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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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 15 December 27, 2013 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida Inside PUSHING BACK THE DELIVERY DATE DUE PROCESS DENIED UPGRADING A POPULAR PLACE




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


I think it is safe to say most of us on staff gured this would be an issue pretty much devoid of news, preparing it, as we were, on an earlier holiday deadline. That is all the more reason I am pleased to point out we do indeed have some interesting news this week. First, a couple of developments have occurred relative to the Lido Beach Renourishment Project, one involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and one involving the only branded hotel that serves Siesta Key. Then Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker learned about an 88-year-old Sarasota resident who is challenging a guardianship ruling designating her as incapacitated. The fact that she is a Ho locaust survivor makes this all the more heart-tugging. County Editor Roger Drouin went out late last week with the president and conservation chair man of Sarasota Audubon to learn the latest not only about the many species of birds that visit the Celery Fields but also about the nature cen ter the Audubon chapter has planned. And, not to be outdone, City Editor Stan Zim merman offers an analysis as only he can about the work of the committee charged with rec ommending whether the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency should be extended past 2016. Stan also put in quite a bit of time on stories about a vast array of lighter city happenings to cap off the year. And as we close out 2013, we want to wish all of you the very best for 2014. See you next year! Editor and Publisher WELCOME


PUSHING BACK THE DELIVERY DATE DUE PROCESS DENIED NEWS & COMMENTARY PUSHING BACK THE DELIVERY DATE 8 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now says its analysis of the Lido Renourishment Project will need an extra month to complete, resulting in a delayed County Commission discussion of the issues Rachel Brown Hackney DUE PROCESS DENIED 18 Sarasota Holocaust survivor ghts incapacity ruling Cooper Levey-Baker UPGRADING A POPULAR PLACE 22 The Celery Fields may be for the birds, but public restrooms and a nature center will improve the preserve for residents and tourists Roger Drouin CONTINUING TO LEAD THE WAY 29 Tourist Development Tax revenue is higher again for the rst month of the new scal year, and business owners project a strong season ahead Rachel Brown Hackney CAN THEY SELL THE PLAN? 35 Analysis: Down to the wire, the committee members working on recommendations for the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency prove less than ambitious Stan Zimmerman GREEN-LIGHTING GIDGETS RENTERS 41 With a Planning Commission recommendation for approval, it will be up to the County Commission to decide on three new transient units in Siesta Village Rachel Brown Hackney G.WIZ, WHAT A LOSS 47 The building of the future is a thing of the past unless the city can nd another lessee Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: A Silver Lining Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: Framing Fronds Norman Schimmel


NEWS BRIEFS HANGING UP THE VEST THINKING OF MABLE 54 A fountain ows anew in remembrance of a leading lady of the city Stan Zimmerman A NEW BOAT 58 The Sarasota Police Department gets a Yellown for its marine patrol Stan Zimmerman HOLIDAY LUSTER 61 The News Leader offers a photo album of the sights of the season Staff Reports NEWS BRIEFS 70 SARASOTA LEISURE HANGING UP THE VEST 82 A crossing guard looks back at 41 years on the corner Cooper Levey-Baker SOME ENCHANTED EVENING 86 Selby Gardens welcomes visitors to stroll through its Lights in Bloom Staff Reports SIESTA SEEN 91 The Condo Council announces its Christmas Lighting Contest winners for 2013; and the Siesta Resorts temporary injunction hearing is cancelled Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 102 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 115 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 116 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article HAPPY HOLIIDAYS FROM SNL DONT MISS THE SNL YEAR IN REVIEW ISSUE NEXT WEEK!


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An aerial image shows Big Pass between Lido Key (to the north) and Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps PUSHING BACK THE DELIVERY DATE I would like there to be a peer review thats completely independent, done by people that have no dog in this [hunt] especially someone who doesnt do dredging and beach renourishment for a living. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County NEWS & COMMENTARY


The U.S. Army Corp s of Engineers has pushed back the timeline for delivery of its comprehensive analysis of the Lido Beach Renourishment Project including potential impacts related to the dredging of Big Pass, Sarasota City and County staff learned last week. While the project manager, Milan A. Mora, told attendees of the Dec. 5 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting that the plan was expected to be nis hed in late January or early February, City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw told The Sarasota News Leader that Army Corps representatives notied her on Dec. 17 that it would be late February or early March when everything was ready for release. DavisShaw has promised the documents all will be available to the public. As a result of the Corps announcement, county staff has postponed the date of a The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects no signicant change in the navigable depths of Big Pass if the channel is dredged. Members of the areas Boaters Coalition say depths shown in the above graphics are incorrect, which bodes poorly for the completed analysis. Image courtesy City of Sarasota THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS NOW SAYS ITS ANALYSIS OF THE LIDO RENOURISHMENT PROJECT WILL NEED AN EXTRA MONTH TO COMPLETE, RESULTING IN A DELAYED COUNTY COMMISSION DISCUSSION OF THE ISSUES By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 9


County Commis sion discussion of the project from Jan. 28 to March 18. In the meanwhile, the News Leader has learned that the owners of the Best Western Plus Siesta Key hotel have decided to retain a Tampa attorney to advise them on how they should respond as project details continue to unfold. Nobodys suing anybody, Maria Bankemper, general manager and co-owner of the hotel emphasized to the News Leader on Dec. 20. The Best Western is the only branded hotel in the vicinity of Siesta Key, Bankemper pointed out, and its our livelihood here. T hat was why her family wanted solid advice going for ward, she said. Where [hiring the attorney is] going to take us at this point, I dont know. THE CORPS DELAY Asked about the reason for the delay in the Army Corps timeline, DavisShaw told the News Leader that project team members probably want to check with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to make sure they have everything its staff will want to review, as DEP considers whether to grant the necessary state permit for the renourishment. It is not uncommon to see a ock of sea birds gathered in a group on the broad expanse of Siesta Public Beach. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 10


In an intervie w with the News Leader Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, said, I dont know that DEP is going to voice an opinion before they have all [of the Army Corps] documents when told about DavisShaws speculation. Additionally, DavisShaw noted that the pri mary Army Corps engineer working on the modeling for the study was involved in a seri ous accident and was out of work for a while. Even b efore DavisShaw learned about the latest delay, Amy Meese, director of the countys Natural Resources Department, had proposed to Assistant County Administrator Lee Ann Lowery that the County Commission push back its discussion of the Lido project until Feb. 19. That suggestion came from Commissioner Christine Robinson, who attended the SKA presentation. Meese wrote to Lowery, Com missioner Robinson, [county A graphic shows the Erosion Control Line in red and the proposed locations for three groins on southern Lido Key. The southernmost groin appears to be on Sarasota County property. The area on the Gulf of Mexico side of the line is owned by the state. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 11


Coastal Res ources Manager] Laird [Wreford] and I spoke briey at the end of the [SKA] meeting and all discussed that bringing the Board item forward on 1/28/14, as tentatively scheduled, would be absent the ndings of the [Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE)] report and the Commission would have incom plete information as a result. As such, we are requesting to postpone the [discussion until after] the ACOE report is issued and staff has the ability to incorporate its ndings into the discussion. Robinson was the board member who rst proposed a County Commission discussion of the project, after all the commissioners learned that one of the groins the Army Corps proposes for construction on south Lido Key would be on county land. Patterson quickly concurred, and the idea won unanimous approval. Im glad to see the Corps taking a step back, as everyone should, Robinson said in a tele phone interview on Dec. 20 when asked about the delay. FACETS OF THE ANALYSIS Wreford, the countys coastal resources man ager, told the News Leader last week that the delay was not surprising. This is a very, very important project. Estimated at a maximum cost of $22.7 mil lion, the initial renourishment would add 1.1 million cubic yards of sand to Lido Beach, This photo shows one stretch of Lido Key plagued by frequent erosion. The buildings pool deck is exposed to the water. Image courtesy of the City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 12


which the sta te has classied as a critically eroded beach. The three groins would be built on the southern end of the island to help retain much of that sand, although renourish ments would be needed every ve years over the 50-year-life of the project, Army Corps project engineers have explained. During the Dec. 5 SKA meeting, Mora the principal Corps spokesman on the team told the audience of about 100 people that insufcient sand exists in reasonable proxim ity to Lido Key to make the project possible. Therefore, the focus has been on dredging the ebb shoal of Big Pass, which separates Lido and Siesta keys. Big Pass never has been dredged, though it was considered the prime A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers graphic shows the primary borrow areas for sand to renourish Lido Beach. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Milan A. Mora, an engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is based in Jacksonville. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 13


source for 2.1 million c ubic yards of sand to renourish Venice beaches in the early 1990s. In response to that proposal, a 1994 scientic study was undertaken by D.G. Aubrey and Robert Dolan, who noted, Siesta Keys sta bility and low erosion rates are linked, both directly and indirectly, to the Big Sarasota Pass ebb shoals capacity to shelter the key from high wave and storm forces, as well as to the sand transport that occurs in conjunction with the shoal, the pass, and the key. If [pro posed] dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is carried out, this will modify the wave and storm protection and alter the sediment supply to the onshore beaches. At the time, Aubrey was president of his own consulting rm and a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dolan was a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. Wreford explained to the News Leader on Dec. 19 that the breadth of the Army Corps work for the current project analysis includes sci entic investigation of the potential impacts on navigation in Big Pass and on the Siesta shoreline, especially the islands beaches. In 2011, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University known interna tionally as Dr. Beach named Siesta Public Beach the No. 1 beach in the United States. The Army Corps also is analyzing potential impacts to Lido, including Ted Sperling Park which the county owns on the southern end of that island. The park is located at 2201 Ben Franklin Drive. Siesta Key took in more Tourist Development Tax revenue for the county in the 2013 scal year than any other location. Image courtesy Sarasota County Tax Collectors Ofce Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 14


The co untys position at this point, Wreford added, is Were simply open and reserv ing judgment until staff and the County Commission can review the Corps ndings. Once we have some of that nal information, well have a better idea of what questions to ask. ANALYZING THE ANALYSIS Personally, I want all the information we can get on this, so better to have [the Corps] analysis/report and then we have something we can get peer-reviewed, Patterson told the News Leader. She added, I would like there to be a peer review thats completely independent, done by people that have no dog in this [hunt] especially someone who doesnt do dredging and beach renourishment for a living. Siesta residents and the Boaters Coalition in Sarasota County also have asked for a peer review of the Corps work on the Lido proj ect. Mora and other Corps representatives have maintained their initial analysis has indicated the project would have minimal impacts on Siesta. Patterson told the News Leader Other than somebodys opinion, Id like to k now what thats based on. Patterson herself has described in public meetings how sand naturally drifts from north to south on the west coast of Florida, and S iesta residents have remarked over the past couple of years, especially, about how sand has accreted on the public beach. Mora tol d the SKA audience that dredging the ebb shoal of Big Pass would be returning sand to Lido that came from Lido. Patterson is concerned about the groins, too, she said, noting they would likely be exposed on Lido beach between the ve-year renourishments Mora has outlined. Mora has maintained in presentations that sufcient sand will be placed on Lido Beach in the ini tial renourishment to keep the structures covered. Maria Bankemper is co-owner of the Best Western Plus Siesta Key hotel. File photo They need to go find sand someplace else. Maria Bankemper Co-Owner and General Manager Best Western Plus Siesta Key Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 15


Nonetheless, Patterson pointed out, she is a city resident who served on the City Commission before she was elected to the rst of her four terms on the county board. Lido is one of the as sets that Sarasota County has, she stressed, and not just in economic terms. I dont take this lightly at all. Weve got all kinds of important assets to protect here. Although the economic factors are just part of the focus, a study undertaken for Visit Sarasota County the countys tourism agency shows visitors to Lido Key account for about $155 million every year in the coun tys economy. Back at the Best Western Plus Siesta Key, Bankemper points to the financial impact tourism on Siesta has on the county. The nal 2013 scal year report on Tourist Development Tax revenue collections for Sarasota County showed Siesta Key came out on top for the multiple locations tracked, accounting for 32.17 percent of the total: $4,769,652.40, as of Oct. 31. The city of Sarasota in which Lido Key is located was in second place, with 30.37 percent, or $4,503,911.68. Ref erring to the proposal in the 1990s to dredge Big Pass, Bankemper said, I think its outrageous that we are now sitting here 15 years later with the same idea. [Siesta] obvi ously [is] a jewel for this county. The public beach, she pointed out, with its 99.9-percent quartz sand, is unlike most beaches anywhere else. I dont think anyone argues the fact that Lido needs renourishment, she stressed. However, Big Pass is the way it is because of Mother Nature, and it hasnt been touched. Its sand very well could have originated in a lot of other places, including Lido, she said. Nonetheless, the Army Corps cannot guaran tee Big Pass will be the same if it is dredged, she pointed out. She takes comfort in the fact that Patterson has called for a completely independent peer review of the Army Corps analysis. We have time to be able to make sure that this, hope fully, is vetted correctly. The real solution to Siestas concerns, Bankemper added, seems to lie in an under taking the Army Corps project team members have discounted: They need to go nd sand somepl ace else. % Neal Schafers ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit My interest in photography reminded me about how my smile made me unhappy. A childhood accident caused my permanent teeth to come in askew. I had seen how Dr. Koval restored the smile of a friends father. With Dr. Koval, we discovered I also had cracked fillings and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. I am 100% satisfied with Dr. Kovals meticulous work and sincere care to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.Christine Koval, D.M.D.Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 16


Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Neal Schafers My interest in photography reminded me about how my former smile made me uncomfortable to have my own picture taken. A childhood accident resulted in lost teeth. When my permanent teeth came in they were askew and very small in proportion to my smile. I had seen how Dr. Koval perfectly restored the smile of my friends father. Upon my own exam with Dr. Koval, we discovered that I also had worn and cracked fillings, and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. Dr. Koval sincerely cares about her patients and their smiles. I am 100% satisfied with her meticulous work to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit Christine Koval, D.M.D. Restorative, Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry General Dentistry 2477 Stickney Point Road, Suite 216A Sarasota, FL 941.923.5406


Sarasota resident and 88-year-old Holocaust survivor Marie Winkelman is challenging a guardianship ruling designating her as inca pacitated, a ruling one activist working hard to publicize the case calls all too common. According to an inter view she gave in her Bird Key home in 1987, Winkelman was born in Wocawek, a town in northern Poland, to what she called a well-off if not rich family. She grew up in an era of vicious anti-Semitism, escaped the Warsaw ghetto and lost her entire family in the Holocaust. At 19, at the end of World War II, she was utterly alone, with no family, not one person, she told her interviewer. The conversation was recorded as part of an effort by the SarasotaManatee chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women to document local Holocaust experi ences. Winkelman later expanded on Marie Winkelman in her home. Photo courtesy of Beverly Newman SARASOTA HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR FIGHTS INCAPACITY RULING DUE PROCESS DENIED Theres a rush to judgment against elders. Beverly Newman Director Al Katz Center for Holocaust Survivors & Jewish Learning By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


her recollection in a memoir, Keeping a Promise: To Tell My Story of Survival in Warsaw During World War II which she self-published. Beverly Newman, the director of the Al Katz Center for Holocaust Survivors & Jewish Learning, calls Winkelman brilliant, one of the most vivacious elders shes met which, for Newman, makes a court ruling judging Winkelman incapacitated all the more distressing. In July, Robert Szychowski, who is married to a daughter of Winkelmans second hus band, asked a Sarasota court to appoint what is known as an Emergency Temporary Guar dian to Winkelman. Guardians are gen erally appointed to handle another persons personal, nancial, health or property mat ters, if that person becomes unable to do so. In one court ling, Newman charged that Szychowski did so only to become the sole Trustee of her multi-million dollar Trust. (Szychowski did not respond to a Sarasota News Leader voicemail.) In December, the court held a nal incapacity hearing, appointing a guardian and effectively closing the case. In 30 minutes, Marie went from someone who was capacitated to some one who had many of her rights taken away, says Newman, who was alerted to the case in August by a friend of Winkelman. Winkelman shows a visitor some of her paintings. Photo courtesy of Beverly Newman Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 19


But despite t he December ruling, the ght didnt end there. According to documents led afterward, Winkelman never saw the medi ated settlement the attorneys had reached, nor was she notied in advance of the hearing at which that settlement was approved. Marie Winkelman has never testied under oath; presented evidence; called witnesses; or been given an option by her attorney to have the hearing open or closed, wrote attorney Audrey Bear, appointed to repre sent Winkelman after the case was originally decided. Her attorney chose to close hear ings, did not present numerous witnesses whom Ms. Winkelman wanted to testify on her behalf, and never presented any evidence to the court of her capacity. Bears ling argued that Winkelman had been denied due process, and it asked the court to vacate its December incapacity ruling. The case has since been reopened. Bear also challenged the validity of an exam ination of Winkelman performed by a Dr. Rivera, who arrived at Winkelmans home unannounced and never stated the purpose for his visit. Since Riveras report was made without consent, it should be stricken from the record, Bear argued, calling for a new round of evaluations. (Bear did not respond to a Sarasota News Leader message.) Newman says o ne particularly galling docu ment stands out. Barry Spivey, a lawyer with Spivey & Fallon P.A., wrote to the judge in the case, Deno Economou, asking him to deny Winkelman a copy of the audio transcript of a November hearing, which she had requested. This is a very slippery slope, says Newman, when we can take away a persons civil rights without due process. Newman calls Winkelmans case monumen tal, but its also not entirely atypical. The Al Katz Center named for Newmans father, who was placed into a guardianship against Newmans will is monitoring a handful of cases at any given time. Theres a rush to judgment against elders. % The cover of Winkelmans memoir, Keeping a Promise: To Tell My Story of Survival in Warsaw During World War II. Photo courtesy of Beverly Newman Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 20


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The Celery Fields preserve sets aside 440 acres of wetlands and natural habitat for passive recreation. Construction of a Nature Center is slated to begin in June 2014. Image courtesy Sarasota Audubon UPGRADING A POPULAR PLACE It will be a community asset. Jeanne Dubi President Sarasota Audubon Society


A loggerhead shrike perched momentarily in a small oak tree at the Celery Fields, not far from where Wade Matthews, conservation chairman of the Sarasota Audubon Society, stood. Its a songbird but has a hooked beak like a hawk, but not as long, noted Matthews. The shrike which preys on vertebrates, mostly dragonies is a year-round resident of th e Celery Fields. It is just one of the 217 species of breeding and migratory birds that have been spotted at the 440-acre preserve. In Florida, there are about 500 recorded bird species. The only other preserve in Sarasota County that has close to that number of avian species is the much larger Myakka River State Park, said S arasota Audubon President Jeanne Dubi. From dry to wet: This July 1930 photo was taken where the Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility stands now. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE CELERY FIELDS MAY BE FOR THE BIRDS, BUT PUBLIC RESTROOMS AND A NATURE CENTER WILL IMPROVE THE PRESERVE FOR RESIDENTS AND TOURISTS By Roger Drouin County Editor Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 23


The Celery Fields, which was historically agricultural land until Sarasota County pur chased it in 1995, is getting two new additions that will improve it for residents and tourists alike. In the rst project, the county is construct ing permanent restrooms and parking spaces. That work began Nov. 13, with completion estimated for spring 2014. Adjacent to the restrooms and parking area, the Sarasota Audubon chapter will be build ing a $1 million nature center. The society will operate the facility and fund its upkeep through donations. The group will lease the land from the county for $10 per year. So far, Sarasota Audubon has raised 70 percent of the total needed to build the center. Co nstruction is slated to start in June 2014 and take six to eight months, Dubi said. Nature center visitors will use the public restrooms in the county structure. AN EXCITING PROJECT The center has been designed to house edu cational sessions and receptions. When it is not in use for those programs, it will feature exhibits such as a history of the Celery Fields named after one of the primary crops grown on the land when it was farmed. Outside, the education and visitor center will feature a patio and a native-plant garden designed by students in an environmen tal science class taught by Ringling College Professor Tim Rumage. Sandhill cranes stroll through the water. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 24


The Sarasota Audubon Society has collected 70 percent of the funds needed to build the Nature Center. Wade Matthews (right) is the conservation chairman for the local Audubon, while Jeanne Dubi is the president. Photo by Roger Drouin A great blue heron wades in the area of the preserve the county restored to wetlands in 2011 during a $15 million project. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 25


It s really an exciting project, Dubi noted of the center. It will be a community asset. Solar panels will power the facility, and an 8-foot overhang will help keep the building cooler on hot days. Dubi said volunteers will be on hand at the center daily to direct tourists to hotels or tell them about other eco-tourism activities in the county, such as kayaking. Birdwatching and wildlife viewing is a big source of tourism dollars in Sarasota County, Matthews pointed out. Birdwatching generates millions in annual economic impact for Sarasota County, according to the Audubon chapter. The nature center is expected to bolster those local eco-tourism initiatives. A palm warbler perches on one of the palms county staff recently planted on the northern half of the Celery Fields preserve. Photo by Roger Drouin Wade Matthews, conservation chairman of the Sarasota Audubon Society, shows the boundary of the Nature Center to be constructed at the Celery Fields. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 26


Bi rdwatching a nd other eco-tourism activities are popular throughout the state, attracting ocks of visitors just as some migratory birds themselves come south. Tourists in pur suit of such recreation in Sarasota County spent more dollars than visiting golfers did last year, Dubi said, referencing a local tour ism report. Once the local Audubon chapters endow ment grows, Dubi hopes to hire an executive director to run the nature center. The orga nization is still accepting donations that will go toward the entire project: www.sarasota The center will not be just for tourists; it will be a facility for local residents and an integral part of the Audubon chapters Celery Fields Explorer program, which brought more than 1,100 Sarasota students to the Celery Fields last year. The program is funded jointly by Sarasota Audubon and the Gulfcoast Community Foundation. BUFFER PLANS Along with planning for the center, Audubon leadership has been involved in preliminary discussions between Sarasota County and Benderson Development Co., which proposes to build an industrial project on 42 coun ty-owned acres one mile north of the nature facility. According to Wade, the goal is for Sarasota Audubon to help ensure the 200,000-squarefoot development dovetails as well as possible with the preserve space to its south. At a special meeting on Nov. 26, the county commissioners directed Benderson to include specications for lighting and a buffer that would be appropriate in consideration of the nearby environmental area. Wade would ha ve preferred a natural history museum on the county-owned land, but he said it is encouraging that the local Audubon group was asked to participate in the planning phase of the development. One of the possible discussion items in that process is the poten tial implementation of a linear trail between Bendersons industrial/business complex and the Celery Fields. Once the Benderson project has been com pleted, along with other developments such as the Fruitville Initiative (see the related story in this issue), the Celery Fields will become even more of a gem in a growing industrial and commercial part of the county, Dubi pointed out. The county in October took some other steps to enhance the preserve. It hired a contractor to plant pine trees and native shrubs on the Celery Fields hill the landmark visible to Fruitville Road motorists. Already, palm war blers are making the habitat their home. % One of two boardwalks at the Celery Fields, this structure offers visitors vistas of the marsh. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 27


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In the six years since Libbys Caf + Bar opened in Southside Village, business has continued to build, says Joe Seidensticker, chief operating ofcer and general manager. Given the number of other restaurants that have opened and become well established in that same period, he adds, one big key to Libbys success has to be tourism. Acting on the basis of that continued growth, the Seidensticker family members and their partners opened not only another restaurant but also a banquet/meeting facility in April in the ground level of the Palm Avenue parking garage. It looks like its going to shape up to be a really good season, Seidensticker says of the new restaurant, Louies Modern. At Libbys he notes, numbers have been really strong this fall, a trend the Seidenstickers have marked since summer. Over on Siesta Key, businessman Chris Brown points out, The season seems to be getting longer. Brown adds, We had a terrif i c August and The full moon shines down on The Beach Club and The Lobster Pot in Siesta Village on Dec. 18. Photo by Rachel Hackney TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX REVENUE IS HIGHER AGAIN FOR THE FIRST MONTH OF THE NEW FISCAL YEAR, AND BUSINESS OWNERS PROJECT A STRONG SEASON AHEAD CONTINUING TO LEAD THE WAY I think itll be a very strong season for Sarasota. Joe Seidensticker Chief Operating Ofcer & General Manager Libbys and Louies Modern By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


actually a pretty darn good September. [The season is] really stretching out. Events such as the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition in November have drawn more and more visi tors to the area during what traditionally was a slower part of year, he points out. Its ben etting a lot of people. Although the percentages of growth vary among his Siesta Village properties The Hub Baja Grill, The Cottage and The Beach Club Brown says he has seen steady increases with each. The weather has been very, very helpful, he adds with a chuckle, referring to balmy temperatures in Sarasota compared to frigid conditions in many other sections of the country. Restaurateurs are not the only ones notic ing growth. Sheila Lewis, co-owner of Siesta Sports Rentals on south Siesta Key, says that while the companys numbers right now are about the same as they were during the same period of 2012, rentals for the holidays are looking stronger. People are obviously unhappy with the cold weather and they are on their way down. Additionally, she points out, having checked last week with representatives of a number of condominium complexes on the island, she learned the key should be quite busy with tourists over Christmas and New Years. Early signs are that season itself will be very busy, too, she notes. One person emailed her on Dec. 19 to reserve a scooter car for three weeks in April. At the Best Western Plus Siesta Key, General Manager and Co-Owner Maria Bankemper tells The Sarasota News Leader she thought the hotels superior numbers in 2013 could not be matched, but Im elated that we are pacing much better than in previous years for the rst quarter of 2014, in terms of reservations. She also has heard from rental properties on Siesta that bookings are looking good. Libbys Caf + Bar in Southside Village has continued to see steady growth. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 30


Having Easter in April instead of March as it was this year, she points out [is] going to give us a much longer season. She is just keeping her ngers crossed, she adds, that a cold snap will not hit, as it did in the early part of this year, and make some of those tourists change their minds about head ing to Florida. I think itll be a very strong season for Sarasota, Seidensticker says. The comments voiced by Seidensticker, Brown, Lewis and Bankemper are supported by the rst report on Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue for the scal year that began Oct. 1. According to the numbers released by the Sarasota County Tax Collectors Ofce, the county brought in $45,029.27 more in TDT revenue during October this year than in October 2012. (Those are the latest gures available.) And, as Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, has pointed out, the 2013 scal year was a record-breaker in TDT revenue collections. During a presentation prepared last month for the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council (TDC), Haley and her staff provided several statistics to show how tourism con tinues to boom in the county. Among them were the following: The total number of visitors rose to 929,000 for the 2013 scal year, up 5.7 percent over 2012. The total for European tourists in FY 2013 was 103,000, up 10 percent over the FY 2012 mark. A county map shows all the active site and development projects in South County as of this month. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 31


Graphs released by the Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department compare the numbers of permits issued for residential and commercial projects from the 2010 scal year through November of this year. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 32


Visitor sp e nding was also up 10 percent year-over-year, at $757 million. Sports tourism had an economic impact of $71 million in FY 2013, compared to $43 million the previous year. Room nights generated by sports tourism reached the 67,000 mark, up from 52,000 in FY 2012. MORE POSITIVE NEWS Adding further emphasis to the impact of tour ism, the latest gures from Sarasota Countys Ofce of Financial Management (OFM) show gross hotel and motel sales for October 2013 were up 20.1 percent over the number for October 2012, at about $17,510,000. Yet, tourism is not the only bright spot on the county economic front. The OFM report shows the number of permit applications for singl efam ily homes was up 29.2 percent in November compared to the same month in 2012. Moreover, the value of construction was 15.4 percent higher at approximately $10,664,000. The gross retail sales gure for October 2013 was up 4.6 percent over that of October 2012, for a total of about $978,930,000. Data from the Sarasota Association of Realtors showed the average days a property stayed on the market in October 2013 was lower yearover-year: 90 compared to 105, though the number of house and condominium sales was down 8.4 percent in October compared to the same month in 2012: 760 units this October versus 830 in October 2012. Back on the positive side: The median price was 13.7 percent higher at $178,187 in October this ye ar co mpared to October 2012. % 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 27, 2013 Page 33


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It has been a bumpy ride for the airplane called the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency Extension Study Committee. In the cargo compartment is a delicate half-billion-dollar package of tightly interconnected public policies. As the plane makes the final approach to its destinations the Sarasota City and County Commission daises there has been a mutiny by the crew and nobody wants to do any more work. Wh en the pilot Committee Chairman Andy Dorr asked for volunteers to draft the nal report, not a single member stepped forward to help nish the task. Instead, Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown rushed to the con trols to ke ep the ship on the glide path. It is absolu tely crucial to the citys future that the payload gets deliv ered and accepted by the two elected bod ies. The failure of the committee members to show any willing ness to comp lete their With no blight or slums visible in downtown Sarasota even from a rooftop the City and County commissions will have to decide whether to extend the life of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANALYSIS: DOWN TO THE WIRE, THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS WORKING ON RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE DOWNTOWN SARASOTA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY PROVE LESS THAN AMBITIOUS CAN THEY SELL THE PLAN? I dont think the ordinance [establishing the committee] called for a written report. Chris Gallagher Member Downtown Sarasota CRA Extension Study Committee By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


mission bodes poorly for the nal outcome of their ight. THE STAKES The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is a nancial investment scheme. It moves property tax revenue produced by a dened area out of city and county coffers into the CRAs account. In 1986, the City and County commissions agreed to freeze their property tax revenue level in a specic sec tion of downtown Sarasota. For 30 years, the revenue that came in above the 1986 base level accrued to the Downtown Sarasota CRA to ght slum and blight in that same section of the city. The deal expires in 2016. Earlier this, year the City and County commissions appointe d a 10-person committee the Downtown Sarasota CRA Extension Study Committee to come back in January with recom mendations on whether the CRA should be extended and, if so, how it should operate in the future. When the ad hoc committee opened up the CRA for examination, a few worms crawled out. Instead of using CRA money for projects to ght slum and blight, the city was using an ever-increasing fraction of the revenue to augment city nances, paying police salaries, for example. The use of CRA funds for oper ations instead of investment rankled several committee members. After a couple of months of meetings, then-Chairman David Merrill was asked to resign by one county commissioner because Pineapple Avenue businesses are included within the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency boundaries. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 36


Merrill was w orking to develop a model CRA ordinance that could be used in other places in the county. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta suggested Merrill resign, and no other commissioner rose to Merrills defense because the county does not want any more diversion of its property taxes into CRAs. Merrill was replaced by Andy Dorr, and the entire committee acted chastened, tamping down its vision for the CRAs future. Over subsequent months, the members agreed to recommend extending the CRA for another 30 years, with continued use of 1986 as the base year. One member calculated that since 1986, the CRA has raised nearly $100 million. And in the next 30 years, it would bring in more than $500 million. Sweeping all other factors aside, that is what is at stake an estimated $528 million. That is the cargo for our figurative airplane. When the city and county commissioners eventually meet to consider writing another 30-year agreement, that will be the center of attention. THE FINAL DETAILS Other details were decided at the committees Dec. 10 meeting, including a recommendation stripping the City Commissions sole and abso lute authority to govern how the CRA money is spent. Instead, the committee decided to establish a new governing structure with two city commissioners, two county commission ers and three city citizens selected by the City Commission. Andy Dorr is the extension committee chairman. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 37


It then t ossed a sop to the County Commission, agreeing to give the county an undetermined percentage of the CRA funding, a skim on the $500 million. And it kicked two decisions down the road. Should the CRAs dened area be expanded, perhaps to the North Tamiami Trail? Establish another committee to consider that, said the current committee. And what are the allow able uses of CRA money? That decision was deferred to the new CRA governing board, assuming the CRA is extended. On Dec. 18, the committee met to clear up odds and ends, focusing on new rules and recommendations that came up during the months of discussion. But rst it had to wait for enough members to show up to create a quorum. This was not an auspicious start to the session. Most of the new rules and recommenda tions were kicked as well. Should the new CRA have its own lawyer? Let its governing board decide. Should there be a new strate gic action plan, or should the current one be updated? The decision was deferred. Should the CRA hire its own staff? Again, deferred. Its own management? Again, deferred. Should the nal report of the committee rec ommend one or two really big projects to pursue (for example, a downtown cultural district)? By a 7-0 vote, the answer was No. Should the new CRA governing board have an advisory board to help it? Right now there are two advisory boards one for the Downtown CRA and one for the citys Newtown CRA. Unanimously, the ad hoc committee members said, Ye s. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown has been the city liaison to the committee considering the extension of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 38


Shoul d the tw o CRA master plans Downtown and Newtown be merged? That decision was deferred because legal issues are involved. THE FINAL REPORT When it came time to consider crafting a nal report, the ad hoc committee was uncharac teristically silent. Member Chris Gallagher recalled setting out a framework for one; he read from his notes of the Nov. 12 meeting. There were six chapters. The first was a background on CRAs in general and ours and the impacts of our CRA, he said. Then what weve done in our research and meetings. No. 3 is the decision tree, with its pros and cons identied. Four, the results of the decision tree and our reco mmendations. Five, what are the big opportunities in front of us. And six, specic recommendations for the ulti mate city-county agreement. I think the next report could be a PowerPoint slide show, said member Michael Beaumier. I dont think the ordinance [establishing the committee] called for a written report, noted Gallagher. No, just a final report, said Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown. So at the next meeting, you present it, replied Gallagher. After ruining any Christmas holiday Brown might have anticipated, the committee mem bers agreed to meet again on Jan. 14 and 29, and then they adjourned. % 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 27, 2013 Page 39


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Work was well under way at Gidgets Coastal Provisions in early December. Photo by Rachel Hackney GREEN-LIGHTING GIDGETS RENTERS Quite honestly, we have a lot of tourists, outside visitors, that come and enjoy themselves on Siesta Key, so I think its going to be quite popular, to be right there where the action is, right between the Siesta Key Oyster Bar and the Daiquiri Deck. Mark Smith Architect Siesta Key


With two m embers voicing their commen dation of the project, the Sarasota County Planning Commission on Dec. 19 voted unanimously to recommend that the County Commission approve a special exception for the creation of three transient units above Gidgets Coastal Provisions, a retail shop under construction in Siesta Village. The issue tentatively is scheduled to come before the County Commission on Jan. 28, Mark Loveridge, a project manager in the countys Planning and Development Services Department, told The Sarasota News Leader on Dec. 23. Mark Smith of Smith Architects on Siesta Key the architect for the project explained to the Planning Commission that the new shop, which will feature the Margaritaville Apparel line, and the rooms for rent represent a less intense use of the property than a restaurant or bar. The site, 5242 Ocean Blvd., previously was occupied by Napolis Restaurant. Looks like a great place, said Planning Commission member Michael A. Moran after On Oct. 1, three original walls from Napolis Restaurant were visible on the site where Gidgets Coastal Provisions will stand. Photo by Rachel Hackney WITH A PLANNING COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION FOR APPROVAL, IT WILL BE UP TO THE COUNTY COMMISSION TO DECIDE ON THREE NEW TRANSIENT UNITS IN SIESTA VILLAGE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 42


making the motion to recommend approval of the request. I, too, think its going to be an improvement to Siesta Key, added Vice Chairman Robert Morris after seconding the motion. I grew up on Siesta Key. Its a lot different than it was when I was a kid, thats for sure, he pointed out. Some ways good; some ways not so good. D uring his presentation to the board, Smith explained that Jay Lancer and Jim Syprett, owners of the parcels that include the Siesta Key Oyster Bar on the north and the Daiquiri Deck to the south, felt it would be better for the Village if we had retail space where [Napolis stood]. However, Smith pointed out, Syprett and La ncer needed the income from lease of the A site plan shows details about the design of Gidgets Coastal Provisions. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 43


shop and t he transient units to make the proj ect worthwhile. Otherwise, he said, they will put a restaurant back in According to his understanding of the county zoning rules governing Siesta Village parking, Smith noted, Syprett and Lancer would have a year from the time Napolis closed which was in July to open another restaurant in that space and still be able to utilize the park ing plan Napolis had. After that 12-month period ends, he continued, the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) zoning regulations would make it necessary for a restaurant on the site to have 23 spaces. Napolis had eight. An existing restaurant that has grandfa thered parking is like gold in Siesta Village, Smith told the commissioners. To comply with the SKOD stipulation regard ing parking acc ommodations for new retail space, Smith said, nine spaces are necessary. By adding a bike rack and scooter parking to the site plan, he noted, 10 spaces have been created. With county Project Manager Loveridge hav ing pointed out that the Siesta Key Oyster Bar is on the northern half of the parcel where Gidgets is being constructed, Commissioner Jack Bispham asked Smith, Why would any body want to sleep next to a noisy place? With a laugh, Smith replied, The clien tele would know what theyre getting into, for lack of a better term. Smith continued, Quite honestly, we have a lot of tourists, out side visitors, that come and enjoy themselves on Siesta Key, so I think its going to be quite popular, to be right there where the action is, right between the Siesta Key Oyster Bar and the Daiquiri Deck. Gilligans [Island Bar and Grill] is right acros s the street. An aerial view shows the parcel with Gidgets and Siesta Key Oyster Bar (outlined in yellow) in Siesta Village. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 44


The Beach Club and The Hub Baja Grill also are in close proximity to the site, he noted. Moreover, a person staying in one of the transient apartments would have no fear of drunk driving, Smith pointed out. Additionally, the new building will help block the noise going south to the Terrace East condominium, which will help, Smith said. Also, what better way to control noise than for the landlord to have tenants above them that could complain about noise. If more of the Village restaurants had upperlevel rental units, he noted, Thered be some self-policing going on. DESIGN FEATURES In response to a question from Commissioner Terry Richardson, Sm ith said a person could stay up to 30 days in one of the units, accord ing to county zoning regulations. Smith also explained that a commercial ele vator and a staircase would provide access to the upper level for tenants, with keyed access. Each of the three units would have exterior doors opening onto a hallway, he added. Because of the tenants desire to get the retail shop under way as soon as possible, Smith continued, he sought county approval for that construction, with the stipulation that the second oor would be designated for stor age at the outset. Its not like we started the building and said, Oops, we needed to get a special exception for the transient accommo dations, he told the Planning Commission. Brian and Trudy Wigelsworth will operate Gidgets. Wigelsworth, a master sand sculptor Napolis Restaurant specialized in pizza and Italian dishes. File photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 45


who founded the Siest a Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition, told The Sarasota News Leader in July that Trudy has more than 20 years of retail experience, most recently as manager of Blvd. Beachwear in Siesta Village. They expect Gidgets to be open by mid-January, Wigelsworth said in November. If the special exception request ultimately is turned down, Smith pointed out, the second oor could continue to be used for storage. Smith further explained that he designed the building to be compliant with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ood control regulations through ood-proof construction, so the rst oor did not have to be elevated about 7 feet. The foundation has a 32-inch concrete slab, and ood panels have been installed at a height of 1 foot above base ood elevation for all the ground oor windows and doors. The combination of that slab and the ood panels should enable the ground oor to resist the hydrostatic pressure of a storm event, he pointed out. Its really neat technology, Smith added. He incorporated those design features, he noted, because people need to be able to look into shops from the sidewalk level. An ele vated entry kills retail, he said. [Shoppers] just wont come see you. The total area of the parcel with the Siesta Key Oyster Bar and Gidgets plus park ing spaces in the rear of Gidgets is 10,294 square feet, according to the special excep tion application. The ground oor of Gidgets will comprise 1,742 square feet, with 1,560 square feet on t he upper oor. % Purchase a full-page, advertising twelve pack between now and January 31st, 2013 and receive four of these fantastic SNL 16oz Tervis Tumblers. Show your support for e Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida around the house, around the oce, wherever you go with these locally manufactured, high-quality insulated tumblers. or (941) 227-1080 Advertisers must meet all terms and conditions of sale for the 12-pack advertising package. Limit of one set of four tumblers per advertiser. Offer is valid while supplies last. Tervis is a registered trademark of Tervis Tumbler Company. The Sarasota News Leader is not afliated with Tervis Tumbler Company. A Very Special Oer For Advertisers Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 46


Use your imagination. What if the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall really is an alien space ship? And what if one day earlier this year, it beamed an abduction ray into its nearby neigh bor the Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone (also known by its acronym, G.WIZ) and kidnapped all the people inside. The thought could cross your mind, because when G.WIZ abandoned the city-owned build ing, they simply got up and left. Very little went with them. Now the building once a Mecca for school eld trips and doting grandparents sits silent. After 22 years, G.WIZ is no more. The City of Sarasotas purchasing department has been putting together an Invitation to Negotiate with another tenant. It almost cer tainly will be some kind of cultural amenity. The citys plans allow for a contemporary art museum, a modern art museum, expansion of the nearby Art Center Sarasota or the coun tys history center, or a maritime museum, lm center or maritime education or cultural institution on the site. There is a lot of interest, said Purchasing Department Director Mary Tucker. But there is a lot of work to be done. G.WIZ remains closed on the bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE BUILDING OF THE FUTURE IS A THING OF THE PAST UNLESS THE CITY CAN FIND ANOTHER LESSEE G.WIZ, WHAT A LOSS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Tucker is musing on an in-place auction to empty the building. A number of displays are still there, demonstrating Newtons laws of motion, the metamorphosis of butteries, the way sound travels and the elements of space travel, for example. The structure was designed and built as the countys central public library; it opened in 1976. It was never a big public hit, with its angular architecture and a central staircase only an LSD addict could love. And the roof was a perpetual source of leaks. The library eventually moved to downtown Sarasota. In 1991, the building all 33,444 square feet of it was leased to G.WIZ. The facility was a huge step up for the organization, which had used leased space in a low-end mall near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. A playground and picnic area remain on the grounds. Photo by Norman Schimmel Names of donors to the museum are engraved on bricks along the walkway. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 48


The board fashioned the new museum after San Franciscos Exploratorium a rec ognized center of excellence for science museums. The building is expensive to operate, with an average electric bill of $4,500 per month. Tucker estimates it needs a minimum of $150,000 in repairs. But for a qualifying organization, the rent is hard to beat. GWIZ paid $1 per year. % The G.WIZ Science Walk offered visitors a creative way to learn. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 49


The museum was notable not just for its exhibits but also for its colorful faade. Photo by Norman Schimmel Volunteer vests still await the return of volunteers. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 50


The Science Walk featured facts about Saturn. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 51


Many exhibits remain, waiting to teach science. Photo by Stan Zimmerman The newer Fab Lab stands ready for use again. Only the 3-D printer is missing. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 52


A robot bids visitors Goodbye. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 53 %


There is a trafc light on U.S. 41 where the Tamiami Trail turns west and U.S. 301 splits off to go north. Some night you may be rst in line, stopped at that light. Something new is there if you look beyond the pavement and into the park. It is a fountain dancing in col ored lights, brought back to life after half a century of lying buried and almost forgotten. Its lights subtly change color from dusk until dawn, playfully illuminating this kinetic remembrance of one of the women who helped put Sarasota on the path to beauty. Mable Ringling came to the city in 1909 when it was not much more than a pioneer village. As the wife of circus tycoon John, she could have remained aloof from the dusty doings of what must have seemed to her a remote outpost of civilization. But over the next two decades, she chose to expend her time and energy making her winter home a place of beauty for all to enjoy. In 1925, the village was granted a municipal charter by the Florida Legislature and became a city. In 1926, a causeway was opened to Lido Key, but later in the year, the bloom fell from the Florida rose. Mable died in 1929, having seen the community rise from a shing vil lage to a true city. And she could recognize her handiwork in many spots. In 1936, with the city in the grip of the Great Depression, the Sarasota Federation of Garden Circles voted to build a memorial to Mable a fountain in Luke Wood Park near what is now downtown Sarasota. The Rotary Lions, contributed to the original project by John Ringling, stand guard along the path to the fountain. Photo by Norman Schimmel A FOUNTAIN FLOWS ANEW IN REMEMBRANCE OF A LEADING LADY OF THE CITY THINKING OF MABLE By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The purple coloring contrasts with the parks green grounds. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 55


Club, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts all wanted to be involved, for Mable had played a role in their beginnings as well. The fountain with statuary in the center was crafted and dedicated in one of the most vis ible parts of town, the intersection of two major trafc arteries. But sometime after World War II, the fountain fell into ruin. The city punched holes in the bottom and lled it with soil, said Dorothea Calvert with the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation. The city didnt want to main tain it. The remembrance fountain was itself forgot ten until 2010. A committee was formed to investigate bringing Mables fountain back to life, and in April of this year, construction began. The project was done without a dime of city money. An endowment was even cre ated to pay for maintenance of the facility in A light system shines different colors on the fountain. Photo by Norman Schimmel The foundation of the fountain has been refurbished as well. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 56


the future s o the i ndignities of the past would not be repeated. The rehabilitation was as much a community collaboration as the original construction. The Selby Foundation provided some funding, along with 85 other donors and a grant from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. Sarasota Military Academy students and their families, among others, provided volunteer labor. Fifteen local contractors ensured the reconstruction was professional and met all city codes. The St. Armands Merchants Association vol unteered the use of a statue found behind a St. Armands Circle parking lot for duplication by Florida State University students. It is now the centerpiece of the fountain. Pieces of the original construction were dis covered during excavation. The perimeter ring of Myak ka bog iro n rock was saved and redeployed. John Ringling himself had provided two statuary lions for the original project. They were found at J.D. Hamel Park in Sarasota and returned to their original site. Work will continue to beautify the fountain dedicated to the woman who beautied the city. Park benches and more lights are part of the plan. In a quiet ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 12, the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation will formally rededicate the fountain to Mable Ringlings memory. She was integral to the establishment of green space in this city, said Calvert. So the next time you are stopped at the U.S. 41/U.S. 301 light at night, enjoy the show or drop by anytime, and say a nice word in mem ory of a beautiful l ady. % Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION 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 27, 2013 Page 57


The Sarasota Police Departments old Donzi patrol boat will get a lot less use now that the new Yellown 34 is on the water. Photo by Stan Zimmerman A NEW BOAT


If one of the happiest days in a boaters life is when he gets a new boat, Bruce King is a happy police ofcer. He has taken delivery of a new 34-foot Yellown for the Sarasota Police Department. The boat is fully offshore-capable, and it car ries 453 gallons of fuel. King says he does not normally run with full tanks because the heavier the boat, the higher the fuel consumption. With less than 100 hours on the twin 300-horsepower Mercury outboards, he is still determining the gallons-per-hour usage. The citys new marine patrol boat carries not only a rst aid kit but also a heart debrillator and oxygen. The vessel and trailer were purchased with a $174,000 grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND). Grants from the organization also cover the operational expenses of the police patrol and the citys SCUBA-equipped dive team. The WCIND gets its funding from property taxes. Yellown Yachts, a local manufacturer whose home ofce is on 58th Avenue in Bradenton, produces center-cockpit shing boats. The Ofcer Bruce King cruises at speed in the new patrol boat. It made its ofcial debut at the Christmas Boat Parade. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE SARASOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT GETS A YELLOWFIN FOR ITS MARINE PATROL By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 59


companys president is a former offshore powerboat racer. The crafts bow incorporates a turndown design to keep splashes out of the vessel when it is running at speed. Company literature indicates Kings new boat should hit 56 mph at-out. At 45 mph, it is supposed to be burning 28 gallons of fuel per hour. The new Yellowfin replaces a Donzi the department previously used. It remains in service for the time being as a backup boat. King took reporters and photographers for a check ride earlier this month. The depart ments volunteer marine patrol made it possible for the media to get photos of the new Yello wn under way. % From the captains seat, everything is brand-spanking-new. At the bow are the volunteers for the citys marine patrol. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 60


Santa Claus appears ready to try a different mode of transportation this year. Photo by Norman Schimmel From parades down Main Streets to parades down the Bay, from neighborhood lanes to commercial shopping districts, decorations have glowed this holiday season. Sarasota News Leader staff members put together one last look at the results of many imag inations at work. After all, the landscape will dim after New Years Days hours tick away. % THE NEWS LEADER OFFERS A PHOTO ALBUM OF THE SIGHTS OF THE SEASON HOLIDAY LUSTER Staff Reports


Marie Selby Gardens is blossoming with Lights in Bloom for the holidays. Photo by Norman Schimmel The traditional Lighting of the Fleet at the Sarasota Yacht Club brings out the competitive bents of boaters. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 62


This vessel was among many all dressed up for the Sarasota Boat Parade on Dec. 14. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 63


Brightly adorned palm trees line the shopping center streets off University Parkway. Photo by Norman Schimmel Following the Sarasota Boat Parade, all sorts of boats shine from the docks at Marina Jack. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 64


The house near the intersection of Higel Avenue and Ocean Boulevard on Siesta Key once again is aglow for the season. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 65


A Sarasota Yacht Club member offered Hanukkah greetings. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 66


Professional ice skaters bring humor and glamor to Ice on the Diamond at Ed Smith Stadium on Dec. 20. Photo by Norman Schimmel Ice on the Diamond dancers delight the Ed Smith Stadium audience in Sarasota on Dec. 20. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 67


A big beautiful package awaited shoppers off University Parkway. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 68


Rowers are a tting motif for dcor off University Parkway near Benderson Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel Davidson Plaza in the heart of Siesta Village gleams a week before Christmas. Photo by Rachel Hackney % Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 69


The Second Annual Honor the Badge event on Dec. 14 saw more than 40 members of the Sarasota Police Department join representa tives of the Sarasota Housing Authority and Target to help about 80 children shop for the holidays, the department announced. The event was made possible through dona tions totaling nearly $10,000 from the Sarasota Police Department, local businesses, reli gious organizations and individuals, a news release points out. Nearly $2,600 came from members of the Sarasota Police Department, the release adds. The event was held at the north Sarasota Target, located at 5350 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. It kicked off at 6 a.m., when buses lled with youngsters and their loved ones arrived. Police ofcers were cheering and clap ping to welcome the children and their families to their early morning shopping spree, the release notes. The Sarasota Housing Authoritys Honor the Badge shopping event is an initiative designed to help build trust and respect between law enforcement ofcials and children of families living in Sarasota Housing Authority commu nities, the release explains. Our goal is to help underprivileged children from our community come together with local law enforcement in an inclusive, non-threatening environment that will encourage open and honest com munication with law enforcement ofcers, to remove any fear the youths may have when interacting with ofcers, said Capt. Lucius Bonner of the Bureau of Professional Standards in the Police Department in the release. HONOR THE BADGE HELPS MORE THAN 80 KIDS SHOP FOR THE HOLIDAYS Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino helps girls pick out Barbie dolls. Contributed photo NEWS BRIEFS


A child grins with his new bike, thanks to the Sarasota Police Department. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 71


An ofcer helps youngsters with their shopping cart. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 72


All Saras ota County public high schools received A or B grades for the 2012-13 school year, the district has reported. The information was released Dec. 18 by the Florida Department of Education. Grades for elementary and middle schools were released in July; Sarasota County continues to be graded an A district overall, a news release notes. Pine View School, Suncoast Polytechnical High School and Sarasota Military Academy a public charter school received A grades. All other district high schools received B grades, the release notes. According to the states high school graduation formula, high schools that would otherwise earn an A must also meet a requirement to improve the annual graduation rate of at-risk students, the release says. This requirement affected the majority of Sarasota County high schools that earned a B for 2012-13. We are pleased that all our high schools are A or B schools, said Superintendent Lori White in the release, but there is certainly room for improvement. We will redouble our efforts to monitor every students pathway to graduation and help those who struggle aca demically to reach their full potential. Fifty percent of a schools grade is based on 2013 state assessment scores, including the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), and 50 percent is based on the schools graduation rate, the number of students tak ing advanced-placement courses, the number of students who pass advanced-placement examinations and indicators of student read iness for college, the release points out. Oak Park School, a district facility for stu dents with severe or multiple exceptionalities from the elementary grade level through high school, was not graded, the release notes. Most students at Oak Park School do not partici pate in the FCAT, but instead take the Florida Alternate Assessment, the release adds. A chart compares Sarasota County high school grades. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools SARASOTA COUNTY HIGH SCHOOLS RECEIVE A AND B GRADES Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 73


Sarasota County has been selected by USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of Ultimate in the United States, to be the site of the 2014 Masters Championships, scheduled July 18-20, the organization has announced. USA Ultimate has had a long-standing relationship with Sarasota with their Club Championships being here for 13 years, said Nicole Rissler, director of Sports for the Sarasota County Sports Commission, a division of Visit Sarasota County, in a news release. Combining the non-stop movement and athletic endurance of soccer with the aerial passing skills of football, a game of Ultimate is played by two teams with a ying disc or Frisbee on a eld with end zones, similar to football, according to the USA Ultimate website The object of the game is to score by catching a p ass in the opponents end zone. A player must stop running while in posses sion of the disc, but may pivot and pass to any of the other receivers on the eld. Hosted by the county Sports Commission, the event will take place on the grounds of the Sarasota Polo Club. Sixteen teams in each of the mens masters, womens masters and grand-master divisions will compete for national titles in 2014, the release points out. We are honored to host the 2014 USA Ultimate Masters Championships here in Sarasota, said Tournament Director Tim Naylor in the release. We welcome the returning players from years past as well as those making their first trip. With our world-renowned fields and beautiful white sand beaches, we plan on making this tournament an adventure the whole family can enjoy. For more infor m ation, visit ULTIMATE FRISBEE MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS TO BE HELD IN SARASOTA Community Yout h Development has announced the winners of the Fifth Annual Gingerbread Festival, which was held Dec. 13-15, at Westeld Sarasota Square Mall. The event featured 180 houses submitted by classrooms, after-school programs and adult groups throughout Sarasota County. The winners follow: Elementary First place: Mrs. Aultmans Ashton Astros. Second place: Team Schwaed from Fruitville Elementary School. Third place: Mini Chefs Caf from Girls Inc. Middle School First place: Robert and Joan Lee Boys & Girls Club Club Venice Second place: Girl Scout Troop 121. Third place: Island Village Gardening Club. High School First place: Venice High School Sophomore Class. Second place: Pine View Art 3 Team Amsterd am. WINNERS OF FIFTH ANNUAL GINGERBREAD FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 74


Third place : Booker High School Advanced Placement Literature Class. Adult Division First place: Art Center Sarasota. Second place: Pastries by Design. Third place: Sarasota Manatee Dance Alliance. Communit y Youth Development (CYD) empowers youth as leaders in service to their community, a news release points out. Youth in grades 6 to 12 participate in a vari ety of social and personal skill development programs. In 2013, CYD served 2,192 youth throughout Sarasota County. Community Youth Development is funded in part by Sarasota County, the release adds. Club Venice took rst place in the Middle School division. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 75


Mrs. Aultmans Ashton Astros entry took rst place in the Elementary division of the Fifth Annual Gingerbread Festival. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 76


The Sarasota Manatee Dance Alliance won third place in the Adult division. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 77


Sheriff Tom Knight has announced that the National Police Canine Association (NPCA) has given Deputy Chris Indico the 2012 Case of the Year Award. Indico and K9 Zuul responded to the area of Laurel Road and Interstate 75 on Nov. 6, 2012, in pursuit of ve armed suspects who robbed Mayors Jewelry Store in Westeld Southgate Mall in Sarasota, a news release explains. DEPUTY CHRIS INDICO WINS 2012 CASE OF THE YEAR AWARD They tracke d and arrested two of the ve sus pects who were apprehended near a pond at the PGT Industries facility, the release adds. Indico has been with the Sheriffs Ofce since 2004. K9 Zuul retired this summer after more than six years of service with more than 100 apprehensions and is now enjoying his wellearned life of relaxation, the release says. Sarasota Police Department representatives join staff and students at Booker Middle School for the annual Holiday Stocking Program. Contributed photo On Dec. 20, S arasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino and officers from the Sarasota Police Department teamed up with the staff at Booker Middle School for their annual Holiday Stocking Program. Officers went with school employees from classroom to classroom, handing out holiday stockings to students, a news release says. The Police Department has offered a special thanks to Church of the Palms on Bee Ridge Road, First Presbyterian Church on Oak Street, Siesta Key Chapel on Gleason Avenue and All Faiths Food Bank for donating the candy f or the stockings, the release adds. POLICE DEPARTMENT TEAMS UP WITH BOOKER MIDDLE FOR PROGRAM Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 78


Deputy Chris Indico and Zuul proudly display their award. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 79


Nicholas Pelisek, a junior at Pine View School in Osprey, has been selected to represent the Sarasota County School District as the 2014 Sunshine State Scholar during a statewide celebration Feb. 13-14 at the Orlando Hilton, the district has announced. If Nicholas is unable to attend, the alternate student is Jacob Hurwitz, a junior at Riverview High School, a news release notes. Each school district throughout Florida selects and names its top 11th-grade scholar, a student who demonstrated tremendous academic ability and expressed a desire to attend a Florida university, the release adds. The Sunshine State Scholars program recognizes students achievements in STEM courses ( science, technology, engineering and mathematics), a weighted grade point average of 3.9 or higher and a minimum of 25 hours of approved community service, the release adds. The focus of the Sunshine State Scholars pro gram is to retain intellectual talent in Florida. All of the scholars, along with their parents and one teacher per student who has served as a signicant inuence, will travel to Orlando for the two-day program, the release says. As one facet of the program, representatives of Floridas colleges and universities are sched uled to talk with the students about career and postsecondary opportunities available to them in the st ate, the release says. PINE VIEW JUNIOR NAMED 2014 SUNSHINE STATE SCHOLAR World-reno wned custom motorcycle builder Paul Teutul Sr., owner and founder of Orange County Choppers, will be among the attend ees of the 16th Annual Thunder By The Bay Motorcycle Festival, the Suncoast Charities for Children which organizes the event has announced. Teutul will join an honor escort leading the Legacy of Valor Ride to Sarasota National Cemetery on Sunday, Jan. 12, a news release notes. Registration will open at 8 a.m. that day at OLearys Tiki Bar in Bayfront Park off U.S. 41 in downtown Sarasota. The rst bike will head out at 9 a.m., the release adds. Teutul will also sign autographs at the Orange County Chopper display that will be located on lower Main Street in Sarasota Jan. 11-12, the release points out. The festival will open on Jan. 9. Festival details may be found at % ORANGE COUNTY CHOPPERS FOUNDER COMING TO THUNDER BY THE BAY Thunder by the Bay brings thousands to Sarasota in January each year as a fundraiser for Suncoast Charities for Children. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 80




It was a friend who rst suggested Barbara Stallings become a crossing guard in 1972. Why not? Stallings remembers thinking. Itll give me a few pennies in my pocket. Pennies, almost literally. When Stallings started, the weekly pay for a crossing guard was $30 to $35. That was pretty slim, says Stallings now 78, with a thick bush of curly white hair on her head. She chuckles. But if Stallings started working as a cross ing guard to earn some extra change, she stuck around for 41 years, longer than any other crossing guard in the whole state, for a much stronger reason: the kids. They just tell you everything, says Stallings. They talk to you more than they talk to their own parents. Youre just there, and they just spill everything. Theyre fresh and honest and nice most of them. Stallings and her husband, LP, moved to Sarasota in 1957. LPs parents already lived here, and he had visited the city in the sum mers to help his uncle build homes, so they knew the area well. Sarasota was a lot less crowded in those days, Stallings remembers. Fruitville was a two-lane road. Fewer cars on the road meant becoming a crossing guard was a less dangerous propo sition than it is today, but Stallings points out that the work when s he started was grueling. Barbara Stallings accepts a plaque from Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino on Nov. 14. Photo by Norman Schimmel A CROSSING GUARD LOOKS BACK AT 41 YEARS ON THE CORNER HANGING UP THE VEST By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Twice a day, in sw eltering heat, pounding rain or streaking lightning storms, crossing guards were responsible for setting up and taking down heavy metal signs that were sunk into tires filled with concrete. While crossing guards today can choose either morning or afternoon shifts, back then they were required to work both the a.m. and p.m., a schedule that drastically interferes with your day. Stallings started at Alta Vista Elementary, but she spent only a short time there before moving to Tuttle Elementary, where she manned the Fruitville and Tuttle corner for a long, long time. She then spent 16 years at Southside Elementary before retiring at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. There wasnt much training when Stallings began her tenure. Nowadays, crossing guards must take ant i-harassment classes and even pass randomly assigned drug tests. A couple of years ago, after well over three decades on the job, Stallings had to pee in a cup to prove she was clean, twice in the same month. Although Stallings faced few real crises on the job, that doesnt mean her tenure was uneventful. A mother once passed out while crossing the street; she once had to report missing streetlights; a gas leak once forced her to come in to help evacuate a school; pas sengers in a passing car once spit on her. And then theres the more routine drama of kid life: falling down while crossing the street, being left at school by their parents, getting lost. Seeing the same kids day in, day out through out the school ye ar allowed Stallings to get to The Sarasota Police Department recorded Stallings retirement ceremony. Video courtesy of the department Click to watch the video Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 83


know them, and their parents. She frequently runs into former students who have moved on. They recognize her, but theyre not always sure from where right away. They dont rec ognize her without the vest and the rest of the crossing guard getup. Amazingly, Stallings says, dire warnings to the contrary, young kids havent really changed over the decades. Elementary students are still true and honest, she says years away from the painful drama of junior high and the know-it-all attitudes of high-schoolers. Not every crossing guard lasts as long as Stallings. Some are on the job just a couple of days. One man relieved himself behind his car, Stallings laughs. You have people that just do crazy things. But many others have been on the corner for 15 to 20 years, still nowhere n ear Stallings record, which she thinks might be the longest tenure not just in Florida, but in the U.S. I dont think thats ever been checked, she adds. Most days, Stallings loved the work, so whyd she hang up the uniform? Im 78, almost 79: Does that tell you something? she replies. Not that the job was wearing her out. I just felt like I should retire, she says. I should have some time that I can do things, time to be home. On Nov. 14, when the Sarasota Police Department, which oversees the crossing guard program, held a retirement ceremony honoring Stallings, Police Chief Bernadette DiPino called Stallings part of our fam ily while thanking her. Former Chief Mikel Holloway also praised her during the event, Former Police Chief Mikel Holloway joins in the retirement festivities for Barbara Stallings. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 84


and Gov. Rick Scott sent her a letter. Stallings wished safe crossings to all her fellow cross ing guards. Nicki Whitehead, the Police Departments crossing guard coordinator, became good friends with Stallings over the years, and even traveled with her to Alaska to visit one of Stallings daughters. Whitehead went by the nickname Kodiak during the trip; Stallings was Polar Bear. Since retiring, Stallings has traveled to Colorado, and she spends her time antiquing junking, as she calls it. Almost every hor izontal surface in her home holds some type of small gurine, and a glass case just to the left of her front door is stocked with small Oriental sculptures and knick-knacks. She picks up items at estate sales and browses Gumps catalogue for treasures. Does she suggest becoming a crossing guard to others? Id recommend it for the right per son, she says. Youd have to like kids, youd have to have a lot of free time that you could waste, and youd just need something to do. I wouldnt recommend it for a lifetime thing, let me tell you. The pay may have gone up some since the days of $30 weeks, but its still nothing glam orous. Youd starve. % The intersection of South Osprey Avenue and Webber Street was Barbara Stallings last posting as a crossing guard for Southside Elementary School. Photo by Norman Schimmel. Inset courtesy Google Maps. Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 85


Area residents know one of the most mem orable outings of the holiday season is a stroll through Lights in Bloom at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Bob McComb, who created this enchanted Sarasota kingdom, returned in 2010 to add his special magical touches to the displays. The new Ann Goldstein Childrens Rainforest Garden is also decked out with holiday lights for the rst time. Along with the lights and forest creatures wel coming guests, activities for youngsters, such as creating crafts, are available in the Kids Corner. T he last nights to see the show this year will be Dec. 27-30. The Gardens is open from 6 to 9 p.m. On Dec. 27, 28 and 29, the Tommy Rox Band will be performing on the grounds, add ing to the festivities. On Dec. 30, The Missing Links will entertain the guests. The Gardens is located at 811 S. Palm Ave. in Sarasota. For more information, visit the website Contributor Peter van Roekens graciously shared with The Sarasota News Leader some scenes from his visit to Lights in Bloom. % All photos by Peter van Roekens SELBY GARDENS WELCOMES YOU TO STROLL THROUGH LIGHTS IN BLOOM SOME ENCHANTED EVENING Staff Reports


Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 87


Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 88


Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 89


% Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 90


THE CONDO COUNCIL ANNOUNCES ITS CHRISTMAS LIGHTING CONTEST WINNERS FOR 2013; AND THE SIESTA RESORTS TEMPORARY INJUNCTION HEARING IS CANCELLED By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor SIESTA SEEN Twas th e befor Christmas, and all through th trolle, Th eggnog was flowing, making each of us joll. With Helen perched at th ont to guid Dive Geoff, Out of Davidson Plaz headed, turning first to th left. Fom Whispering Sands down to Terrac East did cruis, With ight lights and dazzl drawing ou Ahs and ou Oohs. Down Beach Road olled, mulling Uniqueness and Wow facto A gazed at th condos, chatting amid lots of laughte. Gulf & Ba Club, Harbou Town and Peppertre Exactl how man hues of lights did e? Ther th pig at Beachaven, perched on th ign And thSiest Dunes fantasyland eall ds hin. Helen was right, w cant help but agre: Th displays ar uperio; it eas to e. Th condo complexes tepped up thei gam. Now new ound of winners will enjo thei fam. With apologies to Clement C. Moore


On the night of Dec. 18, a group of us invited by the Siesta Key Condominium Council had the pleasure of touring condo complexes from the north end of the island to its south ern reaches to judge the entries in the 2013 Christmas Lighting Contest. The number of participants this year represented an increase of four over the 2012 list. With Daiquiri Deck co-owner Russell Matthes having made the Siesta Trolley available once again (as he generously has in the past), we gathered at Davidson Plaza and then set out to see the sights. Helen Clifford, Diane Erne and Al Holpp represented the Condo Council with Helen serving as the tour guide for trolley driver Geoff van Deusen. Erne had new forms for us to use this year, asking us to con sider four factors in ranking each entry from 1 to 10 (10 being the best). Those factors were Uniqueness (design and colors); Seasonal (tells the Christmas story); Colorful (illumi nation and displays); and the Wow Factor (breath-taking). The judging panel consisted of County Commissioner Nora Patterson; Mark Smith, past chairman of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA); Matthes, also a past SKVA president; Alana Tomasso, the chambers chairwoman-elect, who is Peppertree Bay wowed the judges this year, taking rst place in the category for the largest condominium complexes. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 92


with Cunningham Property Management; Keith Martin (who accompanied Tomasso); Harriet Sokmensuer, community editor of the Sarasota Observer ; and yours truly. SKVA President Cheryl Matthes climbed aboard before we headed out to give us hol iday hugs. She asked Tomasso and Martin to stand in for her, as she was unable to go with us that night. On Dec. 20, members of the Condo Council board gathered to tally the results of our deliberations. Peppertree which won rave reviews as we surveyed it took top hon ors this year in the category of condominium complexes with 101 or more units, leaving Siesta Dunes in second place after it wore that crown for 2011 and 2012. The following is the complete list: Category 1 (101 or more units) First place: Peppertree Bay Second place: Siesta Dunes Third place: Whispering Sands Honorable Mention: Excelsior Category 2 (51 to 100 units) First place: Beachaven Second Place: Crescent Arms Peppertree Bay shines brightly for its guests and passersby. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 93


Beachaven took top honors in Category 2. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 94


Third place: The Anchorage Honorable Mention: Tortuga Category 3 (50 or fewer units) First place: Sandpiper Beach Club Second place: Siesta Sands Third place: Harbour Towne Honorable Mention: Terrace East With the proclamation of winners, Erne sent the following note: We had a record number of entries this year matched by a record number of quality dis plays. Every condo that entered contributed to the overall holiday ambiance on Siesta Key. We appreciate all the time and effort put forth by all our member condominiums. You made 2013 a memorable event for all the viewers from near and far. The awards will be presented at the Condo Councils annual Membership Meeting, set for 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 at Siesta Key Chapel, located at 4615 Gleason Ave., north of Siesta Village. The Sandpiper Beach Club earned extra credit for its cross and Christmas tree, easily visible from afar. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 95


What judge could resist Beachavens pink pig? Photo by Rachel Hackney (Front row, from left) Rachel Hackney, Nora Patterson, Harriet Sokmensuer, Alana Tomasso, Keith Martin, Diane Erne; (back row, from left) Mark Smith, Russell Matthes, Geoff van Deusen, Al Holpp and Helen Clifford gather after the trolley ride. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 96


Siesta Dunes, winner of the 2011 and 2012 contests, came in second this year in Category 1. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 97


Siesta Sands won second place in Category 3. Photo by Rachel Hackney Crescent Arms took second-place honors in Category 2. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 98


A Christmas tree adorns the tower at Horizons West. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 99

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THE S ABAL DRIVE HOUSE Although I was unable to learn any details, I did nd out through a search of court records that David Pearce, assistant Sarasota County attorney, cancelled a temporary injunction hearing that was set for Dec. 18 regarding ille gal construction at 6537 Sabal Drive. R e gular readers know that the owners of that house, Siesta Resorts LLC, violated both the county building code and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oodplain reg ulations in creating a lot of extra bedrooms on the ground oor. The eye-catching entryway of the Sandpiper Beach Club helped it earn top honors in Category 3. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 100

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The house was rented regularly through a website called Vacation Rentals By Owner It was still listed on the site even after a renter notied county staff in November 2012 that she feared it violated Fire Department codes. County Code Enforcement staff members, who investigated it along with a Fire Department representative, called it a retrap. Pearce had expected the hearing to be can celled, as it appeared in early December the parties comprising Siesta Resorts were work ing to obtain the last bit of paperwork they needed to show they had brought the property back into compliance with both the county and FEMA rules. I hope to learn more after the rst of the year about the resolution of the liens Siesta Resorts owed as a result of Special Magistrate action at the behest of the county Code Enforcement staff. AGAIN??? I expect a number of motorists were surprised to see the north Siesta drawbridge stuck open for more than an hour on Dec. 19. After all, the bridge went through a major rehab in the summer of 2012. At 10:41 a.m. on Dec. 19, the Sarasota Police Department alerted the news media that the bridge was stuck in the open position causing major trafc delays. At 11:41 a.m., the following notice came from the Police Department: The North Bridge malfunction on Siesta Drive has been resolved and the bridge is reopened. However, there is still heavy trafc in the area. Although I tried twice to contact Florida Department of Transportation public rela tions staff to nd out exactly what caused the problem, I heard no response. STORMWATER PROJECT UPDATE The last update I had on the Siesta stormwater project adjacent to the public beach with its misnomer of Beach Road Drainage Project (it will do little to alleviate ooding on Beach Road) came on Dec. 18. At that point, the one-acre retention pond was 30-percent complete. The report from Isaac Brownman, director of capital projects in the countys Public Works Department, added, Work in the next 2 weeks is expected to consist of the excavation and removal of buried debris (concrete, pavement and tree limbs) from the site, clearing work, continued pond excavation and continued installation of a 60-inch pipeline. The drier weather obviously has benetted the contr actor. % Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 101

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Sevilliana, reecting a dance that originates from Seville, Spain, is by Craig Rubadoux. Contributed photo A&E BRIEFS

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Dabber t Gallery, located at 76 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota, will present its 10th Anniversary Exhibition from Jan. 3 through Feb. 1, the gallery has announced. Owners David and Patricia Dabbert invite the public to join them in an opening recep tion from 6 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 3. Most of their Florida-based artists will be present for the event, a news release says. We proudly present the artwork of 25 out standing artists who have shared our vision, the release adds. With genuine appreciation and a deep respect for the extraordinary talents and artistic passion of these artists, we have been truly inspired throughout our 10-year partnership, the release says. For more information, call 955-1315 or visit Moon Glow by Barbara Krupp. Contributed photo DABBERT GALLERY TO MARK 10TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION Patricia and David Dabbert/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 103

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The Whippin g Man, one of the most produced plays in regional theaters during the past two years, will open as Westcoast Black Theatre Troupes (WBTT) second 2013-14 production, the theatre has announced. It will run from Friday, Jan. 3, through Sunday, Feb. 2. Set in Richmond, VA, at the end of the Civil War, the play is about a Jewish confederate soldier who returns home on the rst day of Passover to nd his house destroyed, a news release explains. Howard J. Millman, former Asolo Repertory Theatre producing artistic director and WBTT board member, will direct this as his rst play for the Troupe, the release notes. Performances will be Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Two Saturday matinees have been scheduled as well for Jan. 25 and Feb. 1. Tickets, priced at $29.50, may be purchased online at or by calling the box ofce at 366-1505. The Whipping Man concerns the sudden return home of a confederate captain who has WESTCOAST BLACK THEATRE TROUPE TO OPEN THE WHIPPING MAN The Whipping Man cast features Taurean Blacque, Drew Foster and Robert Douglas. Contributed photo by Don Daly Photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 104

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a severely wounded leg, explains Millman in the release. It is April 12, 1865. The house is wrecked and looted; everyone is gone, except for two former slaves. It is Passover. The cap tain is Jewish and his two former slaves are also Jewish. Passover represents the freeing of the Jews from slavery, and this time sig nies the freeing of the slaves in this Jewish household. In its own way, the play represents the journey all Americans went through as the United States moved into a new era. Everyone in the play has secrets and as they unfold, truth is revealed. The ensemble cast includes three male actors, all from outside the Sarasota area, the release notes. Most recognizable is Taurean Blacque, who played Det. Neal Washington on Hill Street Blues, a role that earned him an Emmy nomination. In addition to his 30 TV credits, Blacque has been recognized for his work on stages from coast to coast, the release points out. The cast also features Drew Foster, a Sarasota native who began his career as a child actor on the Asolo Rep stage. After graduating from the Booker VPA program, Foster went on to study at Julliard and has been working on stages around the country every since, the release adds. The third actor is Robert Douglas, who comes to WBTT from Gary, IN. Douglas is also an experienced actor very much in demand at regional theaters, the release notes. We are expecting this to be one of WBTTs best works of the season, says WBTT Founding Artistic Director Nate Jacobs in the release. For more information on WBTT, visit the web site at follow the Troupe on Facebook or call 366-1505. The Jazz Club of Sarasotas Jazz at Two 2014 concert series will welcome the new year with the Dick Reynolds Quartet (Jan. 3); Eddie Tobin (Jan. 17); the Jerry Eckert Trio (Jan. 24); and vocalist Kitt Moran (Jan. 31), the club has announced. Founded in 2001, the Jazz at Two series showcases the regions top jazz performers from 2 to 4 p.m. on Fridays 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 portion of ticket sales is directed to the Jazz Clubs scholarship program. For more information, call 366-1552. DICK REYNOLDS QUARTET TO OPEN JANUARY JAZZ AT TWO SHOW The Dick R eynolds Quartet, on Jan. 3, will feature Reynolds on piano, Johnny Moore on drums, David Pruyn on trumpet and vocals and Dave Trefethen on bass. Reynolds was a house pianist at Chicagos renowned Mr. Kelleys nightclub and has performed with such notables as Mel Torm, Carmen McRae and Sara Vaughn, the release adds. Reynolds also had his own commercial studio in Chicago, where he wrote, lmed and recorded commercials for such industry giants as United Airlines and McDonalds. The quartets program will include popular jazz standards as well as favorites from the Great American Songbook, the release notes. A perennial favorite amongst area jazz enthu siasts, pianist and voc alist Eddie Tobin, who Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 105

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Eddie Tobin/Contributed photo Kitt and Mike Moran/Contributed photo Jerry Eckert/Contributed photo will perfor m on Jan. 10, is known for his ver satility on the piano and a resonant singing voice that has been likened to that of a male Diana Krall, the release points out. Tobin lived in Nashville for 15 years, playing with the Forester Sisters and Brenda Lee and opening for Kenny Rogers, the release adds. He spent seven years as pianist, conductor and music director for Engelbert Humperdinck. The Jerry Eckert Trio, on Jan. 24, will feature Eckert on piano, Dave Hubbell on bass and Rich MacDonald on drums. Eckert grew up playing the piano, and while jazz is undoubt edly his rst love, his playing is also infused with a pleasing trace of the classical music that Eckert favored early on in his musical career, the release says. Eckert has served as music director for such notables as John Davidson, Kate Starr, Donald OConnor, Frank Gorshin and Bobby Vinton, the release points out. The January Jazz at Two series will close on Jan. 31 with the sultry sounds of vocal ist Kitt Moran, who will be performing with her husband, Mike, on the piano and Dominic Mancini on bass, the release notes. Morans captivating stage presence and powerful musical abilities have made her a favorite of New York jazz critics, the release says. She and her husband are regulars on the New York City jazz club circuit, performing at such ven ues as Michaels Pub, the Village Vanguard, The Blue Note and Shanghai Jazz. Moran has opened for Jay Leno, Rodney Dangereld and Jackie, the release adds. For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 366-1552 or visit m Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 106

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Every Day the World Is New an exhibit fea turing paintings by Dorothy Okray, will open on Jan. 5 and continue through Jan. 29 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota Lexow Wing Gallery, located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, the church has announced. A reception for the artist will be held on Sunday, Jan. 5, from noon to 1 p.m. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Sundays after services. Admission is free. Okray is a former design executive as well as a retired United Methodist minister, a news release notes. Those diverse careers inform her thought-provoking paintings, the release adds. Okray says in the release, Every morning, t he trees grow a little. Grass grows a little. Every morning the world is new and will never be exactly the same again. You see new things, think new thoughts, and feel new feelings ... every day. You wake up every day a little bit different. And that is what makes painting the most exciting art form trying to capture the sensation, that fresh moment which exists only for the briefest instance in time. The work includes award winners in pastels, oils and acrylics, the release points out. I am constantly amazed by the comments of viewers who claim a spiritual element can be seen in my work, says Okray in the release. Whatever one nds ... I love painting them. I never thought I would nd the success I have UNITARIAN CHURCH GALLERY TO FEATURE WORKS OF DOROTHY OKRAY Ocean by Dorothy Okray. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 107

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exper ienced. In fact, painting has become my third career. Okray is represented by the Artists Guild of Anna Maria Island Gallery. She has shown in numerous venues around the country, the release adds. The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota (UUCS) and i ts members have a rich history of su pport and involvement in the arts, the release explains. The south wing of the com plex the Lexow Wing was designed as a gallery to help fulll the mission of the UUCS Arts Council, providing for artistic expres sion and appreciation. Learn more about the church and its varied programs at www. Time to Head South by Dorothy Okray. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 108

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Art Cent er Sara sota will present a staged reading of The Cocktail Hour a comedy of manners by A.R. Gurney, on Jan. 5 at 4 p.m., the gallery has announced. Art Center Sarasota is located at 707 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The event is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call 365-2032 or visit Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award as Best OffBroadway Play, The Cocktail Hour blends mordant humor with moments of affecting poignancy, a news release says. Directed by Cinda Goeken, this production will star Tim Minar as Bradley and Emilie Robinson as his wife, Ann. They discover, over cocktails, that their son (Paul Hutchison) has written a new play exposing the family foibles and secrets. Adding to the hilarity is Laura Smith as Nina, the sister, who is upset that her role in the play is so small. As the martinis ow, so do the rev elations and recriminations, both funny and poignant, in this heartfelt comedy about the ties that bind, the release continues. Theat er of the Mind, established in 2010 by Emilie Robinson and Janet Davies, presents play readings and staged performances at Art Center Sarasota. All proceeds benet the gallery. The season continues with Walter Cronkite Is Dead (Feb. 9, 4 p.m.); A Voice of My Own (March 2, 4 p.m.); and Coming to Life (March 23, 4 p. m.). ART CENTER SARASOTA TO STAGE THE COCKTAIL HOUR Tim Minar, Laura Smith, and Emilie Robinson will star in Theater of the Minds staged reading of A.R. Gurneys play, The Cocktail Hour. Contributed photo Venice Theatre s firs t production of 2014 will be Tracy Letts Chicago-based comedy Superior Donuts the theatre has announced. The play will open Thursday, Jan. 9, in the Pinkerton Theatre and run through Sunday, Jan. 26. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $25 to $28 for adults and $10 to $15 for students. They are VENICE THEATRES STAGE II TO PRESENT SUPERIOR DONUTS on sale at the theatres box ofce, online at or by calling 488-1115. Superior Donuts introduces audiences to a cast of neighborhood characters headed up by Arthur Przybyszewski, a news release says. Arthur is the proprietor of Superior Donuts, a decrepit shop located in the heart of Chica gos equally decrepit Uptown neigh borhood. His new employee, Franco Wicks, is an ideali stic self-starter who wants to shake Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 109

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things up a bit with healthier menu items and poetry nights, the release continues. Francos youthful exuberance reects the neighborhood itself, which is experiencing a slow but sure gentrication. Arthur is taken aback by his new hires enthusiasm. His own energy is long gone, left in the s where he was dodging the draft, getting arrested at the Chicago riots and collecting the concert T-shirts he wears to this day. The release points out, Throughout this charac ter-driven piece Arthur and Franco learn from each other, deal with some difcult life situ ations and experience the redemptive power of friendship. It adds, Anyon e should be able to appreci ate the play Charles Isherwood of The New York Times compared to Norman Lears groundbreaking shows of the 1970s, which mixed smart jokes and social commentary in satisfying proportions, but Chicagoans will find specific treasures. They wi ll enjoy an (From left) Lynne Buhle plays Lady, a regular customer at Superior Donuts. Arthur, the owner of the shop, is played by Jerry Zezas. Brandon Butler is Franco, a young employee with lofty aspirations and some debts to settle. Contributed photo by Renee McVety authentic depiction of their city with refer ences to Bridgeport, Riverview and Jefferson Park, as well as a realistic portrait of the diverse Uptown neighborhood, which becomes a char acter in its own rig ht, the release points out. As a resident member of Chicagos acclaimed Steppenwolf Thea tre (where Donuts debuted before moving to Broadway), Tracy Letts is well equipped to write about the Second City, the release notes. He is best known for his Pulitzer-winning play August: Osage County Director Kelly Wynn Woodland brings the intimate cast of eight characters to life, the release adds. Her recent direction of A Behanding in Spokane in Venice Theatres Stage II earned the show a 2013 Handy Award for best community theater play. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice. Box ofce hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and one hour before all performances. Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 110

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Allyn Gallup Contempo rary Art gallery will present Nature and Irony Jan. 3 through Feb. 1, featuring works by Leslie Neumann, Nancee Clark and Katherine Wobie, the gal lery has announced. A reception with the artists will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 3, with an artists talk at 7 p.m. This dynamic exhibition is the brainchild of Leslie Neumann, a prolic artist who makes her home in the tidewater region of Aripeka, a news release points out. Inspired by nature and the contradictory human responses it evokes, Neumann realized this was a constant theme in her work and the work of her friends and colleagues at the University of Florida. Nancee, Katherine and I all employ the phys ical world as our subject matter, Neumann says in the release. The beauty we see could be a wetlands marsh, sunlight on water, a human being, a monkey, a chicken or a stream NATURE AND IRONY TO OPEN JAN. 3 AT ALLYN GALLUP GALLERY Woodstork by Nancee Clark. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 111

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Beauty Deep Within by Leslie Neumann. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 112

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of motes moving in the wind. We marvel at the grandeur of it all, at the same time recog nizing how tiny our species is in comparison. Our hierarchical human systems stand sideby-side with nature. Sometimes we live in harmony, sometimes not. The irony is, we can ignore nature, but were really a part of it. The title Nature and Irony takes its inspiration from that inconvenient truth. Neumann is known for constructing radiant, meditative landscapes of oil and encaustic that invite the viewer to melt into them, the release adds. Lara Bradburn of The Tampa Tribune described Neuman ns work as, both pass ionate and soothing, powerful and dis arming, apocalyptic and transcendent, and predictable with an element of surprise. Its a dichotomy of sensations from an artist intent on peering into natures soul. Neumanns reverence for the Florida land scape began to ower after she moved to the small shing village of Aripeka in 1991, after a decade in New York City, the release notes. Her passion for the land extends beyond painting. She and other environmentalists have helped to preserve more than 14,000 acres of pristine coastal lands. Adrift by Kathie Wobie. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader December 27, 2013 Page 113

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The wor ks of Gainesville artist Kathleen Wobie focus on two concurrent realities: the age of information overload and the resiliency and renewal of natural systems, the release points out. My latest series of paintings expresses the feelings I have about the daily overload of information in our minds and the transfor mations were inicting on the environment, says Wobie in the release. She expresses the surfeit of fragmentary data with an overlay of imagery an onslaught of marks, which she transforms into suggestions of organic shapes, the release adds. Wobie is a found ing member of the Melrose Bay Art Gallery, a signature member of Plein Air Florida, and a 10-year invitational painter at Epcot. She is represented by several galleries in north Florida, the release continues. The work of N ancee Clark, a two-time recip ient of the St ate of Florida Visual Artist Fellow ship, rounds out the show. Her nar rative paintings glow with active brushwork and layers of color achieving density and richness, the release adds. Clark populates her ambiguous spaces with human and ani mal gures, surrounded by props a table, trapeze, cups and other detritus. I create my own strange space in my work, says Clark in the release. Its a space of irony, where whats expected is not what actually occurs. In this world, the observed and the observer occupy the same space. Cla r k is on the faculty at Ringling College of Art and Design. For more information about this exhibit, call 366-2454 or visit The gallery is at 1288 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sar asota. 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 27, 2013 Page 114

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27+ DECEMBER Selby Gardens presents Lights in Bloom Dec. 27-30, 6 to 9 p.m., 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Admission: $14 for members/$17 for others. Information: 366-5731 or 27+ 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 27+ DECEMBER Dabbert Gallery presents Sculpture: Metal, Marble & More Through Dec. 30; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 955-1315 or 27+ 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 27, 2013 Page 115

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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 A SALUTE TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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