollections that will leave you breathless, a news release says. The Crocker Memorial Church is located at 1260 12th St. (Pioneer Park) in Sarasota. HSOSC members will be admitted free; guests are asked to pay $10. Conversations at The Crocker is an annual series of interactive programs focusing on various aspects of Sarasotas past. In 1942, Mary Jane Millers friends coaxed her to answer an ad in the Herald-Tribune that announced Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus was looking for girls for the season, the release says. Against her moth ers wishes, Mary Jane went to the Winter Quarters and tried out. Tuffy Genders, aerial director of the show, was reluctant to audi tion her because of her young age and lack of experience. But he asked Mary Jane to climb a exible metal ladder 40 feet high. He watched her quickly scramble to the top, hang on by one hand and wave to him. She was hired, went on the road and the rest is his tory. Miller spent 13 seasons with Ringling and appeared in the 1952 Cecil B. DeMille movie The Greatest Show On Earth LeClaire has delighted and amazed audi ences for almost seven decades, the release continues. His rst salaried position was as a clown in partnership with his father on tour CIRCUS CIRCUS! TO BE THEME OF NEXT CONVERSATION AT THE CROCKER Deborah Walk/Contributed photo Karen Bell/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 68


with the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus. At 18, he became an aerialist before returning to clowning. He kept up his trapeze skills, though, and was a double for Cornel Wilde in The Greatest Show on Earth the release notes. In 1966, he was inducted into the International Clown Hall of fame, and in 2002 he was inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame on St. Armands Circle, the release adds. Bell has been performing around the world as a clown for 28 years, beginning with an eight-year tour with Ringling Bros. Circus, the release says. She is a well-respected performer and was a producing clown for Ringling, having created material for herself and other clowns in the show, the release points out. Karen has been a featured lecturer at the World Clown Annual Conference twice, the only female clown to do so, it adds. For more information about Circus, Circus! at Conversations at The Crocker, call Linda Garcia, HSOSC site manager, at 364-9076 or visit The Circus Museum at The Ringling has a variety of vintage posters. Contributed photo To help fa cilit ate community outreach and input, City Manager Tom Barwin this week held his rst in a series of Meet with the City Manager ofce hours in north Sarasota. The ofce hours were scheduled at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in Newtown. Its good to meet with members of the com munity outside of City Hall, said Barwin in a news release. I like to nd out whats on peo ples minds and listen to their ideas. This is an CITY MANAGER SCHEDULES OFF-SITE OFFICE HOURS City Manager Tom Barwin has begun holding office hours in Newtown. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 69


opportunity to m eet with residents and other stakeholders in a different location one thats perhaps more relaxed and convenient for them. Future meeting locations in north Sarasota will alternate between Taylor Complex and the Newtown Redevelopment Ofce, located at 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the release notes. Click here to see a calendar of Meet with the City Manager dates/times. While appointments are not necessary, spe cific times may be reserved by contacting Darlene Mayes at 365-2200, Ext. 4216. Sheriff Tom Knight presents a check to All Faiths Food Bank Executive Director Sandra Frank. Contributed photo Saras ota County Sheriff Tom Knight presented a check for $5,000 to All Faiths Food Bank on Nov. 26, the Sheriffs Ofce has announced. The funds came from seized or recovered cash that went unclaimed and, per state stat ute, can be distributed to a qualifying charity, a news release points out. SHERIFFS OFFICE PRESENTS DONATION TO ALL FAITHS FOOD BANK All Fa iths Food Bank continually demon strates its commitment to this community, said Knight in the release, and it is gratifying to be able to help our neighbors in a small but meaningful way. To learn more, visit Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 70


Students in several classrooms at Venice High School participated in a fundraiser called See the Change, held Nov. 11-15, that raised $1,237 to buy Thanksgiving meals at Publix for local families in need, the Sarasota County School District has announced. During the fundraiser, buckets to collect coins from students were placed in 25 class rooms, a news release says. The project was planned by the peer-counseling group Wolfe Peers Assisting and Counseling, also known as Wolfe PAC. The classroom that collected the most change won a breakfast party, the release adds. T he Wolfe PAC, advised by School Counselor and Senior Activities Advisor Nicole Wolfe, was formed in 2008 with a grant from New College of Florida and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Ten students in grades 10-12 participate in the program, the release notes. Wolfe PAC activities include mediating peer conicts, working with middle school students on their transition to high school, mentoring Venice High freshmen and assisting and coun seling special education students. Venice High School is located at 1 Indian Ave. in Venice. VENICE HIGH STUDENTS DONATE THANKSGIVING MEALS Members of the Venice High School Wolfe PAC count coins for the groups See the Change project: (from left) Tausif Khan, grade 12; Teri DeNiro, grade 11; Veronica Phifer, grade 10; and Lexie Flerlage, grade 12. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 71


The Florida Association of Property Appraisers has elected Bill Furst, Sarasota Countys property appraiser, as its president, the organization has announced. Furst will serve as president for scal year 2013-14, a news release says. The Florida Association of Property Appraisers (FAPA) is a statewide professional organization com posed of locally elected, constitutionally authorized property appraisers. Part of FAPAs mission is to play a role in shaping property tax policy to benet tax payer constituents throughout Florida, the release adds. FAPA is extremely involved in the legislative process, annually providing legislators administrative insight regarding property tax policy, the release continues. The other part of FAPAs mission is to promote fair and equitable assessments of property, within and between Florida counties; this is accomplished through educational meetings to address recent changes in legislation and to inform members about processes utilized by other counties, the release notes. Furst has served in various leadership posi tions within the organization, including legislative chairman, the release says. FURST ELECTED PROPERTY APPRAISERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT Bill Furst/Contributed photo On Monday Dec. 9, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will hold a holiday party at 7 p.m. at the Sarasota Garden Club, located on Boulevard of the Arts near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. CONA TO HOLD A HOLIDAY PARTY ON DEC. 9 Membe rs and the public are welcome, the organization says in a news release. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to President Lourdes Ramirez at conasarasota@ The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 72


Visit Sarasota County (VSC) has been named a recipient of a Gold Adrian Award for its Amish Las Vegas feature on the Today Show s website, reaching a potential audience of more than 8 million viewers, the county tourism ofce has announced. The Adrian Awards are presented by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), a news release explains. The awards honor the best in travel marketing and public relations as determined by a panel of judges from the travel sales and marketing industry, the release adds. The awards will presented on Feb. 24 at a gala in New York City. We are honored to be recognized with this award, said Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, in the release. The Amish community is a special part of Sarasota. We are fortunate to have been able to work with indivi duals in that community to gain positive national exposure of their culture and what they have to offer visitors coming to Sarasota County. With the objective of differentiating Sarasota County from other Florida beach destinations, VSC, with the assistance of MMGY Global its public relations rm on retainer sought to highlight one of the most unique aspects that visitors can experience, the release adds: the countys Amish community. Amish home-style cooking and baking, woodwork ing and quilt making were highlighted, as well as a gentleman who created a solar-powered Amish buggy as a substitute for the horse and buggies used in colder climates, the release continues. The piece, titled Amish Las Vegas showcased how visitors can enjoy the Amish community, and it shared the story of how Amish snowbirds go on vacation, the release notes. VISIT SARASOTA COUNTY WINS GOLD ADRIAN AWARD Visit Sarasota County is the tourism ofce for the community. Image from Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 73


On Dec. 3, USA Pentathlon announced that the international governing body for the Olympic sport of Modern Pentathlon, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), has selected the Sarasota-Bradenton community as the host of four major pentath lon events. The events include three World Cup com petitions the Finals in 2014 and 2016 and the rst-round competition in 2015, a news release says. In 2016, Sarasota-Bradenton will als o host the United States Pentathlon Olympic Team trials. The pentathlon world is delighted to be com ing to Sarasota-Bradenton and looks forward to bringing the global pentathlon family to the United States, UIPM President Klaus Schormann said in announcing the selection. For the rst time in over 40 years, the inter national championship for one of the oldest and grande st Olympic sports will return to the United States, USA Pentathlon Executive Director Rob Stull added in the news release. Sarasota-Bradentons cohesive vision and exceptional presentation secured World Cup events in each of the next three years, an amazing feat and a signicant opportunity for SARASOTA-BRADENTON TO HOST THE MODERN PENTATHLON Show jumping is one facet of the Modern Pentathlon. Photo by Jon Kassel via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 74


the g rowth of pentathlon in the United States and throughout North America, he pointed out in the release. UIPM chose Sarasota-Bradenton over an elite group of cities that bid to host champi onship pentathlon events, the release notes. Among them were Cairo; Frankfurt, Germany; Acapulco; Rome; Budapest; Minsk, Belarus; Buenos Aires; and Cheng Du, China. The 2014 World Cup Final will showcase the top 36 male and 36 female pentathletes from around the world, the release continues. According to the USA Pentathlon organiza tion, the Modern Pentathlon was designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement. It combines ve sports: equestrian show jumping, fencing, swimming, running and pist ol shooting. This selection of disciplines was based upon the legendary tasks of a 19th century military cou rier, which could involve virtually anything necessary to deliver a message successfully, such as procuring the rst available horse and jumping over an array of obstacles; defending from enemy attacks with a pistol and sword; swimming across intervening bodies of water; and running on foot, the release points out. Olympic pentathletes ride an unfamiliar horse (drawn by lot) over a jumper course, fence other participating athletes with an pe, swim freestyle for 200 meters and shoot a laser pistol while running a half-mile course (4 meters by 800 meters). Gen. George Patton was the rst American Olympic competitor in this event, the release adds. He participated in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. % e Church of the Redeemer 222 S. Palm Ave., in downtown Sarasota Warmly Invites the Community to Join in e Celebration of the Birth of Christ Christmas Eve Family Mass 4 pm Music & Carols begin at 3:30 pm Choral Mass (with incense) 6:30 pm Brass Quartet, Organ & Carols begin at 6 pm Midnight Mass (with incense) 10:30 pm Brass Quartet, Organ & Carols begin at 9:30 pm Christmas Day Holy Communion at 7:30 am Choral Mass at 10 am Mass in Spanish at 1 pm Complimentary parking for Christmas Eve available at BMO Harris Bank Parking Garage, McAnsh Square Christmas Eve beginning at 3 p.m. Child Care Available During 4pm Family Mass. / call 941.955.4263 Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 75


Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight and members of his DUI Unit joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) on Dec. 3 to promote the Tie One On for Safety campaign. Because the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day includes some of the most dangerous days of the year on our nations roadways, deputies placed red ribbon mag nets on DUI Unit vehicles to remind motorists to include a non-drinking designated driver when celebrating this holiday season, a news release points out. The red ribbons also reinforce the ongoing commitment to stop impaired drivers and keep all motorists safe in Sarasota County, the release adds. I appreciate Sheriff Knight and the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office partnering with MADD to kick off our Tie One On for Safety red ribbon campaign, said Monica Johnson of MADD in the relea se. The holiday season should b e a time of celebration, so by plan ning ahead to include a designated driver, we can ensure we all get home safe. As part of its ongoing partnership with MADD and support through a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office conducts monthly saturation patrols to remove dangerous, unin sured or impaired drivers from the roads, the release points out. In November, deputies conducted seven satu ration patrols resulting in 21 DUI arrests and 219 trafc citations for other offenses. It is important to note that these numbers are for the saturation patrols only and do not include DUI arrests made during the month outside of these specic initiatives, the release says. This month, saturation patrols will be conducted Dec. 7, 14, 21, 28 and 31, the release adds. Red ribbon magnets will be on DUI Unit vehicles to remind motorists to designate a sober driver. TIE ONE ON FOR SAFETY CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCED BY SHERIFFS OFFICE CRIME BLOTTER


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office has arrested two men for allegedly stealing a womans wallet after she withdrew money from a Sarasota ATM over the weekend, the ofce has announced. The victim was using the automatic teller outside the Publix at 4840 S. Tamiami Trail around 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29, when a man grabbed her wallet and ran, a news release says. A witness reported seeing two suspects run across U.S. 41 toward Outer Drive. Deputies viewed video of the incident and recognized one of the suspects as Paul Casteel, who lives at 2020 Outer Drive, the release adds. Deputies interviewed Casteel and he admit ted to being with the man who actually took the wallet, but gave detectives an incorrect name for the suspect, the release says. He was arrested Saturday on a charge of Principal to Strong Arm Robbery. On Dec. 4, detectives received a tip naming Scott Buchanan as the sec ond suspect. He was locate d and confessed to detectives that he was sorry but needed money for drugs, the release continues. Buchanan, who has a long criminal history, the release notes, was charged with Robbery by Sudden Snatching. The Sheriffs Ofce offers the following ATM safety tips: Use ATM machines in a busy area and try to avoid using them at night. Pay attention to your surroundings before, during and after your transaction. If you see anyone suspicious standing around the machine, leave the area and nd another ATM. When your transaction is finished, take your card and receipt and avoid counting or displaying your cash. Consider asking for cash back when making other purchases, such as buying groceries, when you are safe indoors instead of using an outside ATM. TWO MEN ARRESTED FOR STEALING ATM CUSTOMERS WALLET Paul Casteel/Contributed photo Scott Buchanan/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 77


The Saraso t a County Sheriffs Office has arrested a Venice woman on two counts of Child Neglect after deputies discovered tod dlers living in horric conditions, the ofce has announced. Deputies went to 9055 S. Tamiami Trail on the night of Dec. 3 to look for a wanted sex offender and were told by 22-year-old Donnalee Ballard that the suspect lived with her, would be home soon and they could wait inside, a news release says. Once in the home, deputies saw 1and 2-ye ar-old children walking barefoot on oors covered in garbage, blood and rotting food; dirty diapers smashed into the carpet; and beer cans and drug para phernalia scattered around, the release adds. The report says deputies found the kitchen sink overowing with dirty dishes and rotten food. The refrigerator contained some food (pizza, soda and milk), the report continues, but the food smelled as if it was spoiled. Ballard also admitted being addicted to drugs and shooting up that day while the children were in the next room, the release says. VENICE WOMAN CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF CHILD NEGLECT The kitchen oor of a Venice womans home was strewn with food, syrup, a pizza box and plastic bags, deputies reported. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 78


According to the report, deputies also found needle caps on the oor of the living room, within easy grasp of the children. Deputies requested Sarasota County EMS to respond to evaluate the children, and one of the toddlers had a high fever, the release con tinues. Ballard said the child had a fever the day before, and she admitted she did not have medication and did not seek medical treat ment, the release points out. The Florida Department of Children and Families took custody of the children and Ballard was arrested, the release says. She is being held without bond. The wanted sex offender, James Denegall, was also arrested for violating probation. % Furniture in a Venice womans home was soiled with old food and garbage, a deputy reported. Contributed photo Donnalee Ballard/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 79


Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida941-953-4060


OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL It has been almost exactly a year since a decision by the 12th Ju dicial Circuit Court, in a completely unrelated case, ended Sarasota Countys ability to ban smoking on its beaches. That smoke-free environment, in addition to being a delight for those who enjoy breathing, kept the pristine white sands well, pristine. And the absence of butts littering the beach was a key consideration of the famous Dr. Beach also known as Florida International Universitys Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman in granting Siesta Key Public Beach his coveted No. 1 Beach in America ranking. Legislators tried to restore the rights of local governments to regulate smoking on public lan ds in the last legislative session. However, House leaders objected to the bills as govern ment overreach and the bills went nowhere. Now it has been reported that the sponsors of those bills have capitulated in that ght, planning to introduce bills in the next session that only allow for the banning of smoking on playgrounds on public property. It is a bitter defeat for common sense and the rights of all to breathe unpolluted air. But, short of putting a swing set behind every life guard tower and renaming all of the beaches childrens playgrounds, there is something the county can do to protect our beaches: Bust some butts. We were appalled during a recent excursion to Siesta Beach to discover just how many THE CANCEROUS DECLINE OF SIESTA KEY PUBLIC BEACH


cigarette butts now litter the sands. One would be excused from thinking, at least momentar ily, that one was on the Jersey Shore (or on any beach between Coney Island and Ocean City). However, the problem with butts is not just that they are unsightly litter. They are tiny containers brimful of toxic sludge. As the smokers putrefy their lungs, many of the most harmful chemi cals added by tobacco companies to ramp up the addictive quality of the products is stored in the lters, which then are casually tossed by crass ad dicts onto the sand. These butts then can be picked up by beach wildlife and even small children and eaten, with devastating results. Collectively, the toxicity of those butts can alter the ecology of the beach, wiping out the ora and fauna that sustain it. Even worse, the county cannot simply rake the beach to collect these discarded butts, because that would disturb wildlife that lives in the top layer of sand. The butts must be picked up one at a time to minimize the impact of their collection on the environment. So Sarasota County should move to stop this ecological disaster-in-the-making by enact ing harsh penalties for disposing of cigarette butts on the beaches not as litter, but as the inappropriate disposal of hazardous waste. Think that is government overreach? Pick up a few butts on the beach and send them to an independent test lab for analysis. Most people would be shocked to learn just what harmful agents lurk in those innocuous cellu lose tubes. Years ago, North Caro lina instituted a program to cut down on roadway litter in general and cigarette butts in particular (because they also have the na sty habit of starting destructive wildr es) by initiating the Swat-A-Litterbug campaign. The state set up a special website through which anyone observing another person throwing a cigarette butt from a vehicle could make an online report, citing the location, date, time and vehicle license number. The state then sent a letter to the owner of that vehicle pointing out that someone occu pying it at the stated date, time and location threw out litter. The state warned that, had a law enforcement ofcer observed the act, the offender would have been cited and sub jected to a ne of up to $1,000. If the same vehicle got tagged in several reports for incidents of tossing butts, the vehicle was identied to law enforcement The problem with cigarette butts is not just that they are unsightly litter. They are tiny containers brimful of toxic sludge. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 82


agencies as owned by a chronic litterer in need of monitoring. Obviously, people on public beaches do not wear license plates on their bodies, so other beachgoers could not identify anyone they see throwing butts onto the beach. However, the county could achieve the same result as North Carolina by creating a special page on the county website, called Butt Busters. Anyone observing another throwing butts on the beach could take a cellphone photo, then upload that photo to the Butt Buster Wall of Shame. Those visiting the website could see these reprehensible, inconsiderate beach goers who think the public beach is their personal landll. As in North Carolina, someone getting his or her photo posted numerous times could be identied using facial recognition software (yes quelle surprise law enforcement has this capability) and then monitored more closely by deputies patrolling the beaches. The fine for the inappropriate disposal of toxic waste on our beaches? Try $50 per butt. Even better, if the aggregate fine for an observed offense reaches $500, or if the offender is issued more than two citations on the same day, the deputy would have to arrest the scofaw and haul him or her to jail. Those arrested and convicted for being egre gious offenders would serve their sentences picking up butts on the beach by hand, so as to minimize disturbance of the sand. Their service to pay their debt to society would be to ameliorate the awful consequences of their foul addiction. Think that is government overreach? Think that will hurt tourism (certain to be an objec tion voiced by some county commissioners)? In fact, keeping cigarette butts off our beaches will have the opposite effect it will encour age the throngs drawn to the natural beauty of our unique beaches to visit more often. The county may no longer have the right to ban smoking on the beach. But it does have the power to avoid the most signicant impact of allowing that smoking the proliferation of lthy, cancer-causing butts that litter the sand. Only our tourism economy hangs in the balance. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other fac tors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 83




All photos by Fran Palmeri FOR THE BIRDS


Want to prepar e a feast for our feathered friends? You and your family are invited to City Islands Save Our Seabirds Wild Bird Learning Center on Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon or Dec. 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. You can decorate a small red cedar tree with edibles that birds relish (pop corn, tangerines, cranberries, peanuts). The even t is free with admission: $6 for adults and $4 for children. You can take your tree home and plant it in your yard or donate it to Save Our Seabirds, and volunteers will plant and take care of it. Save Our Seabirds is located at 1708 Ken Thompso n Park way in Sarasota. SAVE OUR SEABIRDS WILL HOST A FAMILY EVENT DESIGNED TO MAKE THE HOLIDAYS EXTRA SPECIAL FOR THE AREAS FEATHERED NATIVES AND GUESTS By Fran Palmeri and Laurel Schiller Contributing Writers Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 86


Putting on a party for the birds is a great way to introduce children to birding, tree hug ging and nature. It is an opportunity for them to learn that holidays are not just about what Santa will bring them but what they can do for their fellow creatures. Besides, kids love hanging edibles on the branches and smear ing pinecones with peanut butter and rolling them in birdseed. If you cannot make the event, you can have your own holiday party at home. You will nd red cedars at local native plant nurseries: Florida Native Plants Nursery, 730 Myakka Road, Sarasota (322-1915); or Sweetbay Nursery, 10824 Erie Road, Parrish (776-0501). Edibles can be purchased at any grocery store. You will need hangers such as those used to hang balls on a Christmas tree, and cotton puffballs, which birds will use to line their nests. Red cedars are fast-growing evergreens that are very adaptive. They can be planted any where even in poor soil. They do well in wet to dry spots and sunny to shady places. Water a newly planted tree well: Water it every day for two weeks; then, every other day for two weeks; and, nally, every third day for two weeks. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 87


Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 88


Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 89


Watch your tree grow! Just give it enough room! You will create a little habitat. Every yard counts. Parks and open spaces are valuable natural areas. With so much being cleared for development, natural places are at a premium. Your tree can be a residence for the locals cardinals, mockingbirds, catbirds and blue jays that are with us all year, and it can provide ve-star accommodations for migratory birds seeking shelter against rain and cold when they move through our area in spring and fall. W e often have a cold snap in this area just around the holidays, so this a perfect time to provide a roof and complimentary breakfast for the birds. We are grateful for the generous grant from our local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, as well as for the Florida Native Plants Nursery volunteers who will host the SOS Holiday Party for the Birds. Call SOS at 388-3010 to make a reservation, or visit the site on Facebook for more information. % Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 90


Clo se to 500 people showed up for the 13th annual free Thanksgiving Luncheon hosted by the Sarasota Ministerial Association on Nov. 27, Chaplain Tom Pfaff told The Sarasota News Leader this week. I have never seen so many, he added. This was just overwhelming. It was just really hard to feed so many people in need. Last year, he pointed out, about 370 homeless people were served. As a result of the larger than expected num ber of participant s, Pfaff said, no food was left for about 100 volunteers who assisted with the program. On the positive side, however, Pfaff noted the event raised $2,400 from community mem bers to enable The Salvation Army to serve its Thanksgiving Day meal. That was the sec ond-highest amount ever brought in during the event, he pointed out. Along with the luncheon, the program included a play titled, Thanksgiving at the Circus which featured a number of commu nity leaders. All those who participated were very excited, Pfaff said. (From left) City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, County Commissioner Joe Barbetta and Public Defender Larry Eger are the clowns Zop, Zap and Zip. All photos by Norman Schimmel THE SARASOTA MINISTERIAL ASSOCIATION FEEDS A RECORD CROWD DURING ITS ANNUAL THANKSGIVING LUNCHEON FOR A VERY WORTHY CAUSE Staff Reports


Pedro Reis, co-founder of The Circus Arts Conservatory, has the stage all to himself. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 92


Pedro Reis gets a pie in the face from Zop the Clown (Paul Caragiulo). Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 93


Clown Zop (Paul Caragiulo) admires his work. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 94


The performers were Public Defender Larry Eger, County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason, County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, Sarasota County School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin, School Board member Caroline Zucker, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve Queior, NAACP Sarasota chapter President Trevor Harvey, Circus Arts Conservatory co-founder Pedro Reis, Sarasota County Fire Chief Mike Tobias, Downtown Sarasota Association member John Harshman, Downtown Improvement District Chairman Ernie Ritz, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe CEO Christine Jennings and past Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer. The Westc oast School Chorus provided music for the event. Members of the senior class at Cardinal Mooney High School were the run ners, assisting with serving the meal, Pfaff noted. Members of the Church of the Redeemers Mens Ministry worked in the kitchen as usual, Pfaff continued, and they are just champions at that. About 50 organizations collaborate to make the program possible, he said. Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel was present to re cord the event. % The performers line up after the nale. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 95


Members of the Westcoast School Chorus present music amid the comedy. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 96


St. Marthas Catholic Church hall is brimming with homeless people and volunteers. More homeless people than ever before showed up for the free Thanksgiving dinner. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 97


Christine Jennings (left), CEO of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, and Carolyn Mason, chairwoman of the County Commission, play their parts. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 98


Christine Jennings takes a turn on stage with Fire Chief Mike Tobias. % Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 99

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Siesta Key Villag e Association President Cheryl Gaddie had warm words of praise this week for the volunteers and business owners who pulled off a very successful Light Up the Village on Saturday, Nov. 30. It was really great [with] probably one of the biggest crowds we ever had, Gaddie said during the organizations regular meet ing on Dec. 3 at the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar. Everything went off really, really well. Roz Hyman of Siesta Center the SKVA treasurer and a longtime volunteer with the Villages holiday season kickoff also took the opportunity to express appreciation to Sarasota County Sheriffs Deputy Chris McGregor for his and his fellow ofcers help. No matter how hard we try to be organized, were not, and it still goes off, Hyman added of the event, drawing laughter. Additionally, Gaddie thanked the business owners for keeping later hours that evening. It makes the Village very festive, she pointed out. The biggest kudos went to Beach Bazaar. It would not happen if it were not for you guys, Gaddie told Steve Hoffman, the shops man ager. Though he was not there for the Dec. 3 meeting, Beach Bazaar General Manager Wendall Jacobson received accolades as well. A Taste of Germany presents a Toy Shop oat, appropriately enough. All photos contributed by Peter van Roekens SIESTA VILLAGES KICKOFF OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON BRINGS BUSTLE TO OCEAN BOULEVARD LIGHTING UP THE FACES By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor

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SKVA Vice President Kay Kouvatsos pointed out that Beach Bazaar provides gift bags for the children who wait eagerly in line to tell Santa Claus their wish lists. The business also creates a oat for the parade and manages the childrens games in Siesta Center. Hyman said the games brought in about $300 to help cover expenses, while sponsors gave the SKVA $1,800 to put on the event. In an email to SKVA members that he shared with The Sarasota News Leader Siesta Key Association Secretary Peter van Roekens wrote, It was a great parade and the crowds were enormous I believe even more than previous years. It was just plain fun! Van Roekens generously provided the News Leader his photo record of the activities Saturday night. % Children of all ages await the start of the parade. Two youngsters make it clear they are fans of reindeer. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 101

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Sarasota County Fire Engine 13, based on Siesta, heads down Ocean Boulevard. One family secured a curbside seat before dusk. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 102

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Children and adults line up at Siesta Center for a chat with Santa Claus. A toddler takes it all in. Representatives of Massage Experience wave to the crowd. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 103

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Beach Bazaars oat is merry and bright. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 104

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The Red Tiger Martial Arts group members offer lots of smiles. What is a parade without a pony? Sun Ride Pedicab owner Glen Cappetta gets a lift in one of his cabs. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 105

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The most important person in any holiday parade is the Jolly Old Elf himself. The Grinch grins from his parade perch. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 106

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Even the dog has appropriate headgear as the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate group marches in the parade. Siesta Key Oyster Bar ladies have a nice perch, too. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 107

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The smile on the childs face says it all. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 108 %

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Guests gathered near Selby Gardens signa ture Bromeliad Tree for its lighting on the evening of Dec. 3, kicking off the season for holiday celebrations in the Gardens. More than 20 feet high, the tree is composed of hundreds of colorful bromeliads; the Gardens debuts a new display each year. The Bromeliad Tree rst appeared in 1997 and has been a holiday favorite of Selby Gardens visi tors for 15 years, according to a news release. The bromeliads are available for sale to the public after the holidays. Among o ther seasonal festivities at the Gardens is the popular Lights in Bloom, which transforms the Gardens into a fami ly-friendly tropical wonderland with brilliant holiday-themed light displays, the release notes. For the rst time, it will include the new Ann Goldstein Childrens Rainforest Garden. Lights in Bloom will welcome the public Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 26-30 from 6 to 9 p.m., featur ing live entertainment, activities for children, holiday treats and a visit from Santa and his elves. % The Booker High Chamber Choir performs with the bright Bromeliad Tree as its backdrop. All photos by Robert Hackney SELBY GARDENS ADDS ITS GLOW TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON MAGIC IN THE AIR Staff Reports

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Selby Gardens board Chairwoman Cathy Layton makes a few remarks during the event. Guests enjoyed the festive occasion. % Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 110

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THE CRYSTAL CLASSIC ENDED UP WITH GOOD ATTENDANCE IN SPITE OF THE WEATHER; THE SABAL DRIVE HOUSE IS ALMOST FULLY IN COMPLIANCE WITH CODE AGAIN; AND VOLUNTEERS COLLECTED A RECORD AMOUNT OF TRASH IN THEIR LATEST ADOPT-A-ROAD ENDEAVOR By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor SIESTA SEEN In spite of gloomy skies on the opening day and rain the second morning of the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition in mid-November, attendance was down only about 5 percent over the 2012 total, Maria Bankemper, chairwoman of the event, told me this week. Visitor numbers were good enough on the last two days of the Crystal Classic to make up for fewer admissions the rst couple of days, she pointed out on Dec. 3. Bankemper was present at the Siesta Key Village Association meeting that morning, wearing all three of her proverbial hats at once. She is also chairwoman of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and general man ager of the Best Western Plus Gateway Siesta Key. Cheryl Gaddie, the SKVA president, told the approximately 20 people present for the meeting, I think [the event] went off extremely well Some trafc issues did arise at Siesta Public Beach, Bankemper and Mark Smith, chair man of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., explained. Still, Bankemper said, The utilization of Riverview [High School for park ing] was much better than the utilization of Phillippi [Estate Park]. This was the first year the Crystal Classic organizers used the high school as the parkand-ride facility for visitors wishing to take a bus to the beach on the weekend days of the event. The park, located on South Tamiami Trail, had served that purpose in previous years. Smith told Deputy Chris McGregor of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce that he felt the deputy stationed at Riverview to assist with trafc there was unnecessary. Were working for you in that type of situation, McGregor told Smith. Deputies look for guid ance about what they should b e doing, he added.

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A master sand sculptor works on his entry in the 2013 Crystal Classic under cloudy skies on the opening day. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 112

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We actual ly didnt need him there at all, Smith replied. However, more help would have been preferable at the beach, Smith noted. [T]he buses had a great deal of dif culty getting into the parking lot [at Siesta Public Beach]. The biggest problem was the number of beachgoers loading and unloading passen gers in the area closest to the beach, Smith said. If deputies had patrolled that section of the parking lot, he continued, That would have helped tremendously. Denitely easier said than done, McGregor responded of keeping that lane open. In his many years of beach duty, he explained, traf c management has been one of the biggest headaches. No matter how often deputies advise drivers to make their drop-offs as quickly as possible and move on, McGregor pointed out, when one driver heads away, theres four more to take [his] place. With the new beach lot, we tried to get a drop-off lane-type thing put in. Didnt the county nix that? SKVA Vice President Kay Kouvatsos asked. Yes, McGregor told her. After the meeting, I contacted Carolyn Brown, the countys director of Parks and Recreation, to ask her about that. Brown responded in an email, [T]he nal park design (for the future) includes a drop-off area. Kouvatsos, McGregor and Brown were refer ring to Sarasota County plans to implement Without a dedicated area for drivers to drop off passengers, Sarasota County deputies say it can be difcult to keep trafc moving smoothly through the Siesta Public Beach parking lot. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 113

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$21.5 milli on in improvements at the beach park. That project is just getting under way, according to county staff memos. County staff was supposed to have blocked off some of the beach parking lot to make room for the Crystal Classic buses to pick up and ofoad passengers, Bankemper said. Somehow, it didnt happen, though such a plan worked quite well during the three pre vious Crystal Classics, she noted. By the time organizers realized the space had not been dedicated to the buses, she added, it was too late to remedy the situation. If you dont do it by 7 oclock in the morning, she pointed out, you cant do it. Caro lyn Brown provided me with the follow ing comment in her email regarding that part of the discussion: I was informed that two parking spaces were blocked off [for] buses to nose in and drop off [people] in the lot during the Crystal Classic. Signage and barricades were put up at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. The area was not as large as previous years but it worked for trafc ow. McGregor added some general thoughts in his remarks at the SKVA meeting. I dont think we can do a whole lot with that parking lot. Youre trying to put a lot of vehicles into only so many spaces. I dont know if we can improve on it other than keeping the drivers moving. Kay Kouvatsos, vice president of the Siesta Key Village Association (left) takes notes as President Cheryl Gaddie listens to a discussion in August. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 114

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ALMOS T THERE The illegal structures built into the 6537 Sabal Drive house on south Siesta Key to enable it to hold up to 40 people as advertised on a website rental site have been removed, I learned this week. John Lally, the primary Code Enforcement ofcer on Siesta Key, told me on Dec. 3 that he had signed off on his inspection of the house. The rst level was gutted to bring it back into compliance with the countys zoning code. All the plumbing, electrical work and air condi tioning equipment had been removed, he said. As a result, he sent a c erticate of compliance to th e Sarasota County Clerk of Court to stop the nes a special magistrate levied on the owners last spring because of their refusal to tear out the non-conforming additions to the house. All that remains to be done on the Code Enforcement end, Lally continued, is for the owners to have a new elevation certicate completed to show the property complies with Federal Emergency Management Agency oodplain regulations. County Code Enforcement Officer Martin Duran is working on that part of the process, Lally noted. Basically, its just one more piece of paperwork. On Dec. 3, one last bit of paperwork remained for the tourist rental house at 6537 Sabal Drive to be considered in full compliance with federal and county codes. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 115

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A sour ce in the Sarasota County Attorneys Ofce told me a hearing is still set on Dec. 18 for the county to seek a temporary injunc tion to compel Siesta Resorts LLC the trust that owns the house to deal with the non compliance issues. However, if the elevation certicate is provided to the county prior to that date, the source said, the hearing will be cancelled. T HE BEST EVER Although Siesta Key Association Vice President and Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Volunteer of the Year Michael Shay was unable to attend the SKVA meeting, he sent in a report about the Adopt-a-Road turnout on Nov. 23. It was the best ever, SKVA President Gaddie reported on his b ehalf. Twenty-four volunteers Just before Thanksgiving, Isaac Brownman, the countys director of capital projects, reported to the County Commission that construction of the new 1-acre stormwater pond next to Siesta Public Beach was continuing without any problems. We are encouraged that due to the dewatering/pumping efforts combined with the lesser amounts of rainfall, the contractor has been able to make good progress on the excavation work, he wrote on Nov. 27. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 116

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showed u p that morning, and they lled 32 bags of garbage, which Mark Smith collected for appropriate disposal, Gaddie added. Village Caf, as usual, hosted the group for a free breakfast. Gaddie also said Shays county honor, bestowed last month, was well deserved. Shay organizes members of the SKA and SKVA for the quarterly cleanups on the north end of the island. GREAT TURNOUT During the SKVA meeting, Deputy McGregor also reported that the Turkey Trot Pub Crawl, held in the Village the night before Thanksgiving, resulted in only ve physical arrests and about 18 Notices to Appear before a judicial ofcer because of open con tainer violations, mostly. Our saving grace was that it was so cold, which kept people from mingling outside, he pointed out. When they left the bars, they generally just left the Village, McGregor said. He initially characterized the turnout as good, but after some abrupt coughs which he noted with a chuckle he changed that to great, eliciting some laughter among SKVA members. % SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota Located Upstairs In the Green Ginger Salon John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 117

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Boogie Woogie by Candace Knapp is made of Chinaberry wood and Avonite. Contributed photo A&E BRIEFS

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Gert Olsen carved Freja from Colorado Yule marble. Contributed photo WORKS IN BRONZE, MARBLE AND WOOD TO BE SHOWCASED Dabbert Gallery will present Sculpture, Metal, Marble & More Dec. 6-30, the gallery has announced. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at the gallery, located at 76 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. The show will feature works by Gert Olsen, Candace Knapp & Thyra Davidson-Wexler. For more information, call 955-1315 or visit Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 119

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Allyn Gallup Conte mporary Art gallery is presenting Above the Planet Through A Microscope, featuring paintings and works on paper by Carla Poindexter, and Lossless: Paintings by Dolores Coe both through Dec. 28 A reception with the artists will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13 Carla constructs a fascinating world of char acters and signs interacting in vast elds of micro and macro space that are both private and collective, says Allyn Gallup, director of the gallery, in a news release. She has a lifelong interest in the relationship between science and the humanities and engages us in a profound exploration of how space and form parallel human thought and emotion. The show includes eight large-scale acrylic paintings on canvas and 12 smaller, hand-col or ed copperplate monoprints. According to Poindexter, these paintings reflect her explorations of contemporary physics from a visually metaphorical point of view, reect ing current conversations involving chaos theory and quantum mechanics, the release adds. Im consumed by how we continuously endeavor to understand and respond to sci ence and poetry, language and movement, time and space, and all manner of enigmatic human causes and effects, says Poindexter. She adds that the 12 interconnected hand-col ored monoprints were influenced by the Japanese proverb, When good luck comes to the door, it is often accompanied by devils. Dolores Coe is a painter, digital media artist and former Ringli ng College professor who maintains a home and stud io on the Little Manatee River south of Tampa, the release continues. Her intrigue with the minds power to distill experience into stories is a constant undercurrent in her imagery. And if Coe s paintings were a movie, theyd be a road picture, the release notes. She entices the viewer into a journey through fantasti cal landscapes, crowded with fragments of iconic, American roadside imagery. So why is the exhibit titled Lossless ? Lossless is actually a tech term, Coe explains in the release. It refers to a type of data compression in which the original data can be perfectly reconstructed. B ut in regard to her art, the term has a double meaning, the release adds. I see painting as a form of data compression; I recombine the fragmented images of memory and fantasy in imaginary landscapes to convey a sense of inner and outer experience, Coe says in the release. Growing up in Florida, I was con stantly steeped in an awareness of migration and change, what remains and what had been erased. The gallery is located at 1288 N. Palm Ave. in Sarasota. For more information, visit www.allyngallup. com GALLUP GALLERY PRESENTS WORKS BY POINDEXTER AND COE The Juggle by Dolores Coe. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 120

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Sixty professional and amateur musicians of the Sarasota Pops Orchestra, led by conduc tor Robyn L. Bell, will be joined by Melodie Dickerson and 65 voices of The State College of Florida Concert Choir for a holiday perfor mance on Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Riverview Performing Arts Center, located at Riverview High School on 1 Ram Way, the Sarasota Pops has announced. The performance will begin at 3 p.m. and conclude at 4:45 p.m. It will feature The Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas in 12 short movements, a news release says. The hall will swell with the sounds of this chal lenging and fun piece as each of the 12 days is introduced in a different style, beginning with Grego rian chants and skipping through music history to Vivaldi, Wagner, Strauss and others, culminating with John Philip Sousa, explains conductor Bell in the release. The concert will include Three Dances from The Nutcracker First Noel Light the Legend by Michael Isaacson and the rst movement from Mozarts Jupiter Symphony The Sarasota Pops is a creative community orchestra comprising career musicians as well as non-professionals ranging in age from 12 to 92 with a mission to enhance the knowl edge, appreciation and enjoyment of music, the release note s. Tickets are available at or at the box of ce for $20 and $25. SARASOTA POPS ORCHESTRA PARTNERS WITH CHOIR FOR CONCERT The 12 Days Of Christmas D ecember 8 Riverview PAC 3:00 p.m. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 121

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JAZZ AT FIRST CHURCH TO FEATURE JAZZ TRIO ON DEC. 8 The First United Methodist Church in downtown Sarasota will host its next jazz program on Dec. 8. Photo by Norman Schimmel The upcoming Jazz at First Church program will feature the Jazz Trio, with Johnny Moore on drums, Dominic Mancini on bass and Tommy Goodman on piano, the church has announced. The performances will be on Dec. 8. Moore, Mancini and Goodman will join special guest Jim Wellen on saxophone, a news release says. As in the past, two identical concerts are planned: from 4 to 5 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The First United Methodist Church is located at 104 S. Pineapple Ave. in down town Sarasota. A freewill offering will be taken. For more information, call the church office at 955-0935. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 122

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Bookstore1Sarasota will host its Poetry Local Mic program on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m., the shop has announced. Join local poets Dominic Martia and Pat Owen for a delightful afternoon of reading and discussion, a news release says. Then on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m., the store will welcome James W. Hall, whom The New York Times calls the master of suspense. Hall will comment on and sign his newest novel, Going Dark the release adds. His latest thriller deals with Earth Liberation Front, known as ELF, a loosely knit organi zation comprising environmental activists scatt ered around the country. These extrem ists take a by any means necessary approach to defending the planet, the release adds. In the past decade, ELF has been responsi ble for close to a hundred million dollars in damage mainly through arson, the release continues. The FBI ranks it, along with other eco-radicals, as the No. 1 homegrown terror ist threat. To pre-order a copy of the book, call 365-7900. Purchase of the book at Bookstore1Sarasota is required for signing, the release notes. The store is located at 1359 Main St. in down town Sarasota. More event information is available at or 365-7900. BOOKSTORE1SARASOTA TO HOST POETRY LOCAL MIC AND HALL James W. Hall will talk about his new book and sign copies of it at Bookstore1Sarasota on Dec. 11. Photo by Maggie Evans Silverstein, courtesy of Random House Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 123

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Florida Studio Theatre will present the regional premiere of Thurgood by George Stevens Jr., in FSTs Keating Theatre on Friday, Dec. 13, the theatre has announced. Thurgood is a powerful play based on the life of [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice Thurgood Marshall, a news release explains. From a childhood in the back alleys of Baltimore to the Supreme Court of the United States, Justice Marshall overcame many adversities, FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE TO PRESENT REGIONAL PREMIERE OF THURGOOD the release points out. A journey of epic pro portions, Thurgood is an eye-opening, moving, humorous and an uplifting portrait of a true American hero. Single tickets range from $18 to 32. Performances will continue through Feb. 22. FST is located at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in down town Sarasota. For more information, visit Florida Studio Theatres Keating Theatre seats 173. Photo courtesy Florida Studio Theatre Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 124

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ASOLO REP TO HOST A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN TONIGHT The Asolo Repertory Theatre is located in The Ringling complex on North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons artist s sharing the unique sounds, history and converging inuences that make our music, the release continues. Updated casting information will be posted on Asolo Reps website, The performance will take the place of the Carefully Taught Cabaret originally sched uled for Nov. 24, the release adds. The production will be in Asolo Reps Cook Theatre, located at 555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Tickets for A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight are $18 and are available at Asolo Repertory Theatres box ofce, located in the lobby of the theatre. Tickets are also avail able by calling the box ofce at 351-8000 or by visiting % The Asolo Repertory Theatre is inviting the public to attend an intimate cabaret evening that will explore the intersection of racial identity and American music, the theatre has announced. Beginning with Show Boat traveling through the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz and Motown eras and continuing through contemporary pop music and modern musical theatre pro ductions such as Hairspray and Memphis this insightful event will illuminate how African-American musical traditions origi nally came to prominence on stage and in popular culture and how they have sparked a ame that has burned ever since, a news release says. On Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., a cabaret will feature passionate performances by Show Boat Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 125

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On Friday, Dec. 6, Temple Sinai will celebrate Rabbi Geoff Hunttings 20 years of dedication to the congregation and the community at large, the Temple has announced. The inspiring musical Rhythm and Jews Shabbat Service, featuring The Bruno Trio, is scheduled for 6 p.m., a news release says. It will be preceded by a welcome reception at 5:15 p.m. Members of the Youth Group will be participating in the service, the release adds. Huntting received a Bachelor of Arts in lib eral arts from Johns Hopkins University, the release continues. After serving in Vietnam, he moved to California, where he received a Juris Doct or degree from Loyola Law School. He was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in June 1991, after ve years of study in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and Cincinnati, the release adds. Huntting; his wife, Sue; and their two chil dren came to Sarasota in late 1993, when he accepted the position at Temple Sinai. Huntting has been involved with the American Jewish Committee and J Street and is on the advisory board of ALSO, the release adds. Rabbi Huntting is known for his innovative and creative nature; whether it is in conceiv ing a program to k eep teenagers involved with Rabbi Geoff Huntting and his wife, Sue, will mark Geoffs 20 years of service to Temple Sinai in a Shabbat on Dec. 6. Contributed photo SHABBAT TO HONOR RABBI GEOFFREY HUNTTING RELIGION BRIEFS

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the Temple or in writing religious services to be more meaningful to the congregants, the release notes. Temple Sinai always had its own unique and open culture from the beginning, Huntting says in the release. [The members] were willing to experiment with liturgy and pro gramming, an attitude that continues to this day. This, more than anything else, has made Temple Sinai a success. Sue Huntting, a nationally respected Jewish educator, has made her mark over the years at Temple Sinai as well, the release points out. She has worked in the field for more than 25 years and holds a Master of Arts in both Jewish education and Jewish communal service from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which also awarded h er an honorary doctorate in 2005 for her profes sional accomplishments. Sue was in strumental in planning and launch ing The Gan at Temple Sinai, Early Childhood Center, in 2006, the release continues. It is now accredited by the National Accreditation Commission of the Association of Early Learning Leaders and is lled with enthu siastic students from 18 months of age to pre-kindergarten level, the release notes. In June 20 08, Sue Huntting became the Religious School director; she utilizes cut ting-edge learning concepts and innovative teaching methods that engage the students and their families, the release adds. Both Rabbi Geoff and Sue Huntting have taught extensively in our Sarasota commu nity, most notably through the Melton Adult Mini-School of the Jewish Federation, the release points out. Temple Sinai and Sarasota are fortunate to have spiritual leaders of this caliber to inspire and nurture them. The entire commun ity is invited to join the Church of the Redeemer on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m., in its annual tradition of the Messiah Sing-Along a joyous singing of George Frideric Handels Christmas Messiah one of the best-known, most-beloved and most frequently performed choral works in Western music, the church has announced. The performance is dedicated to the memory of Redeemers longtime composer in resi dence, Dr. Daniel T. Moe, a news release says. This festive family-friendly event features mem bers of the choirs of Redeemer singing along with the congregation, accompanied by a cham ber orchestra under the direction of conductor Todd Craven and Redeemers assistant organ ist, Daniel Cartlidge, the release continues. Each yea r, Redeemers Messiah Sing-Along sells out; advance ticket purchase is highly recommended, the release points out. Ticket donations are $10. They may be made in advance online at by calling the parish office at 955-4263 or by visiting the church during regular business hours. Subject to availability, tickets will also be sold at the door on the day of the event. Complimentary parking will be available at the BMO Harris Bank parking garage on McAnsh Square between 6 and 10 p.m., the release says The Church of the Redeemer is a traditional Episcopal parish located in the heart of down town Sarasota at 222 S. Palm Ave. REDEEMER TO REPRISE POPULAR MESSIAH SING-ALONG Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 127

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The Church of the Redeemer will host its annual holiday Messiah Sing-Along on Dec. 15. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 128

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The Church of the Redeemer will offer a mid day Advent organ recital on Wednesday, Dec. 11, with guest organist Neil Page, the director of music at Siesta Keys St. Boniface Episcopal Church, the church has announced. Held each Wednesday throughout the season of Advent, the 30-minute recitals are free. They begin at 12:10 p.m. and end promptly at 12:40 p.m., a news release says. Guest organ ists and musicians perform on Redeemers REDEEMER ORGAN SERIES TO PROVIDES HOLIDAY SEASON RESPITE Neil Page is the director of music at St. Boniface Episcopal Church. Contributed photo massiv e 50-stop Nichols & Simpson pipe organ, providing a brief but welcome week day respite during the hectic holiday season, the release adds. All in the community are invited. The church is located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. For more information, visit redeemersara or call 955-4263. Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 129

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More tha n 200 members and guests celebrated the Festival of Lights at Temple Emanu-Els annual Hanukkah Happening on Nov. 30, the Temple has announced. Sponsored by Temple Emanu-El Religious School, the Hanukkah Happening featured a traditional Hanukkah dinner of homemade brisket with all the trimmings. The Temples Brotherhood cooked latkes potato pan cakes fried in oil that are eaten during the holiday, and religious school families also prepared side dishes and desserts, a news release says. Other highlights of Hanukkah Happening included a display of menorahs created by religious school students, an appearance by Hanukkah hero Judah Maccabee, Hanukkah crafts and games of dreidel and a silent auctio n. Proceeds benefitted the scholar ship and educational programs of Temple Emanu-El Religious School. The Hanukkah Happening was followed by the synagogues annual Hanukkah service, which included the kindling of a 170-year-old silver menorah that was crafted in Poland and that somehow escaped destruction during the Holocaust. The menorah was discovered 10 years ago in a Temple Emanu-El storage closet; despite extensive research, the means by which it made its way to Sarasota remain unknown. The Hanuk kah Happening was chaired by Cindy Gilburne. For more information about holiday programs at Temple Em anu-El, call 371-2788. TEMPLE EMANU-EL FAMILIES CELEBRATE AT HANUKKAH HAPPENING Temple Emanu-El Director of Education Sabrina Silverberg congratulates Lily Schlosberg, Kira Herman, Aiden Pearson, Luca Schlosberg, Garet Pearson, Katerina Herman and Elena Herman on their homemade menorahs at the Hanukkah Happening. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 130

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Temple Emanu-El conrmation student Tyler Yackel, dressed as Hanukkah hero Judah Maccabee, greeted Evan Rubin at the Hanukkah Happening. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 131

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Sarah Smith and son Ezra enjoyed the craft table at Temple Emanu-Els Hanukkah Happening. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 132

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Joel D. Fedder, a member of the National Summit Council of the Sierra Club, will pres ent a program titled Hell and High Water You and Your Grandchildren at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, the CHJ has announced. The program will focus on What does this tipping point in our climate change mean for us and the generations to come? a news release says. With his wife, Ellen, Fedder established the Fedder Environmental Law Fund at SIERRA CLUB LEADER TO PRESENT PROGRAM ON HELL AND HIGH WATER the Univer sity of Maryland Law School, the release notes. This fund recently spon sored the International Environmental Law Professors conference, which was attended by more than 200 people from 30 countries. CHJ meets at Unity, located at 3023 Proctor Road in Sarasota. For more information visit or call 929-7771. The suggested donation for non-CHJ mem bers attending the D ec. 7 program is $5 On Sunday, Dec 15 at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary, the First United Methodist Church in Sarasota will host its annual Christmas Concert and Community Carol Sing. Music, dance and drama have made this Christmas Concert a hit for more than 20 years, a news release says. First Church Singers performi ng sublime holiday music ANNUAL COMMUNITY CAROL SING PLANNED AT FIRST CHURCH will be ac companied by brass quintet, organ and harp. All members of the community are invited to join in singing beloved carols. The church is located at 104 S. Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota. Parking will be avail able in the Zenith garage. Contact the church ofce (955-0935) for addi tional information. % The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Ralph Waldo Emerson I am so incredibly pleased, with my beautiful smile and my comfortable and natural bite. Barbara LeeFor a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 133

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06 DECEMBER WSLR presents Buddy Mondlock in concert Dec. 6, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sara sota. Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at door. Information: 894-6469 or 10 DECEMBER Sarasota Singles Society Christmas Party Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m., Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. (Note: pre payment required by Dec. 6.) Admission: $80 for members/$100 for others. Information: 504-4064 or 06+ DECEMBER Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents Purlie Through Dec. 15; times vary; 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $28.50. Information: 3661505 or 06+ DECEMBER Above the planet through a microscope works by Carla Poindexter Through Dec. 28; times vary; Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 366-2454 or 06+ DECEMBER FST presents Monty Pythons Spamalot Through Jan. 5; times vary; Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $18 to 49. Information: 366-9000 or 06+ DECEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Sculpture: Metal, Marble & More Dec. 6-30; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 07+ DECEMBER Fuzin Dance Artists presents Voices of Fuzin: Mlange Dec. 7 & 8; times vary; Jane B. Cook Theater, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $28 ($10 for students). Information: 359-0099 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 134

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 07+ DECEMBER Artist Series Concerts presents Colored Lights with KT Sullivan and Jon Weber Dec. 7 & 8; times vary; Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets: $25 to 45. Information: 306-1202 or 08 DECEMBER Sarasota Pops Orchestra Holiday Concert Dec. 8, 3 p.m., Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $20 to 25, available at 08 DECEMBER First United Methodist Church presents Jazz At First Church Dec. 8, 4 and 5:30 p.m., 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. Admission: donation. Information: 955-0935 or 09 DECEMBER Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations Holiday Party Dec. 9, 7 p.m., Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. Members of the public welcome. RSVP to 11 DECEMBER Sarasota Concert Association presents Bill Schustik Dec. 11, noon, Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 351-7467 or 20+ DECEMBER Selby Gardens presents Lights in Bloom Dec. 20-23 and 27-30, 6 to 9 p.m., 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Admission: $14 for mem bers/$17 for others. Information: 366-5731 or 06 JANUARY Sarasota Concert Association presents Mark-Andr Hamelin Jan. 6, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $40 to 70. Information: 351-7467 or Community Calendar Sarasota News Leader December 6, 2013 Page 135

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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 THE BLUE MAN GROUPS FISHING BOAT SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS