Sarasota News Leader


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

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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 13 December 13, 2013 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida Inside WAECHTER PLEADS GUILTY A PUPPY STORE DEBATE A STAFF ERROR




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 County Commission wrapping up its meeting schedule in advance of the holidays, I gured we would have plenty of news this week. I did not imagine just how much news or that the boards actions would be trumped by a plea deal in court. Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker learned early this week that, after months of delays, action would be coming fast in Bob Waechters identication theft criminal case. Cooper was there in court Thursday morning to hear the former chairman of the countys Republican Party agree to a plea deal. Back on the local government side of things, County Editor Roger Drouin spent a long day in Venice Tuesday, when the County Com mission heard hours of comments about a proposed puppy mill ordinance. Nonetheless, he was back on the beat Wednesday for discussions of a new panhandling ordinance and Sarasota Military Academys mid dle school plans. City Editor Stan Zimmerman has not been idle this week by any means from writing about eye-opening statistics regarding the revenue potential for an extended Downtown Saraso ta Community Redevelopment Agency to re porting on how the Downtown Improvement District might bring in more funds. Not to be outdone, Staff Photographer Nor man Schimmel was on St. Armands for the Dec. 6 holiday kickoff and at the Dec. 9 groundbreaking for the countys new Emer gency Operations Center. By all means, take your time going through this issue. I have barely begun to touch on the stories we covered. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


WAECHTER PLEADS GUILTY A PUPPY STORE DEBATE NEWS & COMMENTARY WAECHTER PLEADS GUILTY 9 Former Sarasota GOP chair admits breaking the law by impersonating a political opponent Cooper Levey-Baker A PUPPY STORE DEBATE 13 Animal advocates push for pet store regulation; owners say a county ordinance would restrict families ability to choose pets Roger Drouin A STAFF ERROR 21 Bobs Boathouse never should have been issued a temporary certicate of occupancy because it had not paid county water and sewer capacity fees of more than $77,000, the County Commission learns Rachel Brown Hackney ON THE HOOK 29 Sarasota County taxpayers to pony up $5 million more if the Benderson rowing park economic impact does not add up Cooper Levey-Baker POINTED QUESTIONS 34 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to release a study in early 2014 showing potential impacts on Siesta Key of the planned dredging of Big Pass to renourish Lido Key Beach Rachel Brown Hackney PANHANDLING LAW CONSIDERED 42 A proposed county ordinance up for a public hearing in March would replace an emergency ordinance now in place Roger Drouin SPORTS, MUSIC AND HIGH-END WEDDINGS 45 City of Sarasota staff hears a lot of ideas for use of Payne Park, along with pleas to relax the rules for renting the auditorium Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Holiday Palms Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: December Beach Fun Robert Hackney


OPINION NEWS BRIEFS DECISION TIME AT HAND 51 During a community meeting on Dec. 18, the new project team working on Lift Station 87 will release its recommendations on how to proceed Stan Zimmerman MORE CASH IS NO. 1 54 The Downtown Improvement District board sets its priorities for next year Stan Zimmerman REALIZING A VISION 59 Sarasota Military Academys new middle school is slated for an August 2014 opening Roger Drouin STILL CLOSED FOR NOW 62 The County Commission and the North Port City Commission will proceed with seeking a longterm proposal for the future of Warm Mineral Springs Rachel Brown Hackney ADDING UP THE ARTS IMPACT 67 Sarasota County continues to see tourism grow, thanks to the wide variety of cultural events supported by local government grants Rachel Brown Hackney MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS 71 The committee studying the Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency debates continued use of revenue for city operations instead of for projects in the dened area Stan Zimmerman STORM CENTER 77 Sarasota County breaks ground on its $15.4 million Emergency Operations/911 Center Staff Reports NEWS BRIEFS 81 CRIME BLOTTER 90 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For The Best Reading Experience Try Reading The Sarasota News Leader On Your Tablet


ATOMIC AGES SIESTA SEEN OPINION EDITORIAL 93 Rick Scott, Huckster-in-Chief SARASOTA LEISURE ATOMIC AGES 98 Atomic Holiday Bazaar crafters prepare to rock the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium for the eighth straight year Cooper Levey-Baker MARKING 86 YEARS 101 Sarasota lawn bowlers may not have a high prole, but they are part of a long-time community tradition Stan Zimmerman A NIGHT OF LIGHTS 104 St. Armands Circle bids a formal welcome to the holiday season Staff Reports SIESTA SEEN 109 Another Avenida del Norte dock wins approval; the Village recycling initiative sparks an artistic suggestion; and the stormwater project continues Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 114 RELIGION BRIEFS 123 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 125 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 126 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080


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Former Republican Party of Sarasota County Chairman Bob Waechter this week pleaded guilty to breaking election laws and imper sonating another person with the intent to harass. The deal put an end to a yearlong case that started when he used the personal infor mation of a Republican opponent to make potentially damaging campa ign contribu tions to Democrats. But the victim, cur rent Sarasota County Commission candi date Lourdes Ramirez, says just ice has not been serv ed, arguing that political connec tions between Waechter and State Attorney Ed Brodsky put the states objectivity in doubt. The investigatio n into Waechter began last year, when Ramirez went to authori ties after receiving a no te thanking her for donating to Democrat Keith Fitzgeralds con gressional campaign. She insisted she had never given money to Fitzg erald. Bob Waechter (far left) watches as county commissioners are sworn in on Nov. 20, 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel FORMER SARASOTA GOP CHAIR ADMITS BREAKING THE LAW BY IMPERSONATING A POLITICAL OPPONENT WAECHTER PLEADS GUILTY I lost sight of the dividing line between right and wrong and crossed it decisively. Robert Waechter In a Statement During His Plea Hearing In 12th Judicial Circuit Court By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce identi ed the prepaid credit card used to make the contribution. The same card was also used to make a $35 donation to Democratic state House candidate Liz Alpert and to give $250 to the Obama reelection fund in Ramirezs name. The Sheriffs Ofce discovered store surveillance footage that showed Waechter purchasing the card, and it also pinpointed the IP address for the donations as one afliated with Waechters company, RWR Installations. Ramirez, uneasy with how the case was pro ceeding, met with the FBI in late November, according to a press release she sent out Tuesday, Dec. 10. She says the agency told her it was interested in pursuing the case. On Dec. 2, Ramirez met with Brodsky and the assistant state attorney assigned to her case, Brian Iten. They informed her they were pur suing a plea deal for a misdemeanor charge, to which Ramirez objected. When the FBI later asked to take over, Brodskys ofce rebuffed the agency. Im a little angry, Ramirez told The Sarasota News Leader two days before Waechters plea hearing. She doesnt believe Waechter regrets his actions, and she said Brodskys ties to Waechter have made her question his ofces impartiality. Waechter did in f act donate $250 to Brodskys 2012 campaign in June 2011, and his name pops up on a number of yers advertising fundraisers for the candidate. Waechter also has ties to the man who acted as Brodskys campaign treasurer, Eric Robinson. This March, Sarasota Demands Accountability, a political committee registered at Waechters address, gave $28,000 to Citizens Have Rights in Sarasota, a committee registered at Robinso ns address, the same Robinson who served as Brodskys treasurer. Brodsky told the News Leader he is unaware of any donations Waechter made to his bid for ofce, and he said Waechter in fact worked against him during the Republican primary. He was very aligned with my opponent, Brodsky added. Brodsky also defended the decision to offer a plea deal and to turn back the FBI. His ofce had been working the case for a year, he pointed out. Whether or not Waechter regrets his actions is immaterial. A plea resolution is offered in every case, Brodsky pointed out, remorse or no remorse. The agreement he reached with the FBI says that if any further misdeeds surface, the agency will be w elcome to become involved. Lourdes Ramirez/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 10


In her press release, Ramirez called for Brodsky to cede jurisdiction to the feds, a moot point after Thursdays plea deal. With the agreement, Waechter will be hit with three months of community control, two years of probation and 100 hours of community ser vice. Hell have to pay a $5,000 ne, plus the costs incurred by the State Attorneys Ofce and the Sheriffs Ofce. Waechter read a prepared statement during Thursdays hearing, calling his actions a few moments of sophomoric hand-rubbing glee that have cost him greatly. I have embarrassed myself and I have caused great embarrassment to my family and friends, he said. Calling partisan politics at times com petitive, combative, contentious and bruising, Waechter added that it should never be underhanded. I lost sight of the dividing line between right and wrong and crossed it decisively, he said, apologizing to Ramirez. Iten laid out the case the State Attorneys Ofce would have brought against Waechter if it had go ne to trial, noting Waechters ties to Republican Al Maio, who is running against Ramirez in next years GOP primary. Robert Waechter, in supporting Alan Maios pursuit of Nora Pattersons commission seat, was trying to undermine Lourdes Ramirezs credibility, Iten charged. Ramirez addressed the judge as well, mention ing her concerns about Brodskys credibility. She said Waechters actions werent intended to harm just her, but to undermine the dem ocratic process. She added that a strong sentence was needed to not only send a message to Waechter, but to all political operatives. After Thursday mornings hearing, Ramirez told the News Leader she was still unhappy with the result. I really feel let down by the state, she said. But with a campaign to run, she doesnt have any more time to spend on the case: I have a lot of work ahead of me. % Bob Waechter is shown in his Sheriffs Ofce mugshot in December 2012. Contributed photo Ed Brodsky is the state attorney in the 12th Judicial District. Image from Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 11


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The possibility that Sarasota County might enact an ordinance prohibiting the sale of puppies at commercial pet stores drew dozens of supporters and opponents to the County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10. People on both sides of the issue filled many of the seats in the C ommission Chambers in Venice, with supporters and opponents sitting on opposite sides of the room. In one section, dozens of local animal rights advocates and backers of the ordinance wore stickers that read Vote Yes, while the opponents of the ordinance held signs that read My Pet, My Choice! After almost two hours of public com ments, the county commissioners voted 5-0 to requ est the county attorney to provide a legal opinion to them within 60 days on the propose d ordinance regulating the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail stores. That opinion w ill likely Dozens of residents came to the meeting, representing both sides on the ordinance. Photo by Roger Drouin ANIMAL ADVOCATES PUSH FOR PET STORE REGULATION; OWNERS SAY A COUNTY ORDINANCE WOULD RESTRICT FAMILIES ABILITY TO CHOOSE PETS A PUPPY STORE DEBATE I have been really torn on this thing since the subject came up. And I would like to do something. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


prove pivotal in whether the board offers the ordinance for a public hearing. The draft version under review this week would prohibit the sale of the pets in retail stores, of which there are four in Sarasota County. Under the ordinance, animals could be obtained only from an animal shelter, an animal control agency, a humane society or directly from a breeder. If the county commissioners move ahead with a version of the ordinance, Sarasota County would join local governments throughout the country, such as those in San Diego, CA; Austin, TX; and Hallandale Beach that have recently passed laws restricting or banning the sale of dogs and other pets in retail stores. Local animal rights advocates say prohibit ing such sales in Sarasota County would help reduce the number of so-called puppy mills, a term they use to describe high-volume com mercial dog breeding operations that are the source, those advocates say, for the vast majority of puppies sold by retail businesses. But pet shop owners, employees and those who work in the industry say such a ban would restrict peoples ability to choose the pets they want. Owners dispute the assertion that they get their puppies from inhumane mills, and they say a better means should be found to address the problems associated with such operations. TWO VOCAL SIDES In November 2012, local animal advocates, including the grassroots group Sarasota in Defense of Animals, began pushing for an ordinance in Sarasota County. Backers say the pet store ban would encour age those seeking a family dog to consider adopting f rom local animal shelters. Veterinarian Dr. Adam Cohen, who has worked for Petland since it opened in 1999, said the Fruitville Road store hired him to inspect animals before they are sold to families to make sure they are healthy and t to be sold. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 14


We are working to make Sarasota County a no-kill county, and this is another step towards that goal, Elise Matthes, a longtime animal rights activist in Sarasota County and co-founder of Sarasota in Defense of Animals, told the commissioners Tuesday. Puppy mills supply virtually all pet shop dogs, according to the national nonprot Friends of Animals. More than two dozen bans across the coun try, all of which have taken effect in the past three to four years, are evidence of a rapidly growing movement to put an end to the puppy mills, supporters of the Sarasota County ordi nance told the board. Last year, the Hallandale Beach City Commission prohib ited the sale of dogs originating from puppy mills. Under Hallandale Beachs law, retail-store owners have to provide a valid certication of the source for each animal. The commissioners in that community took up the issue after a city wide outcry over puppy mill practices began three years ago. Hallandale Beach leaders say they hope the ban will encourage those seek ing a family dog to consider adopting from the community shelter. Flagler Beach has a stricter ordinance that prohibits the sale or disposition of live animals for commercial gain or other commercial purpose. Michele Lazarow, a Hallandale Beach commis sioner who drove from the states east coast for Tuesdays County Commission meeting, said she began championing restrictions on Elise Matthes speaks in support of a ban. Photo by Roger Drouin Clearly, there are some legal concerns. Stephen DeMarsh County Attorney Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 15


pet stores after she purchased a dog in 2004 only to discover it had congenital defects. I found there were multiple complaints over 15 years at this store in the city of Hallandale, Lazarow told the County Commission. In an email sent out before Tuesdays meet ing, Sarasota in Defense of Animals rallied local supporters: Please help stop the retail sales of Dogs, Cats and Rabbits that are imported, from other [states] factory farms, into Sarasota County. Elliot Metcalfe, a local lawyer and former public defender for the 12th Judicial Circuit, was another speaker who advocated for the proposed ban. If youve ever been [to a puppy mill], youll never buy a puppy from a pet store again. Its disgus ting, said Metcalf. I think the com munity has a right to learn about this issue, and the best way is to advertise the proposed ordinance. Meanwhile, owners of animals purchased from the countys pet stores along with some out-of-town lobbyists have rallied against local regulation of retail pet shops. The majority of opponents who spoke at the Tuesday meeting are employed by one of the county stores that sells pets or have worked in an associated business. Dr. Adam Cohen, a veterinarian who has worked for Petland since it opened in 1999, said the store on Fruitville Road in Sarasota hired him to inspect animals before families purchase them to make sure they are healthy and t to be sold. Animal advocates on Tuesday showed images from puppy mills, where they say the Sarasota pet store Puppy Town purchases its puppies. Contributed Photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 16


K.T. Nguyen to ld the board he purchased a puppy named Henry from Puppy Town, as well as a puppy named Jackson from Petland, because he wanted a specic breed that would not trigger his families allergies. We should have a right to choose where we purchase our puppies from, Nguyen said. His comments were repeated by many of those who spoke against the proposed regulations. This ordinance tells me I can no longer pur chase pets from pet stores that are regulated by the state, said Holly White. It forces me to adopt a pet that doesnt t into my familys needs. Becca Way, the kennel manager at Petland, told the board she had purchased a puppy commercially and had adopted a dog, and both were the right decisions for me. Way bought a Chihuahua puppy that already had been micro-chipped and checked by a veterinarian, she pointed out. It also was cer tied by the American Canine Association, she said. (Microchips are often used to store infor mation that can be used to identify specic animals, and some chips are used to record health history.) Other ban opponents say the pet stores get puppies and other pets exclusively from breeders with good reputations. We only purchase from [U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected] breeders; many have won awards, said John Harper, whose family Some opponents of the measure brought signs to convey their positions. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 17


manages Petland i n Sarasota. We make trips to visit these breeders. Harper added that closing his store would result in the loss of 30 jobs. No one in this industry got in this industry because we want to hurt animals, pointed out pet store owner Joseph Neuman. But animal rights advocates said industry representatives are not being honest. They showed the commissioners photos and pro vided numerous accounts from people who bought pets at retail stores to stress that the puppies are coming from mill s. We have an obligation to stop the pet stores from supporting nationalized animal cruelty, said Laurie Walmsley, owner of the Ashton Animal Clinic. Karen Ankerstar was one of the residents who showed the board photos of puppies in tight unclean kennels. These are the cages where puppies are born, she said. And this is where this [breeding] dog stays most of her life. The pet stores say they do not like puppy mills and do not purchase puppies from puppy mills, Russell Matthes of Sarasota in Defense of Animals told The Sarasota News Leader A supporter of the ban urges County Commission support for the ordinance. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 18


after Tuesd ays meeting. We have evidence they do. THE LEGAL QUESTION Commissioners seemed to agree that prob lems exist with puppies coming from less than ideal conditions. I have been really torn on this thing since the subject came up. And I would like to do some thing, said Commissioner Nora Patterson. Something needs to be done, it appears, added Commissioner Joe Barbetta. However, commissioners had questions about the possibility of a legal challenge if they moved forward with the ordinance as proposed. Patterson made a motion to ask the County Attorneys Office to explore potential legal issues. The motion was approved unanimously. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh will bring back a legal opinion in 60 days; then, the County Commission will discuss the topic further. Barbetta said he was concerned the county was treading water on legal issues, includ ing free commerce, in regard to the proposed ordinance. DeMarsh replied that two possible issues could be raised by a ban. The rst is whether such a law would impair existing contracts associated with the four pet stores operat ing in the county. The second is whether an ordinance would clash with provisions of the federal Commerce Clause, which regulates aspects of intrasta te and interstate business. Clearly there are some legal concerns, DeMarsh pointed out. Vice Chairman Charles Hines said the crux of the matter is not the sale of dogs in general but the sale of those bred at puppy mills. Hines added that he would like to see local animal rights advocates work with representatives from the industry to strike an agreement that would address puppy mills. Where is the compromise on this? I havent seen that, Hines said. Both sides said they dont like puppy mills. Patterson added that she feels bad for the employees who might lose their jobs, but she does not think closing local retail pet stores that sell live animals will prevent people from nding the dog breeds they desire. There would be a wide variety of legitimate local breeders people could contact, who would be able to provide background on their puppies and the conditions in which they were bred, Patterson pointed out. Russell Matthes of Sarasota in Defense of Animals told the News Leader he looks for ward to the results of the countys review of the ordinance. As for the potential impact on federal com merce laws, Matthes pointed to the lack of such problems with regulations adopted in other cities. Were certainly looking forward to the next 60 days for more discovery by county staff and attorneys, who will be looking into the Commerce Clause and how it impacts such an ordinance, Matthes added. There is some precedent out there they can look at. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 19


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A temporary certicate of occupancy (TCO) never should have been issued to Bobs Boathouse because the business had not paid $77,063.44 in water and sewer capacity fees, the director of Sarasota Countys Planning and Development Services Department told the County Commission this week. During the boards regular meeting on Dec. 11, Tom Polk explained that county build ing regulations specify all fees must be paid, including capacity and impact fees, before a TCO is provided to a new business. Because of a staff error, Bobs Boathouse received the initial TCO, he added. In a Dec 3 email exchange with Commissioner Joe Barbetta, Polk noted that not only did Bobs win its initial TCO, but also an additional 30-day extension of that TCO was issued on Nov. 27. As a result of the non-payment of the fees, Polk pointed out, staff sent letters this week to two entities involved with the business to notify them the fees must be paid by Dec. 30 or the water and sewer service to the restau rant will be terminated. We shouldnt get to the point where $77,000 is owed, Vice Chair man Charles Hines pointed out. Sarasota County staff has stipulated that shoreline plantings be included on the Bobs Boathouse property to help buffer noise. Photo by Rachel Hackney BOBS BOATHOUSE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ISSUED A TEMPORARY CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY BECAUSE IT HAD NOT PAID COUNTY WATER AND SEWER CAPACITY FEES OF MORE THAN $77,000, THE COUNTY COMMISSION LEARNS A STAFF ERROR By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor We shouldnt get to the point where $77,000 is owed. Charles Hines Vice Chairman Sarasota County Commission


The letters went to D.E. Murphy Constructors Inc. of Sarasota, listed on the Bobs Boathouse county business application as the restaurants contractor; and The Best Restaurant on 41 LLC, which is listed as the lessee of the property where the restaurant sits. Further [I]t has been brought to the Countys attention that the entity applying for the cer ticate of occupancy for [Bobs Boathouse] is not The Best Restaurant on 41, LLC, but is instead Skipper Bob, LLC, David A. Cash, interim director of the countys Public Utilities Department, wrote in his Dec. 9 letter seeking payment of the utility capacity fees. Cash added, Please provide information clarifying the rela tionship between The Best Restaurant on 41, LLC and Skipper Bob, LLC no later than December 30, 2013. Because of a lack of cross-chec king of documents and other questions that arose as a r esult of this particular case, Polk told the County Commission on Dec. 11 that he plans a Dec. 13 meeting with his staff to start reviewing all the processes related to helping new businesses open. Weve already started a lot of this discus sion, Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer added in remarks to the board. An aerial view shows Bobs Boathouses situation on South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps I would like to make sure that theres absolute clarity in whatever you bring back to us, that the people applying [for temporary certicates of occupancy] are clear and were clear on the process. Carolyn Mason Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 22


After close to 30 min utes of discussion, the commissioners unanimously approved two motions. The rst calls for a board assign ment seeking Harmers careful review, as Commissioner Christine Robinson put it, of the entire county process of issuing TCOs, with a report to come back to the board once that is complete. Second, a motion by Commissioner Nora Patterson directed staff to continue providing regular updates to the board on code compli ance issues involving the business, which is located at 5515 S. Tamiami Trail, right across Phillippi Creek from residents on Montclair Drive. Patterson especially asked that an update be offered after the end of the year, rel ative to the Dec. 30 utility payments deadline. Barbetta also proposed though he did not make it a motion that staff look into craft ing a requirement for a new business to put up a bond or provide a letter of credit before staff can grant it a TCO if outstanding issues must be resolved before a CO is issued. THE E XPLANATION Barbetta requested a follow-up this week rela tive to the boards Nov. 20 review of residents complaints regarding noise and lighting issues at Bobs Boathouse. Polk told the commis sioners he has been going through Building Department documentation to get a clear pic ture of all the relative issues. As a result, he said, he determined three other outstanding matters must be resolved, in addition to the water and sewer capacity fees issue. Those are the completion of site and development plans, which have to be certied by county staff; shoreline plantings required as a buf fer to help protect neighbors from the noise generated by the business; and conveyance of utility easements to the county. Im not happy seeing Not Completed on what I consider to be key items, Barbetta told Polk, including the lack of the utility easements even though the county is provid ing water and sewer service to the property. The Public Utilities Department made the decision to go ahead with that service, Polk Boats are lined up in a row by the front door to Bobs Boathouse. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 23


In a Dec. 9 letter to Bobs Boathouse owner Tom LeFevre, David Cash, the countys interim Public Utilities Department director, notes the countys expectation of LeFevres payments of water and sewer capacity fees. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 24


replied, with the understanding these items would be complete. Polk added that, in an effort to help new busi nesses open as soon as possible, county staff has been working in good faith with them. In fact, Polk said, the county has granted TCOs to 65 businesses over the past three years under such circumstances. Barbetta also raised the point of dueling LLCs here, referring to confusion about the involvement of the Skipper Bob and Best Restaurant on 41 rms with Bobs Boathouse. We dont have anybodys names. We dont have individuals, Barbetta pointed out. Im just trying to gure out how this all happened. MORE CONFUSION Barbetta later referenced a report in another publication that Murphy Constructors had withdrawn as the contractor of record. Donald E. Murphy has been identied as the owner of that rm. In a telephone interview later on Dec. 11, Polk explained to The Sarasota News Leader that he had checked with the county building of cial, who had conrmed for him, Mr. Murphy is on the application and he will remain on the application. Murphys name cannot be removed, Polk stressed. The Dec. 6 letter Murphy sent to Deputy Sarasota County Building Ofcial Kathleen Croteau says, It has become very apparent to me that Mr. Tom Lefever [sic] does not have the nancial resources to complete any of the items left open to acquire a permanent certif icate of Occupancy. Tom LeFevre is identified on the Bobs Boathouse website as owner of the business. Murphys le tter continues, I have tried repeatedly to complete these items and hit a constant road block when it comes to spend ing money to finish all the items that are currently open. As it turns out the owner of this project has been less than honest on several occasions and I cannot continue to represent him as his contractor. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS During the County Commission discussion, Barbetta also reiterated a remark he made during the boards Nov. 20 meeting, that he believes the restaurants sidewalk was con structed in a meandering manner to comply with the section of county code mandating a minimum distance between a business serv ing liquor and a church. South Trail Church of Christ is adjacent to Bobs Boathouse on South Tamiami Trail. Im not happy with what I found through this TCO process, Polk told Barbetta. We are working toward making corrective actions to that with staff not only with staff, but the process itself. I found that the process allowed for some of these things to occur, and we need to be more vigilant with respect to the paperwork thats being submitted at different times. Robinson commended Polk for appearing before the commission and for the fact that we are admitting that there were problems and errors in this. Regarding residents complaints about noise and lighting issues at Bobs Boathouse, she added, Its tough for us to tell those citizens that this occurred She also told Polk, I fully expect us to get a full understanding as to how we can improve this [process of granting TCOs and COs]. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 25


Although the contractor for Bobs Boathouse has asked county staff to be released from involvement with the project, the rms name will stay on the application, per county regulations, staff says. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 26


All the paperwork that was in front of us was notarized, Polk replied. If thats the case, Robinson responded, I can only hope were turning that over to the appropriate authorities, because people who notarize documents are doing so under pen alty of perjury. Weve worked through some of those [issues] and well continue to try to improve the pro cess, Polk said, adding, There are different entities in this instance, and we just never took the time to bring it all together. Barbetta pointed out to Polk that he met the attorney for Bobs Boathouse when the commissioners took a break earlier during the meeting. He suggested Polk talk with the attorney, who remained in the audience. Lets cut to the chase and get this thing resolved. When Patterson asked about whether the business owes the county impact fees, Polk said the staff member who handles that matter had conrmed no impact fees were required because another business previously occu pied the property. An Oldsmobile dealership used to be on that site, Barbetta pointed out. This is a totally different use. The buildings been changed. We will recheck it, Polk responded. CODE VIOLATIONS REDUX Patterson told Polk she remained concerned not only about whether Bobs Boathouse would comply with the countys noise ordi nance but also about whether it could become a good n eighbor. Many restaurant and bar owners, she pointed out, work to make cer tain they turn down the bass on their sound systems after 10 p.m., when the county noise ordinance dictates lower decibel levels from businesses, and determine the best locations for their speakers so as not to disturb nearby residents. We cant expect people to live, night after night, with something they can sing along with, Patterson said of continuing complaints from residents about live entertainment at Bobs Boathouse. Weve been working very diligently with the [restaurant] management staff, Polk replied. Weve had staff on site meeting with them on a regular basis. Additionally, he said, county Code Enforcement staff has been monitoring Bobs Boathouse on a very regular basis. The only violation reported so far, Polk noted, has been service of food outdoors after 10 p.m. After Robinson made her motion for the thorough review of the countys practices for issuing TCOs, Chairwoman Carolyn Mason seconded it. I would like to make sure that theres absolute clarity in whatever you bring back to us, that the people applying [for TCOs] are clear and were clear on the process, Mason told Polk. We will start with the application, which one can read in a lot of different ways, Polk replied. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 27


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The state of Florida wanted to make sure that if its investment in the rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park doesnt pan out, Sarasota County would pay it back. The county wanted no such thing. But the Board of County Commissioners this week went ahead anyway with a deal including just such a so-called clawback provisi on, after an at-times-tense meeting with Paul Blackketter, the head of the non prot created to raise money for and man age the park. The Florida Legislature has approved a total of $10 million for the rowing project, in two $5 million chunks. But the latest round of money, approved after this springs legislative session by Gov. Rick Scott, comes with strings attached. Enterprise Florida, the public-private entity that manages economic development in th e Sunshine State, pushed for a clause in its contract with the county that requires Sarasota to pay back its investment if the rowing facility doesnt generate $25 million in state sales tax money by the end of 2018. A presentation to the County Commission this week included a recent aerial view of Benderson Park. Image courtesy Sarasota County SARASOTA COUNTY TAXPAYERS TO PONY UP $5 MILLION MORE IF THE BENDERSON ROWING PARK ECONOMIC IMPACT DOES NOT ADD UP ON THE HOOK This is the state saying, We have faith in you, but you need to show you performed. Charles Hines Vice Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


The County Commission, faced with voting to accept the $5 million with the clawback language to keep the money owing, wres tled with the issue Wednesday, Dec. 11. Pretty much everyone agreed with Visit Sarasota County Director of Sports Nicole Rissler when she said that proving the facility gen erated $25 million in state money would be a challenge. We have to make sure that were filling that facility with national, international and regional events, she told the commission, describing a detailed methodology Visit Sarasota County has developed for tracking the often diffuse economic impact of visitors. According to her math, for example, this years USRowing Masters National Championships generated almost $100,000 in sales tax for the state. Be very aggressive in measurement, warned Commissioner Joe Barbetta. He argued that even just tracking visiting rowing teams and spect ators wont capture the projects full impact. What about people who come to watch a tournament, fall in love with the area and buy a house? he asked. How can the county quantify that? Barbetta also pointed out that most of the current board members will be long gone by the time that 2018 deadline hits. Future com missioners will need something to stand on that says, These are the measurements we utilized, he pointed out. Dont leave any stone unturned. While Commissioner Nora Patterson said she didnt agree that the clawback provision should have been included in the deal, Vice Chairman Charles Hines said he was OK with it: This is the state saying, We have faith in you, but you need to show you performed. Patterson responded that the county will clearly be asking the state for more money in the 2014 legislative session, and it needs to Tents for participants and vendors dot Benderson Park in August during the USRowing Masters National Championships. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 30


be aware ahead of time if there might be any similar stipulations attached to future cash. While the board eventually voted unanimously to approve the deal with the state, the commis sion specically delayed executing a contract with Benderson, at least until the county has hammered out an operating agreement with Suncoast Aquatics Nature Center Associates and been presented with a long-term business plan for the property. Commissioner Christine Robinson pushed the issue aggressively, say ing she was inclined to vote against the deal altogether till the operating agreement and business plan were in hand. That didnt sit well with Patterson, who said she would only vote for the $5 million deal with the state if it were unanimous. Were either going to stick it out together or not, she added, but if at least one of us feels like we ought to have the contract and the busi ness plan prior to it, thats not unreasonable. And we s hould have had it a while ago, as far as Im concerned. Hines s pecically pressed Suncoast Aquatics Chairman Paul Blackketter, who is also exec utive director for planning with Benderson Development, why the organization has yet to finalize a long-range plan for the park. Blackketters frustration mounted as he defended the nonprot, saying the plan has evolved dramatically as the group has hosted different events and visited other rowing sites. Weve been working our butts off to make this succeed, he pointed out, appear ing ustered. Were putting our necks out on the line. But the county is, too, Barbetta said. If the proj ect doesnt have the impact the state is looking for, Sarasota taxpayers will be on the hook. There are two major sticking points in the negotiation s between Suncoast Aquatics and Teams compete at Benderson Park during a regatta in April. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 31


the county, Blackketter explained: insur ance rules for the park and the extent of the property for which Suncoast Aquatics will be responsible. Suncoast Aquatics planned to just manage the island that houses the rowing facilities; the county wants the organization to handle the entire parcel. After a short break that allowed everyone to simmer down, the board voted to go ahead with the $5 million state contract, clawback and all, but to delay nalizing its deal with Benderson till Jan. 15, when the county will also see an operating agreement and business plan. Patterson said both sides were trusting that things would work out. There are leaps of faith all over the place, she added, and the countys leap on the cap ital side is pretty huge. % A chart presented to the County Commission on Dec. 11 listed major milestones for Benderson Park facilities. Image courtesy Sarasota County Paul Blackketter is the chairman of the nonprot organization that manages events at Benderson Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 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


A study the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to release in early February will show the expected impacts on Siesta Key of the planned Lido Beach Renourishment Project, including effects of three groins planned on the southern end of Lido, Corps representa tives told about 100 people at a two-hour Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting on Dec. 5. Additionally, the Corps hopes to submit an application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in late January or early February to obtain the nec essary state permits for the work, the project manager for the Corps, Milan A. Mora, said during the presentation and question-and-an swer session. A graphic shows the Erosion Control Line in red and the proposed locations for three groins on southern Lido Key. The southernmost groin appears to be on Sarasota County property. The area on the Gulf of Mexico side of the line is owned by the state. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS EXPECTS TO RELEASE A STUDY IN EARLY 2014 SHOWING POTENTIAL IMPACTS ON SIESTA KEY OF THE PLANNED DREDGING OF BIG PASS TO RENOURISH LIDO KEY BEACH POINTED QUESTIONS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


During the Sept. 18 meeting of the Sarasota County Coastal Advisory Committee, Mora said the Corps hoped to start the permitting process in late October or early November. County staff has indicated a delay is related to new information that subsequently arose regarding the projects potential encroach ment on county property. Just as he had added in September, Mora told the Siesta Key Association audience the Corps expects it will take about a year to obtain the state permit. Moreover, Mora said on Dec. 5, a new engi neering study the Corps has just nished will signicantly reduce the estimated $22.7 mil lion cost of the project. Members of the audience mostly Siesta residents repeatedly questioned facets of the Lido plan and its potential for damage to Siesta Key. Among the people asking ques tions of Mora and Jason Engle, another Corps engineer, was Rob Patten, former director of environmental services for Sarasota County. In an interview with The Sarasota News Leader following the meeting, Patten said the most important concern for local leaders is, What level of risk are you willing to accept for a project that may damage your No. 1 A graphic shown to the City and County commissions by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in October shows little predicted impact on wave energy on northern Siesta Key as a result of the dredging of Big Pass. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 35


A graphic in the 2004 Inlet Management Plan shows a mathematical analysis of the potential effects on wave energy if Big Pass were dredged. Image courtesy City of Sarasota An illustration shows the primary sources of sand for the proposed Lido Key Renourishment Project. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 36


natural tourist resource, Siesta Key? Whats your level of comfort? It really comes down to that. Alexandrea DavisShaw, engineer for the City of Sarasota, assured the audience mem bers that the Corps plan would undergo peer review as well as analysis by DEP staff. In response to a question from SKA Secretary Peter van Roekens who also has been representing the Boaters Coalition in discussions of the project DavisShaw said the city some time ago hired two coastal engineering consulting rms: Coastal Technology Corp., based in Sarasota; and Coastal Planning and Engineering, which has an ofce in Tampa. They would provide peer reviews of the Corps analysis, she added. This project is so important that it requires m ore public input, then a public hearing and independent peer review, Patten told the News Leader DavisShaw also told the audience that because of the accre tion of sa nd on the South Lido shoreline, it appears the city and Corps will have to seek County Commission approval of an easement for the construction The Community Room at St. Boniface Episcopal Church began lling up 30 minutes before the Dec. 5 Siesta Key Association meeting began. Photo by Rachel Hackney What level of risk are you willing to accept for a project that may damage your No. 1 natural tourist resource, Siesta Key? Rob Patten Former director Environmental Services Department Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 37


of the southernmost groin a topic already raised by county staff. The County Commission has scheduled another discussion of the project on Jan. 28. THE BASICS As he did during the Oct. 22 presentation to the City and County com missions and on Sept. 18 to the Sarasota County Coastal Advisory Committee, Mora outlined the general aspects of the Lido Renourishment Project on Dec. 5, including the determination in 2010-11 that there is not enough sand [offshore] to supply the necessary 1.1 million cubic yards needed for the rst planned replenishment on Lido under the 50-year time frame for the current proposal. Therefore, the project calls for Aerial views show Treasure Island in Pinellas County, which U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives say is protected by a groin south of Blind Pass. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 38


dredging t he ebb shoal of Big Pass between Siesta a nd Lido keys an undertaking that never has been done. Some renourishment would be undertaken every ve years, he explained, with part of the sand coming from New Pass in the future. Before Big Pass became the focus for the project, he continued, the Corps spent a lot of funds, a lot of time and a lot of effort look ing for sand offshore of Longboat Key. DavisShaw emphasized that the three key ele ments of the plan would be preserving Siesta Key, preserving navigation in Big Pass and protecting Lido Key. We want all those things to be done. If [the plan] hurts our beach, youll have no tourists here, a woman in the audience told the Corps represe ntatives and DavisShaw. Mora stresse d that t he 1.1 million cubic yards of sand to be taken from Big Pass is only about 3 percent of the available sand in the channel. About 4 million cubic yards of sand put into the Big Pass system has come from previous Lido and Longboat renourishments, he pointed out. The three groins that are part of the project would be built at the natural 5-foot elevation and be covered by sand, Mora continued. The groins, which would range in length from 350 feet to 500 feet, would help keep the new sand in place, he added. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives Jason Engle (left) and Milan Mora address the Siesta Key Association audience on Dec. 5. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 39


MORE DETAILS When audience member Jim Johnson of Siesta Key asked about the specic type of design planned for the groins, Engle of the Corps explained that it is called a terminal structure In response to a later question, DavisShaw said the groins would not be permeable. In an interview with the News Leader in early April, DavisShaw noted, I think theres a lot of improvement in technology [regarding the design of groins], so they are better able to address the needs of the areas where they are placed. During the Dec. 5 meeting, Engle displayed an aerial view of a groin placed at Blind Pass adjacent to Treasure Island in Pinellas County. However, an audience member pointed out that structure is south of the channel, while the groins on Lido will be north of Big Pass. Engle respond ed that the groins planned for Lido are meant to do the same thing, as the one at Blind Pass, drawing laughter from the audience. How can you propose anything now if you dont know the risk? another audience mem ber asked. Patten made a similar point later in the meeting: Shouldnt we conduct these assessments before we design a plan and not after we design a plan? This is not set in stone, Mora responded. This has to go to the State of Florida to be approved. Mora emphasized that the Corps study to be released early in 2014 would address the impact of the groins on the downdrift ow of sand to Siesta Key. He ad ded, This is the first of the public meetings. In his questions, Patten also referenced a segment of the Inlet Management Plan that outlined a number of signicant environmen tal concerns any dredging proposal for Big Pass must address, including impacts on sea grass, essential sheries, birds, manatees and water quality. Patten told Mora, Im pretty bafed that a project of this size go to this point without ever having a public hearing or a peer review. When Mora later said the Inlet Management Plan was vetted through public meetings, a chorus of Nos came from the audience. If the Corps had to nd another source for the new Lido sand other than Big Pass, Mora Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner welcomes the audience on Dec. 5. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 40


continu ed, the project would be set back 10 or 15 years, a point he also made at the Coastal Advisory Committee meeting. If one of you guys had a magic wand and could tell me there was sand 10 miles out or 8 miles out and I could go check it out, that would be the rst thing I would do, Mora added. Go look again! a woman yelled at him. Engle explained that since Lido is a manmade island, if it is not renourished, [It] goes away. At what point would the Corps decide it no longer could take sand from Big Pass for future renourishments over the 50-year life of the project, SKA President Catherine Luckner asked. The Corps analysis due by early February will address that, Engle told her. In response to questions about whether the dredging of the channel would create more wave energy on northern Siesta Key, Engle said, That will be answered [by the analy sis.] That is one of the prime objectives of this study. There is a way to dredge an inlet intelligently. We understand completely that by over-dredging an inlet, you can cause cat astrophic damage. DavisShaw pointed out that the dredging of New Pass had not damaged Lido Key. Pressed again about the potential increase in wave energy, Engle pointed to a model that showed an increase of 1.5 percent on north ern Siesta Key as a result of dredging in Big Pass. I would call that nearly within the mar gin of error of the model, he added. In response to another question, Engle said, What were talking about doing is essentially taking the shoal back ve years or 10 years, before millions of cubic yards of sand had drifted into the pass from Lido and Longboat keys. Asked about funding of the project, DavisShaw explained that 62.4 percent of the money would come from the federal government and the rest would be covered by a state grant and Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenue set aside for beach renourishment. On Sept. 18, Mora told the Coastal Advisory Committee that funding for the Lido project was not included in the federal budget for 2014 but he hoped it would be granted for the 2015 scal year. Thats the goal, he pointed out at the time. I cannot comment on inter nal policy of the Corps, but it could be as early as 2015 It all depends on what Congress decides to appropriate, and right now, all I know is were asking for it. Near the end of the Dec. 5 meeting, SKA President Luckner told the audience, This is preliminary This is a work in progress right now. She added that the SKA is dedicated to pro tection of the environment and to the quality of life on Siesta Key. You can count on that with us. Regarding the Lido proposal, she continued, There will be nothing that will occur that will be a big surprise, pointing out that the SKA already had asked for an independent peer review of the Corps plans and for fur ther public meetings. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 41


Sarasota County is joining the City of Sarasota in taking a stance on roadside panhandling. The county commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday, Dec. 11, to hold a public hear ing on a panhandling ordinance that would replace a temporary, emergency ordinance now in place. The hearing will likely take place in March, according to county ofcials. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason and Commis sioner Christine Robinson, who cast the dis senting votes, said they did not want to set a public hearing without first collaborating on the issue with municipalities throughout the county. At the joint city/county meeting held last month to hear homeless consultant Robert Marbuts 12 strategic recommendations, the county commissioners agreed to work with the cities to address homelessness in the region. We made an obliga tion and promise that we would collabo rate, and this is not People stand in the medians at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue in April to solicit donations from drivers. Photo by Norman Schimmel A PROPOSED COUNTY ORDINANCE UP FOR A PUBLIC HEARING IN MARCH WOULD REPLACE AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE NOW IN PLACE PANHANDLING LAW CONSIDERED I want the municipalities to be partners on this. Carolyn Mason Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


collaborating, Robinson said of the proposed action Wednesday. I just dont think this is carrying through with the spirit of that meeting, Mason pointed out, referring to the joint session on Nov. 25. I want something permanent, but I am thinking back on that meeting and I want the munici palities to be partners on this. The three other commissioners agreed they want to work with the municipalities, but they voted for the ordinance after being cau tioned by County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to move forward without delay with the new law. The existing emergency ordinance was approved in February. That measure was enacted to prevent a legal challenge similar to one faced by the City of Sarasota over its pan handling ordinance. DeMarsh recommended it after a 12th Judicial Circuit Court ruling stru ck down part of a city ordinance related to panhandling. DeMarsh pointed out in February that the county ordinance was intended only as a tem porary measure to keep people from holding signs in the middle of busy roadways. On Wednesday, staff presented tweaks to the emergency ordinance that would better define places where people cannot solicit donations, including medians, sidewalks and road surfaces. The proposed law does not include exemptions or permits for charitable organizations. If enacted, the new ordinance would regulate roadside panhandling only in the unincorpo rated areas of the county, but Patterson said she still wanted to hear comments on it from city leaders. A man stands alongside Bee Ridge Road in April, asking for help. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 43


We are not im posing an ything on municipal ities, but should they have a desire to opt in, that would be great, Patterson added. And we are open to any suggestions. I dont think it will be a problem. Patterson noted that she supported the ordi nance process at this time because she was listening to the attorney. The commissioners asked county staff to draft a letter to send to the cities to generate com mission or council reactions. Patterson said she wanted the correspondence to make it clear we are open to input. When it comes to regulating panhandling, a cohesive countywide approach is the ultimate goal, Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out. Hopefully, [the cities without such ordi nances] would adopt ours, and there is no conict with the city of Sarasota, Barbetta said, referring to the latter municipalitys pan handling regulations Vice Chairma n Charles Hines added that he, too, wants to work with the cities and that the board message was clear on that point from commissioners concerns expressed at the dais Wednesday. Please watch this meet ing, he said in a comment directed to local elected ofcials in the municipalities. Were not trying to be Big Brother. During the upcoming public hearing, commis sioners will be able to discuss the possibility of allowing charities to solicit donations in the public rights-of-way, a practice some cit ies allow. According to a county staff report, six of the Florida local governments with a panhan dling ordinance do not allow any solicitation by charitable organizations, while ve allow exemptions or a permitting process for such groups. Tampa, for instance, allows charita ble solicitations on Sundays only. % County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason listens to a presentation. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 44


About 60 people came to the Payne Park Auditorium Monday, Dec. 9. More than a few were there to defend the building, for they feared the city was preparing to tear it down. There was some substance behind their fear, for the Sarasota City Commission, during a budget workshop, heard the building needed a new roof, air conditioning and wooden oor. And it further heard the building was not drawing sufcient business to offset the costs. One option: Tear down the building. The auditorium was purpose-built in 1962 as a community hall. Over the decades, it has hosted dances, expos, neighborhood meeti ngs, public hearings, dance instruction and more. The citys Public Works Department called the meeting this week to solicit ideas about the future of the park and not specically to address the future of the auditorium. Were not going to tear it down tomorrow, said Todd Kucharski, public works director. RE-PRIMING THE PUMP Payne Park evolved from an eyesore to a jewel over the past decade. Deeded to the city as a 24-acre park in the 1920s by the Payne Family, it became a revenue source in the hardscrab ble 1930s when the city converted Before taking public comment, Public Works Director Todd Kucharski walks the audience through the Payne Park master plan. Photo by Stan Zimmerman CITY OF SARASOTA STAFF HEARS A LOT OF IDEAS FOR USE OF PAYNE PARK, ALONG WITH PLEAS TO RELAX THE RULES FOR RENTING THE AUDITORIUM SPORTS, MUSIC AND HIGH-END WEDDINGS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


part of it to a parking lot for tin-can tourists who drove their Model A Fords south, tow ing trailers they could live in for the winter. Major League Baseball Spring Training games were held in a nearby wood-frame stadium. The parking lot morphed into a community of not-somobile homes that became a neighbor h ood in its own right. Eventually, the city banned any new mob ile homes and let attri tion take its toll. The last few holdouts were given a severance package, and the land again became vacant. When the citys local option sales tax pro duced windfall revenue in the early 2000s, the city u sed some of that money to create a mas ter plan for the park, and skateboarders carved out a portion of the site to call their own. After $6 mil lion and a lot of work by Duane Mountain and his Public Works Department, the rst phase o f Payne Park was opened to the pub l ic. The park was the capstone of Mountains long career with the city. The windfall revenues are long gone, and the subse quent phases of development have the Virginia Hoffman voices worry that the political will is not sufcient to create more amenities in the park. Photo by Stan Zimmerman With a 32-court covered facility, you could stage district, state and national tournaments. I can visualize the best shufeboard courts in the world here. John Brown Chairman Southwest Coast of Florida Shufeboard Association Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 46


A Sarasota County historical marker tells the story of Major League Baseball in Payne Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 47


status o f on hold. Kucharski was looking for local ideas to revitalize planning and rea sons to search out more money, either public or private. If the master plan is revised and ready to move forward, we can work with public and private authorities. Without a mas ter plan, people dont have any idea what they will get for their money. IDEAS COME FORTH Twenty-eight people came to the microphone. The auditorium itself received a lot of public support. I heard it needs a new roof, but I dont see any stains. I heard we need a new oor, but Ive been dancing here for years and we dont need a new oor, said one man. For heaven sakes, dont tear down this wonderful facility. An aerial view shows the layout of Payne Park. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 48


Long-time bicyclist and pedestrian advocate Mike Lasche told Kucharski to think longterm. One day, when the Legacy Trail is extended, this will be the connector for the 18-mile leg to Venice, he pointed out. And he urged the city try to preserve the old railroad right-of-way along Alderman Street, which connects to Brother Geenen Way and across U.S. 301 to South Payne Parkway and into the park itself. Alderman eventually termi nates at South Palm Avenue, one block from Sarasotas bayfront. A coupl e of people asked for the park to be more dog-friendly, noting the city recently approved a measure requiring owners to keep dogs on leashes in the park. Meanwhile, other speakers urged some education for dog own ers, saying the latter need to pick up after their animals because children regularly romp and roll in the grassy areas. Two professionals came in to suggest specic uses. Steve Weeks with the Suncoast Sports Club said, Id love to bring soccer, ag foot ball and lacrosse to the open areas. Signage spells out the rules and regulations for the tennis facility at Payne Park. Photo by Scott Proftt Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 49


G ary Wilson with a production company told the city staffers, I saw Payne Park and fell in love with it. I would like to see this building redone and utilized by the community. Yoga during the day; high-end weddings I hav ent seen any place in town similar. And John Brown came down from Bradenton to urge creation of covered shuffleboard courts. With a 32-court covered facility, you could stage district, state and national tour naments. I can visualize the best shufeboard courts in the world here. He is chairman of the Southwest Coast of Florida Shufeboard Association. Two other sporting groups were conspicuous by their absence. Community tennis players have said they want to add more courts and expand their parking area. Presumably, they will make their desires known in another fashion. Also unrepresented were the lawn bowlers. (See the related article in Sarasota Leisure this week.) They may be considered part of the Payne Park master plan, but they privately say they want no part of it. They occupy land in the citys cultural district near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall parking lot. The master plan for the cultural district calls for their relocation, but after meticulously main taining their lawns for 86 years, they are loath to move. Richard Storm, the director of Key Chorale joined several others in hopes the city will relax the rules on the use of the auditorium. We have used this building and loved it. Well use it again for rehearsal. There are very few venues available for performances and rehearsals in town, he said. It will serve the arts community very well. Alta Vista Neighborhood Association Past President Pat Kolodgy noted her group used to meet in the auditorium but was forced out. What are the costs to turn on the lights and have a janitor here? she asked. If the city could allow community groups to use the park for a reduced or no fee, I think that is the way to go. Alta Vista sponsored two parties in the park when it rst opened, inviting everyone in the city to enjoy their newest park. The city was a participating sponsor for that event; it waived the fees for park and auditorium usage. % 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 13, 2013 Page 50


The research is over, so next week the project team will unveil its decisions on how to run millions of gallons of sewage per day under Hudson Bayou and do it safely. A community meeting is set for Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. That is when the answer to the last puzzle will be announced straight pipe or siphon system. The meeting will be held at the Waldemere Fire Station on the east end of the Sarasota street of the same name. At a team meeting on Dec. 9, McKim & Creed Project Manager Robert Garland said all the te chnical memo randa with the City of Sarasota are being wrapped up for the Lift Station 87 plans. Geotechnical experts have determined the proper depth and loca tion of the huge pipe necessary to handle the sewage ow. An aerial map shows the location of Luke Wood Park in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps DURING A COMMUNITY MEETING ON DEC. 18, THE NEW PROJECT TEAM WORKING ON LIFT STATION 87 WILL RELEASE ITS RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO PROCEED DECISION TIME AT HAND Its been a very aggressive schedule, but were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Robert Garland Project Manager Lift Station 87 By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Well present ou r ndings and conclusions at the Dec. 18th meeting, noted Garland. Its been a very aggressive schedule, but were starting to see the light at the end of the tun nel, he punned. He is in charge of the $1.1 million examina tion to nd out what went wrong with an $8 million effort to run a new sewer line under the bayou. That contractor walked away after admitting failure, and the case is now in court. Garlands research was aided by national experts. They found the original microtun neling drill was probably improperly and insufciently lubricated, causing more pres sure to be applied to continue the cut until the pipe buckled. The high pressure levels also caused fracking, in which the lubricant was forced to permeate through the bed of the bayou and into the surface water. In addition, the old borehole was not deep enough; had drilling continued, it would have punctured one of the footers of the Orange Avenue bridge over the bayou. One of the purposes of the McKim & Creed examination has been to determine the likely cost to resume the project and see it through to completion. ONE DECISION, WITH CONSEQUENCES The new lift station will handle about onethird of the citys sewage ow, or about 2.7 million gallons per day. In periods of high rainfall, it will need to pump up to 9.7 million Pipes for the lift station project were shrouded from public view in Luke Wood Park in early October. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 52


gallons b ecause cracks in the citys old pipes admit groundwater into the sewage ow. The old lift station failed repeatedly, several times discharging raw sewage into Hudson Bayou. This not only triggered fines from the states Department of Environmental Protection, but the incidents revealed the city did not own the property under the old lift station. Most of the citys sewage ows by means of the force of gravity. After the sewage gets to the new lift station, it must be pumped to a higher level to get to the treatment plant on 12th Street. Now that Garland and the engineers believe they understand what went wrong with the first attempt, they face one final decision before going to the public with their recom mendation on how to proceed. Should the new 36-inch sewer main proceed straight under the bayou through use of microtunnel ing or should horizontal directional drilling be used to create an inverted siphon? Both systems incorporate natural forces to keep the ow going, with the straight pipe using gravity and the syphon employing air pressure. No extra energy is used to propel the gallons of sewage. However, each technique has a drawback. The straight pipe system means the already deep pit for the pumps must be dug another eight feet further down. Should a new pit be dug or should the equipment be raised from the existing pit, which would then be deep ened? Garland is looking at the costs of both approaches. The inverted siphon is basically a huge U-shaped pipe that uses air pressure for power. That system has two drawbacks. Sediment will collect at the bottom of the U, which means it must be cleaned periodically. And that could mean two siphons would be required, allowing 24/7/365 operation even during cleaning or unclogging periods. Because it utilizes air pressure for propul sion, each end of the siphon must be open to the atmosphere. That has the potential to cre ate odor problems. Garland says odor control systems exist for this technology, but with additional cost and complexity. Garland will release his recommendations and cost estimates at the Waldemere meeting. After hearing reactions from the residents of the neighborhoods adjacent to the Lift Station 87 site, the team will meet again on Jan. 13 to prepare a presentation to the Sarasota City Commission on Jan. 24. % The sign for the previous Lift Station 87 project stood for months in Luke Wood Park near downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 53


The DID outdid itself last fiscal year. Sarasotas Downtown Improvement District board wrapped up a $1.1 million infrastruc ture face-lift, pursued a marketing campaign, added lights to the district, redened parking along Main Street, expanded sidewalks and even irted with a public records lawsuit. And now, as government bodies go, it is close to broke. Once you subtract the principal and interest on the loan for the infrastructure improvements, pay for ongoing maintenance and cover the expense of the one-man staff, the DID has about $82,000 per year to spend annually for the next 14 years. Pull out 20 per cent of that for conting encies and reserves, and the organization could barely match a $50,000 grant. EXPANSION MODE Two weeks ago, the board members asked Roger Barry, professor emeritus of urban planning at the University of Cincinnati, to help them think through their post-rich envi ronment. The group receives the proceeds from a 2-mill levy on commercial property in a dened area of downtown. The DID at that earlier meeting estab lished seven general priorities: resource development, security/hospitality, reserv ing contingency monies, maintenance, A proposal for broadening the boundaries of the Downtown Improvement District would have it include the Ritz-Carlton on the bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT BOARD SETS ITS PRIORITIES FOR NEXT YEAR MORE CASH IS NO. 1 By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


At some point, residents of the Plaza at Five Points could be asked to help pay for increased security in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Last meeting, you came up with ideas. Now we have to turn them into action. John Moran Operations Manager Downtown Improvement District Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 55


marketing, policy and project review, and capital improvements. At their Tuesday, Dec. 10, meeting, Barry asked the board members to take the next step and identify under each of the seven pri orities who would be responsible for what steps, the deadline to nish them and how much would each would cost. Those turned out to be devilish details. Last meeting, you came up with ideas, noted the DIDs operations manager, John Moran. Now we have to turn them into action. Chairman Ernie Ritz opened the discussion, saying, I dont think we should spend a nickel until we have better plans and talk about resource development. Eighty-two thousand dollars isnt much money for what we do. B oard member Dr. Mark Kauffman agreed. I would rather squirrel away money so we could do a big-impact project, he said. The No. 1 topic now is looking at expanding the district. While the City Commission could broaden the district with the stroke of an ordinance, needing no other approval, the DID members realize that just a few people could challenge any change of the DID boundaries and kill the plan. In an expansion process, there would need to be cover for the deciders, the City Commission, so business owners wouldnt come to the commission with bags on their heads to oppose the expansion, pointed out Moran. We need to do this in a methodical An aerial map shows the current boundaries of the Downtown Improvement District. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 56


One suggestion for expanding the Downtown Improvement District would have it encompass the Rosemary District. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 57


way with support from the major businesses who will be major contributors. Moran was referring to a handful of bagclad protestors credited with reversing a City Commission decision to install parking meters downtown. BREAK OUT THE MAPS Moran suggested he could produce a set of maps showing incremental expansions of the DID, each stating the amount the revenue would increase if that specic, dened area was added to the DID. In each increment, we could ask, where is the opposition? What benet would help convince them to support it? he told the board members. Three areas were named to give Moran a target for his mapping exercise. One was to the west, crossing U.S. 41 to encompass the still-developing hotel district including the Ritz-Carlton, the yet-to-be-built Sarasota Gulfstream and the Hyatt. While there was no mention of the former Quay property, it would be a natural t. A second direction was north, into the Rosemary District. There is new interest in commercial and residential development in that section of the city. However, the cur rent tax base, from the DID point of view, is meager. A third option would be a push east, down Main Street. Now the DID stops in the middle of the 1600 block. How far down Main could it go? Barry s plan calls for Moran to report back to the DID with alternatives to increase funding sources by June of next year. SHORT SHRIFT The other six priorities were barely touched during the meeting. A plan to work with downtown condominium complex resident associations to pay for increased security in the district is still in the discussion phase. One proposal would levy between $9 and $12 per month on downtown condo units to off set the cost of more off-duty police ofcers on the streets. The DID members did agree to set aside one-fth of their reduced annual expendable income as reserves. Moran mentioned that some downtown improvement districts have other sources of income besides property tax revenue, includ ing the East Coast cities of Delray Beach and Coconut Grove. They receive money from their community redevelopment agencies as well as parking meter revenue. Kauffman mentioned a possible increase in the city fees for outdoor dining in the district. The permit is $250, and then $25 for each chair after the rst four. Its not free, but its pretty close to free, he said. [The restau rants] can make that on one meal. Moran closed the discussion by saying the expansion will take a lot of sweat. And that sweat should be shared. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 58


Headmaster Dan Kennedys long-range vision for a new Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) middle school that would prepare students for the academys high school is closer to fruition. On Tuesd ay, Dec. 10, the Sarasota County School Board approved the char ter contract for the next five years for the new school. On Wednesday, the County Commission unanimously approved a rezoning of two parcels that make up a 10.5acre site on Fruitville Road, east of Interstate 75. Those actions clear the way for construc tion of the school. Dan Kennedy, founder and headmaster of the academy, says he hopes to open the new charter school in August 2014. The proposed facility at 8351 Fruitville Road A Sarasota Military Academy student plays taps during the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Sarasota this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel SARASOTA MILITARY ACADEMYS NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL IS SLATED FOR AN AUGUST 2014 OPENING REALIZING A VISION I have watched SMA on Orange Avenue just blossom. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


The proposed charter middle school would be surrounded by three churches. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 60


would house 35 to 40 classrooms. Plans show two single-story classroom buildings, a com bined administrative/library structure, a gym and an athletic eld. The latter will be used by both the middle and high schools. According to plans submitted to the county, the middle school will initially serve up to 400 students in Phase 1 and 600 to 650 stu dents in Phase 2. Before beginning Phase 2 of construction, academy staff has to conduct a survey to determine if a trafc signal would be needed on Fruitville Road to handle the additional trafc especially during dropoff and pick-up school hours. If a signal is needed, the academy will pay for it. At Wednesdays County Commission meet ing, Vice Chairman Charles Hines predicted the school would become popular soon after its opening, thus creating additional trafc in the area. Though there is not a lot of trafc now, there will be, Hines said. The commissioner praised Kennedy for taking into consideration future trafc concerns and working with county planners to address it. Thank you for thinking of that, Hines said, so two years from now when you are full, we dont get emails about cars b acking up. The middle sc hool will offer a rigorous aca demic curriculum, with electives modeled after some of the classes at the high school, including horsemanship, fencing, martial arts, drum line and forensics, Kennedy told The Sarasota News Leader in July. Commissioners praised the military academy; 97 percent of its students go on to college. I have watched SMA on Orange Avenue just blossom, said Commissioner Joe Barbetta, who attended a military high school, referring to the academys high school in Sarasotas Rosemary District. Its an example of how a great charter school can operate. Everyone I ever talk to who knows about this school is proud to have this in our commu nity, added Commissioner Nora Patterson. Commissioner Christine Robinson pointed out that SMA is a county school; it attracts many students who commute from North Port. Hines said the SMA middle school would work in conjunction with the academys high school to foster economic development in the county. % Neal Schafers ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit My interest in photography reminded me about how my smile made me unhappy. A childhood accident caused my permanent teeth to come in askew. I had seen how Dr. Koval restored the smile of a friends father. With Dr. Koval, we discovered I also had cracked fillings and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. I am 100% satisfied with Dr. Kovals meticulous work and sincere care to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.Christine Koval, D.M.D.Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 61


Sarasota County C ommission Vice Chairman Charles Hines wanted to make it very clear to the audience including the nine people who spoke on the topic during the public com ments portion of the boards Dec. 10 meeting: Even if things go smoothly from this point, The reality is Fe bruary, maybe, for the reopening of Warm Mineral Sp rings. Lets put that out there, Hines said after almost 40 min utes of his boards discussion about the latest pro posal from the North Port City Commission. On a 4-1 vote with County Commissioner Joe Barbetta in the minority the County Commission agreed to send a letter to the North Port Commission saying the latter should proceed with a competitive solicita tion process to seek a longterm operator of the 81-acre resort. Additionally, the County Commission agreed to North Ports proposal t o work on Warm Mineral Springs has drawn tourists from all over the world who tout the healing powers of its water. Photo by Rachel Levey-Baker THE COUNTY COMMISSION AND THE NORTH PORT CITY COMMISSION WILL PROCEED WITH SEEKING A LONG-TERM PROPOSAL FOR THE FUTURE OF WARM MINERAL SPRINGS STILL CLOSED FOR NOW I want to give it another try with an end in sight to the short-term agreement. Carolyn Mason Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


a short-term management agreement for the resort with the stipulation that it would end by Sept. 1, 2014. That motion followed clarication from North Port Mayor James Blucher that the city board felt the firm awarded the long-term contract should be allowed to handle the short-term work while it pursues whatever arrangements are neces sary to begin the long-term operation. Blucher, who was present for the county meet ing, said he felt it would take only a week or two to release the long-term solicitation proposal. The motion further called for North Port City Manager Jonathan Lewis and Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer to collaborate on marketing the competitive solicitation for the Springs. We need to acknowledge that significant damage has been done to the reputation of the name Warm Mineral Springs as a result of the back-and-forth since November, County Commissioner Christine Robinson said. Were going to need to aggressively market any long-term bid nationally and An aerial map shows the 81-acre resort near North Port. Image courtesy Sarasota County I guess I dont really care whos at fault. The history is almost irrelevant to the facts, to me. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 63


internationally and try to overcome that the best that we can. Robinson was referring to the dispute over the future of the resort that erupted after North Port Commissioners Rhonda DiFranco and Cheryl Cook were elected in November 2012. They joined City Commissioner Linda Yates in a desire to see Warm Mineral Springs maintained as a park, instead of pursing the Invitation to Negotiate for long-term proposals that the North Port and County commissions agreed to issue after a joint meeting in July 2012. The boards bought the property together for $5.5 million in December 2010. Robinsons Dec. 10 motion included one further point sought by the North Port Commission in a 4-1 vote at its regular meet ing on Dec. 9: agreement on collaborating in updating the cost estimate and scope of research related to a proposal the boards pre viously considered regarding a hydrological study of the Springs to be undertaken by the United States Geological Survey ( USGS ). Robinson and Barbetta both later said they felt City Manager Lewis had made signicant steps toward preparing such a scope before the city and county commissioners reached the point when they could not agree on how to proceed with the future of the Springs. Robinsons motion supported a section of a Dec. 10 letter from the North Port board to the County Commission saying, Staff will also proceed with a scope of research and pricing as it relates to history, archaeology and geology of the 81 acre site. I applaud the efforts of Commissioner Robinson and Mayor Blucher, Barbetta told his colleagues, but I cant support this. Were right back where we were. Everything thats being done has been done on this end of the county and now were putting a BandAid on it Robinson, who represents South County interests on the commission, has taken her boards lead over the past months on the Warm Mineral Springs issue. This is signicant progress in my view, and I am very encouraged by it, she told her colleagues at the outset of the discussion, referring to the North Port Commissions action the previous day on the proposals in the letter. (City Commissioner Cheryl Cook cast the lone No vote on her board.) I guess I dont really care whos at fault, County Commissioner Nora Patterson said. The history is almost irrelevant to the facts, to me, she added, noting the boards together had bought an asset that weve made unavail able to the public that was previously open to the public, and thats not a satisfactory situa tion. Its regrettable where we are. A sign embedded in the ground welcomed visitors to Warm Mineral Springs. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 64


Hines agreed with Patterson, though he also supported Barbettas view. Noting that one person who spoke during the Open to the Public part of the meeting encouraged the boards to hire a mediator to help them work through their problems, Hines pointed out, We did that. We had an agreement [after a mediated session in April]. It was a professional mediator, Patterson noted. It was a professional mediator, Hines con curred. We did everything we could in good faith and then it was changed [by a vote of North Port commissioners]. Im very, very concerned that this is a never-ending process. Although what Barbetta had said was true, Chairwoman Carolyn Mason responded, and Im disappointed that things are where they are I want to give it another try with an end in sight to the short-term agreement. THE NORTH PORT MEETING The Dec. 10 letter from the North Port board to the county commissioners said, [W]hile the long term [bid solicitation] process is developed, the City proposes to initiate a pro cess for submittals for the operations of the Springs utilizing a management agreement. It is the Commissions belief this would allow the Springs to be opened sooner. During the North Port Commission meet ing, Mayor Blucher and Commissioner Linda Yates expressed the hope the county would allow the city to pursue the hiring of a rm to manage the Springs swimming area until a deal can be reached with a rm interested in a long-range pro posal. That would accomplish allowing the pub lic to access the Springs, Yates pointed out. Otherwise, it could be eight or nine months before the city and county boards completed the long-term solicitation process, she said. We have worked very hard to reopen the Springs and all those people cant be wrong, Commissioner Tom Jones added, referring to a number of people who pleaded for access to the resort when they addressed the city board during the public comments portion of its session. Some people are under the impression that [the swimming area] will be free under the motion Yates put forth to pursue the shortterm management option, Cook pointed out. When Blucher said it would not, a chorus of moans arose fro m audience members. Commissioner Christine Robinson listens to a workshop discussion. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 65


COUNTY COMMISSION DELIBERATIONS During the C ounty Commission meeting, Robinson asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh for clarication on whether North Port could pursue the proposed intermediate option for getting the Springs reopened as soon as possible: Are we required to still go through a competitive bid for a management contract with the Springs property? If the County Commission assumed the rm would handle revenue and expenses and hire employees to operate the resort, DeMarsh responded, then its my opinion that that would have to go through a competitive solicitation process of some kind in order to comply with the [state] statute [that applies to county procurement processes]. Robinson then proposed a short-term oper ation secured through bids should end by Sept. 1. I think thats a reasonable time. It allows everybody to get moving on this and it puts us back on track where we were before with getting the Springs reopened. Blucher told the commissioners that he was so happy to see that most of the [City Commissions] discussion was about the longterm [agreement] because [that] is whats going to keep [the Springs] open forever. Referencing part of the city letter to the county board, he added that the North Port commis sioners felt that once the long-term operator for the resort was chosen, that rm could take over from the management company the city hoped to hire. The company could han dle modied operations at the Springs until it was ready to implement its complete plan, he noted. The City Commission, Blucher continued, had talked about the possibility of a management rm working on a month-to-month basis until the long-term operator was chosen. The short-term is a hiccup, he added. Its not that we have the ability to hand it over to you, Robinson told him. We would be breaking the law, she said, and potentially end up facing lawsuits, which would drag on and prevent the reopening of the resort for years. I understand that, Blucher replied. I believe our commission understands that. Then we will have to go through the process as you just stated it % Jim Blucher recently was elected mayor of North Port. Image courtesy City of North Port Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 66


Arts and cultural events supported by grant funding from Sarasota County generated $25,865,090 in revenue during the past scal year and saw about a 5 percent increase in total attendance, the executive director of the Sarasota County Arts and Cultural Alliance told the Sarasota County Commission this week. Fifty-four percent of the people who attended those events in the 2013 scal year were tour -ists, Jim Shirley said, an increase from the 42-p ercent mark of the 2012 fiscal year. Now thats return on investment.Shirley added, Im sure that has a lot to do with the arts orga -nizations and Visit Sarasota County. Internationally renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman conducts a student orchestra as part of the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast every winter in Sarasota County. Contributed photo by Barbara BanksSARASOTA COUNTY CONTINUES TO SEE TOURISM GROW, THANKS TO THE WIDE VARIETY OF CULTURAL EVENTS SUPPORTED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT GRANTS ADDING UP THE ARTS IMPACT Were always open for that, and I would like to state for the public that no group in this county should ever feel intimidated to come for anything. We are here to serve them.Jim Shirley Executive Director Arts and Cultural Alliance Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


The la tter agency handles tourism promotion for the county. As examples of acclaim for area groups, he noted the rave reviews the Sarasota Ballet received for its performance during the Ballet Across America program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in June as well as the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast which has a winter residency in Sarasota. Whats happening is our arts organi zations are getting notoriety for this tremendous community of arts and culture way beyond the borders of our county, Shirley pointed out. Critics applauded the Sarasota Ballets performance at a national Kennedy Center program in June. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota County Arts and Cultural Alliance Executive Director Jim Shirley addresses the County Commission. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 68


County grants funding for arts and cultural programming in FY 2013 was also up, he pointed out during the boards regular meet ing on Dec. 11 in Sarasota. In the 2012 scal year, the county allocated $1,250,547 in rev enue from the Tourist Development Tax for those events, according to statistics Shirley showed the board. For the 2013 scal year, the amount was $1,303,474, about a 4-percent increase. That investment, he said, pays off big time for us, adding that he wanted to take the opportunity, during his year-end report to the board, to urge an undertaking to increase the arts funding. If we look at it programmati cally, he explained, a larger investment in the ar ts is going to be a larger investment in Sarasota County. Among other figures he presented to the board, out-of-state residents comprised 23 percent of the total project attendance in the 2013 scal year, while county residents made up 46 percent of the total and Florida resi dents accounted for 26 percent. The gure for international visitors was 5 percent 63,721 people. Shirley stressed that he was addressing sta tistics only for those arts and cultural events funded by the county grants. That money went to 31 organizations in the form of 38 grant s, he pointed out. Pie charts compare attendance statistics from the 2012 and 2013 scal years for arts and cultural programming funded by Tourist Development Tax revenue. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 69


MORE FL EXIBILITY After his presentation, Shirley sought approval from the board for some tweaks to the Alliances Cultural/Arts Grant Program Guidelines, as recommended by the Tourist Development Council on Nov. 21. The County Commission gave him that approval on a unanimous vote, but not before clarifying a few points. Commissioners Christine Robinson and Nora Patterson queried Shirley about a proposed change in the guidelines that would allow an arts organization that had an established pro gram, but did not hold an event every year, to be considered for a grant based on its budget the last time it held the program. The focal point for that change is the Season of Sculpture, Shirley told the board. It pres ents a collection of artwork on Sarasotas bayfront every other year. Robinson asked whether the change would apply to a smaller organization that put on an event one year but lacked sufcient man power to do it again until two years later. Its not just every other year? Robinson asked. The answer is Yes, Shirley told her. However, the guideline would apply to arts and cultural groups conducting established programming, he added, and not to an orga nization just coming out of the blue. I think its really great that were being really exible with existing organizations, Robinson replied. However, I think that we need to continue to apply more exibility to these smaller organizations I just dont feel like were doing that as much as we could. She added, I kno w, Mr. Shirley, you and I have gone around and around about this numer ous times, and you expect it every time [in an appearance before the commission]. But it just doesnt stop for me with the feedback I get and Id be happy to try to do what I can from my end, too. Robinson has questioned Shirley at length in his reports to the County Commission about his efforts to help more organizations in South County apply for and receive arts and cultural grants through the county program. The majority of those groups, she has said, are small and lack experienced professional employees. Its hard to get these [South County] folks to step up, because theyre nervous about the whole [application process], Robinson added. Were being more inclusive of newer orga nizations when they can qualify [for the grants], Shirley said, noting that the program is dedicated to increasing county tourism. He told Robinson he had met during the past two weeks with representatives from three small arts organizations to help them brainstorm about growing strategic plans. Were always open for that, and I would like to state for the public that no group in this county should ever feel intimidated to come for anything. We are here to serve them. In response to another question from Robinson, Shirley explained that no one eligible for a grant can serve on the panel that chooses the recipients. However, rep resentatives from two organizations that have received grants are asked to sit on the grants policy committee, so members of that group can benet from their perspective on the process. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 70


The big decisions have all been made, and the outline of the recommendations for the future of the Sarasota Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) are clear. It will not be your fathers CRA. The basic scheme put together in 1986 will remain, accord ing to the committee members appointed to review the agency. That years prop erty tax revenue in a dened downtown area became a benchmark; any increase in city and county revenues due to rising millage or valuation increases above the base year accrued to the CRA. The Sarasota City Commission was the sole arbitrator of how the money would be spent. Between the CRAs inception and Aug. 1 of this year, the tax-incre ment nancing scheme pulled in $98,992,963 yes, nearly $100 million since 1986. Browsers at the ne arts show in downtown Sarasota in late November probably would have said the city no longer showed any signs of slum or blight. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COMMITTEE STUDYING THE SARASOTA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY DEBATES CONTINUED USE OF REVENUE FOR CITY OPERATIONS INSTEAD OF FOR PROJECTS IN THE DEFINED AREA MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS I would like to think we can communicate clearly that our committee is fairly concerned over the growth of CRA expenditures towards operations Bill Russell Member Community Redevelopment Agency Extension Study Committee By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Downtown Sarasota shines brightly at night, having beneted from millions of dollars in funding from the Community Redevelopment Agency. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 72


The numbers were compiled by Mark Huey, a member of the committee pondering what to do with the CRA when it comes up for expiration in 2016. The group is called the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area Extension Study Committee. Under state law, CRAs are established to ght slum and blight, but there are few restric tions on expenditures of the tax increment financing (TIF) dollars. With the 30-year duration of the 1986 agreement approaching, the City and County commissions this year empaneled the committee to look at a CRA for the future. They ordered the group to report back in January. The stakes are high. CHANGING THE GROUND RULES Even though more than half the CRA money comes from redirected Sarasota County prop erty tax revenue, the County Commission has no say in how it is spent. As the committee examined the CRAs nances, it noticed an increasing trend for the city to use the money to pay for operating expenses things such as city police work (enhanced security) and maintenance items. A map shows the boundaries of the Community Redevelopment Agency. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 73


Out of the citys $3. 3 million contribution in TIF money for the current year, it is plowing $2.6 million back into operations and salaries. This has caused political heartburn among some committee members, and it was a driv ing issue as they began to discuss the future of the CRA. The group used a decision-tree system, with yes-no questions leading to further issues. Seven key elements all somewhat intercon nected emerged after months of discussion. On Nov. 20, the committee made decisions on four of the issues. By a 5-3 vote, it agreed to rec ommend that the governing board of the CRA be composed of two city commissioners, two county commissioners and three citizens appointed by the City Commission. This is a major shift away from the current governing board of ve city commissioners. The group also agreed unanimously (with one abstention) to recommend changing the geographic boundaries of the current CRA or to create new CRAs, but it delegated that complex task to another group. One can was kicked. The Community Redevelopment Agency Extension Study Committee members discuss issues earlier this year. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 74


The committee wa s unanimous, too, in recom mending an extension of the life of the CRA by another 30 years. It also recommended the 1986 tax year remain the benchmark for TIF calculation. LINING UP OUTSIDE THE GOLD MINE The decision to let 1986 remain the base year for the TIF plan leads to huge consequences. Hueys analysis not only looked back to nd nearly $100 million was raised between 1986 and 2013, it looked ahead, too. Huey determined the historical growth rate (of the property values from 1986 to 2013) in the downtown CRA was 5.4 percent com pounded annually. The CRA tax base went from $412 million to $1.7 billion. By compar ison, the citys overall tax base growth was 4.85 percent; the countys was 4.9 percent, with both compounded annually. Taking that same rate of growth, Huey cal culated the CRA revenue over the next 30 years would be $528 million, more than half a billion dollars. If the rate of growth were com pounded at only 3 percent, the total revenue over the next 30 years would be only $360 million, one-third of a billion dollars. This year, the CRA is raising $7.1 million in city and county property tax revenue. Under Hueys best-case calculations, by 2046, the CRA would be raising $34 million annually, almost a vefold increase. Committee member Bill Russell pointed out Hueys figures were very conservative because property values today are off by as much as 40 percent from their peak during the property/housing bubble in 2008. Hueys calcu la tions then looked at TIF income if part of the money were skimmed off by the county instead of going to the CRA. In other words, if the city could take TIF proceeds and plow them back into its general fund, why could not the county do the same? His prelim inary gures indicate if the county retained 25 percent of its contribution, using the 3 per cent compound growth gure, the CRA would get $315 million (instead of $360 million) over the next 30 years. If the county skim were staggered at 10 per cent for the rst decade, 25 percent for the second and 35 for the third decade, the CRA would still get $313 million overall from the county. Committee member Chris Gallagher made a motion to split the increment, but not give a specic number. He said, It makes sense there be a percentage formula established. In the real world, this is a conversation worth having, and it makes sense to have a percent age. The motion passed 7-1 with Bill Russell in the minority. SECOND CAN KICKED After an hour of debate over the recommen dation to let the county skim TIF money, attention turned to the allowable uses for the CRA. Could the city continue to skim money into its general fund? Gallagher moved to keep [the process] essentially the same. It provides the greatest exibility with regards to uses. Huey sec onded the motion. The m otion drew re from member Casey Coburn. We need to give as much direction Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 75


as we can, ba sed on what weve learned. I dont believe staff should be funded by TIF. It has become a bit of a slush fund, and I dont think thats appropriate. Member Joel Freedman thought differently. The CRA of the future is a different one than in the past. Theres a check and balance in the new CRA because of the city-county-citizen mixture [on the governing board], he pointed out. I agree there [have] been abuses in the past, but we dont know what the future is going to bring. Russell said, I think Casey makes some good points. I would like to think we can commu nicate clearly that our committee is fairly concerned over the growth of CRA expen ditures towards operations, as opposed to project-based investmen ts to grow the TIF. Russell suggested a friendly amendment to strongly discourage the increasing reliance of transfers from TIF for operations. However, Gallagher did not accept the amendment as friendly. Russell then suggested rewording Gallaghers amendment to say, We defer determination of allowable uses of the TIF [money] to the new CRA board. That won approval on a 7-1 vote, with Coburn in the minority. With those two items decided, only one remains. It regards an amorphous other rules category/catchall. That will come up at the groups next meeting on Dec. 18. In the meantime, with six of the seven general decisions behind them, the writing of the committee members report will begin. It is scheduled to be delivered to the City and County commissions by late January. % 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 13, 2013 Page 76


March 2015: That is the month Sarasota Countys new two-story, 40,000-square-foot Emergency Operations/911 Center (EOC) is scheduled to be open and functioning. Area ofcials broke ground for the EOC during a Dec. 9 ceremony on the site. In addition to the EOC, the facility will include the coun tys Public Safety Communications Center (PSCC) and the Sarasota County Call Center. The PSCC provides 911 call taking and dis patch services for re departments and law enforcement ofcials in the county. The Architects Design Group designed the structure and handled the permitting. Ajax Building Corp. of Punta Gorda, in partnership with Tandem Construction of Sarasota, won the $15,417 ,000 contract for construction and oversight of the project. This is truly a joyous occasion, especially for the many of us here who have been involved in the planning, designing and now con struction of this facility, Carolyn J. Mason, chairwoman of the County Commission, told those gathered Monday for the ceremony. Construction began this month, a county news release notes. The new facility will be built to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds with fully duplicated utilities and communications networks to ensure that government services can continue during significant events, a county news rele ase says. The Sarasota County commissioners are joined by Sheriff Tom Knight (fourth from right), Interim Administrator Tom Harmer (right) and Emergency Management staff as they take part in the ofcial groundbreaking at the site of the new Emergency Operations Center on Cattlemen Road. Photo by Norman Schimmel SARASOTA COUNTY BREAKS GROUND ON ITS $15.4 MILLION EMERGENCY OPERATIONS/911 CENTER STORM CENTER Staff Reports


Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane addresses those gathered for the occasion. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 78


Adjacent to the EOC will be a communica tions tower that will enable the facilitys staff to communicate with bordering counties and local partners before, during and following a major disaster that has an impact on the com munity, the release adds. Through all our planning and preparation, we are strengthened by the promise that our com munity will be improved, said Mason. The buildings design and construction are poised to achieve a silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, she added. The EOC, 911 Center and the countys Call Center are located in the countys Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. Wilkinson Elementary School is the back-up site for the EOC if a Sheriff Tom Knight offers remarks about the new Emergency Operations/911 Center. Photo by Norman Schimmel Shovels stand ready in the dirt adjacent to the tent where people are gathered for the Emergency Operations Center groundbreaking ceremony. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 79


Category 3 o r stronger hurricane is expected to strike the area. The county worked with the Sarasota County School Board to make the latter arrangements after county staff determined the Administration Center could not withstand hurricanes stronger than a Category 3. During his remarks at the ceremony, Thomas A. Harmer, the interim county administrator, reiterated the importance of partnerships in the community. A former reghter and EOC chief, Harmer thanked everyone involved with the project. For more information about the new facility, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000, or visit % An architects rendering shows the design of the new Emergency Operations Center. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason and Sheriff Tom Knight enjoy chatting amid the groundbreaking festivities on Monday. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 80


The Fifth Annual Gingerbread Festival will begin Friday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m. at Westeld Sarasota Square Mall, Community Youth Development has announced. The festival features more than 175 unique gin gerbread houses built by local students, youth organizations, nonprots and businesses, a news release says. The houses will be on dis play during mall hours until Sunday, Dec. 15. Among the event highlights will be an Iron Chef-style competition among local culinary students on Friday and Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and the presentation of awards to stu dent groups Saturday at 2 p.m., the release adds. One additional award will be announced on Monday, Dec. 16, the release notes: The Peoples Choice winner will be determined by votes cast at the festival or online at Adm ission to the festival is $1. Gingerbread houses will be on sale all weekend, the release continues. All proceeds from the Gingerbread Festival will benet Community Youth Development, which will use the funds to provide more positive activities to youth in Sarasota County, the release points out. Community Youth Development empowers youth as leaders in service to their commu nity, the release explains. Youth in grades 6 to 12 participate in a variety of social and per sonal skill development programs. In 2013, CYD served 2,192 youth throughout Sarasota County, the release says. Community Youth Development is funded in part by Sarasota County Government. For more information on the Gingerbread Festival, visit cydginge Students at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota created this 2012 entry in the Gingerbread Festival. Contributed photo FIFTH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL TO OPEN FRIDAY NEWS BRIEFS


First Step of Sarasota crafted this entry for the 2012 Gingerbread Festival. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 82


Community members are invited to join in Sarasota Countys Viva Florida 500 Time Capsule interment celebration Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. at Historic Spanish Point, located at 337 No. Tamiami Trail in Osprey, the county has announced. The Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources departments, along with the countys Historical Commission, which are partners in the time capsule project, are host ing the event, a news release says. The project is part of the Florida Department of States Viva Florida 500 campaign, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce De Leon in 1513, the release notes. The time capsule includes a variety of mem orabilia from contemporary Sarasota County, the release adds. Among the items that will be encapsulated until 2071 is a Florida panthers paw in plaster of Par is. Many of the items were donated at each of the nine county libraries, including Osprey Library at Historic Spanish Point, the release points out. The keynote speaker will be long-time Sarasota County resident Delilah Wallenda Troffer, an internationally acclaimed aerial performer, the release continues. We are thrilled that Delilah agreed to speak at this event, said Lorrie Muldowney, Sarasota County Historical Resources Department manager, in the release. The Wallenda fam ily is not only a huge part of Sarasota County history; they have helped make history in our community. Following the celebration, the public is invited to go on guided tours of Historic Spanish Point. Those tours will begin at 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. PUBLIC INVITED TO TIME CAPSULE CELEBRATION ON DEC. 14 The 37th annua l Sandy Claws Beach Run sponsored by the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, at Siesta Key Public Beach, county staff is reminding the public. Same-day registration is $30 for the 5K race and $20 for the fun run. Race-day registration will open at 7 a.m., a news release notes. The fun run will begin at 8 a.m., with the 5K race starting at 8:20 a.m. The event, sanctioned and co-sponsored by the Manasota Track Club, will use MyLaps bib timing the release notes. Those interested in participating may prereg ister online at or complete UPCOMING SANDY CLAWS BEACH RUN OFFERS FUN FOR ALL and return a registration form available at any county recreation center, library or govern ment building, the release adds. Awards will be presented to the rstthrough sixth-place nishers in each age group, the release continues. Firstthrough third-place nishers will receive trophies, and fourththrough sixth-place finishers will receive ribbons. All registered 5K participants will be entered into a raffle drawing for great prizes, the release points out. For more information, call the Sarasota Call Center at 861-5000 or visit Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 83


Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 84 Lilly Goetz, 8, is the youngest member of the Viva Florida 500 Time Capsule Committee. Lily will be in her 80s when the time capsule is opened. Photo courtesy Sarasota County


The Sarasota County School District drop out rate for 2012-13 improved compared to the previous year, but the graduation rate has decreased slightly, according to data released Dec. 11 by the Florida Department of Education, the Sarasota County School District has announced. Using the Federal Uniform Rate, which pro vides a consistent method for comparing graduation rates among all states and school districts, the 2012-13 graduation rate for Sarasota County public high schools is 76.2 percent, a news release says. The percentage is higher than the state graduation rate of 75.6 percent and slightly lower than the 2011-12 Sarasota County graduation rate of 78 per cent, the release adds. New federal regulations require each state to calculate a graduation rate that includes standard diplomas but excludes General Equivalency Diplomas (GEDs) both regu lar and adult and special diplomas awarded to some students with disabilities who do not meet the requirements for standard diplomas, the release points out. The U.S. Department of Education adopted the method of calculating the Federal Uniform Rate to facilitate comparisons of gradua tion rates across the nation, the release explains. It replaces the National Governors Association rate used in 2009-10 and 2010-11 and the Florida Graduation Rate used prior to 2010. The Federal Uniform Rate also will be used in Floridas school accountability system to calculate school grades for high schools. SARASOTA DROPOUT RATE IMPROVES; GRADUATION RATE DECREASES A graph compares state and county graduation rates. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 85


Just in time for the holidays, another visi ble enhancement is bolstering the vibrancy of downtown Sarasota, the City of Sarasota has announced. Year-round decorative white lights have been installed in almost two dozen trees along Main Street, creating a more fes tive atmosphere downtown, a news release says. Elegantly lit trees not only create a warm ambience where people want to gather, but they also make people feel safe, John Moran, Downtown Improvement District operations manager, notes in the news release. Click here to view a YouTube video featuring the sights and sounds of downtown this week with the new decorative lights. White lights are shining on each of the 22 mature oak trees on Main Street, from Gulfstream Avenue to Orange Avenue, the release points out. During this time of year we want our down town to reect the spirit of the holiday season with a festive streetscape that also attracts visitors and customers to our unique blend of specialty shops, says Norman Gollub, down town economic development coordinator, in the release. The illumination project became a reality thanks to a partnership between the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association (SDMA) and the Downtown Improvement District (DID), the release adds. The SDMA presented the idea to the city, and the DID funded the $14,000 project, which includes three years of maintenance and light replacement, the release notes. DOWNTOWN SARASOTA BRIGHT WITH YEAR-ROUND TREE LIGHTS Sarasota Countys drop out rate for the 2012-13 school year was 1.5 percent, an improvement over the 2011-12 rate of 2.2 percent, the release notes. The state dropout rate increased to 2 percent from 1.9 percent the previous year. The graduation and dropout rate are not directly comparable, the release points out. The graduation rate is calculated by tracking the number of students who start in a school as ninth-graders in comparison to the number of students in the same class who graduate four years later, the release says. The dropout rate indicates the number of students who quit school in a single year, it adds. Students are not counted as dropouts if it can be doc umented they have transferred to other schools, the release adds. Gov. Ric k Scott has appointed Michael A. Moran of Sarasota to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), the district has announced. Moran is lling a vacant seat that represents Charlotte and Sarasota counties, a news release says. Moran is president of Insurance & Benets Consultants. His appointment is for a term that began Dec. 5 and ends March 1, 2015, the release adds. The appointment is subject to conrmation by the Florida Senate. The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board members set policy for the district, whose mission is to manage the water and related resources of west cen tral Florida to meet the needs of current and future water users while protecting the envi ronment, the release points out. SARASOTA MAN APPOINTED TO SWFWMD GOVERNING BOARD Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 86


Sarasota County will host a Rain Barrel Workshop Saturday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m. at the Sarasota County Extension Ofce located at 6700 Clark Road in Sarasota, the county has announced. Blue 55-gallon plastic rain barrels will be available for purchase for $37 at the work shop, which will include an educational presentation followed by a question-and-an swer session with Extension Ofce staff, a news release says Rainwater harvesting can reduce the use of potable water and yield cost savings on water and wastewater utility bills, the release adds. LAST COUNTY RAIN BARREL WORKSHOP OF 2013 SET FOR DEC. 21 Rain barrels help to reduce stormwater run off by diverting and storing water that falls from areas such as roofs, said David Pouso, a county environmental specialist, in the release. To register for the workshop, go to or call the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask for the Sarasota County Extension Ofce, the release adds. It is not mandatory to attend the workshop to purchase a rain barrel. For more information about the Rain Barrel Harvesting Program, visit WaterServices/Pages/RainBarrel.aspx The last Sarasota County Rain Barrel Workshop for the year will be held on Saturday, Dec. 21. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 87


The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) has scheduled a number of free guided kayak excursions on Sarasota Bay from December through April, including a trip to Neal Preserve on Saturday, Dec. 21, the organization has announced. Neal Preserve is located in Manatee County, a news release notes. All of the SBEP kayak excursions require online registration at The SBEP Bay Wise Kayak Tour Program is an opportunity to discover the plants, ani mals, habitats and restoration projects that distinguish Sarasota Bay, the release adds. Brad Tanner, a professional guide and the school programs coordinator for Mote Marine Laboratory, is the kayak tour leader. He is also a member of the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee, the release says. Additional trips are planned for Lefs and Jewsh Key (Jan. 4 and 18), Lido Mangrove Tunnels (Feb. 1 and 15), Blind Pass (March 1 and 15) and Lyons and Blackburn Bay (April 12 and 19). Participants are required to bring their own kayaks and gear, the release points out. Outtters throughout the region rent kayaks and offer demonstrations and beginner classes. The Bay Wise Kayak Tour Program is for experienced kayakers, the release says. The late Jack Taylor, a respected marine biol ogist and former member of the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee, launched the kayak tour program in 2007 as part of an SBEP Bay Partners Grant initiative, the release notes. He earned a doctorate in marine biology from the University of Florida and was active with many conservation groups throughout the region, the release continues. SBEP OFFERS FREE GUIDED KAYAK TRIPS OF SARASOTA BAY The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program has planned a number of guided kayak tours in the coming months. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 88


On Wednesday, Dec. 4, the Sarasota Police Foundation Inc. received a generous dona tion from Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy of Sarasota, the Police Department has announced. The foundation plans to use the $5,000 to support the work of the Police Department, a SARASOTA POLICE FOUNDATION RECEIVES $5,000 CHECK (From left) Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino; Valerie Pober, executive director of the Sarasota Police Foundation; and Graci McGillicuddy celebrate the donation. Contributed photo news release says. Created in August 2008, the foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprot, the release notes. It provides opportunities for ofcers and the public to work together to establish and maintain relationships through community policing, training and crime prevention, the release adds. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 89


A Venice man is behind bars after he allegedly tried to break into a home on 19th Street in Sarasota in late April and told the victim he was the Sarasota Police, the Sarasota Police Department has announced. Michael Frank Molnar, 20, has been charged with felony counts of Attempted Home Invasion Robbery and Falsely Impersonating An Ofcer, a news release says. On April 30, the victim told detectives the sus pect tried to get into his home at 1357 19th St. in Sarasota, the release adds. The vic tim said he was lying down in his bedroom when he heard a loud knock at the front door. The victim then heard the suspect announce Sarasota Police several times, the victim told detectives, according to the release. When the victim looked out the window, he saw a white male wearing a black vest with SWAT written on the front of it in white let ters, the release continues. The suspect was also wearing a black mask over his face and black gloves, and he was armed with a black handgun, the release says. The victim told detectives the suspect tried to gain entry into the home by kicking at the front door, but the door did not open. The victim also said he was suspicious of the sus pect because he believed if the suspect were a real police ofcer, he would have already broken down the door, the report adds. The victim reported that he armed himself with a knife, looked out the window and saw the suspect at the front door, visibly (Inset) Michael Molnar/Contributed photo VENICE MAN CHARGED AFTER CLAIMING TO BE SARASOTA POLICE OFFICER CRIME BLOTTER


shaking, according to the report. Moments later, the suspect ra n from the home. The vic tim told detectives that he then began driving around to search for the suspect. When the victim spotted the man walking northbound on Cocoanut Avenue, the victim stopped and confronted the suspec t on the roadside, but the suspect ran, and the victim lost sight of him, according to the report. Molnar was already in the Sarasota County Jail on unrelated burglary charges, the release notes. Molnar was charged on Dec. 3 in con nection with the April 30 crime in Sarasota, the release says. A team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) will be in Sarasota County begin ning this Saturday, Dec. 14, to examine the policies, procedures, operations and support services of the Public Safety Communications Center (PSC), the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce has announced. The PSC must comply with more than 200 standards, a Sheriffs Office news release says. It originally received accredited status in November 2002 and was re-accredited in 2005, 2007 and 2010. Re-accreditation is a vol untary process but a highly prized recognition of communications professional excellence, the release notes. This objective is also part of the Sheriffs Office Four-Year Strategic Plan. The assessment team is composed of law enforcement and public safety commu nications practitioners from similar but out-of-state agencies, the release explains. The assessors will review written materials, interview individuals and visit the 911 Center, agency of ces and other places where com pliance can be witnessed, it notes. As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments by telephone on Monday, Dec. 16, by calling 861-5524 between 2 and 4:00 p.m., the release points out. Comments are limited to 10 minutes and must address the PSCs ability to comply with CALEA standards. A copy of the standards is available at the front desk at the Sheriffs Ofce, located at 2071 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota or at 4531 State Road 776 in Venice. Citizens can submit written comments by mail ing them to the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), 13585 Heathcote Blvd., Suite 320, Gainesville, VA, 20155. Once the assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full commis sion, which then decides if the agency is to be granted re-accredited status, the release notes. PUBLIC INVITED TO COMMENT ON RE-ACCREDITATION PROCESS Simply put, Crime Stoppers relies upon the cooperation between the police the media and the community to provide a ow of information about crime and criminals. All submitted tips are secure and anonymous. (941) 366-TIPS (8477) Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 91


Dr. Leonard Rubinstein, 59, of 4921 Higel Ave. on Siesta Key, was arrested on Monday, Dec. 9, and charged with one count of Attempting or Offering to Practice Medicine with a Revoked License, the Sarasota Police Department has announced. The departments Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at Rubensteins 1805 Siesta Drive ofce after undertaking an investiga tion resulting from numerous complaints to the Department of Health that Rubinstein was practicing medicine in spite of having his medical license revoked, a news release says. The Narcotics Unit conducted an undercover operation, with an ofcer posing as a poten tial patient interested in breast augmentation surgery, the police report explains. As a result of executing the search warrant, detectives seized numerous medical records and mar keting materials that indicated Rubinstein was continuing to practice medicine, along with evidence he illegally obtained controlled substances for use as medication, the news release notes. Additional charges are expected, the release adds. Rubins teins license was revoked as of Dec. 7, 2012, after numerous years of discipline, according to the police report. Any individual who may have been a patient after that date or who is in need of his or her medical records, may contact Lt. James Rieser of the Sarasota Police Departments Bureau of Criminal Investigations at 954-7093, t he release points out. POLICE ARREST COSMETIC SURGEON WITH REVOKED MEDICAL LICENSE Leonard Rubinstein/Contributed photo During its holiday Click It or Ticket Campaign, which ran from Nov. 18 to Dec. 1, Sarasota County Sheriffs Office deputies wrote 248 citations to motorists who were not wearing their seat belts, including two who did not properly restrain a child, the ofce has reported. Another 426 motorists were cited for speed ing, 75 for driving with a suspended drivers license and 10 for reckless driving, a news release says. Additionally, 29 DUI arrests were made. SHERIFFS OFFICE ISSUES 248 CITATIONS FOR SEAT BELT VIOLATIONS The e ffo rt was part of a nationwide push to save lives by intensifying efforts to educate the public about seat belt laws and enforce them with all motorists around the clock, the release points out. In Florida, all motorists are required to buckle up when riding in the front seat, and passen gers under the age of 18 must use proper seat restraints regardless of where they are seated in a vehicle, the release notes. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 92


OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL It is now official: Fl orida Gov. Rick Scott is a candidate for reelection in 2014. Of course, since taking ofce, he has made no secret that he planned to seek another term, but he went through some regulatory hoops this week that remove any doubt. When he rst ran for governor four years ago, Scott touted himself as the jobs governor, pushing a plan that promised 700,000 jobs in seven years. That plan was crafted by Donna Arduin, a name that should be familiar to anyone in Sarasota County who is concerned about the continued viability of the countys 2050 Plan. When state economists released a forecast that the state would add about 1 million jobs over that seven-year period, regardless of the occu pant of the governors mansion, Scott doubled d own and promised that his 700,000 new jobs would come on top of the economists predictions. Thus, his promise ballooned to 1.7 million jobs. Since his election, Scott has been traveling all over the state proclaiming the equivoque Its working. Whatever else one might say about Scott, one cannot say he has not worked to bring new jobs into the state. Unfortunately, his job creation record is nowhere near the 1.7 million mark and not even close to 700,000. Even his claims for jobs he has brought to Florida seem to be overblown on closer scrutiny. The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times undertook a months-long analysis of Scotts job creation record. Their principal nding was that many of the jobs Scott is boasting about do not yet exist and will not for many years if at a ll. RICK SCOTT, HUCKSTER-IN-CHIEF


Their analysis focused on the new jobs for which the governor might have some con trol, principally those arising out of incentive deals with new employers or existing employ ers seeking to expand signicantly. Scott has aggressively used tax incentives to lure new businesses to the state, according to the Times/Herald study. The newspapers analysis of 342 job creation deals revealed that Scott had committed $266 million in tax cuts and related incentives, which should have resulted in more than 45,000 new jobs. But a closer look showed that very few of those jobs actually exist. Only about 4 percent of them have been lled. The vast major ity are promised, with the possibility that it could take up to a decade before they materialize. What is worse, Scotts zeal in attracting new employers while ignoring struggling Florida businesse s has resulted in the loss of more than 49,000 jobs in the same time period, many of them high-paying manufacturing jobs. That means that, even were all of Scotts new jobs to come to fruition, the state would have lost net jobs as a result of his plan. The situation becomes even more dire when one looks at the sort of jobs his incentives are luring. One example was a $1 million incentive offered to a company to have at least 500 employees by 2015. Scott only required the company to pay those employees an average of less than $20,000 p er year. The national poverty level for a family of four is more than $23,000. The state has managed to add about 400,000 jobs since Scott became governor, but many economists regard this as the result of an improving national economy. Floridas economy is dependent on tourism and home construction. As the countrys economy has improved, more Americans have been able to take a vacation in Florida. As the national housing market has improved, more Americans have been able to sell their homes and retire to Florida. As a result, the housing industry in Florida is bouncing back, and state tourism numbers are setting new records. But the credit for this belongs less with Rick Scott than it does with Barack Obama. Despite the legislative gridlock of a do-nothing Congres s, President Obama has managed to inject enough of a stimulus into the U.S. econ omy to bring us a long way from the depths of the Great Recession. The economy is not robust, to be sure, but it no longer teeters on the brink of oblivion as it did in 2008. Those familiar with the author of Scotts jobs creation plan should not be surprised at the governors lackluster results. Arduin is an acolyte for an economic theory so morally bankrupt and inequitable that it recently was condemned by Pope Francis. The reasoning behind the -7-7 plan she created for Scott, such as it was, was political bluster and hyper bole not sound economic theory. The state has managed to add about 400,000 jobs since Scott became governor, but many economists regard this as the result of an improving national economy. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 94


Medicare c laime d years ago that Rick Scott was a fraud. The people of Florida should be coming to the same conclusion. He is little more than a carnie huckster, using smokeand-mirror tricks to confuse and befuddle his victims. In this instance, sadly, the victims are the residents of Florida. He is trying to co nvince them that his promise of 1.7 million new jobs in seven years is on track and that his program is working. The voters of this state must follow his darker example, however, and kill one more in-state job: his. % 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. Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 95


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Sarasota Leisure SARASOTA LEISURE Your Lifestyle Guide To The Suncoast Inside ATOMIC AGES MARKING 86 YEARS A NIGHT OF LIGHTS


The national do-i t-yourself (DIY) craft scene is experiencing a moment of burnout, says Atomic Holiday Bazaar organizer Adrien Lucas. Some of the bigger shows in the scene are in ux, while high-end fashion designers have begun pulling styles from the under ground. But all that doesnt apply to Atomic, now in its eighth year of offering a motley assortment of independently produced and vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories, art projects, etc. According to Lucas count, 223 crafters applied for 135 spots in this weekends show. The total number of vendors, including those who split tables, r uns to around 150 or 160. Cle arly, enthusiasm for the event aint going anywhere. But as the years come and go, the shows style does morph, and Lucas spots a few trends in this years lineup. One is repurposed or upcy cled furniture. Lucas says several applicants were hoping for double booths because their home goods are so large. She didnt allow it, to preserve space for others, but those items have been scarce at previous Atomics, usu ally heavy on daintier items such as jewelry and kids gear. Another interesting development: plants. Lucas, who co-founded t he event with A 2012 Atomic Holiday Bazaar vendor pitches her wares. Photo courtesy of Adrien Lucas ATOMIC HOLIDAY BAZAAR CRAFTERS PREPARE TO ROCK THE SARASOTA MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM FOR THE EIGHTH STRAIGHT YEAR ATOMIC AGES By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Cemantha Crain in 2006, wanted green ven dors from the get-go, but it took years to hook up with the right growers. This years show includes a booth stocked by Craft Organic a Sarasota company that slings air plants and orchids in surprising combinations of corks and shells. The company hooked up with Sarasotas newish coffee destination, Perq, to design that spots green touches, a connection Lucas says was made at last years Atomic. Lucas also sees an uptick in vintage kitsch such as Mad Men -esque barware, which she says could come across as adding a ea mar ket vibe to this years event. I could give a s***, adds Lucas, never one to bite her tongue. About anything. These are pieces of Americana that are visually pleasing and serve a purpose. Theyre nostalgic and functional. Despite a couple of new twists, Atomics over all vibe wont be all that much of a departure from past editions. You can expect plenty of punk-inspired handbags and T-shirts, s housewife-styled aprons and maybe even a uterus-shaped pillow or three. The event has long been a fun, creative opportunity to stuff stockings while supporting artsy locals. Which is why its a bit disconcerting to hear Lucas talk about maybe selling the event to someone else in the next year or two. I really want to get back to being creative, she says. Stressing about city permits and Atomic Holiday Bazaar organizer Adrien Lucas (left) with past participant Richeal Parisi. Photo courtesy of Adrien Lucas Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 99

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table organ iz ation each year is three-quar ters of a full-time job. But if she does pass the baton, she insists it will be to someone whos simpatico. Im really interested in nding that person: one, who can afford to buy it, she says, and, two, who has the same aesthetic as me. As anyone whos enjoyed the strange buffet that is Atomic knows, that second clause is a tall order. Atomic Holiday Bazaar season eight runs noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Admission is $5 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. Full details avail able at % The Atomic Holiday Bazaar is set to take over the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium for the eighth straight year. Photo courtesy of Adrien Lucas Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 100

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They bill the mselves as participants in Sarasotas oldest organized sporting activ ity. The citys lawn bowlers have been rolling their balls across manicured lawns since 1928. They certainly predate another long-stand ing Sarasota sporting tradition the Tarpon Tournament by two years. While there was no great celebration, the bowlers invited some city staffers on Monday morning, Dec. 9, for some holiday cheer and the friendly second annual city versus club challenge. The clubs three greens 120-foot-long squares are perhaps th e best-kept lawns in the city, with the clubs members doing most of the physical labor. But the city and county participate as well, providing materials. In the summer, the county keeps the lawns alive. Recently, work-release prisoners from the county jail were transported in to build new benches and picnic tables for the bowlers and spectators. While lawn bowling is a year-round activity, it is an early-morning sport in the summer. But as with most Sarasota sporting venues, winter and spring are the months of highest use and interest. In March, for example, the Southeastern U.S. Championship is decided on Sarasota grass. In February, teams from For the second year in a row, the city team has out-bowled the highly practiced club members. Photo by Genevieve Judge SARASOTA LAWN BOWLERS MAY NOT HAVE A HIGH PROFILE, BUT THEY ARE PART OF A LONG-TIME COMMUNITY TRADITION MARKING 86 YEARS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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Scotland and Canada arrive, even though the sport can be played on indoor courts through tough northern winters. Thousands of people drive by the Sarasota facility every day, but very few notice it. The three lawns and clubhouse are north of the Municipal Auditorium and behind the Van Wezel Performing Arts Halls marquee on U.S. 41; the area is also the site where the old city shufeboard courts were located. Membership is made up of about 80 full-tim ers. Past President Jo Koegel estimates there are about 1,000 active lawn bowlers in Florida, with o r ganizations active in Port Charlotte, St. Petersburg, Mt. Dora and Clearwater. The game is a bit like croquet. Instead of mal lets and wooden balls, the lawn bowlers use a ball that is hand-sized and attened at the poles. It is rolled on its round side toward a mark. Points are scored for balls stopping closest to the mark. However, as in croquet, friendly balls can knock opponents balls away from the mark. Lawn bowling is similar but not identical to the Italian game of bocce ball. With Sarasota Bay as their backdrop, the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club members celebrate 86 years on the towns best turf. Photo by Jo Koegel Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 102

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Theres actually some strategy in this, said bowler Iorrie Pickford. Most of the club members are retired, not because the sport attracts older people but because the greens have no lights. Families often work during the day and are busy on weekends with other activities. People would play in the evening, noted Koegel, but we dont have lights. While the sport has winners and losers, it is not high impact, and it has a large social component. City staffers were a bit embarrassed when a reporter discovered them to be playing on company time Monday, even though this reporter has seen each and every one of them work weekends and disasters without complaint. Who won the city versus club challenge? For the second year, it was the staffers. The club meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays around noon, if you want to give it a try. % The bowlers clubhouse is overwhelmed by the condominiums across the street. Photo by Stan Zimmerman An un-staged shot shows how expertly the bowlers can place their shots. The white ball is the mark next to which all the others try to get the closest. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 103

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The St. Armands Christmas tree stands tall in the shopping district. A Nght Lights ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE BIDS A FORMAL WELCOME TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON Staff Reports Standing several people deep in many spots, a crowd gathered on St. Armands Circle on the balmy night of Dec. 6 to mark the shopping districts Holiday Night of Lights. With a performance by the Cuban Ballet School, a carol sing-along, the lighting of the St. Armands Circle Christmas tree and of course the arrival of Santa, participants f ound plenty to delight the eyes and ears. The event also encouraged donations of items to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and cans of food to All Faiths Food Bank Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel was on hand to cap ture the festivities. %

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Santa Claus arrival on St. Armands means the holiday season ofcially is under way. All photos by Norman Schimmel Seasonal adornments brighten up the Circle. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 105

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During the event, the Christmas tree is the focal point for photographers and families. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 106

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Cuban Ballet School members entertain the crowd. People await the start of the parade. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 107

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Two Marines stand ready to accept donations for the Toys for Tots program. A stagecoach and its team add an historical touch to the parade. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 108

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ANOTHER AVENIDA DEL NORTE DOCK WINS APPROVAL; THE VILLAGE RECYCLING INITIATIVE SPARKS AN ARTISTIC SUGGESTION; AND THE STORMWATER PROJECT CONTINUES By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor SIESTA SEEN About eight years ago, a number of Avenida del Norte residents filed a lawsuit against Sarasota County over the narrow strip of waterfront along the convergence of canals adjacent to their street. In fact, it was the third lawsuit involving that strip over the p revious 20 y ears, and, once again, the county failed to prevail in its contention that the strip was county property. Finally, on May 12, 2008, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Ju dge Robert W. McDonald entered a Yet another dock will be built on the Siesta canal across from property on Avenida del Norte this time, in front of the house at 687 Avenida del Norte. Image from Google Maps

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Final Judgment in the 2005 case saying the county should be estopped from arguing it owns the disputed land, based on the fact that every ruling in those lawsuits had gone against it. Howard Berna, the countys environmen tal supervisor, pointed out in a Jan. 12, 2011 memo to the County Commission, As a result of the Final Judgment, those properties for which owners can demonstrate land exists waterward of the County right-of-way have the ability to obtain a [Sarasota County Water and Navigation Control Authority (WNCA)] Minor Work Permit for construction of a pri vate dock. As a result, the County Commission has approved dock license agreements for seven parcels on Avenida del Norte since January 2011. The latest request won unanimous board OK on the Dec. 11 consent agenda. It came from June Foster, owner of the property at 687 Avenida del Norte. The commission vote will allow her to build a new dock similar in design to other nearby structures previously authorized by the WNCA, according to a staff memo to the County Commission. VILLAGE RECYCLING INITIATIVE Siesta Key Association (SKA) Vice President Michael Sha y, who has been leading the effort A Siesta Village business owner has suggested a sea turtle could be one type of creature painted on recycling bins to draw tourists attention to the bins. Image by Mike Gonzalez via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 110

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to impleme nt a recycling initiative in Siesta Village, was unable to attend the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) meeting on Dec. 3. In his stead, Mark Smith, chairman of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., reported no real progress had been made thus far on the effort. However, Martha Smith, owner of Le Grand Bisou Caribbean Boutique in the Village, took the opportunity to revive a suggestion she made in June that artists be allowed to paint the recycling bins with a sea crea ture theme to remind tourists, especially, that recycling helps protect the islands wildlife. When Martha Smith asked whether the SKVA would own the bins, Mark Smith told her it would, which would make her proposal pos sible. Its an interesting idea, Mark added. The key is to make certain visitors understand that the decorative bins are for recycling, he pointed out. SKVA members could come up with specic types of sea life to use in identifying the bins, Martha replied, likening the idea to the Cow Parade, for example, which was popular as an art theme in the city of Chicago. I think thats a great idea, SKA Secretary Peter van Roekens responded. Past SKVA President Russell Matthes added that businesses could get involved with the initiative by agreeing to sponsor artists to paint certain bins. Mark Smith noted though, If were going to buy cans similar to what we have, theyre probably not going to work as media for such artwork. Well let you work on that, too, SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie told him with a smile. STORMWATER PROJECT UPDATE In the latest report to the County Commission about the stormwater project under way next to Siesta Public Beach, Isaac Brownman, director of capital projects in the Public Works Department, noted that while off-site pumping started Nov. 5, pumping is only tak ing place for about 30 minutes to one hour three times a day, when the turbidity levels are within the permitted values. County staff has been monitoring the work to make sure sufcient settling of sediment occurs before the water that ooded the site in September is discharged into the Gulf of Mexico. Through next week, the contractor is expected to continue digging the new one-acre storm water pond, Brownman added. The contract or also has established the rim ditch a sump necessary to remove groundwater around the proposed pond, Brownman noted. Coordination meetings con tinue to take place between the contractor for this project and the contractor for the Siesta Beach project for work to be performed in overlapping areas, he continued. The scope has been established and an agreement will be in place shortly allowing the [stormwater] contractor to per form s ome site work for the Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 111

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Siesta Beach proj ect. This will provide over all cost savings for the County. Further, the county has received a Coastal Control Construction Line permit for the Siesta Beach Improvement Project from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, he pointed out. That will allow the entire stormwater pond to be dug seaward of that line, he added. At this time, Brownman wrote, we do not expect that the delays we have had to date will significa ntly impact the [beach improvements] project. It is anticipated that with both projects now overlapping with time lines/schedules, some economy of scales will be realized. CLARIFICATION In my Dec. 6 article about the ongoing effort to modify the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) ordinance to allow some types of outdoor merchandise display, I noted that Commissioner Nora Patterson found a pro posed revision put forth during the summer to be too lenient. Heavy equipment has remained the focal point on the Siesta stormwater site for the past few weeks. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 112

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What Patterson objected to, she reminded me last week, was one particular section in the draft prepared by former Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Cooper. It said, The outdoor display area shall not extend beyond the width of the single building wall, or storefront, whichever is narr ower, of the responsible business and must not exceed twelve (12) feet unless a greater width is permitted through the spe cial exception process. Patterson said she felt the 12-foot maximum was excessive. A committee is working on a new revision of the ordin ance. % The 12-foot outdoor display provision in a proposed zoning code change for Siesta Key was the element of that document County Commissioner Nora Patterson found objectionable, she reminded the News Leader last week. Image courtesy Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 113

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The Booke r High School Visual and Performing Arts Theatre Department will stage Neil Simons comic fable Fools at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, in the schools VPA Theatre, the school has announced. From the canon of one of the most popular comic playwrights of the 20th century, Fools serves up plenty of laughs while exploring the idea of how people respond to preconceived notions about themselves, a news release points out. The show centers on Leon (Ryan ODell), a schoolteacher who travels for work to the small Ukrainian village of Kulyenchikov, whose inhabitants are hopelessly, farcically stupid, the release continues. When Leon meets his employers daughter, Sophia (Rachael Henry), he falls instantly in love, despite the fact that she, too, is a fool. He comes to nd out that the widespread idiocy is no coincidence; the town has been under a spell for 200 years, and the citizenry is doomed to stupidity until the spell is broken. The power to lift the spell is in Leons hands, and it can only happen if he is able to educate Sophia within 24 hours. Director Natalia Mock, a Booker High VPA Program adjunct faculty member, says in the release that the department chose the play for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Neil Simons legacy. Booker High students starring in the production of Neil Simons Fools are (from left) Jordan Boyer, Ellie McCaw, Ryan ODell, Rachael Henry, Aaliyah Harris and Solo Matelau. Contributed photo BOOKER HIGH STUDENTS TO STAGE NEIL SIMONS FOOLS DEC. 13-14 A&E BRIEFS

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Its a cla ssic Neil Simon comedy, Mock notes. Its important for the students to understand that playwright and his contributions to the atre. Plus, it gives them lots of opportunities to explore physical comedy, and Ive been impressed to see how theyve brought in ele ments of the Italian tradition of commedia dellarte in their character development. There is great lore about the play itself, the release points out. Simon reportedly created it with the intention of writing an unsuccessful play in the aftermath of a divorce settlement that would leave his ex-wife with the prots of his next play. While Fools initially earned a tepid reception, the release continues, it has sinc e bec ome a crowd pleaser, cementing Simons reputation as an unappable writer. The fact that the students are taking on these scripts and doing them well, I think is import ant for audiences to support, Mock says in the release. We bring the same professional ism to the straight plays, and the community should see that. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. They are available in advance by calling Judy Piercy at 355-2967, Ext. 65215, or online at The Booker High School VPA Theatre is located at 32 01 N. Oran ge Ave. in Sarasota. Venice Theatre will present its traditional Sounds of Christmas concert Friday and Saturday evenings, Dec. 13 and 14, at 8 p.m., the theatre has announced. Audiences will be treated to an intimate eve ning of holiday tunes sung by some of Venice Theatres most talented vocalists, a news release says. Regular ticket prices for the event are $24 for adults and $10 for students. However, patrons who might be struggling nancially are invited to take advantage of a special pay-what-you-can rate, the release points out. Director Allan Kollar explains in the release, We want everybody in our community to be able to afford a great Christmas show. We hope folks will come out and enjoy the music and pay whatever amount works for them and their family. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available for each performance, the release notes. Patrons must purchase them at the door with cash. Any amount will be accepted. The special rate is not available online. For more infor mation about tickets, contact the box ofce at 488-1115. Sounds of Christmas will feature beautiful renditions of wintertime favorites old and new, the release continues. Traditional songs and carols such as Carol of the Bells The First Noel and Silent Night will be sung along with more contemporary selections such as Baby, Its Cold Outside ; Mary, Did You Know ; and The Twelve Days After Christmas Audience members are asked to bring non-perishable food items to the concert to help stock local food pantries, the release adds. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Tickets and passes for the entire 2013-2014 season are available by phone at 488-1115 or in person at the box ofce from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before all shows for walk-up tickets. Tickets are also available 24 hours a day at PATRONS INVITED TO PAY WHAT YOU CAN FOR SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 115

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A group of Venice Theatre singers (including Nidal Zarour, Kim Kollar and Robin Fernandez, pictured at last years concert with Kristofer Geddie) will join together to serenade audiences with holiday favorites Dec. 13-14. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 116

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Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota will present Amahl and the Night Visitors a heartwarm ing and funny story of a poor boys generous gift and miraculous healing, on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. in the Historic Asolo Theater, located at 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, the organization has announced. Tickets are $15 to $30 and may be purchased online at or by calling 360-7399. Amahl, once a shepherd boy and now dis abled, has taken to the telling of tall tales if not outright lying, a news release explains. So its understandable when his widowed mother has trouble believing his assertion of an amazing star as big as a window, rising in the east. Later that evening, the release continues, when Amahl returns from a knock at the door with the news of three weary yet splendidly dressed kings on the doorstep, she is even harder to convince. And so our story begins, the release adds. Amahl and the Night Visitors recounted as a one-act opera, is ultimately a journey of redemption, the release notes. Along the way the Three Kings, Amahl and his mother, come to understand the true magic in giving. This production will feature a professional cast, including soprano Deborah Berioli, baritone Todd Donovan, Imperial Symphony Opera baritone Joshua Mazur, Andrea Guaita, Christopher Culpepper and Jose Guaita, the release says. Also appearing will be the Le Voci de Venezia choral ensemble, utist Michael Algeria and pianist Mary Jeanne Moorman. AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS TO BE STAGED DEC. 21 Deborah Berioli/Contributed photo On Thursday, Dec. 19, from 2 to 3 p.m., Jacaranda Trace will host a lecture titled Introduction to the Bauhaus: The Face of the 20th century The program will focus on the men and women who were part of this artistic and architectural revolution in Germany from BAUHAUS MOVEMENT TO BE FOCUS OF LECTURE 1919 to 1933, a news release says. Their col laboration and innovations shape the world we live in today, the release adds. Walter Gropius, Vassily Kandinsky, Gunta Stolzl and many others were part of this milieu. Jacaranda Trace is located at 3600 William Penn Way in Venice. Admission is $10 at the door. Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 117

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The Bauhaus building in Dessau was designed by Walter Gropius. Photo by Mewes via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 118

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Artist S eries Concerts of Sarasota will pres ent Andrea McArdle and guests in a feast of holiday music, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year on Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. in the Historic Asolo Theater at 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, the organization has announced. Joined by pianist Steve Marzullo, baritone Todd Donovan, singer Maria Wirries, pianist Alan Corey, dancers from the Carreno Dance Festival and Le Voci di Venezia Singers (on Saturday only), Broadway performer Andrea McArdle will celebrate the season with a lively mix of holiday songs, a news release notes. An ensemble from Gloria Musicae will join the performance on Sunday. Tickets are $25 to $45; they may be purchased online at or by calling the box ofce at 360-7399. Andrea rst captured the hearts of theater-go ers in 1977 when she originated the title role in the mega-musical, Annie says John Fischer, executive director of Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, in the release. She hasnt stopped delighting audiences since. Were thrilled that she will partner with a host of our regions greatest musicians, singers and dancers for a fast-paced holiday musical celebration that warmly captures the spirit of the season. McArdle has appeared in numerous Broadway and cabaret productions, including Les Misrables Beauty and the Beast Meet Me in St. Louis Starlight Express Jerrys Girls The Wizard of Oz Theyre Playing Our Song and Irving Berlins memorable Annie Get Your Gun the release points out. In a 2007 New York Times article, Step hen Holden wrote of her, Three decades after Annie her dening quality is still a childlike cry embedded in a voice that carries to the rafters. For more information about the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasotas 2013-2014 sea son, visit or call 306-1202. ARTIST SERIES CONCERTS TO PRESENT ANDREA MCARDLE Andrea McArdle/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 119

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Venice Theatres Generations Series is proud to present ve performances of an original musical adaptation of Dickens A Christmas Carol (music by the late area musician E. Suzan Ott, with lyrics and additional music by local teacher, director and writer Scott Keys). Performances will take place on Venice Theatres MainStage Dec. 19-22, the theatre has announced, with 7 p.m. shows each day and two matinees on Dec. 21 and 22. Tickets are $10 for students and $17 for adults. They may be purchased online at or by calling the box ofce at 488-1115. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. The theatre has also arranged a daytime performance on Friday, Dec. 20, at 10 a.m. for local school groups to enjoy, a news release notes. A Christmas Carol is one of my favor ite things to do each season, says director Murray Chase. Young people return each year, playing new roles as they get older. College students plan their Christmas breaks around the show. And entire families work together in the cast and crew. Its a wonderful tradition thats been a part of our theatre for almost 15 years. This is Chases 12th year as director of A Christmas Carol Music director Michelle Kasanofsky has also been involved with the production for 12 years, the release adds. Other long-time cast and crew include Lori Chase as the Voice of Christmas Past; Alyssa Hunek, who has played a wide variety of roles over the years; Hannah Betterton, who appeared in the show when she was younger VENICE THEATRE TO PRESENT A CHRISTMAS CAROL DEC. 19-22 Each year a large cast brings the story of A Christmas Carol to life. This season the count is 51. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 120

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and has been s tage manager for the past six years; and high school student Noelle Oxboel, who is marking her rst year as part of the production team, as assistant choreographer. Eric Watters, who is playing Scrooge for the 12th year, says in the release, Where else can old folks like me dance and sing on stage with young peo ple performing for the rst time? Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious! Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Box ofce hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and o ne hour before show time. Thea tre Odyssey has announced the nalists for the 2014 Student Ten-Minute Play Festival. They are as follows: The Game of Life by Brooke Farnsworth (Lakewood Ranch High School). Our Future by Eric Nolting (Saint Stephens Episcopal School). THEATRE ODYSSEY ANNOUNCES TEN-MINUTE PLAY FESTIVAL FINALISTS The Gate by Jenna Greeneld (Lakewood Ranch High School). Death Before Decaf by Amy Carothers (Cape Coral Christian School). Suspect by Tiffany Miller (Lakewood Ranch High School). Elevate My Life by Joseph Grosso (Lakewood Ranch H igh School). The cast members of A Little Help, which won the 2013 Ten-Minute Play Festival, were (from left) Bernie Yanelli, Tami Vaughn, Jenny Aldrich and Don Walker. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 121

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Theatre Odyssey received 17 entries for this years festival, almost triple that of last year, said Preston Boyd, artistic director for Theatre Odysseys student festival, in the release. Dan Higgs, board president, added, We are very excited about having so many young people interested in and involved with live theater. Theatre Odyssey was founded in 2006 to encourage and promote the efforts of local playwrights and actors. Over the years, the group has premiered more than 60 plays written, directed and performed by Gulf Coast playwrights, actors and directors, the release points out. For more information visit % The Studen t Ten-Minute Play Writing Festival will be held on Friday, Jan. 17, at the David S. and Anne V. Howard Theatre on the Bradenton campus of the State College of Florida Collegiate School beginning at 7:30 p.m., a news release says. Tickets can be pur chased at the door. The cost for adults is $5; students and children will be admitted free. A panel of four independent judges will view the six performances and determine the win ner, the release notes. A $300 cash award will be presented to the playwright along with a trophy to be displayed at his or her school for at least one year, the release adds. The winning student play will also be performed at Theatre Odysseys annual Ten-Minute Play Festival, which will be held in the Asolo Repertory Theatres Cook Theatre May 1-4. 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 13, 2013 Page 122

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The Church of the Redeemer, located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota, will conclude its series of midday Advent organ recitals on Wednesday, Dec. 18, with guest organist Mary Mozelle, the church has announced. Mozelle has served in many distinctive churches, a news release says, including The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.; St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago, IL; and Knowles Memorial Chapel at Rollins College in Winter Park. Hel d 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., the release notes. Guest organists and musicians perform on Redeemers massive 50-stop Nichols & Simpson pipe organ, pro viding a brief but welcome weekday respite during the hectic holiday season, the release adds. All in the community are invited. For more information, visit redeemersara or call 955-4263. Mary Mozelle/Contributed photo REDEEMERS WEEKLY ORGAN SERIES CONCLUDES WITH MARY MOZELLE RELIGION BRIEFS

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donation for non-CHJ members attending the program is $5. CHJ meets at Unity, located at 3023 Proctor Road in Sarasota. For more information visit or call 929-7771. On Fr iday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m., the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism (CHJ) will welcome Kim Sheintel, president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southwest Florida, to speak on the topic, The Jews of Sarasota-Manatee: 100 Years Though Jews have never made up more than 3 percent of the local population, the role they have played in creating businesses, charitable organizations and cultural assets is enormous, a news release notes. Sheintel, who is the author of The Jews of Sarasota-Manatee will display her many photographs as well as talk about the surpris ing historical record she has found through her research, the release adds. The suggested Kim Sheintel/Contributed photo 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF JEWS IN SARASOTA-MANATEE TO BE MARKED Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, vice president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, will speak at Temple Emanu-Els International Shabbat Service on Dec. 20. Contributed photo TEMPLE EMANU-EL TO HOST INTERNATIONAL SHABBAT SERVICE Internat i o nal Jewry will be celebrated Friday evening, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, the Temple has announced. Speaking from the pulpit will be Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, vice president of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, which serves more than 1,400 liberal Jewish congregations and 1.8 million Jews in 47 countries, a news release says. The Shabbat service will also have an international avor, with Temple Emanu-El members reciting the traditional Sabbath prayers not only in Hebrew and English but also in Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Portuguese, the release notes. A reception featuring homemade desserts from around the world will conclude the evening. Members of the community are warmly invited to this special event. For more infor mation, call 37 1-2788. % Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 124

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13+ DECEMBER Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents Purlie Through Dec. 15; times vary; 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 366-1505 or 13+ 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 13+ DECEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Sculpture: Metal, Marble & More Through Dec. 30; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 13+ 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 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 members/$17 for others. Information: 366-5731 or 28 DECEMBER WSLR presents Grandpas Cough Medicine in concert Dec. 28, 8 p.m., Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sarasota. Tickets: $8 in advance; $10 at door. Information: 894-6469 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 The best of upcoming EVENTS YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST Sarasota News Leader December 13, 2013 Page 125

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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 SANDY CLAUS CAME TO TOWN SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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