Sarasota News Leader


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

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 14 December 20, 2013 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida Inside A BOLD BOULEVARD PLAN ON THE RISE MOVING FORWARD




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


Nothing like a holiday looming to get the adrenaline pumping in the members of a news staff! With early deadlines this week to enable everyone to take some time off, we have been very busy elves ourselves, pulling together copy and getting layouts completed. This issue has plenty of hard news, I assure you, but we have some fun with the features as well, including an article about a special visit contributor Harriet Cuthbert paid to the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy. Speaking of the Sarasota Leisure section: While we have been pret ty steadfast about conning our coverage within Sarasota Countys borders, Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel convinced me that an event in Fort Myers called the Teddy Bear Toss was worth a story. After all, Sarasota people were present for it, including Copy Editor Vicki Chatley. Norm was right. It is a heartwarming article for the season. And in the spirit of working to meet our early deadlines, I will stop here except to wish all of you, from all of us, the merriest of holiday seasons! Editor and Publisher WELCOME The Sarasota News Leader held its Christmas party on Dec. 16 with staff members and their families. Posing for the ofcial masthead photo were (front row, from left) Norman Schimmel, Harriet Cuthbert, Rachel Hackney, Fran Palmeri and Vicki Chatley; (back row, from left) Roger Drouin, Cooper Levey-Bak er, Stan Zimmerman and Robert Hackney. Editorial Cartoonist John Riley, Production Manager Cleve Posey and A&E Writer Elinor Rogosin were unable to join us. Photo by Rachel Levey-Baker


A BOLD BOULEVARD PLAN ON THE RISE NEWS & COMMENTARY A BOLD BOULEVARD PLAN 9 As the next big step for the Fruitville Initiative area, a new kind of road is in the works Roger Drouin ON THE RISE 15 The states most recent projections of taxable value in Sarasota County show growth of 5.4 percent in the 2015 scal year, an increase of more than 1 percent over an earlier estimate Roger Drouin MOVING FORWARD 19 A city evaluation panel agrees the Rosemary Square proposal is worth serious consideration Stan Zimmerman DAS CAPITOL 23 The County Commission ponders how to best lobby Tallahassee Cooper Levey-Baker ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE CRANES 26 Revised details are revealed about the hotel project next to the Palm Avenue garage and a project with increased density in the Rosemary District remains on the fast track Stan Zimmerman A TUNNEL, NOT A SIPHON 32 The rm analyzing how Lift Station 87 should be built recommends a lower depth for pipe under Hudson Bayou and estimates a project cost of $4.2 million Stan Zimmerman THE CHALLENGES OF MARBUTS PLAN 35 County employees working on the communitys new homelessness initiatives say some of the measures will take a long time to come to fruition Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Selby Bromeliad Tree Robert Hackney Sarasota Leisure: A Festive Five Points Park Rachel Hackney


OPINION NEWS BRIEFS DEALING WITH DESIGNER DRUGS 38 A public hearing has been set for Feb. 12 on a new Sarasota County ordinance to combat the sale and use of synthetic forms of marijuana and other substances Rachel Brown Hackney FRIENDS, INDEED 43 The Friends of Gulf Gate Library give the county a 25,000-square-foot parcel that can be used for parking for the new library Rachel Brown Hackney LET THERE BE COLORS OF LIGHT 47 Downtown Improvement District members get a look at prospective new lights for Five Points Park Stan Zimmerman NEWS BRIEFS 52 CRIME BLOTTER 64 OPINION EDITORIAL 68 Fox News wants a VERY White Christmas LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 70 News Leader lauded for puppy mill ordinance coverage Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


COOKIES IN A COOL SETTING SIESTA SEEN SARASOTA LEISURE COOKIES IN A COOL SETTING 72 Museum of Art & Whimsy proves the perfect place for a holiday cookie party Harriet Cuthbert TEDDY BEARS HIT THE ICE 78 Teddy Bear Toss provides holiday gifts for needy children Vicky Chatley FESTIVE FLORAL ADORNMENT 84 Being in Florida for the holidays means a vast array of natural decorating options are available Rick Wielgorecki SIESTA SEEN 86 Complaints about construction along Higel Avenue prompt a county review; the Eat Here Siesta Key parking problem may be resolved soon; and a selection committee has settled on nalists for the Siesta Chamber executive director position Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 94 RELIGION BRIEFS 104 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 109 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 110 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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The Fruitville Initiative aims to make a village out of cow pasture east of Interstate 75. Now in the third of four phases, the plan lays out a proposal for rezoning that would result in a gatew ay village featur ing employment centers and shops. If the project comes to fruition, proponents say the large-scale New Urba nist development w ould bring jobs, additional property tax value and new vibrancy to the southern edge of the growing I-75 corridor that has seen newer development already includ ing the Shoppes at University Center and the Natha n Benderson Park rowing facility. The University Town Center mall and the proposed project The Venue at Lakewood Ranch townhomes will add to th at growth. An aerial view shows Fruitville Road west of Interstate 75, with Richardson Road to the north. Image from Google Maps AS THE NEXT BIG STEP FOR THE FRUITVILLE INITIATIVE AREA, A NEW KIND OF ROAD IS IN THE WORKS A BOLD BOULEVARD PLAN It caught FDOTs attention. Jonathan Paul Interim Director of Transportation Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


You have ve huge land development proj ects going on, and thats a great opportunity to do something truly special, said John Krotec, former chairman of the Fruitville 210 Community Alliance As the next big step for the Fruitville Initiative area, county planners, along with backers of the gateway concept, are working on a trans portation plan. It presents two big changes: It would connect the Fruitville Initiative area to Lakewood Ranch to the north; and it would result in a multi-way boulevard through the heart of the 300-plus acres of the Initiative area. For the latter change, Fruitville Road would be remade into a strikingly different corridor. Visually, it has a tendency to slow traffic down, making it safe for people who will be working and shopping out there, said Krotec, who has seen early designs for the new corridor. This type of road is called a multiway boulevard. An illustration shows planned downtown revitalization in Bothell, WA, including a multiway boulevard. Image courtesy Sarasota County Visually, it has a tendency to slow trafc down, making it safe for people who will be working and shopping out there. John Krotec Former Chairman Fruitville 210 Community Alliance Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 10


New Urbanism planners say these corridors such as Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, CA, and Octavia Boulevard in San Francisco accommodate a lot of traffic, encourage walking and still allow for parking in front of buildings. The roadways are also designed to also allow links from the main route to an adjacent grid of streets. The boulevard in Sarasota would feature pri mary trafc lanes with wide sidewalks and medians on both sides, said Jonathan Paul, interim director of transportation for Sarasota County. The medians would incorporate on-street parking sections as dividers to sep arate the main trafc artery from side lanes. The bo ulevard, with a decreased speed limit from 45 mph to 30 mph, would transform Fruitville Road into a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Another big plus of the design would be the on-street parking in front of commercial buildings, Paul pointed out. KEY TO THE VISION The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration would have to approve the plan for Fruitville Road because the route is located i n close proximity to the interstate. New Urbanists say Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, CA, accommodates a lot of trafc and encourages walking, and it still allows for parking in front of buildings. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 11


Octavia Boulevard in San Francisco is another example of a multiway boulevard. A median divides the main roadway from on-street parking and a bicycle lane. Image courtesy Sarasota County Octavia Boulevard in San Francisco includes trees in the center median as well as alongside the road. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 12


In a mee ting scheduled for Jan. 13 in Washington, D.C., ofcials from the state and federal transportation agencies will go over the project. FDOT ofcials have shown early interest in the multiway boulevard. It caught FDOTs attention, Paul told The Sarasota News Leader They may consider it. The upcoming meeting will be critical in determining how county planners move for ward with the boulevard concept. The key to the vision is what the FDOT and the federal government will allow to happen on Fruitville, Paul said. Federal highway ofcials could ask for more details, or they might say No to the project, Paul noted. If federal ofcials give the project a prelim inary green light, the next steps would be estimating the cost of infrastructure and then looking at what kind of creative funding we can come up with. Specific revenue sources have not been identied. County ofcials say one possible option is the creation of a community development district or oth er means for directing some of the addi tional revenue from the increased tax base in the area after it is developed toward the cost of the boulevard and other infrastructure improvements. A NEWER CONCEPT As with roundabouts, a multiway boulevard might take a little getting used to, for local motorists as well as visitors. They are easy enough to drive once youve done it once or twice, Paul said. But it de nitely is a different design. Krotec, who envisions high-tech, high-wage job centers in the Fruitville Initiative area, said the planned boulevard could make that part of the county unique in appearance. It is the true special gateway into Sarasota, Krotec pointed out. We dont really want to see any big boxes going in there. We dont want to see your usual interchange in Florida. Krotec also believes the countys overall transportation plan would divert trafc from homes on nearby Richardson Road. Our main concern was how to maintain the rural character of east Richardson Road and keep the busier roadways close to the inter state, Kr otec added. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 13


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The states most recent estimates of taxable property values in Sarasota County show four years of consecutive growth. On Dec. 13, the state projected an increase of 5.4 percent in Fiscal Year 2015. Earlier this summer, the estimate was for a 4.1-percent rise. If the latest projec tions hold true, they will mark a recent milestone for Sarasota County. We havent had an incr ease of over 5 percent since 2008, said Sarasota County Fiscal Consultant Karen Fratangelo. The states Department of Revenue also pre dicts real estate value upswings of 5.6 percent, 5.9 percent and 5.8 percent for Fiscal Years 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. The i ncreases would take some pressure off local projections for general fund short falls. Based on the estimates released Dec. 1 3, a previously New homes under construction around the county mean more property tax revenue. File photo THE STATES MOST RECENT PROJECTIONS OF TAXABLE VALUE IN SARASOTA COUNTY SHOW GROWTH OF 5.4 PERCENT IN THE 2015 FISCAL YEAR, AN INCREASE OF MORE THAN 1 PERCENT OVER AN EARLIER ESTIMATE ON THE RISE We havent had an increase of over 5 percent since 2008. Karen Fratangelo Fiscal Consultant Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


projected 201 6 general fund decit of $22.5 million would be reduced to $18.6 million. The county has been using funds from its economic uncertainty reserve to balance the budget since the Great Recession put prop erty values on a slide. Regardless of the new data, Commissioner Christine Robinson said she wants to see the county budget kept conservative, and that includes trying to trim expenses. The past two years we spent more in reserves than we did during the entire recession, noted Robinson, known as a scal conservative. Robinson said key decisions during upcom ing budget workshops will determine the future nancial health of the county during the economic upturn. We still need to be very careful, Robinso n pointed out. THE ADMINISTRATORS BUDGET For Robinson, one good indication is the action taken by Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer to conserve money whenever possible. Its a message that is different than the previ ous administration, Robinson said. Harmer will be presenting a preliminary budget to the County Commission in June. During the [County Commission] retreat [on Dec. 5], he called it the administrators budget, Robinson noted. He is taking own ership for that budget. In an interview this week with The Sarasota News Leader Harmer listed a few of the ways county staffers are trying to keep expenses down, including closely reviewing employee travel; re-considering filling some vacant A chart prepared by the countys Ofce of Financial Management for a September budget workshop showed projections for future general fund decits based on state property value estimates at the time. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 16


positions and looking for ways to have depart ments collaborate; and analyzing internal computer technology charges. We are not waiting until 2016, Harmer said about addressing the projected general fund shortfall. The County Commission will hold its rst budget workshops in February for the Fiscal Year 2015 spending plan. Fratangelo noted that the Department of Revenue projections are just that. Its just an estimate for the out years, she said. We dont get the actual values from the Property Appraisers Ofce until June [of each year]. For Fiscal Year 2014, property values rose 4.2 percent. The ve years before that, the values decreased. % Tom Harmer is the interim county administrator. Image courtesy Sarasota County 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 20, 2013 Page 17


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A nine-member evaluation committee agreed unanimously on Tuesday, Dec. 17, to send a Rosemary District redevelopment proposal to the next stage on the way to city approval. Rosemary Square is a proposed mixeduse project involving about 40 rental units and 36,000 square feet of retail, office and art gallery space. A second pha se would add a multi-level parking structure and either a boutique cinema or a theater for live performances. Reaching agreement on the second step took abou t two hours, as the development team presented its plans and then defended them. The team was responding to a city Invitation to Negot iate over six A conceptual plan shows how the lower level of the Rosemary Square complex could be organized. Image courtesy City of Sarasota A CITY EVALUATION PANEL AGREES THE ROSEMARY SQUARE PROPOSAL IS WORTH SERIOUS CONSIDERATION MOVING FORWARD This could be a game-changer for the Rosemary. Courtney Mendez Planner City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


contiguo us city-owned lots along the Boulevard of the Arts. In one of his rst acts in ofce, City Manager Tom Barwin proposed that the property the site of a former com munity garden be offered as a catalyst project to kick-start development of the Rosemary District. Only one team rose to the occasion, a congre gation of locals including Dr. Mark Kauffman and his daughter, Mindy; architect Jonathan Parks, who has his own rm; builder Michael Beaumier; and planner Joel Freedman. No other proposals were received. That did not make the sole offering the automatic winner. The panel had the ability to reject it and seek more bids or sugges tions. But some panelists thought the plan was worthy of moving to the next step, where city representatives will hammer out additional details This is on the City Commissions strategic plan, said Planner Ryan Chapdelain of the proposal. They are well aware of what were doing here. We need to work out some of the basic obligations rst infrastructure and nances. The development team basically wants to give the city 43 new parking spaces in return for the deed to the land. With parking spaces having a current value between $25,000 and $30,000 apiece, that makes the offer worth a little more than $1 million. However, the development team would also like for the city to lay a large sewer line down the boulevard and for the county to install a new stormwater drainage pipe at the same time. Engineers estimate that would cost $175,000. Before the committee members got bogged down in details, the developers lawyer, Rosemary Square developers make their points in a presentation to a nine-member evaluation committee. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 20


Brenda Patten re minded them, Your job today is not to accept the proposal. It is simply to accept the top-ranked proposals and then go into negotiations to identify key issues and focus on them. Kauffman rened the issue further: Youre not recommending a proposal. Youre saying its worth considering. City Purchasing Manager Mary Tucker, who issued the original Invitation to Negotiate, set the stage for the decision. Is this proposal acceptable to go on to negotiations? she asked. When the negotiating team basically works out a purchase and sales agreement, that will go to the City Commission. If they say Yes, it comes back for a redevelopment and parking agreement. Do you feel this is acceptable to move to the negotiation team? At this stage, no formal votes or motions were required. There was general consensus to let the proposal proceed to the next step and then organize a nego tiating team to cut a deal with the development team. Tucker asked city Parking Manager Mark Lyons, Senior Planners Steve Stancel and Ryan Chapdelain and Downtown Development Director Norm Gollub to join her in serving on the negotiating team. In January, the two groups will try to work out a satisfactory purchase and sale agreement for the property and provision of infrastruc ture. The deal will return to the evaluation committee, which then may or may not recommend it go to the City Commission for approval. If the City Commission approves the agree ment after it has been ironed out, then the two sides will come back together to work out the nal redevelopment and parking plan. This could be a game-changer for the Rosemary, said Courtney Mendez, a senior city planner and member of the evaluation committee. But we need to esh out some of the details. % The Rosemary Square project would be built on the site of a former community garden on Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 21


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How best to be heard in Tallahassee? That was one of the topics of conversation during the Sarasota County Commissions recent retreat, when board members suggested a variety of ways to switch up their lobbying strategy to make sure their priorities get addressed. Commissioner Christine Robinson added the discussion to the Dec. 5 retreat agenda as part of a larger conversation about the commissions participation in a variety of organizations. She serves on the Florida Association of Counties Public Safety commit tee and a lso acts as a district representative for the organization. FAC as the asso ciation is known lobbies state law makers on t he issues that a ffect county governments around the state. At least thats what its supposed to do. Robinson said the conversation during FAC meetings is based on who shows up, and that smaller, rural counties such as Hardee often have an outsized voice in the organization. Their elected ofcials show up in force, she pointed out. Telling her fellow commissioners that Saraso ta is in sync with FAC percent of the time, Robinson nev ertheless said she felt like she was in a David and Goliath position during FAC meetings. In addition to their work with FAC, many The historic Florida Capitol stands in front of the newer legislative building. Image from iStockphoto THE COUNTY COMMISSION PONDERS HOW TO BEST LOBBY TALLAHASSEE DAS CAPITOL Ive actually made it a point not to go to Tallahassee because of the way they operate. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


other counties lead ers travel en masse to Tallahassee to press legislators, Robinson noted, a strategy she suggested Sarasota should ape. Rob Lewis, the countys director of community and intergovernmental rela tions, said a Sarasota Day might be effective, if it remains tied to just two or three genu inely important positions the county needs to emphasize. The county has made no secret of the fact that its top priority for the 2014 legislative session, which begins March 4, is to be left alone. County leaders specically want to make sure the state Legislature does not over ride the countys ordinances on pain clinics, fertilizer use, scrap metal sales and smoking on county properties, such as the beaches. Commissioner Joe Barbetta sharply criticized the Tallahassee legislative process, saying all the decisions are made by a small coterie of committee chairs and lobbyists. Any visits to the capitol by Sarasota board members would be just a show, he said. We all know how business is done up there. The county got beat up by the Legislature for its pill mill, scrap meta l and smoking rules, he pointed o ut. Three really good ordinances, and then Tallahassee decides We dont like them, and they just preempted us. So that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Barbetta said even the countys local delegation didnt come to bat for us. Ive actually made it a point not to go to Tallahassee because of the way they operate, he added. The board took no particular action to adjust its lobbying efforts during its retreat; Lewis told the commissioners he would come back to them with any specic requests for per sonal visits during the 2014 session. He tells The Sarasota News Leader the message he heard is that the countys efforts should be very targeted and very strategic going forward. Were not changing our efforts; were not changing our priorities, he says. It was really a discussion about how to best use the time of the commissioners. Barbetta said the one way to get legislators attention is obvious: Just hire another lob byist. We need to have strong lobbyists, he told his colleagues. Its unfortunate, but thats how it works. % The County Commission sits in session in May. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 24


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Construction cranes could be figuratively winging their way to town this summer. The City of Sarasota Development Review Committee (DRC) on Wednesday, Dec. 18, gave a sign-off to the Sarasota Gulfstream hotel and condominium complex. The 18-story building will be located on the north west corner of U.S. 41 and the John Ringling Causeway, the former site of a Holiday Inn and Dennys restaurant. The sign-off is tantamount to administrative site plan approval and is a major milestone in the development process. Senior city Planner Courtney Mendez says the ofcial let ter should be drafted in a week. The next step is approval of building plans. Last month, the Jewel condominium project on lower Main Street received its rst building permit, and a hotel complex planned for the northern corner of Ringling Boulevard and Palm Avenue also won its initial approval last month to start construction. The building is expected to be an Aloft hotel, with European business-class accommodations. Meanwhile, plans for a fourth hotel were before the Development Review Committee The developers of the new hotel on Palm Avenue, next to the parking garage, showed members of the Development Review Committee a more complete rendering of their project. The view is how the structure will appear to someone on Cocoanut Avenue. Photo by Stan Zimmerman REVISED DETAILS ARE REVEALED ABOUT THE HOTEL PROJECT NEXT TO THE PALM AVENUE GARAGE AND A PROJECT WITH INCREASED DENSITY IN THE ROSEMARY DISTRICT REMAINS ON THE FAST TRACK ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE CRANES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Wednesday. The Hotel Sarasota is a 10-story project planned for the northeast corner of Palm Avenue and Coconut Avenue, next to the Palm Avenue parking garage. After developer Angus Rogers and his team made a pre-appli cation presentation to the DRC, they heard staff comments designed to smooth the way for a formal presentation later. The DRC is composed of senior city staffers involved in development, representing the offices for planning and zoning, neighbor hoods, construction, landscaping, utilities, the Police Department and the county Fire Department. The aim is to create a one-stop shop for developers to unveil early glimpses of propo sed construction, get feedback and then move forward with their formal applications. The Hotel Sarasota was formerly referred to as the Floridays project and was proposed as an eight-story building. Architect Jonathan Parks said he considers the structure more important than the Ritz, which stands by itself. This one is downtown, with its front door on Cocoanut. The facility plans to use the adjacent Palm Avenue garage for parking, and it will feature an outdoor caf on the Palm Avenue side. Rogers purchased the land from the city on Oct. 12, 2012, for $2.5 million. Attorney Bill Merrill displays the first visual of a proposed high-density residential project in the Rosemary District. He is seeking to triple the number of units per acre allowed. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 27


All went well for the plan Wednesday except for a comment by Larry Murphy with the Building Department. He suggested the development team look at the ood elevation chapter of the Florida Building Code. I dont think your rst oor elevation is correct, he said. Its off by 1 foot. That is exactly the reason the DRC was created, to catch flaws early before more complex plans compound a simple error. The development team will meet with city staffers after the rst of the year to rene their initial site plan application. FIRS T GLIMPSE OF NEW ROSEMARY DENSITY PLAN A lawyer at the DRC meeting gave a sneak peek of plans for a new residential develop ment in the Rosemary District. Bill Merrill briefed the DRC on the proposal to ask the city to triple the existing density for a housing complex. The project would apparently straddle May Lane between Florida and Cocoanut Avenues. At one point, Joel Freedman, the developers representative suggested the team might Hotel Sarasota will go up on this parcel next to the Palm Avenue parking garage. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 28


come bac k to th e city for a vacation of the street. Wed own it and maintain it, he said. This would tie [the property] together as we move forward. The site is zoned Downtown Edge, with a density of 25 units per acre and a height limit of ve stories. Merrill is suggesting a change to the Future Land Use Map with a text amendment to allow 75 units per acre through use of an overlay district, akin to what was attempted down town several years ago. The district would be have Fruitville Road as its southern bound ary with 10th Street as the northern border, Orange Avenue as the eastern perimeter and then Cocoanut as the western boundary. City planners have already put this on a fast track at the instruction of the City Commission. Changing the map requires an amendment to the citys comprehensive plan, for which updates follow an annual cycle. Merrills proposal has been placed in the cur rent cycle. To meet one of the requirements, the team already has scheduled a community work shop for Jan. 7. Time and location have not been announced yet. Merrill has already briefed the city commissioners. BAY HAVENS NEW CAFETORIUM Huh? Yes, the cafetorium is the newest wrinkle in school design. Bay Haven School of Basics Plus on U.S. 41 will replace its The sign for The Jewel stood this summer behind barriers surrounding construction along Main Street. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 29


60-year-old ca feteria and kitchen this sum mer. The Sarasota County School Board will start Phase One by creating a new parking lot and temporarily relocating the playground. Serious work then will get under way to erect a new building to house the kitchen and caf eteria with a stage at one end to create a cafetorium. Afterward, the old cafeteria will be demolished and the playground moved to a permanent location In ad d ition to creating a new chow-hall-cumperformance-space, the School Board will reorient the student drop-off and pick-up areas to eliminate the serious trafc tie-ups in the neighborhood during the opening and closing of school days. None of this requires a building permit, but school district officials will keep city staff apprised and comply with all appropriate building codes, they said at the DRC meeting. Project Manager Ernie DuBose hopes all the work will be nis hed by October 2015. % The Sarasota Gulfstream project will go up next to One Watergate on Gulfstream Avenue. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 30


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


After $1.1 million worth of study, the ofcial rec ommendations are in regarding how to proceed with Lift Station 87 on the northern side of Hudson Bayou at Osprey Avenue. Project Manager Robert Garland with the engi neering and design rm of McKim & Creed is recommending another microtunnel under the bayou, running about 7 feet deeper than the depth called for in the previous plan. For the pa st three months, Ga r land has conducted a rigorous examination of the under ground strata where a pipe carrying one-third of the citys sewage must lie. His back-up idea was a horseshoe-shaped siphon. The tunnel is as much as $1 mi llion cheaper than the siphon system, and it requires vastly less m aintenance. He p resented his find ings at a public meeting Wednesday evening, Dec. 18, at the Waldemere Fire Station, concluding Phase One of McKim & Creeds contract with the city. Pipes were stored in Luke Wood park after the contractor for the Lift Station 87 project walked off the job last year. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE FIRM ANALYZING HOW LIFT STATION 87 SHOULD BE BUILT RECOMMENDS A LOWER DEPTH FOR PIPE UNDER HUDSON BAYOU AND ESTIMATES A PROJECT COST OF $4.2 MILLION A TUNNEL, NOT A SIPHON Phase One was about Can it work? and How can it work? I already have a list of deciencies and improvements. Robert Garland Project Manager McKim & Creed By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The new lift statio n is required under a consent order with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, following substantial sewage spills into the bayou from Lift Station 7. After discovering Lift Station 7 was built on private property, the city opted to build Lift Station 87 in Luke Wood Park, south of U.S. 41 where the Tamiami Trail and U.S. 301 split. However, work halted when the contractor walked off the project. AECOM Technology Corp. was hired by the city to develop a plan to install a sewer pipe under the bayou to feed Lift Station 87. The microtunneling technique failed, resulting in the discharge of a uid into the bayou. Lawsuits are on-going. One of Garlands tasks was to gure out why the previous attempt to tunnel under the bayou did not work, before another effort is made. He used standard soil and rock borings along the alignment. Then he did a bathometr ic survey of the bayou, looking at w ater depth and sediment consistency, and he probed for hard rock underneath. He also undertook a geophysical survey, looking for anom alies in the rock under the bayou either voids or concentrations of material harder than limestone. Lastly, he did sonic refraction testing around the abutments of the Osprey Avenue bridge. His ndings held some surprises. Kimberlie Staheli, president of Staheli Trenchless Consultants and a nationally recognized expert in microtunneling, evaluated the attempt made by the rst contractor. She found wildly excessive pressures were placed on the drilling rig because the cutting head was insufciently lubricated. But as Garland found out in a subsequent investiga tion, that might have been a positive result, because the drill was headed straight into the abutment of the Osprey Avenue bridge. We need to be 15 feet under the bridge to miss the abutment, he said. Residents might have been confused about whether work was getting under way early this week on the Lift Station 87 project. Instead, City of Sarasota employees were dealing with a broken water main near the intersection of U.S. 41 and U.S. 301 in downtown Sarasota close to the site of the lift station project. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 33


This mean s the already excavated pits containing the pumps must be lowered. Were going to have to go down about 7 feet deeper, he added. The capac ity of the already purchased pumps can cope with operating 7 feet below their original design grade, noted Garland. Lowering the existing influent structures, as they are called, and boring the microtunnel at an appropriate depth is estimated to cost $4.2 mil lion, Garland said. The double-bore inverted siphon system estimate was $4.6 million to $5.2 million plus the siphon design would necessi tate quarterly maintenance of odor-control devices because siphons operate with atmospheric pres sure and must be open to the air. The microtunnel is self-ushing and powered by gravity. Garland excluded what he called common costs, which would be incurred by either system. For example, reclaimed water will be offered to resi dents along Alta Vista and Pomelo streets for use in their yards, Osprey Avenue will be resurfaced, sidewalks will be restored and other smaller proj ects will be accomplished. Phase O ne was about Can it work? and How can it work? said Garland. The next phase is designing the system and guring out the full-cost estimates. I already have a list of deciencies and improve ments, he added. Assuming the city is satised with McKim & Creeds work after Phase Two, the company could oversee the actual c o nstruction. A report last year by Andrew Robinson of Boregis Ltd. of the United Kingdom did a top-to-bottom review of the AECOM effort as part of an ongoing lawsuit between the company and the city over the failed $12.5 million project. The report found AECOM had no experience in microtunneling. Instead, the company relied on the expertise of a Palmetto company, Huxted Tunneling. % Robert Garland is vice president of McKim & Creed. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 34


When homelessness consultant Robert Marbut returns to Sarasota next month, he will nd some facets of his 12-point plan start ing up. Other points may take years. This is not a system we can change overnight, said Sarasota County Homeless Coordinator Wayne Applebee this week. Applebee himself is one of the elements of the plan already in operation, as is Nancy DeLoach, who has been work ing as the homeless public policy coordinator for the county for the past eight weeks. And the city recently approved hiring an administrative assistant for Applebee. The opening is being advertised on the county website. It closes Dec. 27. All three positions are good for the next two years. Ano ther of Marbuts points received pro fessional attention this week when Sean Lee arrived Dec. 19 for a two-day visit. Marbut recomm ended Lee to Homeless people gather outside Selby Library in the spring. Photo by Norman Schimmel COUNTY EMPLOYEES WORKING ON THE COMMUNITYS NEW HOMELESSNESS INITIATIVES SAY SOME OF THE MEASURES WILL TAKE A LONG TIME TO COME TO FRUITION THE CHALLENGES OF MARBUTS PLAN We need to work on affordable housing. [Homelessness consultant Robert] Marbut heard this everywhere he went. Wayne Applebee Homeless Coordinator Sarasota County By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


help int egrate the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) throughout the myriad of social service agencies that address homeless issues. Marbut explained that HMIS is not a record-keeping database, noted Applebee. It should be the backbone of case management. Several funders and other possible funders want to see much more extensive use of HMIS. There is high interest in the outcomes, said Applebee. Plus, federal funding is dependent on use of HMIS. Applebee was speaking at the monthly Focus Group on Homelessness led by Liz Nolan, the manager of the Selby Public Library in down town Sarasota. The group has been meeting since 2009; it is one of the few to actively solicit homeless people to attend its sessions and participate in discussion. Oddly, for the first time in several months, no homeless were in attendance. As for Marbuts brick-and-mortar suggestions, the two emergency rooms for homeless fam ilies with children one in North County and a second in southern Sarasota County are Wayne Applebee and Nancy DeLoach are the countys top administrators for homelessness and vagrancy. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 36


still in the e xploratory phase. Applebee said the Gulfcoast Community Foundation has taken the lead on a South County entry por tal. The shelters would be open 24/7 but able to serve as housing only for a short period, days at best. Clients would then be referred to other housing units operating under this system. The most contentious issue is placement of a 200-bed (or more) homeless shelter in the City of Sarasota. City and county staffers met Wednesday morning to discuss hiring a rm for environmental studies of the top three sites recommended by Marbut. Applebee said the studies would take six to eight weeks to complete. This will help identify a site we might be interested in, he added. A protocol needs to be developed for public safety in and around the proposed shelter, said Applebee. It might be run like the court house, with the Sheriffs Ofce responsible for the inside and the city police responsible for the outside he said. Anothe r Marbut recommendation would unify city and county ordinances used to reg ulate behavior and often applied to homeless and vagrant people. Applebee is asking rep resentatives of the ve relevant jurisdictions to meet next month for a kick-off discussion of that element of the Marbut plan. He is also asking a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union to participate. However, many of the proposed new regulations cannot be enforced until a shelter is in full operation. Applebee admitted the most intractable problem will be affordable housing. Once rehabilitated and employed, the formerly homeless still have to find places to live. Sarasota has already gone through one pub lic drama over affordable housing; that took place before the property bubble burst. And even now, with property values down signi cantly, it is still difcult for people earning low wages to nd homes. Affordable housing, said Applebee, is the piece that holds the other 11 together. We need to work on affordable housing. Marbut heard this everywhere he went. % In late summer, a group of homeless people gathered under shade trees near City Hall in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 37


Because state laws cannot be passed fast enough to match the rate at which chemists modify substances to create potentially dangerous synthetic drugs, the Sarasota County Commission has scheduled a pub lic hearing on the morning of Feb. 12 regarding a proposed county ordinance to control a new array of such drugs. The board voted unanimously on Dec. 11 to advertise the public hearing. Its hard to stay in front of the curve on this [issue] from a legislative standpoint, noted Commissioner Christine Robinson, who serves on the countys Criminal Justice Commission (CJC). That board in late August ide ntied the Area convenience stores are selling synthetic drugs near candy displays, Sarasota County staff says. Image courtesy Sarasota County A PUBLIC HEARING HAS BEEN SET FOR FEB. 12 ON A NEW SARASOTA COUNTY ORDINANCE TO COMBAT THE SALE AND USE OF SYNTHETIC FORMS OF MARIJUANA AND OTHER SUBSTANCES DEALING WITH DESIGNER DRUGS If you see [such a drug] for sale [in a convenience store], turn around and walk out and encourage the community not to shop there until it stops [selling the drug] We can also vote with our pocketbooks. Charles Hines Vice Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


abuse o f synthetic drugs referred to as designer drugs as a pressing community issue, according to a staff memo prepared for the commission on Dec. 11. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason seconded the motion Robinson made to approve advertise ment of the hearing, adding that a couple of months earlier, a homeless man walked up to her in church and said, Youve got to do something about this synthetic marijuana stuff thats going on in the community. Mason told her colleagues and staff, That says something loud and clear, to me, and Im happy to see this ordinance [proposed]. Synthetic marijuana is not the only designer drug that would be targeted by the new law, Mel Thomas, a p lanner in the countys Health and Huma n Services Department, explained in a presentation during the commission meeting. Along with synthetic cannabinoids, the other two primary families are synthetic or substitute Cathinones commonly known as bath salts and Kratom. Of the latter, Thomas pointed out that the team working on the proposed ordinance including representatives of the Sarasota County Sheriffs and State Attorneys ofces recently received some pushback from community residents opposed to Kratoms inclusion in the new law. Thomas explained that Kratom is on the watch list of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and research the county team undertook found the synthetic drug frequently mentioned as the perceived successor to the synthetic can nabinoids (marijuana) and Cathinones. A sample of packaging reects the marketing approach used with synthetic drugs. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 39


Additionally, she told the commissioners, the substance is banned by the U.S. Army and Navy, and most important No one knows the shortand long-term effects of Kratom on those who choose to use it. Where its effects are best known, she noted, it is a controlled or illegal substance. Thomas showed the board a map with 20 smoke shops pinpointed in a 50-mile radius of Sarasota that sell Kratom. Among points of concern regarding synthetic cannabinoids, Thomas said the 2012 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey found 21.7 per cent of Sarasota County high school students had adm itted to using them, compared to 13 percent of all Florida high school students. Citing yet another study, Thomas said the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported that bath salts were involved in nearly 23,000 emergency room visits across the nation in 2011. Thomas also explained that a quantitative validation had been undertaken of 945 vol untary surveys completed by people through the Sarasota County Community Alliances Behavioral Health Stakeholders Consortium. That analysis shows one out of ve drug users have tried syn thetic drugs, with 60 percent The synthetic drug Kratom has come under greater scrutiny, county staff says. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 40


reporting negative reactions and indicating such substances should be banned. Further, she said local law enforcement of cers have cited remarkable strength among users of the synthetic drugs whom they have encountered. She added that board mem bers might recall a recent incident in which police ofcers and reghters dealt with four homeless men and women outside Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota. The homeless people were found to have smoked a homemade spice mixture laced with form aldehyde, she pointed out. It took ve of the rst responders to subdue one man, she said. A few weeks later, Thomas continued, depu ties arrested a man who admitted to having used synthetic marijuana before battering his six-month-old daughter and spraying her with a window cleaning solution. The suspect, Christopher P. Rounds, 25, of Cape Coral, was charged on Oct. 27 with Cruelty Toward Child: Aggravated Child Abuse and Disturbing the Peace. He remains in the Sarasota County Jail under total bond of $352,000, according to the Sheriffs Ofce website. Thomas told the commissioners one of the most popular synthetic cannabinoids, known as K2, is made by dissolving various com pounds in harsh chemicals such as acetone, phosphoric acid or formaldehyde and then spraying the solution onto harmless herbal mixtures. The product chemically is similar to PCP or methamphetamine, she noted. A number of factors would be considered in enforcing a new county ordinance governing synthetic drugs, staff says. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 41


TACKLIN G T HE VARIETIES During her presentation, Thomas provided the board images of designer drugs in conve nience store display cases. They generally are in close proximity to candy, she added. The seductive packaging, mislabeling and easy availability, coupled with the perception that theyre considered a legal alternative to mar ijuana and controlled substances, lead to the perception that these substances are safe, Thomas said. The packaging features eye-popping col ors, and the drugs come in forms such as candy-coated tablets, she continued. The substances are designed for popping, drink ing, smoking, injecting, snorting, brewing and chewing. Among their retail names are Dreamcatcher, Chill and Jack Rabbit, she pointed out. Her favorite, Thomas said, is one called Opie Ate It Natural Pills. Its obvious these designer drugs are made specically to be abused and, as such, are marketed with that in mind, she added. They are not tested for safety, she stressed, so users have no way of knowing exactly what theyre putting in their bodies or how addictive the substances may be. Thomas expl ained that members of the county team that crafted the proposed ordi nance reviewed similar laws in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Broward, DeSoto and Pasco counties, as well as state statutes. The sum mary of the work was shared with and vetted by representati ves of multiple community organiz ations that work with people often affected by drug abuse, she pointed out. One major concern in crafting an ordinance, Thomas noted, is the fact that research has shown that as soon as specic substances are outlawed, chemists change the makeup of the drugs to get around the regulations. Therefore, the Sarasota County teams approach in writ ing the proposed ordinance was to focus on pharmacology and paraphernalia. Law enforcement ofcers would be able to use discretion in charging users with civil or misdemeanor criminal counts, Thomas explained. A business with repeated citations for selling the drugs would have its certicate of occu pancy revoked, she said. Commissioner Robinson pointed out that because the Florida Legislature, by statute, can sit for only 60 days each year, it has been unable to pass laws capable of dealing with the multitude of factors related to creation and use of designer drugs. After the commissioners unanimously agreed to advertise the proposed ordinance, Vice Chairman Charles Hines said, Its sad that these laws have to be passed, adding, Smoke shops are not the only businesses selling the substances as Thomas had pointed out. His message to members of the public, Hines continued, is If you see [such a drug] for sale [in a convenience store], turn around and walk out and encourage the community not to shop there until it stops [selling the drug] We can also vote with our poc ketbooks. % Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 42


For a long time, members of the Friends of Gulf Gate Library had their eye on a 25,000-squarefoot parcel across the street from their facil ity on Curtiss Avenue in Sarasota. Finally, on Dec. 31, 2012, the Friends signed papers to make the property their own. And last week on Dec. 11 they turned it over to Sarasota County with the specication that it be used for parking and other purposes related to the new library under construction at the corner of Curtiss Avenue and Gulf Gate Drive. In the spirit of the boards final regu lar meeting before the holidays, Friends of Gulf Gate Library President Deanie Erb told the commis sioners sh e had a gift Construction of the new Gulf Gate Library continues, with an opening still planned for the fall of 2014, according to county staff. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE FRIENDS OF GULF GATE LIBRARY GIVE THE COUNTY A 25,000-SQUARE-FOOT PARCEL THAT CAN BE USED FOR PARKING FOR THE NEW LIBRARY FRIENDS, INDEED This is just an example of what [the Friends groups] do for us. Its a small example. They work tirelessly to help ll in some of those gaps that occur, especially during the bad economic times, and a gift like this raises the bar for other Friends [organizations], quite honestly. Christine Robinson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


for them. The Friends of Gulf Gate Library would like to give you personally a piece of your new property. With laughter resonating through the Commission Chambers in the County Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota, Erb walked to the dais to present each commissioner a tin can the color of gold, with a red ribbon on top. You might not want to open it right now, she cautioned them. I dont know how often they vacuum in here. Its dirt and grass, board Chairwoman Carolyn Mason explained to audience mem bers with another laugh. Well just put this in our showcase. In an interview with The Sarasota News Leader this week, Erb said, I think everybody really ap pre ciated my can of dirt. It was authentic They have the real thing [from the parcel]. She added, That was my idea. We just wanted them to have a look at what they were getting. With her board members in the audience, Erb told the commissioners, This comes from the bottom of our hearts. In her remarks, Erb credited Jone Weist, who has been treasurer of the Friends of Gulf Gate Library since 2011, with making the property purchase a reality. She really persevered. She stalked the owner of the property, Erb said. And we are just now very happy that we can turn that pro pe rty over to Sarasota County. The lot at 7115 Curtiss Avenue is being used for parking by construction workers at the site of the new library. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 44


Christine Pearson, a member of the countys Real Estate Services staff, pointed out that the parcel is valued at $275,000. All due diligence was completed before the Dec. 11 meeting, Pearson added, and everything was found to be satisfactory, including an environmental audit. The property is located at 7115 Curtiss Ave. According to the agreement with the Friends of Gulf Gate Library, the site must be used for library-related activities including, but not limited to, public parking, gardens, accessory structures, a stormwater facility, lighting, fencing, landscaping, utilities, sidewalks and decorative features. A Dec. 11 staff memo noted, The Friends purchased the Property with funds raised in support of their mission through donations, membership dues, tributes and memorials, proceeds from The Friends Bookstore and special events. I think this is such a ne example of how government can really only do so much efficiently, Vice Chairman Charles Hines pointed out of the gift. Its nice to have these partnerships [with organizations comprising volunteers]. This is just an example of what [the Friends groups] do for us. Its a small example, Commissioner Christine Robinson added. They work tirelessly to help ll in some of those gaps that occur, especially during the bad economic times, and a gift like this raises the bar for other Friends [organizations], quite honestly. I can only say, Yea! to the power of partner ships, Mason told Erb. So thank you. In comments about the work of the countys library Friends groups, Sarabeth Kalajian, the countys director of libraries and histori cal resources, said, T he Friends of Gulf Gate An aerial view shows the parcel (0111-01-031) the Friends of Gulf Gate Library gave Sarasota County. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 45


Library epitomize the signicance of this col laboration to serve our citizens. The Gulf Gate organization has contributed to the purchase of books and media for the col lection; sponsored enrichment programs for children, young adults and adults; and, espe cially, has been working to acquire equipment to enable the visually impaired to enjoy the librarys resources, Kalajian continued. Along with the gift of the parcel, the group has committed to providing furniture and dcor for the teens and childrens centers in the new library, furnishings for the two gardens and equipment for the meeting room, Kalajian added. The Gulf Gate organizations members, she noted, couldnt [be] better friends. The new parking area will be a tremendous asset when the library is completed, Kalajian pointed out. Jim Mitchell, manager of the Gulf Gate Library, told the News Leader this week, the property will be very helpful with one of the perennial problems we have at Gulf Gate Library, which is parking. Kalajian pointed out that Gulf Gate Library was the busiest of the nine in the county system before the facility was torn down to make way for the new building. The library has been operating out of temporary quarters in Westeld Sarasota Square Mall since late February. In making the motion to accept the parcel, Commissioner Nora Patterson spoke of the boards very grateful acceptance. Its incredible, she added of the gift. [The commissioners] were just so generous in their thanks, Erb told the News Leader on Dec. 17. Referring to her Friends of the Library board members, she said, That meant a lot to all of us. Erb also pointed out that the closing for the transfer of the property to the county went without a hitch on Dec. 13. % The new Gulf Gate Library will be two stories, with parking on that property as well. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 46


Red and green lights could be used for the holidays. LET THERE BE COLORS OF LIGHT


Blue lights would denote autism awareness in April. With all the calumny about city boards meet ing out of the sunshine, the Downtown Improvement District (DID) board members took the daring step of meeting in the dark of night on Thursday, Dec. 12. All ve appeared in Sarasotas Five Points Park for a legally advertised workshop to look at lights proposed for the parks 28 trees. Candela Controls Inc. of Winter Garden set up white lights and computer-controlled col ored lights. The color system is estimated to cost $136,005, while the white-only lights were bid at $91,672. Bill Ellis of Candela ran the demonstration. Among the observers were residents of down town condominiums that overlook the park. The use of new white lights would mirror the $14,800 project to install white lights on 22 trees along Main Street. The DID loaned downtown merchants the money to get the lights up in mid-November for the holiday season. The colored-light system utilizes a red-greenblue palate to create any color desired. Ellis said the computer could be programmed for an entire year, so it would change the lights on DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT MEMBERS GET A LOOK AT PROSPECTIVE NEW LIGHTS FOR FIVE POINTS PARK By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 48


Pink would denote Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 49


The system can produce two shades at once. The red highlights in the tree show up against a red background at the Plaza at Five Points. White-only lights would be less expensive, the Downtown Improvement District board members are told. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 50


a schedule. Ju ly F ourth: red, white and blue. Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You tell us, he told the group gathered near the tree that was the focus of the demonstra tion. And you can decide when to shut them off and turn them on as the days get longer and shorter. The DID has a checkered history of success for Five Points Park lighting. It spent $80,000 for computer-controlled color-changing lights in the park, but virtually all of them failed as animals nibbled the wires and tree growth broke the circuitry. The money was from a combination of sources. The new Five Points Park lighting plan also calls for the DID to seek money elsewhere. We should try to get the two condos [facing the park], the opera and the city to partici pate, said DID member Dr. Mark Kauffman on Nov. 12. Candela representatives are aware of the past problems. The rm offers both maintenance and extended warranties for up to ve years. All photos are by Rachel Hackney. % Members of the Downtown Improvement District board mingle with downtown condo residents to compare the color-changing lights and the less expensive all-white lights. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 51


The donations collected in Sarasota and Manatee counties before Thanksgiving for the Mayors Feed the Hungry Program a record 50 tons has already been distributed, the program has announced. We are grateful to everyone who helped out. People on the Suncoast made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of their hungry neighbors, says Joel Swallow, the campaign chairman, in a news release. In spite of the record donations, theres also a record need this year, the release adds. The need is nt limited to Thanksgiving. We feed everyone whos hungry, and this year we have thousands of schoolchildren on the list, adds Swallow in the release. Donat ions are still desperately needed for the remainder of the holiday season, the release points out. Its a great opportunity if you or your company is looking for an end-ofyear donation. Food donations will be accepted at most city halls in the county, the release points out, or people may contribute cash at www.mayors The Mayors Feed the Hungry Program is an all-volunteer group that began in 1987 in the City of Sarasota, the release notes. It has since grown to include the mayors of most cities and towns in Sarasota and Manatee counties, as well as the leaders of both county governments. Volunteers package donated food into boxes for the Mayors Feed the Hungry collection at Ed Smith Stadium on Nov. 22. Photo by Norman Schimmel MAYORS FEED THE HUNGRY PROGRAM STILL NEEDS THE PUBLICS HELP NEWS BRIEFS


City of Saras ota administration ofces will be closed the following days during the 2013 hol iday season, the city has announced: Tuesday, Dec. 24, in observance of Christmas Eve. Wednesday, Dec. 25, in observance of Christmas Day. Wednesday, Jan. 1, in observance of New Years Day. There will be no impact to garbage, recy cling and yard waste collection, a city news release says. Bobby Jones Golf Club which will be open every day, will host t he Sixth Annual Reindeer Games o n Christmas Day, the release notes. The rate for 18 holes with a riding cart is $26.75. Walk-ins are welcome. The golf com plex will close at 11 a.m. Christmas Day so staff can spend time with their families, the release adds. The Lido Pool will be closed Christmas Day only. The Robert L. Taylor Community Complex will be closed Christmas Day and New Years Day with holiday hours on the following days: Tuesday, Dec. 24: 6 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 1: 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. CITY OF SARASOTA ANNOUNCES HOLIDAY CLOSINGS The Robert Taylor Community Complex in Sarasota is among city facilities that will be observing special hours during the holidays. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 53


Most Sa rasota County government offices and facilities will be closed Tuesday, Dec. 24, and Wednesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday, the county has announced. That includes libraries, the History Center, recreation centers, Arlington Pool, Payne Park and Knights Trail Park, a news release points out. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (formerly known as the Sarasota County Health Department), which is a state agency, will also be closed Dec. 24 and 25. While only Christmas Day is an ofcial state holiday, Gov. Rick Scott has directed that state ofces close Tuesday, Dec. 24, in recog nition and sincere thanks for the dedication of state employees in service to the citizens of Florida, the release adds. No Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus service will be offered on Dec. 25. Regular bus service will operate on Dec. 24, the release continues. Residents who live in unincorporated areas of the county will not have yard waste, recy clables or garbage collection on Dec. 25. Residents whose regular collection days are Wednesday, Thursday or Friday will have their collection day for yard waste, recycla bles and garbage moved to the next day of the week, the release notes. For example, residents with a regular collection day of Wednesday can expect their trash to be col lected on Thursday. Because collection times vary, residents should place refuse materials at the curb by 6 a.m. the day of pickup, the release points out. Sarasota Countys chemical collection cen ters at 8750 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota and 250 S. Jackson Road in Venice will be closed Dec. 23-25. The Citizens Convenience Center at 4010 Knights Trail Road in Nokomis will be closed Dec. 25. All three centers will be open Dec. 26, the release adds. The landfill at 4000 Knights Trail Road in Sarasota will be closed Dec. 25, but it will be open Dec. 26. The landll administration ofces will be closed Dec. 24 and 25. For more information, visit or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. SARASOTA COUNTY OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY The Sarasota County Administration Center is located on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 54


Sarasota County Neighborhood Services is accepting applications for the spring session of its popular Civics 101 program, the county has announced. Civics 101 offers residents a behind-thescenes look at the everyday operations of their local government, a county news release explains. Participants will have an opportunity to see county government operations rsthand, including the Sarasota County Commission, Public Works, the Ofce of Financial Management, Emergency Management, Communications and more. The deadline to submit applications is Jan. 9, the release notes. Applications are available on the countys website at neighborhoodservices The s p ring session of Civics 101 begins on Jan. 23, with classes taking place in various locations around the county every Thursday morning from 9 a.m. to noon, the release points out. Participation is free. New res idents, business professionals, retirees and teens are encouraged to apply for the 10-week program, the release adds. Twentyve applicants are accepted on a rst-come, rst-served basis. Civics 101 is one of our most popular pro grams and frequently has a waiting list, says Civics 101 Coordinator Kaitlyn Johnston in the release. In addition to learning how and why the county provides services to the com munity, participants make new friendships that last beyon d the classes. SARASOTA COUNTY CIVICS 101 ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SPRING Instruction about the initiatives of Sarasota Countys Public Works Department such as the Honore Avenue Extension are among the lessons Civics 101 program participants pursue. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 55


Staff members from county departments pro vide presentations, conduct tours of facilities and answer questions from the participants, the release adds. Among new activities in the program this spring will be a guided tour of Phillippi Estate Park as well as the Sarasota County jail. Civics 101 has been offered by Sarasota County government since 2000; it holds sessions twice each year. The most recent graduating class was the largest in the programs history, with 28 people, the release says. For more information, contact the Countys Call Center at 861-5000 or e-mail kjohnsto@ Photo by Norman Schimmel The Sarasota C ity Commission has approved moving forward with an affordable employee parking permit program in January, while deferring paid parking in the Palm Avenue Garage, the city has announced. Parking in the Palm Avenue Garage will remain free and open to the public, including downtown employees, a news release points out. Beginn ing Monday, Jan. 6, an employee of a business in the downtown area will be required to display a parking permit on his or her vehicle in the following surface park ing lots: State Street, First Street, Burns Square, Orange Avenue, Cocoanut Avenue and Gulfstream Avenue. The third level of the Second Street Garage near Whole Foods also will be included in this parking pe rmit program, the release notes. Perm its are $10 per month and are avail able for purchase at the Parking Operations Division (POD) located at City Hall, 1565 First St. in Sarasota. POD hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The permits are very affordable at just $10, says Parking Manager Mark Lyons in the release. We want to encourage employees to use the permit program and park without worrying about time restrictions and hunting for open spaces on the street. Permits will be issued in the form of rearview mirror hang tags, the release adds. To receive permits, employees must provide employer authorization on company letterhead, includ ing a signature, stating the employees work status. Employers may purchase permits for current employees up to three months in advance, the release points out. The permits are not valid on weekends or after 6 p.m. DOWNTOWN EMPLOYEE PARKING PERMIT PROGRAM BEGINS JAN. 6 Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 56


The Sarasota County Commission on Dec. 11 honored 13 elementary school artists whose illustrations appear on the countys annual student-illustrated calendar. The theme of the calendar this year is Be Floridian a county news release notes. Its purpose is to encourage students and all Sarasota County residents to get involved in improving the countys environment by reduc ing fertilizer use and stormwater runoff into local bays, the release adds. The calendar contains suggested actions that youngsters and adults can do to Be Floridian and get outside and enjoy local natural resources, the release points out. The Be Floridian campaign is all about pro tecting our fun boating, shing, swimming and all the other water activities that make living here so great, says Rob Wright, who coordinates the countys calendar contest through its Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) program, in the release. The popular annual calendar features each winning illustration, along with a thought for the month to encourage simple ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS HONORED FOR ART IN CALENDAR This illustration was created by 10-year-old Kimmy Couch, a fth-grader at Glenallen Elementary School. Couchs art highlights the thought of the month creating a low-maintenance plant buffer zone around water bodies. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 57


landscape techniques that reduce the amount of chemicals that enter local waterways, the release notes. The contest is open to any elementary student in a public or private Sarasota County school including charter schools and elemen tary-age home-schooled students. Each winners school will receive a supply of calendars, and free calendars will be avail able in the downtown Administra tion Center, loca ted at 1660 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota; at the R.L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice; and at county libraries as long as sup plies last. To get a free copy of the 2014 Be Floridian calendar, or to learn more about the NEST program, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask for Rob Wright. For more information, visit Meals on Wheels accepted 400 gifts and 200 tray favors (mini decorated boxwood trees) from the Founders Garden Club of Sarasota at the groups annual Tree Decorating Workshop and lunch at Spanish Point, the club has announced. The event was held on Dec. 10. FOUNDERS GARDEN CLUB MAKES DONATION TO MEALS ON WHEELS (From left) Mimi Hernandez, Terry McGannon, Irene Page and Gina Gregoria celebrate the contribution to Meals on Wheels. Contributed photo On hand to accept the donations was Terry McGannon, executive director of the Sarasota chapter of Meals on Wheels. Mimi Hernandez is the club president. Gina Gregoria is the clubs community projects chairwoman, who spearheaded the effort to gather and wrap gifts, a news release says. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 58


The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is accepting applications for the 2014 Bay Partner Grants Program with a deadline of March 3, the organization has announced. The purpose of the annual program is to pro mote environmental education, community involvement and stewardship to improve the overall quality of Sarasota Bay and its tributar ies, a news release points out. Organizations can receive up to $3,000 for projects that ben et Sarasota Bay. SBEP has awarded $232,000 in grants to more than 113 organizations since 2003, the release adds. Schools, businesses, nonprot organizations, academic institutions, churches and civic groups in Sarasota and Manatee counties are eligible for the funds, the release notes. The watershed boundaries are from Anna Maria Sound to the Venice Inlet, encompassing all of the barrier islands as well. Some of the prior initiatives that have received grants have focused on wildlife gardens and landscaping featuring Florida native plants, micro-irrigation projects, land contouring to create bioswales, production of signs that promote bay stewardship and educational programs. Bay Partner Grant applications must be received at the SBEP offices by 4 p.m. on Friday, March 3, to be eligible. An application can be emailed as a Word document or PDF le to Sara Kane at To learn more about the grant program online, visit the Get Involved page on the SBEP web site at The website also lists the nine grant projects that were funded for 2013. Inquires are welcome at 955-8085 or SBEP ACCEPTING BAY PARTNER GRANT APPLICATIONS FOR 2014 A variety of vessels dots Sarasota Bay on a cloudy morning in November. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 59


Two of the Community Foundation of Sarasota Countys giving circles recently made their rst grants to area organizations, the Foundation has announced. A giving circle is a group of individuals who combine their resources into a pooled fund and decide together what charities or com munity projects to invest in, multiplying the impact of their individual support, a news release explains. Giving circles also include social, educational and engagement aspects to increase members understanding of philan thropy and community issues and provide a platform for making friends and contacts out side their usual circles. Five giving circles with more than 60 members are housed at the Community Foundation, the release points out. The Community Foundation provides back ofce support services for the giving circles, including han dling the set-up, charitable tax receipts and management and disbursements of funds. In November, members of the Athena Progressive Giving Circle presented a check for $10,000 to Jewish Family & Childrens Service to support its Operation Military Assistance Program (OMAP) for female veterans and their families. This grant also triggered $1,000 in matching funds from The Patterson Foundation as part of its Unied Legacy of Valor Opportunity, the release says. OMAP offers not only nancial assistance but also school readiness for children and household improvement needs, using a GIVING CIRCLES AT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION MAKE FIRST GRANTS (From left) Operation Military Assistance Program staff members Lisa Christy, Michelle Hammond and Tywanda Williams gather with Athena Progressive Giving Circle members Charlotte Perret, Dorothy OBrien and Wendy Surkis. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 60


two-generat ional approach to lift the entire family, the release adds. The Athena mem bers who met with OMAP program staff reported that they were impressed with the solid record of OMAP and were enthusiastic about providing the program with resources needed to enhance current offerings. In early December, the Women Giving Together Giving Circle made a grant to Second Chance, Last Opportunity (SCLO), a community-based 501(c)(3) grassroots organization that has been offering life management skills classes to at-risk teens and their low income and/ or homeless families since 1995, the release continues. The grant of $2,350 was enhanced by an additional $1,000 in matching funds from the Community Foundation, provided as part of the Associat ion of Fundraising Community Foundation President and CEO Roxie Jerde (third from right) and Director of Development and Donor Relations Dannie Sherrill (far right) gather with Second Chance, Last Opportunity CEO April Glasco (fth from right) and Women Giving Together giving circle members Jaclyn Ohman, Jane Hunder, Joan Paru, Doris Berkey, Sue Seiter, Sheila Baynes, Linda DeMello and Joan Corcoran. Contributed photo Professionals Giving Matters Giving Circle Initiative launched in the spring, the release says. The total grant of $3,350 will support the Sisters Circle program of SCLO, a seven-week initiative through which women meet, share their experiences and develop a support network. The weekly sessions include coun seling, enrichment activities, goal setting, communication skills, problem solving guid ance and more. The goal is for participants to gain skills and a new positive outlook on life to help positively impact the womens attitude, behavior within the family and work prospects, the release points out. For more information about giving cir cles, call Dannie Sherrill at the Community Foundation: 556-7176. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 61


Sarasota attorney John D. Dumbaugh of the law rm of Syprett Meshad has been recog nized with the Legacy Award by Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, the nonprot organiza tion has announced. Dumbaugh received the award during Habitats Dec. 8 annual banquet, held at Church of the Psalms. Habitat Executive Vice President Fred Scheerle presented the award to Dumbaugh in honor of Dumbaughs 20-plus years of service to the organization, which includes providing pro bono legal ser vices to new homeowners and serving as a board member and recording secretary, a news release says. Its been a privilege for me to work with Habitat for Humanity Sarasota to help fulll the dream of homeownership for members of our community who have had limited options or resources for housing, says Dumbaugh in the release. In addition to providing new homeowners with title and closing services, Dumbaugh has assisted Habitat with legal aspects of several subdivision developments, including Lime Lake, Jordans Crossing and Beacon Place, as well as in the acquisition of properties and other matters, the release notes. In 1991, I heard a speech about the Habitat mission and the local chapter, then called Manasota Habitat for Humanity. As a real estate attorney, I knew I could make a valu able contribution to Habitats vision for growth, adds Dumbaugh in the release. Its been a wonderful opportunity to be of ser vice, and I am deeply honored to receive the Legacy Award. Dumbaugh is Florida Bar Board certied in real estate law; he has practiced real estate and estate law in Florida since 1974, the release notes. He joined Syprett, Meshad in 1982 and became a partner in 1984. JOHN DUMBAUGH RECEIVES LEGACY AWARD FROM HABITAT John D. Dumbaugh/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 62


Saraso ta County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent is accepting applications for schol arships to be awarded in 2014 by the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections (FSASE), Dents ofce has announced. The FSASE will award three $1,200 scholar ships to college/university juniors or seniors enrolled or accepted as full-time students in an accredited Florida university or college, a news release points out. To be eligible, an applicant must be a political science, public or business administration, or journalism/ mass communications major, must have lived in Flori da for at least the preceding two years and must be registered to vote. SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS INVITES SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS Additio nal eligibility requirements are listed on the application and in the scholarship guidelines, which are available online at Applications may also be picked up at the Supervisor of Elections ofce, located at 101 S. Washington Blvd. in Sarasota. Completed applications must be received by the Supervisor of Elections, PO Box 4194, Sarasota, FL 34230-4194, by March 17, the release adds. For more information, call 861-8606. Dont judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson 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 20, 2013 Page 63


The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Ofce is warn ing people about a telephone scam that attempts to extort money from innocent indi viduals whom the caller claims are wanted by law enforcement ofcials. The ofce recently has received two reports of a caller claiming to be with the Sheriffs Ofce Warrants Division who tells the victim he is wanted but the matter can be cleared up if the victim loads the amount of the ne onto a green dot card and provides it to the caller, a news release says. Neither person complied with the caller; both reported it to law enforcement representa tives, the release adds. It is important to note that the majority of warrants cannot be satised without appear ing in person at either the jail or in court, the release points out. The Wa rrants Division does not collect ne amounts; all money is paid to the Clerk of Court; and wanted indi viduals would never be asked to meet with a deputy to exchange funds, the release notes. As legitimate as some of these phone scams may sound, the callers are criminals who want to separate citizens from their hardearned money, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. In every case, just hang up, think about what was said and then report the call. Anyone who may have been the victim of this or a similar scam should contact the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce non-emergency num ber, 316-1201. For more information about scams and fraud visit the Federal Trade Commission web site or click here: articles/0076-telemark eting-scams The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is warning the public about another telephone scam. Image courtesy of Stock.xchng SHERIFFS OFFICE WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT A TELEPHONE SCAM CRIME BLOTTER


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) The Sarasota Police Department Street Crimes Unit, in conjunction with the departments Narcotics Unit, arrested eight men during a prostitution John Operation on Saturday, Dec. 14, the department has announced. This was an undercover operation targeting the prostitution problem plaguing the North Tamiami Trail neighborhood, a news release says. The operation was conducted at three different locations in that area, targeting indi viduals soliciting prostitutes, the release adds. The following men were arrested: Ronald L. Biron, 32, of 59 E. Second St., Moorestown, NJ. David H. Kraft, 46, of 4300 18th St. West, Bradenton. Donald R. Keller, 53, of 6004 Ninth Ave. West, Bradenton. John A. Dill, 59, of 1000 Walker St., Lot 161, Holly Hill. Jason R. Hamilton, 35, of 3124 Olympic St., Sarasota. Patrick Molines, 62, of 3365 Shelly Drive, Green Cove Springs. Victor Mendoza-Rodriguez, 48, of 7816 43rd Ave. West, Bradenton. Juan I. Ortega-Infante, 26, of 5007 Five Acre Road, Plant City. UNDERCOVER PROSTITUTION STING RESULTS IN ARRESTS OF EIGHT MEN Ronald Biron/Contributed photo John A. Dill/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 65


Jason R. Hamilton/Contributed photo Donald Keller/Contributed photo David H. Kraft/Contributed photo Victor Mendoza-Rodriguez/Contributed photo Patrick Molines/Contributed photo Juan Ortega-Infante/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 66


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office has arrested a 60-year-old Sarasota man in con nection with two separate cases of sex crimes against young girls that occurred more than 10 years apart, the ofce has announced. Detectives arrested Dennis McGurk of 2835 Williamsburg St. this week after victims reported he touched them inappropriately when they were between 10 and 13 years of age, a news release says. One victim, now 26, said the crimes occurred in 1998. She led a criminal complaint in 2001, but the case was not prosecuted, the release notes. When the second victim, now 16, came forward last month to report being sexually battered in 2011, detectives located the original case and noted the manner and circumstances in which the victims were touched by McGurk are markedly similar, even though the two [victims] have never met, the release adds. In the report on the case involving the 26-year-old, the deputy wrote that when she interviewed the victim in November, she found her to have remarkable recall of the [earlier] events [including] how the interview room was arranged at the time. Additionally, [the victim] was able to draw a sketch of the McGurk home, down to the location of the linen closet, even though she hadnt been inside that home for 13 years. That victim underwent six years of therapy after the incidents occurred, she told the dep uty, according to the report. McGurk is charged with one count of Lewd or Lascivious Battery, for which he is being held on $200,000 bond, and one count of Sexual Battery on a Child Less than 12 Years Old, for which he is being held without bond. 60-YEAR-OLD CHARGED IN TWO SEPARATE SEX CRIME CASES Dennis McGurk/Contributed photo Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 67


EDITORIAL OPINION EDITORIAL Recently, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly convened one of her typical inquisition-style panels to debate a topic, in this case a recent article by Aisha Harris on her blog. Harris, an African-American, observed that growing up with the ubiquitous images of a white Santa Claus was confusing to her, espe cially since most black families like hers had a black Santa. She could not escape the feeling that, some how, the black Santa that she and her friends wanted to visit them on Christmas Eve just was not the real thing. While she never said that Santa Claus should be black rather than white she actually suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that Santa should be a black-and-white penguin her plaintive concerns about her childhood angst were just too much for Megyn Kelly. Kelly upbraided Harris on air, lambasting her for implying that Santa Claus should be black, not white. Kelly quickly offered a disclaimer to any alarmed racist white kids who might have been viewing her show: And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, were just debating this because some one wrote about it, kids. Kelly then directed her caustic ire at Harris: Just because it mak es you feel uncomfortable FOX NEWS WANTS A VERY WHITE CHRISTMAS


does nt mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical gure; thats a veriable fact as is Santa. I want you kids watching to know that. Following this tirade, Kelly found herself the subject of signicant scorn, rst for arguing about the skin color of a fictional charac ter and, second, for insisting that Jesus was white. The modern ctional Santa Claus is widely regarded as having been modeled after St. Nicholas, an early leader in the Christian Church who lived in what would be mod ern-day Turkey. And his skin most denitely would have been much darker than the pin ky-white shade used in popular depictions of Santa Claus. Moreover, Jesus is regarded by most anthro pologists as a person having dark skin as well, as would have been expected of Semitic people two millennia ago. That Renaissance artists preferred to use as their models only white European males with fair skin and wispy facial hair cannot alter that reality. But Fox News and Megyn Kelly appar ently only recogniz e the Euro-cen trist version of Jesus, not the anthropological one. So Jesus was a white man, too according to Kelly. After several days of ridicule, Kelly proclaimed on air that everyone had misunderstood her, that she was only being whimsical in describ ing both Santa Claus and Jesus as white. Apparently, according to Kelly, the rest of the media have no sense of humor and took her pronouncements literally. It was a very Emily Litella moment. What is ironic is that Fox News is the prin cipal propagandist for the fictional War on Christmas. According to the networks news personalities, an international cabal of non-Christians wants to deprive Christians of worshiping Jesus and, presumably, Santa Claus. Yet Kellys hot-headed criticism of Harris, whom she accused incorrectly of claim ing Santa was black, was the antithesis of the inclusiveness one normally associates with the Christmas season. If there really is a War on Christmas, the principal combatants must be Fox News, for, based on Megyn Kellys harsh rant, their view of Christmas does not include the angel-sent proclamation, On earth peace, good will toward men. % The modern ctional Santa Claus is widely regarded as being modeled after St. Nicholas, an early leader in the Christian Church who lived in what would be modernday Turkey. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 69


If you (or the county attorney) would like to review the full verbiage of such bans currently working in 39 other areas including nine in Florida here is a link to those documents: http://best Puppy-mill-initiatives/Fighting-Puppy-Mills/ Jurisdictions-with-retail-pet-sale-bans/ Charmaine Engelsman-Robins S arasota To the E dit or: As a journalist and a 20-year member of Sarasota Countys Animal Welfare Advisory Council, I thank you for County Editor Roger Drouins excellent coverage of the recent County Commission meeting discussing the consideration of enacting an ordinance ban ning the local sale of puppy mill dogs ( Dec. 13 issue ). NEWS LEADER LAUDED FOR PUPPY MILL ORDINANCE COVERAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sar asota 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 Lett 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. Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 70




I attended Marys Cookie Party recently and I had a marvelous time. Mary is Marietta Lee, owner, primary deco rator and curator of the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy on the North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, which was the location of the party. The invitation came to those of us who vol unteer at the Sarasota Visitors Center one more joy added to the list of many in our work and it said, Bring cookies to share and cans to donate to the All Faiths Food Bank. This was a fairly simple and potentially satis fying request. It was a stunning Sarasota day for the party. As soon as I stepped out of my car, holding onto my home-baked snickerdoodles and my food donation, I was greeted by three huge yellow giraffes. They were metal sculptures, and their sunshine color immediately put a smile on my face and set the tone for Marys party. We walked in through the front entrance of the museum, where one of Marys friendly helpers placed our food donations under a beautifully decorated tree and then ushered us to the outdoor area in back. I will confess The Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy is on the North Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel MUSEUM OF ART & WHIMSY PROVES THE PERFECT PLACE FOR A HOLIDAY COOKIE PARTY COOKIES IN A COOL SETTING By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer


right now that I attended Marys holiday cookie party two years ago and wrote about it in the former Pelican Press But coming back was to borrow an expression dj vu all over again, and I loved every minute of it. Mary Lee is a phenomenon who has the eye of a professional landscaper and art lover. She seems to know exactly where to place every thing to its best advantage. Walking through her museum, we were welcomed on the patio by the mellow sounds of a pianist, who put us in the mood for a memorable afternoon. I approached the wonderfully festive long table laden with our cookies and saw peo ple of all ages smiling as they took plates on which to pile their favorites. Huge oak trees shielded us from the sun, and tables and chairs were spread out to make us even more comfortable. Flamingos welcome guests to the Cookie Party. Photo by Harriet Cuthbert What a spread! Photo by Harriet Cuthbert Many of the museums creatures were adorned with holiday attire. Photo by Harriet Cuthbert Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 73


The amingo is among the many creatures at the museum. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 74


The Lee Family Arch welcomes visitors. Image from museum website Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 75


The easy-going, well-mannered crowd reminded me of a long-ago era, before the Internet and the iPad consumed our lives. Flamingos, blazing in orange and pink and in all shapes and sizes, were everywhere. Were they Marys representation of good karma or just some beautiful and welcoming addition to her garden? Meandering through the magnicent grounds later, I encountered a dolphin smiling at its baby. Then I spied Santa peeking through a large plant, sitting atop his wagon full of toys. I next saw a crowd in front of some large, neon-pink objects that could be pigs. OMG, they were pigs with wings, of course: If pigs could y. How in the world did Mary nd these pigs? But then again, how does she nd anything? Did I mention that the landscaping in her gar den is of prize-winning quality? Everything was in bloom for our party; every plant was If pigs could y Photo by Harriet Cuthbert Who can resist pink winged pigs? Photo by Harriet Cuthbert A bathysphere is just one more intriguing feature on the museum grounds. Photo by Harriet Cuthbert Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 76


beautifully prune d, and we could tell the work was all done with love. I thought I had seen everything, counting the ying pigs, but, no, something even more amazing appeared around the bend of the path. It was a huge round yellow steel ball with a small window and a thin pipe on top. This was close to how I imagine a UFO would look. The sign said it is a bathysphere. What?? Google says the bathysphere is a deep-sea div ing vehicle, invented in 1928 by Otis Barton for his friend, William Beebe, to study under sea wildlife. And here it sits, in Marys garden. My stroll was just ending when it led me to a huge rocket with the letters USA embla zoned on it. What a perfect ending to a most memorable afternoon. If I know Mary, she is probably contemplating signing up for a trip to outer space. There must be some fabulous collectibles waiting up there for her. Happy holidays, an d have a cookie on me. % A rocket appears ready for blast-off. Photo by Harriet Cuthbert Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 77


(From left) Jill Riondet, Patti Schimmel and Vicki Chatley of Sarasota cuddle their bears before the game begins. All photos by Norman Schimmel TEDDY BEARS HIT THE ICE


FORT MYERS A wesome! Its the perfect word to describe the scene when an avalanche of teddy bears descended from the stands to the ice at Germain Arena in Estero during a hockey game between the Florida Everblades and the Colorado Eagles on Dec. 7. The scor ing of the rst goal by the home team at 6:51 of the rst period was the signal for fans to begin the Teddy Bear Toss. And toss, they did. More than 6,100 cuddly, stuffed animals were donated by those in attendance for future distribution to needy children. The game was delayed almost 10 minutes as cheerleaders, the team mascot Swampy and other staff members gathered the toys. The benches cleared when players from both teams, including goalies in their pads, joined the effort to clear the ice. Bears were not the only representatives of the animal kingdom. There were zebras, dogs, lions, monkeys, alligators you name it. Some were small enough to be easily held by a baby; others were large enough to require their own seat in the arena. All will be given to low-income children, including those hospitalized over the holiday season. Everblades players will participate in the distribution. One couple juggles multiple bears before heading to their seats. TEDDY BEAR TOSS PROVIDES HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR NEEDY CHILDREN By Vicki Chatley Contributing Writer Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 79


Sad to say, not all members of the audience had the arm strength or accuracy of Peyton Manning including this writer, whose teddy bear landed somewhere in the rst few seat ing rows, whence it was helped over the glass by another fan. A more thoughtful compan ion joined others who carried their donations down to the ice. This annual event is sponsored by Iberia Bank. The Teddy Bear Toss is also held by other ECHL hockey teams. The Everblades are an afliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes. The home team Everblades won the game 4-2, adding to an enjoyable evening. All photos are by Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel % Fans brought bears of all sizes. The game gets under way on clear ice. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 80


With the Everblades rst score, the bears go ying onto the ice. Players help scoop up the bears. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 81


Trucks come onto the ice to collect the bears Loaded pickup truck beds are a clear indication of fans generosity. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 82


One bear that did not make it over the glass gets to watch the rest of the game. % Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 83


This festive time of year brings out the desire in all of us to decorate. Though red and green dominate, all the colors of the spectrum are evident in the holiday environment. And while those living in wintery northern climes are limited to chiaroscuro landscapes com posed of whites, blacks and grays, those of us in Florida can celebrate by decorating our landscapes with wonderful winter annuals! Only a few years ago, the undisputed kings of cool season annuals were the impatiens. With heavy blooming and a host of chromatic choices, they provided a blast of color second to none. But powdery mildew fungus devas tated homeowners and nurserymen alike, reducing their cultivars to so much shriveled tissue in the winter of 2011. Thankf ully, there are many alternatives to the impatiens. After a close look, it appears that the geranium has ascended the throne as the preferred choice for winter color in our neck of the woods (see Plant of the Month below). There is a host of other owers that can thrive in the cool and dry winter weather. Most are available in a variety of colors to suit any gar deners holiday color scheme. Some of the ones I have enjoyed over the years follow: Petunias defy cold spells and run nicely along the ground or cascade from hanging baskets. Snapdragons include some varieties that can attain 30 inches in height and attract butteries and hu mmingbirds. The geranium has proven itself a hearty plant. Photo by Rick Wielgorecki BEING IN FLORIDA FOR THE HOLIDAYS MEANS A VAST ARRAY OF NATURAL DECORATING OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FESTIVE FLORAL ADORNMENT By Rick Wielgorecki Contributing Writer


Sal via comes in blue, red and purple and includes varieties that are actually annuals; I have grown them for several years. Pansies come in especially vivid colors, including a deep purple that is breathtak ing, especially when combined with bright yellow. Chrysanthemums are familiar to almost everyone. They come in every color imag inable. When sheared after blooming, they can go perennial. New Guinea impatiens resist the fatal fun gus and have a darker leaf, blooming less frequently than standard impatiens but producing a ower that is identical. Begonias can be spectacular in sun or shade but require vigilance against slugs and snai ls. Celosia has a feathery bloom that provides an unusual texture in the owerbed. Dianthus provide small blooms with pink edges for variety. PLANT OF THE MONTH The hearty geranium comes in red, pink, white, purple and many other colors. It prefers cool and dry weather and lots of sun, but it will bloom less profusely in shaded environs. Under a light canopy, it can survive the summer and may bloom year-round. Good drainage is a must for it. With thousands being employed in beds state wide, it has assumed the royal mantle and reigns as the dominant annual for our cool season. Rick Wielgorecki may be contacted at 362-0600 or wielgo@hotmail. com % Impatiens once reigned as the dominant ower among winter annuals in Florida. Photo by Magnus Manske via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 85


SIESTA SEEN Call it the Case of th e Culvert Complaint. On Nov. 25, a Siesta Key resident emailed Commissioner Nora Patterson who lives on the island to complain that the resident at 5025 Higel Ave. has been somehow given permission to dig a ditch abou t 6 [feet] into t he right of way and make a wall on County property. The resident pointed out that the swale previ ously in that location also served as parking space. She added, [T]his subdivision has numerous culverts, but they included the swale and covered or enclosed pipes. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor A closeup shows too much shell has been added to a swale at 5025 Higel Ave. on Siesta Key. Photo courtesy Sarasota County COMPLAINTS ABOUT CONSTRUCTION ALONG HIGEL AVENUE PROMPT A COUNTY REVIEW; THE EAT HERE SIESTA KEY PARKING PROBLEM MAY BE RESOLVED SOON; AND A SELECTION COMMITTEE HAS SETTLED ON FINALISTS FOR THE SIESTA CHAMBER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR POSITION


Mexican petunias grow in the swale on the property of the adjacent homeowner. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 87


As you know, we have no streetlights here abouts, the writer continued. If someone went off the road they would drop down into a hole and have a terrible accident, [slam ming] up against the wall which the county has allowed to be created. I would think that, since the county allowed this hole to be dug and this wall to be built, and in [essence] the county owns the wall, [it] would be lia ble when, as has happened in the past, some drunk or otherwise impaired driver comes roaring down the road, gets lost, and slams into the hole which has been permitted. The writer went on, Even with the gentle swale, a car rolled into my driveway after missing the road some years ago Please lo ok into this for me. Patterson quickly emailed county staff, requesting a review of the situation, includ ing whether it constituted an encroachment on county right of way. As Patterson had copied the resident on her response to staff, the resident responded to Patterson with the conviction that the situation did constitute an encroachment, explaining that the swale was created to allow water to ow past the residences and into the canal at the south end of Higel Avenue. Over the years, the woman pointed out, cul verts had been closed, allowing a backup of water to the north in heavy rain events. This The swale is adjacent to Higel Avenue. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 88


is not a problem until the street is inundated, the woman wrote, but when ooding occurs, trafc has difculty navigating that part of the road. Assistant County Administrator Mark Cunningham wrote Patterson back on Nov. 26 the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to say staff was looking into the issue and would provide a timely response. Then, in the next posting on the topic in the countys public email folder dated Dec. 6 Patterson contacted Cunningham again, saying she had received another complaint from the same resident. From what I can understand [the resident at 5025 Higel in the last couple of days has lled in the remainder of the ditch that was half obliterated earlier by the low wall that staff permitted, lled in the south culvert with rocks, and provided no culvert at all on the north side of the new cir cular driveway that has just been installed. The woman resident who complained ear lier feared the work had been done without a county permit, Patterson added. Regarding a staff comment Patterson appar ently received about Mexican petunias in the complainants swale, Patterson pointed out that the complainant had written to tell her those plants still allow the ow of drainage to take place, but the drainage had been Siesta residents are accustomed to ooding on sections of the right of way along Higel Avenue during heavy rain events. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 89


stopped at the e dge of her own property by three things: the lack of a culvert under the north leg of the neighbors newly installed circular driveway; the use of rocks to ll in the south culvert; and the lling in of what was left of the swale after the little wall was built across the front of the property on 5025 Higel so that no drainage swale actually remains. Patterson continued, I cannot vouch for any of the above and have not personally seen the property. I am concerned, however, that if we do in fact allow people to ll in swales and cul verts, that will be problematic at a later date. Could you have someone familiar with the situation perhaps check what has been done to add to the obliteration of the remainder of the swale [the complainant] felt existed prior to the low wall being put in with consent of the county. Also please comment as to whether the work done now and [ear lier] was permitted and, if not, whether the property owner should have sought a permit. On Dec. 17, Jon D. Mast, the countys land development manager, emailed Cunningham to report on his ndings about the situation. First, Mast pointed out that the Land Development Ofce issued a right of way use An aerial view shows the location of 5025 Higel Ave. on north Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 90


permit on Oct. 2 4 for 5025 Higel Ave. for the installation of two rows of bricks to hold soil and mulch from spilling into the right-of-way as stated in the permit description. Mast explained that in regard to the wall in the right of way, the work completed on the site is in keeping with the permit and serves the purpose in keeping the ditch free from yard and landscaping debris. He supplied photos (some of which accom pany this article) to illustrate his points. Referencing them in the memo, Mast noted, As you can see this is not a hindrance to drainage or trafc along Higel Ave. and it is reasonable to permit this in the County [right of way]. The swale on this yard is at the high est point of the road and is therefore the shallowest swale in this immediate location. He added that the complainant was correct in pointing out that the swale had been over lled with shell and that the culvert had been blocked. The owner has been instructed to remove an adequate amount of shell and to clean the entire culvert under the driveway on the south side of the property. As for the driveway, Mast wrote that it was in place at the time the right of way permit application was made and issued. There is no permitting requirement for a driveway in Sarasota County, he added. If a request had been issued for a culvert permit, it would have been denied as the swale is too shallow to accommodate culverts. Mast further noted that Higel Avenue, along with much of Siesta Key, lacks adequate drainage. M any times this is perpetuated by homeowners gradually lling in their ditches (with dirt or landscaping) and adequate drain age conveyances are non-existent. This issue has been given plenty of attention this past summer due to the unusual amount of rainfall. If there is any violation it is with the home owners that install planting in the County ROW without a permit. These violations only continue to exacerbate the drainage issues on Siesta Key and elsewhere in the County. Masts recommendation was for the culvert and swale to be cleared appropriately before county staff gives its nal approval for work allowed under the permit issued to the resi dent at 5025 Higel Ave. County spokesman Curt Preisser further pointed out in a Dec. 17 email, Please bear in mind this u pdate has not been sent to the [county commissioners] yet and they could give staff additional direction. EAT HERES PARKING ISSUE Regular readers may recall a July story in which I explained that county Zoning and Code Enforcement staff had been made aware that Eat Here Siesta Key is not in compli ance with the parking plan the county zoning administrator approved before the restaurant opened in December 2012. The plan created by Siesta architect Mark Smith, at the dire ction of property owner John Davidson, sh owed 52 spaces available for Eat Here patrons on Av enida Madera in Siesta Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 91


Village, but only 48 were needed to comply with a revised parking ordinance crafted for the Village in 2009. The plan noted that all of the businesses utilizing those spaces in the daytime close at 5 p.m., and the restaurant does not open until after they close. However, the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate ofce on the corner of Avenida Madera and Ocean Boulevard actually stays open until 8:30 p.m. seven nights a week. After months of trying to work out a solution, Smith told me this week he feels he has one. He and Brad Bailey, the county zoning admin istrator, a re scheduled to meet on Dec. 20 to go over the details. Im hopeful that this will nally be resolved, Smith said on Dec. 17. Although he has discussed the proposal with Bailey over the phone, Smith pointed out, Friday will mark the rst time the two men can review them in person. REPLACING KEVIN People who know Mark Smith also know he wears many gurative hats in Siesta Village. While I had him on the phone talking about Eat Here Siesta Key, he also gave me an update on the effort to hire a new executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. Eat Here Siesta Keys lack of compliance with the Siesta Village zoning code because of its parking plan could be resolved this week. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 92


Kevin Coope r, who previously held that post, began work Dec. 2 as vice president for pub lic policy for the Greate r Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Cooper also has oversight of the organizations Sarasota Tomorrow initiative. The Siesta Chamber received 31 applications from all over the United States, said Smith, who is chairman of the selection committee. Interviews in recent days have narrowed the eld to seven, he noted, adding he hopes the committee members soon will reach a con sensus on whom to hire. Along with Smith, the committee members are Maria Bankemper, general manager of Best Western Plus Siesta Key Gateway hotel and chairwoman of the Siesta Chamber; Russell Matthes, co-owner of the Daiquiri Deck and Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar restaurants and past president of the Siesta Key Village Association; Bob Stein, publisher of Siesta Sand ; and Alana Tomasso, the chambers chairwoman-el ect, who is with Cunningham Property Management. SPEAKING OF THE CHAMBER The Siesta Key Chamber staff is reminding everyone that it is accepting nominations for the 2013 Business of the Year Awards until Friday, Dec. 20. Every year the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce recognizes two outstanding member businesses and one member business person for his or her personal achievements Mark Smith is chairing the committee seeking a new executive director for the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. File photo and con tributions, a news release says. Additionally, the Shining Star Award is pre sented to an exceptional employee nominated by their employer, or an employer nominated by one or more of their employees. Completed nomination forms must be received no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 20. The release says, You can download a nomina tion form by clicking here or pick one up in person by visiting the Chamber ofce. The Chamber headquarters is located in Davidson Plaza on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village. The awards will be presented at the Chambers Annual Meeting and Business Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. % Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 93


Valerie Gillespie/Contributed photo A&E BRIEFS


The Jazz Club of Sarasotas Jazz at Two 2013-2014 concert series presents the Valerie Gillespie Ensemble on Dec. 20 and the Dan Miller Quartet on Dec. 27 to nish out the month, the club has announced. Founded in 2001, the Jazz at Two series showcases the regions top jazz performers on Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, a news release explains. Tickets are $7 for Jazz Club members and $12 for non-members. A por tion of the ticket sales is directed to the Jazz Clubs scholarship program. Gillespie has been playing saxophone pro fessionally since she was 14, and she has performed with such luminaries as Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, Ben Vereen and Ray Charles, the release notes. Gillespie has also toured with the Xavier Cugat Orchestra throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her ensemble, consisting of Gillespie on sax and vocals, Jeff Phillips on keyboard and Dave Rudolph on drums, is known for its energetic, crowd-pleas ing blend of vocal and instrumental styles, JAZZ AT TWO THIS MONTH CONCLUDES WITH GILLESPIE AND MILLER which draws in audiences with a wide variety of familiar tunes, the release adds. The Dan Miller Quartet, featuring Miller on trumpet, Patricia Dean on vocals and drums, Don Mopsick on bass and Jerry Stawski on piano, brings together four of Southwest Floridas most accomplished musicians, the release continues. Miller and Stawski, who are colleagues in the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra, have worked and performed with such masters as Woody Herman, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Feinstein and Mike Manieri, the release says. Mopsick has been in demand throughout the state since he moved to Orlando in 1983, it adds. Dave Walrath, president of the Jazz Club of Sarasota, is especially pleased with the exceptional talent and experience of the per formers. These are all top-ight musicians who have worked with some of the best in the business and were proud to be able to show case them to our Jazz at Two audiences, he points out in the release. For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 366-1552 or visit PERLMAN PROGRAM WINTER RESIDENCY MARKING 10TH YEAR The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast (PMP/ Suncoast) will celebrate the 10th anniver sary of The Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, the program has announced. The intensive, 17-day program was founded by Toby Perlman, wife of internationally acclaimed concert violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, a news release notes. It offers unparalleled musical training for students ages 12 to more than 20 who play the violin, viola, cello and bass. With a faculty including Itzhak Perlman and some of the most gifted musical talents of our time, the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency offers an artistic and per sonal experience that changes students lives forever, the release adds. The Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency is hosted in partner ship with the University of South Florida, Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 95


Sarasota-Ma n atee. The public is invited to attend approximately 20 free events, includ ing orchestra and chorus rehearsals, master classes and works-in-progress recitals, the release points out. New this year will be an open rehearsal and performance with the PMP/Suncoast Super Strings young vio linists from Sarasota and Manatee counties who will join the PMP student orchestra in performing a Vivaldi violin concerto under the direction of Itzhak Perlman on Jan. 2. Q&A sessions with Perlman, PMP students and faculty follow many of the sessions, the release adds. Most of the events take place in a heated outdoor performance tent on the grounds of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Audience members are encouraged to show up 15 minutes prior to an event to ensure seating. PMP/Suncoast also offers an online e-ticket program for a $5 service charge p er ticket. E-tickets, which enable entrance 30 minutes prior to the start of an event, are available at or by calling 955-4942. The Sarasota Winter Residency will culminate with the 10th Annual Celebration Concert at the Sarasota Opera House on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $40, $60, $80; they may be reserved at the Opera Houses box ofce at 366-8450, Ext. 1. Were energized by this monumental anni versary, says Elizabeth Power, executive director of PMP/Suncoast, in the release. Its amazing how fast the years have gone by and how much weve accomplished in those years, she adds. Were deeply touched by how the community has embraced us and taken our programs into their hearts. For more information about this event or The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast, visit or call 955-4942. Itzhak Perlman works with a student orchestra during the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast. Contributed photo by Barbara Banks Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 96


The Florida S tate University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training will present the regional premiere of Loot Joe Ortons scurrilous send-up of mid-century British notions of decency, Dec. 31 through Jan. 19 in the Cook Theatre in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, located at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, the Conservatory has announced. Tickets are $29 for evening shows and $28 for matinees, a news release says. Students receive 50 percent off with advance ticket pur chase. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Asolo Repertory Theatres box ofce at the FSU Center for Performing Arts: 351-8000. On Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., audience members are invited to attend a production of Loot and pay whatever they can afford. These special tickets are available on the day of performance only. Loot reveals the dark side of London in the swinging s, the release continues. Poor Mrs. McLeavy is dead. On the day of her funeral, Hal, her teenage son, and Dennis, a perpetually randy undertaker, rob a bank next to the McLeavys seedy hotel and do their best to hide the loot while Mr. McLeavy loudly grieves. Ah, but Truscott of The Yard is on the case, the release notes. His corrupt partner, FSU/ASOLO CONSERVATORY TO PRESENT JOE ORTONS LOOT (From left) Brian Owen, Paul Herbig and Olivia Williamson in the FSU/Asolo Conservatorys production of Loot. Contributed photo by Frank Atura Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 97


As a result of popular demand, Florida Studio Theatre (FST) has announced an extension of the musical Monty Pythons Spamalot with book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by Eric Idle and John Du Prez. The show will run through Jan. 19. Lovingly ripped off from the classic film Monty Python and The Holy Grail this outra geous parody tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and has been called The best new musical to open by The New York Times, an FST news release points out. While embarking on their quest for the Holy Grail, the knights encounter ying cows, killer rabbits and taunting Frenchmen, the release adds. Tickets may be purchased through Jan. 19 online at by phone at 366-9000 or by visiting the box ofce at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. POPULAR DEMAND EXTENDS RUN OF FSTS SPAMALOT (From left) Carl Michael Wilson, Tripp Fountain, Kevin Loreque, Jacob Hoffman and John Scacchetti in Monty Pythons Spamalot. Contributed photo by Maria Lyle. Meadows, is, to o, in theory, the release says. The lads turn to Fay, Mrs. McLeavys nurse, a devoted Catholic (supposedly), but willing to stash the cash if some of it goes her way. But where? Hang on. Mrs. McLeavys cofn. Shes lying in state in the hotel parlor. Simply put the money inside and her body someplace else, temporarily. Sh e surely wouldnt mind. The rele ase adds, Hilarity, anarchy, chaos, sexual confusion and lost glass eyes ensue. It is, after all, a Joe Orton play. The director of this Asolo Conservatory pro duction, Jonathan Epstein, points out in the release, If imitation is the sincerest form of attery, then satire must surely be the cruel est form of insult, and Ortons satirical humor is cruel, sincere and mesmerizing. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 98


Bruce Jorda n returned to FST to direct this show after previously handling the hit com edies The Underpants Perfect Wedding and Shear Madness the theatre announced in November. My favorite part about Spamalot is not only does it have a lot of funny scenes, Jordan said in the release, it also has lots of tune ful music. In its own way its like the musical comedies I was brought up on. A fun book and a strong score. Some people have said that Monty Python is to comedy what the Beatles were to music. I see that. I understand how they began and how they have shaped much of the comedy that follows them. Among the 16-person cast are returning FST company members Patrick Noonan, Gill Brady and Priscilla Fernandez, along with new company members Kevin Loreque and Jacob Hoffman, the release adds. Among Noonans past FST productions are Occupant and Irma Vep Brady previously appeared in The Underpants and Our Sons Wedding while Fernandez was in the South Beach Babylon production. Single tickets for Spamalot range from $18 to $45. Patrick Noonan and Priscilla Fernandez in Monty Pythons Spamalot. Contributed photo by Maria Lyle. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 99

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The husband-a nd-wife combo of Amy Grant and Vince Gill two of the most beloved voices in popular music will unite on stage March 21 at 8 p.m. at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, the Van Wezel has announced. Except for their cherished Christmas tours, this will be the rst time Grant and Gill have worked the road together as co-headliners, a news release points out. They will perform alongside each other for the entire show, playing and singing from each others exten sive catalog of hits, the release adds. Their f our-piece band will feature steel gui tar wizard Paul Franklin (co-spotlighted with Gill on the album Bakersfield ) and, from Grants own backup group, drummer Greg Morrow, keyboardist Tony Harrell and bass guitarist Mike Brignardello, the release continues. Together, Grant and Gill have sold more than 56 million albums and won a total of 26 Grammys, the release points out. Grant is in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and Gill a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Tickets are priced from $60 to $85. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit AMY GRANT TO JOIN VINCE GILL AT THE VAN WEZEL Amy Grant performs in West Wendover, NV. Photo by Scott Catron via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 100

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The Sarasot a Chalk Festival opened Chalk Line, its new fundraising venture, on Dec. 13 during the Burns Square Christmas walk, the organization has announced. Chalk Line, located at 529 S. Pineapple Ave., features works by artists who participate in the festival and its Going Vertical programs, along with props made by volunteers and merchandise from the events, a news release says. Proceeds will benet the Avenida de Colores 501(c)(3) cultural arts organization that produces the festival. In addition to original artwork, we have a vast array of items people are interested in, such as printed posters, hand-painted circus banners and mermaid tails. We even have interest in Snowflake the Elephant, so we tried to squeeze her into the gallery, Denise Kowal, founder and chairwoman of the non prot, said in the release. Snowake, along with the male elephant from 2012 and the Statue of Liberty from 2013 are for s ale or rent but not on display, the release notes. The festival features a new look each year to support a chosen theme, the release con tinues. It has more than 300 volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to make it happen. In 2011, the festival became the rst inter national street painting event in the U.S.A when it celebrated the theme Pavement Art Through the Ages the release points out. CHALK FESTIVAL OPENS SHOP TO BENEFIT FUTURE EVENTS The theme of the 2013 Chalk Festival was Legacy of Valor. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 101

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Philadelphia, Here I Come! directed by Academy Award nominee and two-time Tony Award winner Frank Galati, will run from Jan. 10 through April 12 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, the theatre has announced. Previews will be held Jan. 7-9. Hailed as one of the best playwrights in the English language, Brian Friel wrote this play about the humorous and touching story of a young ma n embarking on a new life, struggling to find the strength to leave, a news release explains. As 25-year-old Gareth Gar ODonnell prepares to move from Ballybeg, Ireland, to Philadelphia to pursue his American dream, he is plagued by his relationship with his uncommunicative and emotionally unavailable father. Gar must also say goodbye to Kate Doogan his great love, whom he regrettably let slip through his ngers, the release adds. Above all, he is challenged by one simple question does he truly want to leave his home? ASOLO REP TO PRESENT PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! Philadelphia, Here I Come! Will open Jan. 10 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Contributed image The new shop s pace previously was home to Clothesline Gallery & Boutique, which pro duced shows by local artists and sold creative merchandise, the release adds. It is owned by Kowals son, Austin Kowal. I decided t o direct my energy to expanding the Clothesline printing and design portion of the business and help other art-minded busi nesses, Austin notes in the release. Details and hours of operation can be found on the events pag e at Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 102

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to the poetic and theatrical nature of the play, the release continues. Philadelphia, Here I Come! continues the sec ond season of Asolo Reps ve-year American Character Project, which explores this coun trys social, cultural and historical facets, the release adds. Since its 1966 Broadway pre miere and subsequent Tony nominations for best play, best actor and more, this timeless story of voyaging outside of what is famil iar and safe continues to impact audiences worldwide. Tickets for Philadelphia, Here I Come! start at $21. To purchase them, call 351-8000, visit or visit the box ofce in the lobby of the theatre. Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. % Philadelphia, He re I Come! examines the dynamic relationship between Public Gar and Private Gar played on stage by two different actors, the release explains. Friel brilliantly pours life into Gars subconscious in the form of Private Gar, whose character serves as the vehicle for his counterparts secret insecurities, hopes and dreams. This brilliant, touching and funny story is about an Irish boy named Gareth who has immense difculty expressing himself but must say goodbye to everything and everyone he knows and loves, says Michael Donald Edwards, producing artistic director of Asolo Rep, in the release. Director Frank Galati injects music and mer riment into the production with traditional Irish folk tunes an d classical pieces that add SARASOTAS HAIR COLOR SPECIALIST John-Norman Tuck (941) 928-1203 369 St. Armands Circle Sarasota Located Upstairs In the Green Ginger Salon John-Norman Tuck is Sarasota and Bradentons premier hairstylist and hair color artist. Getting his customers hair to look and feel its best is his passion. John-Norman started fullling his customers hair dreams in his Pasadena, CA salon and now has brought his talents to Sarasota. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 103

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The Church of th e Redeemer, located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota, invites the community to join its congregation in wor ship on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Three Masses will be offered each day, a news release says. Christmas Eve Masses On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, Redeemers after noon Family Mass (Rite II) will begin at 4 p.m. It will be preceded by a festive half-hour of traditional Christmas carols, beginning at 3:30 p.m., including favorites such as Silent Night and Joy to the World sung by the con gregation and choirs, the release notes. The Family Mass includes a live Nativity scene with children playing roles as shep herds, lambs, star s and angels. Baby Jesus will be re presented by the parishs newest infant, Liv Ferguson, with her parents, Sara and Nick Ferguson, acting as Mary and Joseph, the release notes. The Nativity re-enactment is a re-telling of the Incarnation narrative from the Gospel of St. Luke. St. Nicholas will make a surprise visit, as well, to receive a special blessing from the Very Rev. Fredrick Robinson, rector of Redeemer, the release adds. Babysitting for toddlers and infants will be provided. The early evening service will be a Choral Mass (Rite II with incense), which will begin at 6:30 p.m. This will be preceded at 6 p.m. by half an hour of singing of traditional Christmas carols, accompanied by organ and brass quartet. The Church of the Redeemer will present choral performances on Dec. 22. Photo by Norman Schimmel REDEEMER ANNOUNCES CHRISTMAS WORSHIP SERVICES RELIGION BRIEFS

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Beginning at 9:3 0 p.m., a joyous musical celebration of organ and brass quartet will welcome the congregation, the release con tinues. At 10 p.m., the choir of Redeemer will sing anthems and carols for 30 minutes, her alding the Midnight Mass, which is a High Solemn Mass (Rite I with incense) beginning at 10:30 p.m. Christmas Day Masses On Christmas Day, Dec. 25, Redeemer will offer Holy Communio n at 7:30 a.m., Choral Mass at 10 a.m. and a Mass in Spanish at 1 p.m. Complimentary parking will be available at the BMO Harris Bank parking garage on McAnsh Square on Christmas Eve beginning at 3 p.m. and continuing through 1 a.m. on Christmas Day morning. For more information about the Church of the Redeemer, visit or call 955-4263. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, preached during the Ordination to the Sacred Order of Priests of Charleston David Wilson, Jason Andrew Murbarger and David Stuart Bumsted, on Monday, Dec. 9, at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota. The Right Rev. Dabney Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, was FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY PREACHES AT ORDINATION the principal celebrant for the ordination, a news release says. Bumsted, who is from Orlando, was ordained by the Right Rev. Gregory Brewer, bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida. Wilson and Murbarger were ordained by the Right Rev. Daniel Hayden Martins, bishop of the Diocese of Springeld, IL, where Wilson spent time (From left) David Stuart Bumsted, Jason Andrew Murbarger and Charleston David Wilson were ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota on Dec. 9. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 105

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last spring as a candidate for Holy Orders, the release notes. Presenting for Wilson was the Right Rev. Edward L. Salmon Jr., president and dean of Nashotah House and the 13th bishop (retired) of the Diocese of South Carolina, the release adds. It was a great honor for our parish to host Lord Carey and the bishops as these three young men begin the work of their call ing as priests, said the Very Rev. Fredrick A. Robinson, rector of the Church of the Redeemer, in the release. Wilson will join Redeemer in January, assist ing Robinson in the areas of evangelism and parish development, the release continues. Bumsted joined Redeemer in the fall as the parish youth minister. Murbarger will con tinue his work with Trinity Episcopal Church (From left) The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton; the Right Rev. Gregory Brewer, bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida; the Right Rev. Daniel Hayden Martins; and the Right Rev. Dabney Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, who was the principal celebrant, were all participants in the Ordination. Contributed photo in Vero Bea ch, where he is also the chaplain at Saint Edwards School, the release notes. Carey traveled from England to Sarasota the previous week to preach at the church over the weekend and to talk with parishioners in smaller groups, the release says. In 1991, Carey became the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, serving 70 million Anglicans around the world. He retired in 2002 and was made a life peer as Lord Carey of Clifton. He is the chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire and president of the London School of Theology, the release adds. He also serves on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and is a co-chairman of the Council of 100. The Church of the Redeemer is located at 222 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. For more information, visit or call 9 55-42 63. Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 106

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Temple Emanu-El teenagers enjoyed a Challah-Day on Dec. 15 as they gathered to bake challah the specially prepared bread traditionally eaten on the Jewish Sabbath with Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman. After an interactive and lively session of measuring, pouring, mixing and kneading, par ticipants met with Rabbi Brenner Glickman to learn about Shabbat and explore what a day of rest and holiness means to teenagers today, a news release explains. The teens then returned to the kitchen and their nowrisen loaves of dough to braid the challah and take home a fresh challah to share with their families. For more information about learning to bake challah at Temple Emanu-El, call 379-1997. % TEMPLE EMANU-EL TEENS ENJOY CHALLAH-DAY Temple Emanu-El teens Rachel Towe and Josh Yunis show off their braided challah. Contributed photo Temple Emanu-El teens Allison Kramer and Rachel Towe kneaded their challah dough. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 107

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Temple Emanu-El teens Hunter McDowall and Alena Barwick shaped their dough into a ball. Contributed photo % Sarasota News Leader December 20, 2013 Page 108

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20+ DECEMBER Selby Gardens presents Lights in Bloom Dec. 20-23 and 27-30, 6 to 9 p.m., 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Admission: $14 for mem bers/$17 for others. Information: 366-5731 or 20+ 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 20+ DECEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Sculpture: Metal, Marble & More Through Dec. 30; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 20+ DECEMBER FST presents Monty Pythons Spamalot Through Jan. 19; times vary; Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $18 to 49. Information: 366-9000 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 02+ JANUARY Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents The Whipping Man Jan. 2 to Feb. 2; times vary; 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 3661505 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 20, 2013 Page 109

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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 ITS CHRISTMASTIME IN THE CITY SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS New York City