Sarasota News Leader


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

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Inside FOURTH TIME THE CHARM? A HALF MEASURE A ROUND OF QUESTIONS COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 18 January 17, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery.




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 is a registered trademark of New Sheriff Publishing, Inc., which publishes The Sarasota News Leader Copyright 2014 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 P.O. Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277 (941) 227-1080


Before we were even halfway through our nal production day this week, Production Manager Cleve Posey sent me an email referencing the old Fred Sanford distress call: Elizabeth, this is the big one! I knew we would have a lot of stories this week, but let us just say I had no idea on Monday what the nal count would be. Among our offerings are Copy Editor Vicki Chatleys account of the remarks former President George W. Bush made at the Ring ling Town Hall session on Tuesday (she was there); one of Fran Palmeris glorious nature features; Staff Photographer Norman Schimmels exclusive look at a Baltimore Orioles mini camp in Sarasota; and a delightful commentary by Harriet Cuthbert on preparing for a big trip. On the County Commission beat, Associate Edi tor Cooper Levey-Baker took the impact fees and Teamsters contract assignments, while County Editor Roger Drouin handled the latest debate over the old Sarasota Police Department site and more talk of extending the Legacy Trail. That left me with Warm Mineral Springs and Bobs Boathouse. Then there is all the city and Siesta news. City Editor Stan Zimmerman pounded out stories about a new drive for a strong elected mayor, a change in plan for police disciplinary pro cedures and a petition to demolish a histor ic downtown structure, among other topics. On Siesta, the news of a state roundabout proposal has raised lots of questions, and that is just a taste of the Siesta news. There also has been more discussion of the Lido Renourishment Project. By all means, take your time going through this issue. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


FOURTH TIME THE CHARM? A HALF MEASURE NEWS & COMMENTARY FOURTH TIME THE CHARM? 9 A new city charter proposal calls for the strongest mayor yet Stan Zimmerman A HALF MEASURE 13 The County Commission makes a counter-offer in a years-old pay dispute with the Teamsters Cooper Levey-Baker A ROUND OF QUESTIONS 17 A state proposal for a roundabout at Beach Road/Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key raises County Commission concerns Rachel Brown Hackney NUN RAISING HELL ON ST. ARMANDS 23 Business owners object to a woman seeking charitable donations on the Circle Stan Zimmerman TAKING A STAND 26 The Siesta Key Association board unanimously agrees to state its opposition to any dredging of Big Sarasota Pass or its channel based on current data Rachel Brown Hackney INSIGHTS INTO THE REAL 32 Former President George W. Bush reveals warm aspects of his personality to a Sarasota audience and reects on life as the most powerful elected leader in the world Vicki Chatley THE DIPLOMATIC APPROACH 35 Some county commissioners think an agreement is still possible in a dispute over the old Sarasota Police Department site Roger Drouin IMPROVING THE CODES 39 County staff is working on revisions to regulations to deal with continuing concerns over Bobs Boathouse and to prevent a similar situation in the future Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Bright and Breezy Rachel Brown Hackney Sarasota Leisure: A Starry Night on the Bay Robert Hackney


NEWS BRIEFS OPINION BARGA IN FEVER 46 The County Commission moves to make discounted road impact fees permanent Cooper Levey-Baker A NEW POLICE TOOL 49 The Sarasota Police Chief is proposing a new method to handle disciplinary matters involving ofcers and pursuing a different path on recruitment Stan Zimmerman STIRRING UP CONCERNS 52 The proposed groins and Big Pass dredging elements of the Lido Beach Renourishment Project have led to worries about potential impacts on the environment and, especially, Siesta Keys shoreline Roger Drouin ONE MORE TIME 58 North Port city commissioners hope they can nd a short-term operator to reopen Warm Mineral Springs in April while they work on a long-term management proposal Rachel Brown Hackney A LONGER LEGACY TRAIL 63 Efforts are under way to expand the popular biking route to both the north and the south Roger Drouin ON THE DEMOLITION LIST 65 The citys Historic Preservation Board grants property owners petition to tear down a Second Street building Stan Zimmerman THE END OF THE BEGINNING 68 The committee studying the future of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) agrees on a 30-year extension and says the Newtown CRA should have equal funding support from the city and county Stan Zimmerman A SAFETY INITIATIVE 73 Representatives of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce work with Amish and Mennonite visitors to explain trafc rules Staff Reports NEWS BRIEFS 76 CRIME BLOTTE R 86 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


BARTRAMS GHOST SIESTA SEEN OP INION EDITORIAL 87 The greatest political threat to Sarasota County COMMENTARY 90 Travel frenzy precedes a long-awaited adventure Harriett Cuthbert SARASOTA LEISURE BARTRAMS GHOST 93 The magic of an 18th century naturalists experiences remains even now in the Florida landscape Fran Palmeri HONORING VETERANS AND HELPING CHILDREN 102 With a focus on veterans and active duty military personnel and great weather the 2014 Thunder by the Bay may have broken records Staff Reports WORKING TO LOOK GOOD 107 A Baltimore Orioles mini camp gives players an opportunity to prove themselves team-worthy Norman Schimmel SIESTA SEEN 111 Trolley service is on schedule to start in July; No Parking signs shortly will be coming to Avenida de Mayo; county staff is still at work on a North Shell Road parking plan; and numerous bike thefts have been reported Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 119 RELIGION BRIEFS 134 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 136 SCHIMMEL SIGHTING S 137 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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Alarm bells are going off all over town. Another new boss mayor plan is afoot. This time it is not the proposal of a simple amend ment to the city charter. This time the effort involves an entirely new city charter. Three times in the past 20 years, proponents of a strong elected mayor have put the question up for popular vote. And each time the result was not even close. City voters preferred the curren t city-manager form of government to an executive mayor plan by overwhelming majorities, often with a two-to-one margin. City voters do not have to look far to nd a st rong-mayor form of city government. Bradentons government is dominated by its mayor. In the past quarter-century, only two men have held the job in that community Wayne Poston and Bill Evers. THE BASICS On the first page of the Revised City Charter, City of Sarasota 2014-15 is the name of its author. Robert J. Martineau, Esq., is identified as a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Law, University of Cincinnati. The Sarasota A new drive is afoot to change the City of Sarasota charter. Photo by Norman Schimmel A NEW CITY CHARTER PROPOSAL CALLS FOR THE STRONGEST MAYOR YET FOURTH TIME THE CHARM? I think theres a need for it. The city is in a state of paralysis with a lack of leadership. Michael Bareld Paralegal Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


Herald-Tribune identies him as a Nokomis resident. The new charter, which is 22 pages long, would create a ve-member City Commission, with each person elected from a district. Only the mayor would be elected citywide. While the mayor would have no vote, the mayor would have veto power over ordinances, resolutions and appropriations. To override a mayoral veto, a sup ermajority of four commissioner votes would be required. The mayor also would be paid four times the salary of a city commissioner, but not less than $100,000. The proposed charter is explicit about who would hold the reins of power. It says, Except as prov ided in the Charter, the Council or a A section of the proposed new city charter lays out duties of the mayor. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 10


Council member may not interfere with the Mayors executive authority under this Charter including the appointment or removal of an administrative ofcer or employee or with the performance of an ofcers or employees administrative duties. The Council or a mem ber may direct a recommendation or criticism concerning the administration of the city only to the Mayor. The new charter would also shift the citys election dates to the state and national elec tion cycle of August primaries and November general elections by the year 2020. Currently, the city conducts its primary in March and its general election in May. Further, under the proposed charter, the city would revert to state campaign nance rules. One former city commissioner who cam paigned against the strong-mayor referendums in the past told The Sarasota News Leader This is the strongest mayor yet. THE PERSONALITIES Martineau is not alone in the quest for a new city charter. He is backed by a num ber of individuals who have supported prior efforts to create an executive mayor with broad powers. Several sources indicate County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, neighborhood leader Linda Holland and Sunshine Law liti gant Michael Bareld are involved. Bareld said he did not support prior attempts to create an elected executive mayor. But now I think theres a need for it, he told the News Leader The city is in a state of paraly sis with a lack of leadership He conrmed that two meetings have been held at The HuB building on Fruitville Road, one on Jan. 7 and another on Jan. 13. Bareld says he is withholding judgment until he sees the final version of the proposed charter. The draft I saw had the city auditor and clerk appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the [city] council, he said. One of my concerns is making sure the auditor and clerk retains independence for auditing pur poses and access to public records. In order to appear on the ballot, any proposal must be approved as an ordinance by the City Commission and set for election, or 10 percent of the registered voters of the city must sign a petition within a 180-day period to support the measure. With 32,937 registered voters in the City of Sarasota, that means about 3,300 of their signatures would be required on a petition to put the revised city charter pro posal up for referendum. % Shannon Snyder was elected mayor by his fellow city commissioners in May 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 11


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Amid tales of hardship and stress caused by staffers going more than four years with fro zen wages, the Sarasota County Commission this Wednesday, Jan. 15, made 400 unionized employees an offer that includes some of the pay raises the union has sought during more than two years of negotiations. Whether the union w ill OK the plan, though, remains unclear. The members of Local 173 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have been working without a collective bargaining agreement since September 2011. Disputes between the union which represents park employees, truck technicians, lifeguards and more and the county have dragged on and on, with more than 30 bargaining sessions already in the books. Wha ts the holdup? Money. The union workers have had their wages frozen since October 2009, and they have pushed t he county to Lifeguards are among the countys Teamsters members. File photo THE COUNTY COMMISSION MAKES A COUNTEROFFER IN A YEARS-OLD PAY DISPUTE WITH THE TEAMSTERS A HALF MEASURE They might be satised with this a true 3 percent raise. They still didnt get nearly what they lost, but its a step in the right direction. Mike McElmury Teamsters International Representative By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


authorize a $1,500 lu mp sum payment, along with partially retroactive 3 percent wage increases for scal years 2013 and 2014. Last August, Special Magistrate Stanley Sergent sided with the union in the pay dispute, rec ommending that the county adopt those monetary stipulations. But Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer rejected that plan, just two days after taking over from former Administrator Randy Reid. Harmers decision led directly to this weeks attempt to resolve the issue in public, with the commis sion directly involved. Elliot Zahalsky, the attorney representing the Teamsters, laid out the justications for its proposal, pointing out that the average wage of the union workers $17 leaves an aver age employee with a fam ily of four just barely over the fe deral poverty level. The median family income in Sarasota County is $57,000, he pointed out. For the Teamsters, that gure is $37,000. And while wages have stayed stagnant, employees costs have increased. In recent years, health insurance premiums have risen, and the state Legislature has moved to require public employees to contribute to their pen sions. All that comes on top of the typical cost-of-living increases we all face. Overall, employees have lost at least 16.9 percent of their incomes buying power since having their wages frozen, Zahalsky testied. Susan Blakes husband has worked for the county for 29 years. According to Blake, the last time her husband got a raise, gas prices averaged $1.4 7 a gallon. The U.S. Energy Parks and Recreation Department employees assist with events at Benderson Park, most of which are on the weekends. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 14


Information Administration now puts that number at $3.33. Weve had no increase in the amount of income to our family, Blake told the commission. Altogether, about a dozen employees testi ed Wednesday. Several talked about how the wage freeze has damaged morale, which is in the dirt, one worker said. There is no morale, another argued, disputing the claim that ring Reid has improved employees out look. One parks employee said that while pay has stayed at, he is being asked to come to work on Saturdays and to cut hours during the week, meaning hes on the job six days a week. The countys counter-offer to the union included a $1,000 lump sum, plus a 3 per cent merit pay raise for fiscal year 2014 only. Zahalsky pushed back on the merit pay idea, arguing that because supervisors grade employees on a bell curve, many would be left out. Commissioner Nora Patterson acknowledged that point, moving to amend the countys pro posal to make it an across-the-board 3 percent raise, backdated to Oct. 1 of last year, the rst day of the current scal year. Commissioner Joe Barbetta seconded that proposal, which eventually passed 4-1. Vice Chairwom an Christine Robinson, who spoke personally about growing up in a blue-collar household, was the lone board member to vote against the counter-offer. Its not lost upon me the hard work that the county workers do, she said, later adding, I appreciate the work thats done, I appreciate what you go through and I appreciate the fact that youre here t o day to participate. With the commissions vote, County Attorney Stephen DeMarshs office will now draft a contract laying out the details and pres ent it to the union. Teamsters International Representative Mike McElmury tells The Sarasota News Leader hes not sure how the proposal will be received. They might be satised with this a true 3 percent raise, he says. They still didnt get nearly what they lost, but its a step in the right direction. But there are no guarantees that this dispute, which has now dragged on for more than two years, is anywhere close to nished. As McElmury put it, At the end of the day its up to the members. % Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer rejected a union pay plan offered in October. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 15


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While a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) spokesman says a plan to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Beach Road and Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key is pretty set in stone, county commission ers have raised questions about the project, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. Nothings set in stone if theres a big uprising about it, Commissioner Nora Patterson said in an interview on Jan. 10. Commissioner Christine Robinson, who trav els that route often, added that her fear is clogged trafc in both directions along Beach Road toward Siesta Village and on Midnight Pass Road up to the Stickney Point Road intersection if the roundabout is put in place. During season, it is not uncommon for traffic to be backed up, Robinson pointed out, but at least driv ers who want to turn south at the Beach St. Boniface Episcopal Church (red pointer in photo) sits north of the intersection of Beach Road and Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps A STATE PROPOSAL FOR A ROUNDABOUT AT BEACH ROAD/MIDNIGHT PASS ROAD ON SIESTA KEY RAISES COUNTY COMMISSION CONCERNS A ROUND OF QUESTIONS By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Id like to see how that [roundabout] really would work to solve a pedestrian problem. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County St. Boniface Episcopal Church


Road intersection with Midnight Pass road can take advantage of the trafc signal to do so. If motorists have to negotiate a round about, with heavy trafc feeding into it from both directions, Robinson is asking how a per son who wants to head toward the southern part of the island will be able do so without something there saying, Your turn? Robin Stublen, communications specialist for FDOTs Public Information Ofce, told the News Leader on Jan. 10 that he understood the roundabout had been the focus of presen tations to the County Commission because FDOTs Tentative Work Program Report for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2019 includes preliminary engineering and design funding for the project in the amount of $302,807 for the 2014-15 scal year. Construction is sched uled in the 2016-17 fiscal year at a cost of $852,249 he added, although it could be the latter part of that scal year when the work begins. However, Robinson said the only discussion that has been held about the project has been among the members of the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which deals with transportation issues for the two counties. Patterson and Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta also are on the MPO board. We never talked about it at a commission meeting, Robinson pointed out to the News Leader WHOSE IDEA IS THIS? On Dec. 16, Robinson emailed James K. Harriott Jr., the countys chief engineer, to ask him to put together a comprehensive pack age on the proposal. This also will likely The Florida Department of Transportation constructed six new pedestrian crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road in the fall of 2012. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 18


require a Commi ssion discussion as well, but the background material will be an important start, she wrote. Because of the holidays, Harriott informed Robinson on Jan. 2 that it was taking a while to get a response from the state agency. On Jan. 9, he nally had more details for her. On Jan. 8, Harriott wrote Robinson in an email, he spoke with L.K. Nandam, FDOT District 1 trafc operations manager, whose ofce is in Sarasota. [Nandam] indicated the proposed roundabout identied in the DRAFT work program is a safety project Harriott continued, During the public meet ings held with the community to discuss the crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road, several residents indicated problems and difculties with crossing Midnight Pass Road at the Beach Road intersection. FDOT reviewed the inter section and determined that a roundabout at the intersection may improve trafc ow and pedestrian crossing con ditions. Based on that review the project was proposed for the work program. If the work program is adopted, the FDOT process will start with additional anal ysis and some conceptual designs to prepare for additional public meetings and discussion specic to the project. Ha rriott was referring to a public session held in December 2011 and subsequent sur veys s ent out by FDOT regarding complaints primarily from condominium residents about the difculty of crossing Midnight Pass Road during the height of season because of the heavy traffic flow. As a result, FDOT con structed six new crosswalks along Midnight Pass Road between Beach and Stickney Point roads in the fall of 2012 at a cost of approximately $198,000. During th e 2013 season, the new crosswalks won praise from visitors and residents; none theless, a few residents remarked to the News Leader that trafc tended to back up on the road when crossings were especially frequent. A segment of the Florida Department of Transportation Tentative Work Program Report for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2019 provides details about funding for the roundabout proposed on Siesta Key. Image courtesy FDOT Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 19


A pedestrian who wishes to use one of the new crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road pushes a button to ash wig-wag lights to alert drivers to stop. Photo by Rachel Hackney Id like to see how that [round about] really would work to solve a pedestrian problem, Patterson told the News Leader last week. Her experience, she added, was that while they have a calming effect on trafc, Im not so sure these roundabouts on busy streets favor pedestrians. Patterson added that people on foot, with no [stoplight] to rely on, sometimes feel threatened by roundabout trafc, uncertain whether the vehicles will stop for them. Id like to see how [the Beach Road/Midnight Pass Road design] really would work to solve a pedestrian problem. Kay Kouvatsos, vice president of the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) and co-owner of Village Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 20


Caf in Siesta Village, shared Pattersons concerns. Although she was speaking from a personal standpoint only, Kouvatsos told the News Leader I dont think thats going to help crossing at all. I dont think theres a thing wrong with that intersection. She had heard nothing about the project until the News Leader contacted her on Jan. 13, though she said she would make sure the plan is brought up at the SKVAs next regular meeting, on Feb. 4. The News Leader was unable to reach SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie. As with the Midnight Pass crosswalk project, Patterson said she felt the appropriate next steps for the proposal would be for the MPO members to suggest FD OT get some public input and provide details about how it plans to handle right of way issues at the intersec tion. The primary question the agency needs to answer, she added, is Just how exactly is [the roundabout] going to work? Robinson concurred. Maybe my fears can be calmed by getting the details, she added. In concluding his Jan. 9 email to Robinson, Harriott wrote, Mr. Nandam and I agreed that in the future, FDOT will notify County staff that the State is adding a project (specically safety projects) to the work program so that County staff can provide a little background before the DRAFT work program is pub lished. ... Although it may not change FDOTs direction to add these types of projects to the work program, advance notication will allow us to provide the Board and community more background information. % The most recent roundabout to open in the city of Sarasota is at Pineapple Avenue and Ringling Boulevard. It was completed in late spring of 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 21


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St. Armands Circle merchants are fuming about a woman dressed as a nun raising money for people in Haiti amongst the hoi polloi shoppers. Diana Corrigan, executive director of the St. Armands Circle Association, told the board members of the St. Armands Business Improvem ent District (BID) Tuesday morn ing, Jan. 14, A lady has set up shop, going up to tourists aggres sively. Corrigan added, She has a sign saying, Help sick and hungry children. Merchants put up any thing outside, and they get hit up by Code Enforcement. Corrigan came to the meeting believing the woman dressed in a nuns summer habit had a permit from the city to solicit money. Last month, as usual during the holiday sea so n, Salvation Army bell-ringers were active on the Circle, soliciting funds for the hungry and needy. I understand ringing bells for the Salvation A woman working on St. Armands to raise charitable contributions to help Haiti has outraged business owners. Photo courtesy St. Armands Circle Association BUSINESS OWNERS OBJECT TO A WOMAN SEEKING CHARITABLE DONATIONS ON THE CIRCLE NUN RAISING HELL ON ST. ARMANDS This is going to proliferate if we dont ght it. Marty Rappaport Chairman St. Armands Business Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


St. Armands is known for its upscale shops and restaurants. Photo by Norman Schimmel Army, she said. I was told by the police [the nun] had a permit. Next thing, shes got a card table and a cooler and hand-painted signs, handing out paper and asking for money. Sarasota Police Deputy Chief Steve Moyer, who was at the BID meeting, responded, This is the rst Ive heard of it. Tim Litchet, director of neighborhood and development services for the City of Sarasota, was called into the meeting. The Code Enforcement Department is under his jurisdiction. A nun came in and asked for a letter and we refused, he told the BID board. Its my understanding no permit has been issued, and Im not sure we could issue any, he said. The nun approached [City Engineer] Alex DavisShaw for a right of way use permit. Alex didnt know what the use would be. I dont know what I would cite her for, added Litchet of the nun. This looks like a potential First Amendment [freedom of speech] issue. She has asked for permits, but I dont think shes entitled to any. Moyer listened to the discussion and then said, I dont see any violation. Neither opinion was well received by Corrigan or the BIDs chairman, Marty Rappaport. I think its time for Sarasota to stand up and ght against the abuse of the Sunshine Law and the First Amendment. Were just open ing this up, but it has to be addressed. This is going to proliferate if we dont ght it. The BID represents commercial property owners on and around St. Armands Circle. Last year, board members had to turn over their personal computers after a Sunshine Law complaint was led about their use of personal email for BID business. Litchet said the police and the citys purchas ing director should raise the issue of the nuns solicitations with the city attorney. This is a First Amendment issue, not a Sunshine issue, he added. This is squatters rights, said Corrigan. This is not good for the district. % Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 24


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


It took about 30 minutes of discussion and one amendment to a motion, but the Siesta Key Association last week formally stated oppo sition to any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effort to dredge the shoal or channel in Big Sarasota Pass based on the documentation currently available in an effort to renour ish Lido Beach. The unanimous action was the rst the board had taken on the project since Aug. 1, when it also voted unanimously to pay up to $2,000 for an independent review of the Corps latest modeling after the work is completed. The action last week did not address a related Corps proposal to construct three groins on the southern end of Lido Key to help stabilize the renourished beach and prevent sand from continuing to drift toward Big Pass and Siesta Key at the same volume observed over the years. Studies have shown the nat ural downdrift of sand ows from north to south on Floridas west coast. Although a number of audience members and several SKA board members voiced agreement with a motion by Secretary Peter van Roekens to oppose the dredging of Big The view across Big Pass to Lido Key is a popular one at the county right of way on Ocean Boulevard near Siesta Village. Photo by Rachel Hackney THE SIESTA KEY ASSOCIATION BOARD UNANIMOUSLY AGREES TO STATE ITS OPPOSITION TO ANY DREDGING OF BIG SARASOTA PASS OR ITS CHANNEL BASED ON CURRENT DATA TAKING A STAND By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor I think we need to take a stand and oppose this dredging. Peter van Roekens Secretary Siesta Key Association


An aerial view shows Big Pass between Siesta (to the south) and Lido keys. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 27


Pass, Presid ent Catherine Luckner urged cau tion. Vice President Michael Shay supported her. I am concerned about closing the discus sion, Luckner said. I dont think theres an urgency to [take a stand] today, because I dont think [the Corps is] going to get any per mits for at least a couple of years. Van Roekens countered, But I think we need to state our opposition. We need to lead on this position. I do not want to paint us into an organiza tional corner where we have no more value for the expertise that we bring to this and peo ple stop talking to us, Luckner responded. Right now, people are talking to us. After Luckner proposed an amendment say ing the organizations position was based on current information, the motion passed unanimously. The Lido project is a joint one of the Corps and the City of Sarasota. City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw has pointed out that state ofcials consider Lido a critically eroded beach. The Corps would pay about 62.4 percent of the cost, with the rest of the funds coming from a state grant and Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenue. STA RTING THE DIALOGUE During his report at the Jan. 9 SKA meet ing, van Roekens related that the Boaters Coalition had held a second discussion at the Sarasota Yacht Club the previous Saturday on the proposed $22 million renourishment project. (The Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations held a similar discussion on Jan. 13. See the related article in this issue.) On Dec. 7, the Corps presented its plan to Coalition members during a meeting at the Yacht Club. The bottom line, van Roekens said, is the sailors are very worried about any dredg ing in Big Pass. He added that if the Corps is allowed to proceed with its plan, and Big Pass suffers as New Pass has after dredging I do not want to paint us into an organizational corner where we have no more value for the expertise that we bring to this and people stop talking to us. Right now, people are talking to us. Catherine Luckner President Siesta Key Association Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 28 President Catherine Luckner addresses the Siesta Key Association meeting audience on Dec. 5. File photo


for reno urishment projects, that would be disastrous. During the August SKA meeting, van Roekens pointed out the New Pass channel was severely damaged. Over a period of close to two years, van Roekens has reminded SKA members that Big Pass never has been dredged. In elaborating on his concerns on Jan. 9, van Roekens explained that the Corps maps of Big Pass contain errors, including a notation that the minimum depth is greater than 19 feet along Siesta Key. Anybody whos been out there knows theres not 19 feet, he added, drawing some laughter from the approxi mately 30 people in the audience. I think we need to take a stand and oppose this dredging, he continued. He then made the motion that the SKA state its grave con cern in opposition to any attempt to dredge Big Pass. SKA Director Deet Jonker seconded it. Luckner immediately reminded her col leagues about the Aug. 1 action, when they had agreed to wait until after the Corps made all its reports available to the public before it took a stand. The SKA also has sought a County Commission review of the project and a formal public meeting process, she noted. However, Im not saying that what youre proposing, Peter, is that we cant say we have grave concerns, Luckner continued. I think thats probably a pretty true statement. Still, Luckner said, she did not want to cut off conversation. Van Roekens explained that the Corps already had delayed the release of its reports from fall to late February or early March. They dont have their act together, he added. The Corps proposes dredging 1.1 million cubic yards of sand from the ebb shoal of Big Pass to undertake the rst renourishment of Lido Beach over the 50-year life of the current proposal, van Roekens continued. (Corps Project Manager Milan A. Mora suggested to members of the Sarasota County Coastal Advisory Committee on Sept. 18 that sand could be taken from New Pass as well as Big Pass, in alternating projects every ve years, in the effort to maintain sufcient sand on Lido.) Referring to Big Pass, van Roekens said, Thats a gigantic hole, and what happens when that hol e is dug? They dont know. Mark Smith addresses the Siesta Key Association board on Jan. 9. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 29


Theres no body who could possibly say theres no risk to Siesta from this. BOARD AND AUDIENCE SUPPORT I think we should be concerned about dredging the shoal, SKA Director Ron Flynn responded. This is a demonstration of how the SKA is representing residents of Siesta Key, Director Beverly Arias told her colleagues, noting our concern about the value of [the public beach] to all of us as residents and property owners. Dr. Allan Worms, a wildlife biologist who volunteers each year to help protect nesting endangered snowy plovers on Siesta Key, voiced his support from the audience. Peter, I completely agree as an individual as well as someone who understands Siesta Key biol ogy. Peter, thank you very much for your insight and your work. Dont give up on this. Architect Mark Smith, a past president of the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) and past chairman of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that private property owners have been assessed to help pay for the 2007 renourishment of Turtle Beach. I see nowhere where the Lido property owners that desperately need the sand [are] paying for it. Our tax money is being used to jeopar dize our island. When a Corps team presented the proposal to the SKA on Dec. 5, a couple of people made a similar point. City Engineer DavisShaw responded that public access points are avail able along Lido. To qualify for the state grant to help pay for the project, she added, the city had to demo nstrate that fact. Smith also agreed with van Roekens in skep ticism about the validity of the modeling the Corps representatives have promised to release. Trust us, were the government should not be our battle cry here, Smith said. The fact that they have dilly-dallied with these reports is a sure sign that [the docu ments are] suspect. Who are these people on Lido Beach that we have to risk our nature here? audience mem ber Katherine Zimmerman asked. I think t hat it woul d be safe to say that all of us dont want any harm to this environment, Luckner responded, [but] I think we need to get our fellow citizens behind this, too. Jonker said he felt that passing van Roekens motion will keep th is i n the forefront of the Peter van Roekens expresses concerns about the Lido Renourishment Project to the City and County commissions in October. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 30


publi c s eye a nd in front of the county com missioners. Regarding the latter, he added, They cant ignore what we say. The County Commission has scheduled a March 19 discussion on the project. Luckner argued that SKA board members have worked hard to assure representatives of the Lido Key Residents Association that the Siesta group is not ghting them about the sand. The SKAs position from August is noted on its website, Luckner said. Theres not an immi nent danger tomorrow, because the Corps has not applied yet for the necessary permits for the project. We cant just say, No, she added, because that would be a change of direction. Were not changing direction, van Roekens told her, and I dont agree that there isnt an imminent danger. Once the Corps applies for the permits, he continued, it is very much more difcult for us or anyone else to pre vent the state from issuing them. Zimmerman asked, Why simply can you not say, We are against it, period? Dont keep playing the offensive. Be defensive. Just put a foot down and say, Hey, its our key; we do not want it. Finally, a member of the audience proposed that the board oppose the project based on the data we have so far. I could live with that, SKA Vice President Shay replied. Luckner then made the motion for that amend ment, and the v otes followed quickly. % 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 January 17, 2014 Page 31


We thought w e knew him, but did we? Each of us likely formed our own opinion of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, during his years in ofce. Since then the former president has maintained a low prole. Thus his scheduled appearance as the rst speaker in the Ringling College Library Associations Town Hall 2014 lecture series was especially tantalizing. Would we see the same George Bush who faced the chal lenges of 9/11 and nancial crises, or would we see an altered George Bush now that he is no longer the leader of the most powerful nation in the world? On Tuesday, Jan. 14, I was part of the audience in the sold-out Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for Bushs speech. Note-taking, along with photography and recording, were prohibited, so there will be no quotes just the impressions of this writer. In the years since leaving the White House Bush appears to have become an elder states man offering insights, as only an ex-president can, into the intimate workings of govern ment and foreign relations. He also seems to have a strong interest in history, even choos ing a desk with an historical background for his personal use in the Oval Ofce. He said it President Bush speaks to the news media in the Oval Ofce in 2001. Image via Flickr FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH REVEALS WARM ASPECTS OF HIS PERSONALITY TO A SARASOTA AUDIENCE AND REFLECTS ON LIFE AS THE MOST POWERFUL ELECTED LEADER IN THE WORLD INSIGHTS INTO THE REAL By Vicki Chatley Contributing Writer


is the same desk that was used by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. He lauded Abraham Lincoln for welcoming a defeated South into the Union at the close of the Civil War without exacting retribution and seemed to suggest that approach as a model for dealing with vanquished enemies, i.e. help them recover and form democratic governments. He pointed out that Japan, once an enemy of the United States, has become its ally through use of that approach. He also suggested the U.S. might have become a con tinent of separate nations, similar to Europe, if not for Lincolns action. Among other observations, Bush seems to have great respect and admiration for the men and women who serve in the military. He also seems to believe leaders should listen to their advisors, but the advisors should not be sycophants. He stated a role of the president is to make decisions; and that in doing so, it is important to know what you dont know. Before exiting the stage Bush said he is opti mistic about the future. I found his comments to be intelligent and thoughtful. Several times he stressed that freedom is essential for everyone, that each person must be free to, for example, choose his/her own religion or no religion at all. It was interesting when he noted that 9/11, an event with which Bush shall always be iden tied, is just something that happened in the past to todays youngsters. It does not carry for them the emotional reaction it does for those of us who were adults at the time. It is like Pearl Harbor to an earlier generation. Recitation of another incident reinforced the sh bowl environment the presidency brings, along with the speed by which news travels. While watching a National Football League (NFL) game, then-President Bush choked on a piece of food. After being attended by the 24/7 White House medical staff, the decision was made to notify the media in the interest of full disclosure. Almost immediately a crawl at the bottom of television screens reported the incident. But what struck me most of all was that the George W. Bush who spoke on Tuesday dis played a keen sense of humor, something I never saw during his presidential years. Equally obvious was pride in his west Texas roots and in his family. Typical of any grand father, he nds rst grandchild, Mila, to be the best baby eve r. He has retained relationships Then-President George Bush throws out the rst pitch at a Washington Nationals game in April 2005. Photo by Paul Moore via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 33


with Midland, TX, friends, whom he invited to the White House. He seems to be more of a humanitarian than he previous indicated. He cited as an accomplishment of his presidency persuad ing Congress to spend millions of dollars to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa and uti lizing religious groups to deliver that aid to those who needed it. He indicated those who receive much have the responsibility to give generously, and I believe he viewed his years in elective ofce, including being governor of Texas, as service to the people of this country. Bush did note that the presidency confers a certain isolation on its occupant. His com ments portrayed a private personality that differs from the persona that attended his presidential years. My overall impression is that George W. Bushs comfort zone is found on a ranch in Texas. During the question-and-answer session, Bush was asked about his parents, former President George and Barbara Bush. He said the 41st president is in good spirits, although unable to walk, which is difcult for a lifelong athlete to accept. He described his mother, now home from the hospital after a bout with u, as feisty. This writer had the extreme privilege and pleasure of meeting the elder Bushes in the mid-1990s when I was invited to a reception they hosted in Philadelphia at a charity where I was then serving as secretary of the board of directors. Trust me when I tell you I do not travel in such lofty political circles. So nat urally I agonized for weeks about what to wear, nally settling on a plain black skirt and black-and-w hite checked blouse. When I saw the former First Lady was similarly attired, I was sure I had committed a serious faux pas and wanted to melt into the oor. But Barbara Bush, in a cheery voice, immediately said, Oh, look at us. Were dressed alike! She may be feisty, but to me she is a most gracious, immediately likeable lady. When a former president visits, enhanced security measures are expected, and patrons had been advised to arrive early on Tuesday. There was a line at the entrance, but it moved quickly through the airport-type screening baggage check and metal detector, with out the necessity to remove shoes. Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce vehicles and person nel were visible. As promised, the doors to the Van Wezel closed promptly at 10:15 a.m. after which no one was admitted into the auditorium. As always, Town Hall patrons were treated to an animated short created by a Ringling College student. The program noted the espe cially entertaining lm titled Dead to Rights was created by Mark Neil, a computer anima tion major in the class of 2013. It would be wonderful if the college presented a collec tion of the work of these talented students for the publics enjoyment. Morgan Davidson, an illustration major, presented a portrait of George W. Bush to the former president. It perfectly captured his Texas roots. She said she chose that pose from several photographs because it fea tured a genuine smile. She also commented that she cleaned him up a little and gave him better clothes than the mud-splattered dirty garments he w as wearing in the photo. % Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 34


Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta was not happy when he heard city com missioners reaction Jan. 13 to the countys request to convey to it the former Sarasota Police Department site on Ringling Boulevard. They actually laughed at us, Barbetta said durin g the Tuesday, Jan. 14, County Commission meeting. As county officials see it, that property belongs to the county. In 2003, the city agreed to de ed the land to the county in exchange for the countys vow to keep several of its primary governmental functions in downtown Sarasota. But on Jan. 13, Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder was not keen on the idea of turning over a key piece of downtown property. By conse nsus, the City Commission agreed with City Attorney Bob Fournier, who advised that the city is under no legal obligation to deed the property to the county. S nyder asked The former site of the Sarasota Police Department sits north of the new police headquarters in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel SOME COUNTY COMMISSIONERS THINK AN AGREEMENT IS STILL POSSIBLE IN A DISPUTE OVER THE OLD SARASOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT SITE THE DIPLOMATIC APPROACH Lets keep the lawyer talk out of it up until this point I believe they are going to do the right thing. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


the comm issioners: Does anybody want to sign off on that property? Raise your hand. The questi on was met only with laughter. County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh said his interpretation of the 2003 agreement in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) differs from Fourniers. The county has carried out its part of the bargain by keep ing its administration building downtown, so the city should carry out its share of the agreement, DeMarsh pointed out. Its a little troubling to think the other party doesnt think it is enforceable, DeMarsh said Tuesday in reference t o the MOU. The Judge Lynn N. Silvertooth Judicial Center, to the west of the old Police Department site, will need to be expanded in the future, county leaders say. File photo Charles Hines is the new chairman of the County Commission. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 36


More commu nication between the [county] administration and the city manager is needed to get this back on track, DeMarsh added. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson urged her colleagues to take a measured approach with the city. She said she was told city com missioners want reassurance that the county will not just take over the property with plans to try to sell it in a few years. I talked to one of the city commissioners. I think if we let them know the purpose, that we want to get that property for future plan ning of county services, that may come close to solving the issue, Robinson pointed out. Chairman Charles Hines said he agreed with DeMarshs legal opinion and Barbettas frus tration, but he believed the county should follow the more measured approach for now and let the city commissioners know the countys plans for the parcel. Lets keep the lawyer talk out of it up until this point, Hines told his fellow board mem bers. I dont believe there is a condition [in the MOU] that we have to tell them what we plan to use it for. But there is no need to get into a debate. I believe they are going to do the right thing. Barbetta noted it has already been 11 years since the MOU was crafted, and, thus far, the city has not conveyed the deed to the county. Commissioner Carolyn Mason said she agreed with the diplomatic approach, too, adding that perhaps part of the confusion stems from the fact that the MOU was signed in 2003. There is no historical knowledge of this on their commission, Mason added. Several years a fter the MOU was drawn up, the city and county legal staffs worked on the issue, but the deed for the old police depart ment site was never turned over, DeMarsh explained, partly because of changes in both city and county administrative staffs. Barbetta said he recalls former Mayor Lou Ann Palmer addressing the issue ve or six years ago. I remember her saying, We owe it to the county. BACK TO 2003 The MOU was drawn up in 2003 after thenCounty Administrator Jim Ley delivered an ultimatum to the City of Sarasota. Faced with the prospec t of losing Sarasota Countys Tom Barwin is manager of the City of Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 37


central operatio ns, the Sarasota city commis sioners capitulated. In exchange for the county promising to keep its court and administrative functions in downtown Sarasota, the city agreed to sev eral concessions including handing over the piece of downtown land that stood under the Police Department. On July 15, 2003, the MOU was signed by thenMayor Palmer and then County Commission Chairwoman Shannon Staub. The county agrees to satisfy its facilities master plan for Court and Administration needs within the downtown judicial complex area, and the City agrees to provide the county with the police facility site ready to build, the docu ment says. But the agreement was never nalized; and a formal interlocal agr eement was never signed. COUNTY DIRECTION The county commissioners on Jan. 14 directed Hines to write a letter to the City Commission, letting it know what uses the county has in mind for the property. Those could include an expansion of the judicial and law enforce ment facilities on Ringling Boulevard. Robinson said the letter should make it crys tal clear what the county wants to do with the property. We would like it because we are trying to plan for county services on the Ringling corridor. Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer has already spoken with City Manager Tom Barwin about the matter, he said, and he plans to keep those conversations going. Mr. Barwin did indicate the city is not opposed to delivering the deed, but before that, [staff members] want to have a conversation on what is planned on tha t property. % 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 January 17, 2014 Page 38


Sarasota County staff will be tackling ongo ing complaints involving Bobs Boathouse in two diverse ways, the county commission ers dec ided on Jan. 14 through a revision of the countys build ing code and through exploration of changes in the countys Air and Sound Pollution Ordinance. During the County Commissions regu lar mee ting in Venice this week, Tom Polk, director of the coun tys Planning and Development Services Department, told the board he has been reviewing the process for issu ing Temporary Certificates of Occupancy (TCOs) in the wake of ongo ing complaints about Bobs Boathouse, which opened in early November at 5515 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Among the changes he is An aerial view shows Bobs Boathouse (marked with the red ag) at the rear of property on the South Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps COUNTY STAFF IS WORKING ON REVISIONS TO REGULATIONS TO DEAL WITH CONTINUING CONCERNS OVER BOBS BOATHOUSE AND TO PREVENT A SIMILAR SITUATION IN THE FUTURE IMPROVING THE CODES I feel we cant stop the [Temporary Certicate of Occupancy (TCO)] process for this one error. Theres a lot of upcoming TCO considerations I think that this board would not want us to stop. Tom Polk Director Planning and Development Services Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


considerin g, he sa id, are having the countys Land Development Services Ofce manager review issues relative to zoning regulations and site development compliance while the countys Building Ofcial would remain focused on requirements germane to the Florida Building Code and the Fire Code. Both employees would report their ndings to Polk, who, if satised with the information, could issue a Certicate of Compliance allow ing a new business to open. A Jan. 15 memo from Polk to Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer explaining the proposal adds that if the Building Official determined a new facility is at the stage where it can provide effective and reason able protection for public safety, health, and general welfare, but it does not yet meet all the Florida Building Code requirements, the Building Ofcial could issue a TCO. If all the work covered by the building per mit is complete and the Building Ofcial has issued a CO, but zoning and site development activities are incomplete, the memo says, the director of the Planning and Development Services Department could issue a Conditional Certicate of Compliance to allow the new business to open on a temporary basis until the other work is nished. However, Polk told the commissioners, If there are any outstand ing issues and they are extensive issues we may even require bonding or some other type of cash surety to make certain the items are addressed in a timely fashion. During the boards Dec. 10 meeting, com missioners expressed outrage that Bobs A section of the parking area is shown at Bobs Boathouse, with the restaurants deck at the far left. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 40


A section of the punch list is shown from the Dec. 31 letter from the county Building Ofcial to the contractor on record for Bobs Boathouse. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 41


Boath ouse was given a TCO last year even though its owners had failed to pay $77,063.44 in required water and sewer capacity fees. Polk admitted the action was a staff members mistake, because county regulations already in place prevent the issuance of a TCO if all fees have not been paid. In related action on Jan. 14, Commissioner Nora Patterson won unan imous approval from her colleagues on a motion asking staff to work with the Ofce of the County Attorney to determine whether modications to the Noise Ordinance could address loud music com plaints at operations such as Bobs Boathouse. At the suggestion of a homeowner who lives near the restaurant, Patterson proposed that Bobs Boathouse and similar businesses be made to adhere to the same sound regula tions required of industrial establishments. In the latter cases, she pointed out, county Code Enforcement ofcers and Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce deputies can measure sound from the site where a complaint is received. The current ordinance provides for measure ments involving commercial establishments to be taken at the emitting site, she noted. THE BUILDING CODE DISCUSSION During his appearance before the commis sion, Polk explained that after the owners of Bobs Boathouse paid the outstanding water and sewer capacity fees, county staff on Dec. 31 extended the business TCO for another 30 days, with the possibility of yet another 30-day extension. A Dec. 3 1 letter from Gregory Yantorno, the countys Building Official, to D.E. Murphy Constructors Inc. of Sarasota the contrac tor of record for Bobs Boathouse says the TCO automatically will expire on Jan. 30 without further action. It adds, Please note that County staff will evaluate to determine whether substantial progress and good faith efforts have been made to accomplish the out standing items listed on the punch list, attached hereto. The letter also says, Failure to demonstrate substantial progress and good faith efforts will result in the denial of any future request for a TCO extension. Among the punch list items are the following: Conveyance to the county of six utility easements, including those for a sewer lift station and public utilities. Installation of all watercourse buffer plant ings consistent with the approved [county plan] dated August 10, 2010 Removal of all nuisance and invasive vege tation on the property. Installation of a fence at the lift station site. Installation of 3-inch caliper trees to compensate for native trees that were removed without a Tree Permit. To clarify, these 16 trees to be planted are in addition to the trees required [by the countys Trees Ordinance]. Polk also reported that Code Enforcement officers have been out there repeatedly Obviously, what we have in this particular situation isnt working. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 42


at different points and times, along with Sheriffs deputies. Staff is monitoring progress on the punch list items, Polk added. Commissioner Joe Barbetta then raised a point about the application in current use for any business seeking a county TCO. According to a discussion he had with Assistant County Attorney David Pearce, Barbetta said, the County Attorneys Office has claimed no knowledge of this document, so Im just con fused as to who prepared it. I denitely want an answer as to whether this is a legal document or not. He added that his fear is were going to end up buying some litigation County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh replied that his ofce did not provide the TCO appli cation, to my knowledge. Ive got real problems with that, Barbetta responded. Ive got real problems with whats going on with this whole thing. I hear you loud and clear, Commissioner Carolyn Mason told Barbetta, but, for me, and, I think, for the neighbors around Bobs Boathouse the issue as I see it has to do with Certicate of Occupancy (CO) versus non-CO issues versus quality-of-life issues that may arise as a result of the particular business that is involved. She added, That has to be resolved and con nected to us as the policymakers [and] to the greater community as well. Commissioner Patterson pointed out, If in the past we have allowed some TCOs to drag on further than they should, hopefully, thats not the rule. At some point, all these issues need to be tied up, and it shouldnt be a year from now; it should be pretty quick. Polk told the board that over the past three years, 66 TCOs were given to businesses while the nal site issues were being com pleted. He added, For the most part, I think weve had a lot of successes. When Barbetta asked for clarification about whether county staff still is using the TCO application he referenced earlier, Polk conrmed that. This is an application that is utilized no different than a rezoning The countys Sound and Air Pollution Ordinance includes a chart with permissible noise levels according to land use category. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 43


application, Polk responded. We do wish to get this codied, and we hope to do this in a short time. I feel we cant stop the TCO process for this one error. Theres a lot of upcoming TCO considerations I think that this board would not want us to stop. DeMarsh told the commissioners, Our legal advice would be that you have, over the course of many years, a procedure that has been used by your Building Ofcial. We think that you should ultimately amend the codes to incor porate more standards with respect to TCOs. But in the interim, it would be our view that applying past practice consistently into the future is what you would do. Aft er Barbetta pointed out that the applica tion refers to the discretion of the Building Ofcial to grant TCOs, Patterson said, But discretion means there is discretion, and when county staff encounters a situation in which a business has difficulty complying with regulations, discretion means it doesnt drag on forever. Polk said he believes area developers need to be involved in the process of changing the building code. He planned his rst meeting with such a group that day, he added, to start the conversation. A memo from Planning and Development Services Director Tom Polk shows part of the proposed changes involving issuance of Certicates of Occupancy. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 44


Staff also is researching practices in other jurisdictions, he noted. For example, Alachua County has a maximum period during which a business can operate with a TCO. He added that he and his staff probably should consider a similar measure for Sarasota County. Work on it, Patterson told him. THE NOISE SIDE OF THE MATTER Regarding her Air and Sound Pollution Ordinance motion, Patterson credited the suggestion to Jim McWhorter, president of the River Forest Civic Association. McWhorter noted in an email to Patterson that the River Forest subdivision begins 1,100 feet north of Bobs Boathouse. Youd have to be able to walk on water in order to take an accurate reection of the noise at the emitting site [Bobs Boathouse], which is what our ordinance requires, she told her colleagues. Phillippi Creek is adjacent to the restaurant, with homes across the body of water. When calls come in about music being too loud at Bobs Boathouse, she continued, mea surements are taken at Tamaimi Trail, which is a long way away from the establishment. After McWhorter researched the countys Air and Sound Pollution Ordinance, she said, he told her that if commercial operations such as Bobs Boathouse could be treated like indus trial rms, that might resolve the concerns of neighbors. The ordinance was written as it is, she explained, because in a situation like those on Siesta Key, when complaints come in, a Code Enfo rcement ofcer measuring sound from th e callers residence is generally unable to determine the source, because a number of restaurants and bars are in close proximity to each other. Obviously, what we have in this particular situation isnt working, Chairman Charles Hines said. Pattersons proposal is worth exploring, he added. Then her motion passed unanimously. In response to questions from Polk, Patterson claried that the proposed changes should come back to the board for a review and authorization to advertise. When he asked if the board preferred only one public hearing on the matt er, she replied, Yes. % Tom Polk addresses the County Commission. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 45


The Sarasota County Commission this week took steps to permanently lock in steeply discounted road impact fee rates, originally reduced in 2011 to provide a short-term shot in the arm to the then-oundering construc tion industry. In 2007, the commission voted to reduce impact fees which are billed to develop ers to cover the increased demand that new construction places on public roads to 68 percent of the full rate established one year earlier. In 2011, the board cut them even fur ther, to 50 percent of that diminished rate. Last January, the commissioners moved to maintain those rates for another two years, a plan supported by the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, an inuential trade group for local construction interests. Then, last summer, the commission indicated to staff it wanted to see those low numbers become permanent. That history was laid out for the commis sion Tuesday, Jan. 14, by Interim County Transportation Director Jonathan Paul, who asked the board to allow staff to adver tise proposed changes to the road impact fee ordinance. His presentation included a spreadsheet with examples of impact fees for various types of construction. For a new 1,500-square-foot home, for example, the full 2007 fee was $7,623; the reduced 2007 rate was $5,171. The 2011 changes then cut that num ber to $2,585. That gure, if eventually locked in, will shift only with ination, as determined by the Florida Department of Transportation. Road impact fees should stay low, the majority of the County Commission agreed this week. Photo by Christopher Sessums, via Flickr THE COUNTY COMMISSION MOVES TO MAKE DISCOUNTED ROAD IMPACT FEES PERMANENT BARGAIN FEVER By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


A county chart provides comparisons of road impact fees. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 47


Jonathan Paul makes a point to the County Commission in October. File photo Commissioner Nora Patterson was the only board member to object to the plan. Last year she voted against extending the discounted rates. The problem with short-term fee reduc tions, she pointed out then, was that no one ever wants the rates to go back to normal. Patterson argued Tuesday that road impact fees have never covered 100 percent of the actual cost to the county. Despite a mini-con struction boom forecast for this year, she argued, the county is going to get even fur ther behind in meeting our road obligations. She was the only commissioner to vote against advertising the proposed amendments. Attorney Dan Lobeck, a erce critic of the commissions development policies, argued in an e-blast that the commission should have listened to public input before adver tising the reduced rates. With construction now approaching boom levels and your road program severely underfunded, it is irrespon sible to continue your slashing of road impact fees, he wrote. It would be stark testimony to the undue inuence of developers over this County Commission, a betrayal of the taxpay ers as well as all who will be caught in the trafc gridlock you will induce by starving the road program. In addition to cementing the low rates, the changes would establish a new appeals pro cess if an applicant believes he or she is being overcharged. Those complaints would be heard rst by an impact fee administrator. The goal is to work out these issues before it comes before the County Commission, Paul told the board Tuesday. With the commissions seal of approval, the amendment will come back to the board for a public hearing on Feb. 12. % Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 48


Police Chief Bernadette DiPino accepted congratulations from City Manager Tom Barwin after she was sworn into ofce in January 2013. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota A NEW POLICE TOOL I want it sooner rather than later. Bernadette DiPino Police Chief City of Sarasota


One of the rst acts of Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino when she took ofce a year ago was disbanding a disciplinary board. One ofcer would get a one-day suspension for something, and another would be sus pended for three days for the same thing, she said. It wasnt fair. She abolished what some perceived as a goodol-boy board, and took over the job herself. Now she wants to ditch the disciplinary duty and handle the process with a matrix. The citys Human Resources Department is reviewing the proposal now, she said. And she already has received the preliminary approval of her boss, City Manager (and former Detroit police ofcer) Tom Barwin. The year of 2014 will be the year of processes for the Sarasota Police Department, DiPino told the Independent Police Advisory Panel on Friday, Jan. 10. The matrix, she said, takes any potential violation a police ofcer could commit and mandates an appropriate penalty. It makes it clear for the police ofcers. It puts a process in place. Another citizen advisory panel has been reviewing city police complaints and disci plinary action for the past three years. It is called the Police Complaints Committee, and every month it examines old Internal Affairs cases. Over time, the members have developed an appreciation of how the SPD disciplines its of cers. William Fuller is chairman of the Complaints Panel. Weve been impressed with the way internal investigations are handled, and very infrequently do we have questions, he said. Weve been looking at things submitted as complaints that did not go through internal investigations, but rather were worked out by other means. Staff liaison for both police panels is Peter Graham, a technical advisor for the City of Sarasota. He pointed out that he and the groups have found it difcult to ll in the matrix. Theres such a wide disparity of view on whats appropriate action to take. DiPino said of the new process, I want it sooner rather than later. THE SARASOTA POLICE CHIEF IS PROPOSING A NEW METHOD TO HANDLE DISCIPLINARY MATTERS INVOLVING OFFICERS AND PURSUING A DIFFERENT PATH ON RECRUITMENT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor Mikel Holloway served as police chief before DiPino was hired. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 50


CHANGES ON THE INTAKE SIDE DiPino is also making changes on the recruit ment side of her department. Instead of waiting for an opening and then advertising to ll it, she wants to build a list of qualied candidates to which she can refer when posi tions become available. It usually takes six to 10 people to get one good individual, she told the panel. We need active recruitment with an open process. She noted an unusual aspect about Florida police departments. Florida is a unique state because you can go through the [police] acad emy without being sponsored by a specic department, she said. DiPino added that the Sarasota Police Department recently had taken landmark action in putting up the funds for a candidate to attend the academy. We paid the tuition, salary and benets for that time period in the academy, she said. We just graduated an individual for the rst time. We did not do that in the past. Normally, candidates must nd the time and money to attend the academy on their own. We want to attract and hire a diverse police force, she said. At the end of this year, we will need ve or more ofcers. And more next year. We need a succession plan. CHANGES ON THE INSIDE Another change comes to the Independent Police Advisory Panel itself at its next meet ing. Chairman Elmer Berkel is stepping down after the rst three years of the boards exis tence. I announced I will not continue beyond the end of my three-year term, he said. Im turning 80 and we need some younger blood in here. Berkel i s a former city commissioner and mayor who has remained active in Sarasota affairs long after he left his ofce in City Hall. He also sits on the Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Board. One of his final acts on the Independent Police Advisory Panel has been shepherding through a revision of its enabling ordinance. The changes will give the board wider latitude regarding subjects it can investigate and areas where it can recommend changes. The group serves in an advisory capacity to the police chief, cit y manager and City Commission. % The Sarasota Police Department towers over neighboring buildings on Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 51


Jono Miller is concerned about a proposed $22 million Lido Key renourishment project and he is not the only one. Miller, a conservationist and New College lec turer, spoke at the Sarasota County Council of N eighborhood Associations (CONA) monthly meeting on Monday, Jan. 13. He focused on the unknown impacts the project could have on the marine environment, wildlife and Siesta Keys shoreline. The Lido undertaking, billed as an ero sion-prevention project, would pump 1.2 million cubic yards of sand onto Lido Beach, with that material havin g been removed from the Big Pass ebb shoal; the pass never has been dredged. The project would also install three per manent gr oins on the Area residents listen to Jono Miller summarize a presentation the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offered last year about the Lido Beach Renourishment Project. Photo by Roger Drouin THE PROPOSED GROINS AND BIG PASS DREDGING ELEMENTS OF THE LIDO BEACH RENOURISHMENT PROJECT HAVE LED TO WORRIES ABOUT POTENTIAL IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND, ESPECIALLY, SIESTA KEYS SHORELINE STIRRING UP CONCERNS There are a lot of people who should have been involved in this process, and for the most part they have not. Jono Miller New College Faculty Member By Roger Drouin County Editor


south end of Lido Key to keep the new sand in place. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposes to rell the beach about every ve years over a 50-year period. Miller specically questioned the need for permanent groins and the removal of sand from Big Pass. He had a message for the Army Corps, which would fund up to 65 percent of the cost and has been planning the project along with the City of Sarasota: Add a moderate amount of sand about half a million cubic yards, equal to previous renourishments on Lido Key to address isolated erosion, but do not dredge the Big Pass shoal and keep the groins off Lido. That seemed to work, when it was done in the past, Miller said of using the smaller amount of sand on Lido. It didnt involve a superdune, and it didnt involve groins, and it didnt involve dredging a hole in Big Pass. Although the more complex project the Corps unveiled in September has been in the works since 1999, Miller pointed out that the process has been marked by lack of a clear public involvement, and there has been no avenue for seeking input from local boat ers and residents who might be impacted. Jono Miller discusses natural erosion and accretion trends on Lido Key. Photo by Roger Drouin It will make more problems. Calvin LeBuffe CONA Meeting Attendee Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 53


There ar e a lot of people who should have been involved in this process, and for the most part they have not, Miller said. In September and October, the Corps of Engineers made two presentations before elected ofcials, conveying the total project as a take-it-or-leave it package. To show up with a plan and say, If you dont do it, you wont get anything, thats not the kind of government I want, Miller told the audience. NOT AN EASY RIDE Residents also voiced their concerns at the CONA meeting. It doesnt work, Sarasota County resident Calvin LeBuffe told The Sarasota News Leader before Mondays program began. It will make more problems. LeBuffe is so worried about the dredging of Big Pass that he said he planned to travel to Tallahassee this week to present his case against the project to Florida Department of Erosion on Lido Beach has resulted in waves lapping closer to many of the structures at high tide. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 54


Environmental Protection (FDEP) ofcials. DEP will have to issue permits for the work, if the Corps is to proceed as it plans. LeBuffe foresees problems such as erosion on Siesta and a vortex in Big Pass that could be hazardous to boaters, but he also voiced con cern that the project is already in the works. Miller emphasized that residents should work to raise the profile of the discussions and keep asking questions, but that should not be a problem. I think [Corps representatives] got the clear message it is not going to be an easy ride for them, said Lourdes Ramirez, president of the neighborhood coalition, who lives on Siesta Key. On Dec. 5, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) hosted Corps engineers for a presentation of the project. (See a related story in this issue.) ASKING QUESTIONS Miller noted that Big Pass has become an important environment for spotted eagle rays, An Army Corps of Engineers graphic shows the areas deemed the best sand sources for the Lido Beach Renourishment Project. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 55


as Mote Marine Laboratory researchers have shown. The rays use the Big Pass shoal to escape predators such as sharks and to give birth to young, Miller said. The impact on the rays and other wildlife, and the marine habitat itself, after dredging is unknown. Were trying to ask questions now before it gets any furth er, Miller pointed out. Dredging in Big Pass could limit the ability of sand to ow south towards Siesta, and it could even limit the potential for new forma tions to take shape naturally. Another big concern Miller noted was what happens if something goes wrong, if the Corps moves ahead with the entire project. Miller mentioned Hurricane Katrina and how the Corps was granted immunity after the An Army Corps of Engineers illustration shows the planned locations of three groins on the southern end of Lido Key. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 56


storm hit New Or leans in 2005, so the agency could not be sued over any of the damages resulting from the failure of its levees to pro tect property. If something does go wrong, we may have difculty seeking money from them, Miller said. A WHOLE SYSTEM Miller is calling for a strategy that takes into account Sarasota Countys shoreline, and not just certain areas of beach. That plan should focus on how to address high storm tides that could impact other areas. We need a strategy for the whole system that includes St. Armands, Miller said. As for Lido Key, erosion appears primarily to be a problem on a 4,000-foot stretch of the beach, particularly where two hotels appear to jet out toward the waterline; yet, the $22 million project takes some drastic steps to protect an isolated stretch, Miller said. The simpler approach of continuing to renourish areas of the beach that experience erosion, he argued, has been proven to work. The Corps proposed new Lido project, how ever, appears to be moving ahead. Federal officials will continue to hold workshops to talk to boaters and various associations tha t have an interest in the plan, and the topic is slated to come up again at a County Commission meeting in March. At the Dec. 5 SKA meeting, Corps representa tives told the approximately 100 people in the audience that they expected to release a report soon that would show the expected impacts on Siesta Key of the Lido Beach Renourishment Project. Additionally, Milan A. Mora, the project manager for the Corps, said agency representatives hoped to submit an application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in late January or early February to obtain the necessary state permits for the work. According to SKA President Catherine Luckner this week, one reason the Corps has not proceeded with its application is the need for an Environmental Assessment (EA) that must nd either no sig nicant environmental impact or the need for a more complex study. The project has other hurdles to overcome. Mora also has pointed out that he has no idea when Congress will make the federal money available for the work. Additionally, many Siesta residents concerned about the Corps interest in Big Pass are demanding an inde pendent peer review of the Corps report and modeling when all the mate rial is available. % For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Tonya Herschberger & Linda KeefeAfter a terrible accident I required surgery. Tonya shared with me that Dr. Koval was responsible for her beautiful smile. She gave me hope and direction. Im so grateful to Dr, Koval. Now I have a smile that I love to share with everyone. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 57


The City o f North Port and Sarasota County this week agreed on another attempt to hire a rm to manage the swimming area at Warm Mineral Springs, with hopes the resort can reopen by April. In the meantime, North Port staff will continue work on a proposal for the long-term future of the popular 81-acre tourist destination. North Port Commissioner Linda Yates on Jan. 13 suggested an early to mid-April opening would be possible. Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Director Carolyn Brown told the County Co mmission North Port staff mem bers had indicated to her they hoped the bid award will be on the citys March 24 agenda. Brown conrmed for the county board that an entry admission would be charged; the city and county would pay for the short-term oper ators services out of the resulting revenue. In a 4-1 vote on Jan. 14, with Chairman Charles Hines in the minority, the County Commission remained rm on a Sept. 1 dead line for nalizing the long-term contract. The County Commission set that date last month while also agreeing to let the city pursue a short-term manager for the property. Swimmers enjoy the ambiance of Warm Mineral Springs just before it closed in June. Photo by Stan Zimmerman NORTH PORT CITY COMMISSIONERS HOPE THEY CAN FIND A SHORTTERM OPERATOR TO REOPEN WARM MINERAL SPRINGS IN APRIL WHILE THEY WORK ON A LONG-TERM MANAGEMENT PROPOSAL ONE MORE TIME By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor You can love us or hate us for it. We have tried to do what you want done, which is open up the Springs. Linda Yates Commissioner City of North Port


During their first regular meeting since Dec. 9, the North Port board members also voted 4-1 this week, concurring with the County Commissions December action. Commissioner Cheryl Cook was in the minority. However, comments by City Manager Jonathan Lewis generated considerable dis cussion at the County Commission dais a day later. THE CITY DISCUSSION On Jan. 13, Lewis explained to his board that the draft of the Request for Bids for a shortterm manager contained language indicating the contract could be extended beyond Sept. 1 if the rm and the two boards agreed to such action. Thats normal course for us, he added of the insertion of the language. Vice Mayor Rhonda DiFranco claried for the audience that if the City Commission voted specically to include the wording about the extension in the bid, the matter would have to go back to the County Commission for concurrence. Nonetheless, DiFranco said, if the two boards found themselves approach ing Sept. 1 with indications the springs would have to close again unless an extension were approved, the two boards could work with the short-term operator on renewing the contract. Mayor James Blucher did point out, The county was very adamant about that date [of Sept. 1], with no plans for allowing an extension. Members of the North Port City Commission are (from left) Vice Mayor Rhonda DiFranco, Mayor James Blucher and Commissioners Linda Yates, Cheryl Cook and Tom Jones. Photo courtesy City of North Port Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 59


DiFranco replie d that it was likely the Springs would have to close again because [the county commissioners are] being adamant about that [deadline]. AT THE COUNTY BOARD DAIS When Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer brought up the matter to his board on Jan. 14, he mentioned the discussion about the extension language. Notication of the citys action had come in an email from Assistant City Manager Daniel Schult, Harmer added. Sent at 5:29 p.m. on Jan. 13 to Carolyn Brown, the countys director of parks and recreation, Schults email said, Commission approved the change with a termination date of Sept. 1, 2014 with the additional language of agree ing to an extension. Could you find out if this is going to be a game stopper with your Chairs awaited the numerous visitors at Warm Mineral Springs when it was open. Image courtesy City of North Port Jonathan Lewis is the manager of the City of North Port. Image courtesy City of North Port Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 60


Commissio n. If not we can advertise this week. Brown told the County Commission, We thought [the extension language] would be a good safety valve in the event the long-term operational agreement for the resort was not nalized by Sept. 1. The facility would have to close again [other wise], she pointed out, as DiFranco had the previous day. Lets avoid that, County Commissioner Nora Patterson said. However, County Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson reminded her colleagues, [T]he purpose of adding the deadline language to [the December agreement] was to make sure that we had things done We need to work together to accomplish this, and extending [the short-term contract] just completely erases that deadline If we dont approve [the North Port lan guage], Chairman Hines replied, then [the deal is] dead. The worst-case scenario, Robinson explained, would be if North Ports board and staff took too long to complete the solicitation process for long-term ope ration of Warm Mineral Springs and then the city board agreed with the short-term manager to let the latter stay in place longer. We are in this position then that we say, No, because youre not moving fast enough, Robinson added. Suppose you have a very short extension period, Patterson replied. I dont want [the Springs] all of a sudden closed again Sept. 1, and you dont, either. Then we should just turn this into a Dec. 31 deadline, Robinson told Patterson. It has the same effect. Robinson added, Its time to get this done. We [bought] this property four days before I took ofce, which was in December 2010. Its time we put some deadline on ourselves and get this done Christine Robinson is vice chairwoman of the County Commission. Photo by Norman Schimmel We [bought] this property four days before I took ofce [in December 2010]. Its time we put some deadline on ourselves and get this done. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 61


Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out that the best-case short-term scenario would be for a rm to open the Springs for about fourand-a-half months, based on the anticipated time frame for nalizing a contract. Still, he cast doubt on whether any rm would be interested in the contract, not only because of the short duration of it but also because of what he cited as conicting language in the draft Request for Bids. I can tell you right away youre not going to get any bids on this. If you do, [the rms have] got to be crazy. I agree, Patterson said. Why would anyone want to do this for ve months at all. I mean, this is worse than the mowing contracts. That comment drew some wry chuckles, as the County Commission over the past two years has dealt with a number of failed contracts for mowing services, with representatives of rms indicating to staff they had underesti mated their expenses in crafting low bids. After Robinson reiterated her call for the county board to remain rm on the Sept. 1 deadline, Hines pointed out, I would hate not to have it understood that we could poten tially extend [the contract] for another 30 to 60 days to keep [Warm Mineral Springs] open. I think we should take [the North Port lan guage] as is, with the three-month possibility [of an extension] and everything, Patterson said. After Robinson reminded Patterson that the length of the extension was not speci fied, Patterson joined Robinson, Barbetta and Commissioner Carolyn Mason in voting for Robinsons motion to reject any bid lan guage referring to the possibility of a contract extension. BACK IN NORTH PORT A day earl ier in North Port, when Vice Mayor DiFranco made the motion to accept the countys December recommendations for the short-term solicitation process, she told her colleagues, It is imperative that we move this thing forward and protect the city from any more negative conjectures. We should open the springs by Sept. 1, City Commissioner Tom Jones said in seconding that motion. Im fine with that [Sept. 1] deadline, Commissioner Yates agreed. After the vote without any mention of a possible contract renewal for the short-term operator, Yates pointed out, Had we done anything else tonight, there would have been a huge delay. She told the audience, You can love us or hate us for it. We have tried to do what you want done, which is open up the Springs. % The Sarasota News Leader No Nonsense Reporting Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 62


An expansion of the Legacy Trail southward could soon be under way. This week, the North Port City Commission moved ahead with the plan, and the project also won a nod from the County Commission. Followi ng the North Port City Commissions unan imous decision at its meeting on Jan. 13 to determine the cost of land acquisition for a preserved green way and ribbon trail expansion of the multi-use trail into North Port, the County Commission voted Tuesday, Jan. 14, to seek county funds to contribute to the project. County Commission Vice Chairwoman Chr istine Robinson brought up the North Port vote, asking whether her colleagues would sup port directing county staff to research whether county funds could be found to A Legacy Trail bridge over U.S. 41 near Venice was opened in the fall of 2011. Photo by Norman Schimmel EFFORTS ARE UNDER WAY TO EXPAND THE POPULAR BIKING ROUTE TO BOTH THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH A LONGER LEGACY TRAIL Its kind of exciting to see that people want to expand north and expand southeast. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


help pay for the Legacy Trail expansion. The County Commission vote was unanimous, a positive sign for bikers, walkers and joggers who use the popular trail. Any county funding would likely go towards construction of a bridge over the Myakkahatchee Creek. That east/west path way would connect to the Venice portion of the Legacy Trail. North Port has set aside $434,419 in its cur rent scal year for the purchase of property along the Myakkahatchee Creek, which it also would use to protect a city water supply, help deal with ooding issues and preserve a natural park-like setting. A fundraising effort led by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation could pave the way for another extension to the north. Its kind of exciting to see that people want to expand north and expand southeast, Robinson said. County Commission Chairman Charles Hines added that it was nice to see North Port has set aside funding. He said he believed the county should seek ways it could contribute to the engineering for the Myakkahatchee bridge. Lets move this forward as quickly as possi ble, Hines told his colleagues. The 10-mile long Legacy Trail currently runs from Venice to just south of the city of Sarasota. An effort already has begun to extend the multi-use trail northward from its termination south of Clark Road into down town Sarasota. The extra 8-mile stretch could take years to construct because of the expense. That initiative did receive a boost last summer, however. In August, the County Commission authorized its Public Works Department to spend $75,000 on an initial study that will cost $150,000. The county said it would look to Legacy Trail supporters for the additional funds. Then this week, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation posted information on its web site about the plan to raise money for half the expense of the feasibility study for the extension north. After just the rst day of fundraising, 5 percent of the $75,000 goal had been achieved. % A sign welcomes users to the Legacy Trail. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 64


The Sarasota City Historic Preservation Board belied its name on Tuesday, Jan. 14, when its members agreed unanimously to allow dem olition of a two-story structure built in 1924, which is on the citys list of historically des ignated buildings. The destruction ostensibly will mak e way for a new hotel on U.S. 41. Alex and Marlene Lancaster asked the board for a Certicate o f Appropriateness to tear down their struc ture at 1225-1231 Second Street, just east of the Tamiami Trail and a block west of the downtown Selby Library. The propert y was under contract to an adja cent landowner who wants to build a new hotel. Preliminary plans were submitted to the city last July for a high-rise building on Look carefully the next time you are on the 1000 block of Second Street, because you will not see this 1924 building much longer. Photo by Stan Zimmerman THE CITYS HISTORIC PRESERVATION BOARD GRANTS PROPERTY OWNERS PETITION TO TEAR DOWN A SECOND STREET BUILDING ON THE DEMOLITION LIST Its a little like losing a child. Marlene Lancaster Property Owner By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


the site. In early September, the Lancaster s inked a deal to sell their two adjacent lots. That would have given the JEBCO Ventures rm of Atlanta and Sarasota a ve-lot foot print (roughly 500 feet by 525 feet) for the proposed hotel. When JEBCO representatives learned it could take as long as a year to win city permission to tear down the old two-story structure, they backed off. If we get approval from you, per haps the [sales] contract will be revitalized, said Alex Lancaster. With the rents we get and the taxes on it, it is not economical to keep tenants there. The taxes are driving us away from keeping it like it is. The Lancasters have a long history of buy ing dilapidated old buildings and restoring them. Many of the structures were placed on the local historic register. The building on Second Street was the focal point of their third attempt at s aving an old structure. They rehabilitated it in 1984. Your plans seem to be contingent on other plans by JEBCO, said board member Robert Dylan. If we approve it today, and then JEBCO changes their minds? If it [the deal] doesnt go, then we wait a year, replied Alex Lancaster. You can only hold it up a year, he added of the demolition, and then [the building] comes down. That assumes I dont appeal to the City Commission. [Jim Bridges, CEO of JEBCO] opted out because of the possibility of a one-year delay. Part of the original contract called for the Lancasters to move the two-story building to a complex they own on the north side of Fruitville Road, just west of U.S. 301. But that idea rst proved very expensive with a $200,000 estimate an d then not feasible. An aerial map shows the location of the structure on Second Street, with Fruitville Road to the north and Tamiami Trail on the west. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 66


The state [Dep artment of Transportation] will only close a state road for six hours, said Lancaster. Wed have to move all the light poles and trafc lights along Fruitville [to per mit passage of the building on the road], and thats just impossible. He also looked into moving it further east on Second Street but could not nd any property available. Weve taken a lot of pride in taking care of the building, he told the board. A newer onestory structure stands adjacent to it. Lancaster said the latter can and will be moved. Well either go with small condos with retail under neath or revitalize the contract with JEBCO, he added. Things are happening to the east of us, too. Maybe somebody wants to join our two [lots]. The zoning on the rst block of Second Street is Downtown Core, with 50 units allowed per acre and 10 stories of height permissible. I understand youre sitting on a piece of prop erty that is valuable according to its zoning, said board member Richard Allen. Ive lived here a long time and seen a lot of stuff come down. This is a nice, little building, but its not great architecture. I see it as a standalone problem for you folks. Allens implicatio n of inevitability was shared by other board members. I appreciate all the effort youve made across the city to preserve historic structures, said Sherry Svekis. I fully understand the economics of this prop erty and the changes downtown along U.S. 41. This is the inevitable decision for it. Chairman David Gurley added, We dont want to put people in t he penalty box for buying a piece of property in 1984 and bringing it back for 30 years by saying, Youve done such a good job, you should keep it for another 30 years. Svekis moved to approve a Certificate of Appropriateness that will allow demolition of the structure. At least three of the seven members of the Historic Preservation Board said they came to the issue critical of the request, but after the hearing the discussion, they believed demolition was the best answer. The motion passed unanimously. The citys historic preservation specialist, Cliff Smith, noted it is the rst time in his sev en-year tenure with the city that the board has agreed to demolish a structure on the citys list of historic buildings. Marlene Lancaster said immediately after the vote, Its a little like losing a child. % The site of the Lub shop on North Tamiami Trail was part of the planned footprint for the new JEBCO hotel in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 67


The heavy lifting is done. The suggestions for the future of Sarasotas Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) are nished. Now the study committee that worked on that issue is turning its attention to convinc ing a pair of elected local government boards to accept their recommendations. It may be an easy sell to the Sarasota City Commission, which is getting more than $4 million in county tax dollars annually to spend downtown as it sees t. Sarasota County com missioners would like to have those dollars, now and in the future, too. This is a big issue perhaps the biggest of 2014 because we are ta lking about 30 years and more than half a billion dollars overall. Up to now the mem bers of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area The original goal of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency was to remove blight from that part of the city. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COMMITTEE STUDYING THE FUTURE OF THE DOWNTOWN SARASOTA COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY (CRA) AGREES ON A 30-YEAR EXTENSION AND SAYS THE NEWTOWN CRA SHOULD HAVE EQUAL FUNDING SUPPORT FROM THE CITY AND COUNTY THE END OF THE BEGINNING The downtown plan hasnt been updated in 15 years. Andy Dorr Chairman Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Agency Extension Study Committee By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Extension Study Committee have wrestled with the mechanics of the CRAs future how the money should be spent; who should make the decisions; what the boundaries should be. Now the question is will the city and county commissions buy the answers? ENTICEMENTS OFFERED The CRA is a method of shifting property tax revenue from general fund budgets into specied areas. The city and county agreed in 1986 to freeze their property tax income from a specic area of downtown Sarasota. Any increase in tax revenue in subsequent years mostly through property assessment ination would accrue to the CRA and not city and county general funds. In todays rough numbers, the county share is about $4 million, while the citys is about $3.5 million. The money is plowed back into the dened area for improvements. What con stitutes an improvement is subject to wide interpretation. If the property values in the CRA continue to climb at 5 percent per year, as they have done over the past 28 years, the combined citycounty contribution for the next 30 years will exceed $500 million. So the stakes are high. The city has used the CRA money to pay for certain operations that normally would have to be covered out of its general fund, a fact the county nds troublesome. To cool the countys ire, the study committee suggested the county be allowed to skim from the CRA The CRA Extension Study Committee members discuss matters in November. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 69


fund as well how much, the committee does not say, only that the new CRA govern ing board will set a gure. This skim could be an important sales point for the County Commission, which has already allocated the funds that have been going to the CRA to its future budgets, in preparation for the 2016 expiration of the Sarasota Downtown CRA. The county also has been ghting off efforts by other entities including the Cities of Venice and North Port wh ich want to jump on th e CRA bandwagon. Reducing or elimi nating the CRA budget in Sarasota makes the scheme less attractive to the central and south county cities. Additionally, the unincor porated but semi-urban areas of the county Nokomis and Osprey, in particular have tangible infrastructure desires (such as a library) that could be funded by a skim of the CRA funds. Because CRA funding is bondable, presum ably the skim could be a valid source for bond nanci ng. But what level of skim would A map shows the boundaries of the Downtown Sarasota CRA. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 70


be required to persuade ve county commis sioners to keep the Downtown Sarasota CRA alive for another 30 years? The number of years could be a point of dis cussion, too, as it is important for bonding purposes. A 10-year extension of the CRA would be too short a period to support gen eral obligation bonds. EQUITY IN NUMBERS In 2006, the City of Sarasota, by resolution, found the need to expand the CRA to include a northern section of the community called Newtown. The following year, the Sarasota County Commission allowed the CRA to carry out its activities in that new area, but it did not agree to participate in the property tax revenue split for that purpose. The city could contribute, but the county would not. I was told the reason the County Commission didnt want to put their money in this new dis trict [was] they didnt want to feel obligated to do [a CRA] in North Port and Venice. If we commit to leaving our increment in Newtown, were on the hook for Venice and North Port, said study committee member Bill Russell. While the study committee was sensitive to allowing both governments to skim from the CRA for their general funds, some members this week were adamant about the county playing fair and contributing to Newtown. They should support the CRA across the board and not pick and chose who to give to and who not to give to, said member Chris Gallagher. If we start wrestling with the split back to the city and county, it is hard to do that without a county contribution to the Newtown CRA. We either have to say, Leave it the way it is, or adjust the percentages. Chairman And y Dorr went even further. It is important the county send a message it fully supports the citys CRA and not pick and choose. The countys gone on record it wont contribute there, and they need to cor rect their error. They need to be part of the solution and make a further contribution, he said. Newtowns part of the CRA is practically microscopic. While downtowns base year is 1986, Newtowns base year is 2007; the following year, property values began to col lapse. Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown reminded the study committee the Newtown CRA now generates about $20,000 per year. Thats how dire it is for Newtown, he said. Right now money is being siphoned off the downtown CRA account to fund projects (and staff salaries) in New town. Even Newtowns Andy Dorr is chairman of the CRA Extension Study Committee. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 71


biggest support er committee member Fredd Glossie Atkins urged the study committee to leave well enough alone. I dont believe the county is going to give it up. So Id urge strong support for the downtown CRA that can participate with Newtown. Atkins is a ve-time city commissioner from District One, which includes Newtown. Atkins opinion was supported by member Joel Freedman. The county is not going to change its mind on Newtown. Venice is watch ing. However, the study committee voted 5-2 for equal treatment of Newtown. WHO NEEDS A PLAN? As the study committee broke for the holi days, its members told city staffers to prepare its nal report. At the Jan. 14 meeting, all 85 pages of a PowerPoint presentation were dis tributed. If each slide requires 30 seconds to deliver and register with viewers, the presen tation will take almost 45 eye-glazing minutes from start to nish. Furthermore, the document necessary to make anything happen is missing. Nowhere in the report is a sample or proposed inter local agreement to be found. Nor is there an executive summary so vital to busy (or distracted or lazy) elected ofcials. I n other words, there are no action items. And that fact did not go unnoticed. Weve lef t several things unanswered, said Gallagher. Were sending off a set of recom mendations they can accept or reject or do something halfway, he added. Theyll then have to decide what ends up in the interlocal agreement. At the end of the meeting, Russell tried to sum up the groups work. Whats the big head line? Its, Yes, but New governance; reset Newtown; fund Newtown. Yes for 30 years, but the big item is a change of governance. The group is recommending replacing the current Sarasota City Commission as the gov erning board of the CRA with an oversight committee comprising two city commission ers, two county commissioners and three citizens appointed by the City Commission. If the package clears the City and County commissions, and a new governing board is appointed, only then can the real work begin. Chairman Dorr said, We need a broad CRA plan that meets statutes and strategic area plans with specic objectives for each dis trict. The CRA would then fund the plans and update the plans on a fairly regular basis. The downtown plan hasnt been updated in 15 years. The tentative time for presentation of the ndings to a joint meeting of the City and County commissions is the afternoon of April Fools Day. % Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 72


If passersby noti ced an unusually strong Sarasota County Sheriffs Office presence in Pinecraft on Jan. 15, the reason was not a crime wave but an effort to educate Amish and Mennonite visitors about the trafc reg ulations with which all residents and tourists must abide in the name of safety. Sgt. Darrell Seckendorf, a commander in the Special Operations Division of the Sheriffs Ofces Trafc/Motor Unit, explained that the primary focus was violations involving cross walks. Ofcers were in the community for four hours, he said. In September 2012, Teresa Mast, the business relations coordin ator in the countys Ofce of Business and Economic Development, explained to the County Commission that the population of Pinecraft, which was established about 50 years ago, increases approximately 60 percent during high season. Amish and Mennonite visitors make the community their winter home, just as other tourists come to Sarasota County for the warmer weather. However, Pinecraft is in the heart of urban Sarasota, along a portion of Bahia Vista Street that is bisected by Beneva Road, Mast pointed out. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce already had been working closely with county staff on safety issues in the community prior to her presentation, she told the commissio ners. Sarasota County Sheriffs deputies explain trafc regulations to a group of Amish women in Pinecraft. Photo courtesy Sheriffs Ofce REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SARASOTA COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE WORK WITH AMISH AND MENNONITE VISITORS TO EXPLAIN TRAFFIC RULES A SAFETY INITIATIVE Staff Reports


A deputy checks a pedestrian crosswalk sign in Pinecraft. Photo courtesy Sheriffs Ofce Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 74


A lot of folk s come from different parts of the country and dont necessarily understand all the rules and regulations of the road and the bicycle use and all that, Mast said. Because of that populations culture and its choices, she added, Pinecraft is a walking and biking community. On Jan. 16, the Sheriffs Ofce provided The Sarasota News Leader with a breakdown of its initiative the previous day. Ofcers gave verbal warnings to pedestrians and to people violating trafc laws through the use of golf carts, Seckendorf explained. In every other case, citations were issued, he added. The following is the list of activity from the event: Spee ding citations: 15. Pedestrian contacts: 17. Seat belt violations: 7. No insurance: 1. Expired tag: 1. Illegal window tint: 1. Driving with a suspended license: 2. Golf cart violations: 3. Seckendorf added that ofcers also noted some engineering issues; they are forward ing that information to county staff. If those issues can be addressed, he pointed out, that may increase the use of the crosswalk lights, particularly by bicyclists. % An ofcer talks with a resident about the educational effort. Photo courtesy Sheriffs Ofce Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 75


The Sarasota County P arks and Recreation Departments popular Say I Do Again wed ding vow renewal event will return to Siesta Beach on Friday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m., the county has announced. Every year on Valentines Day, hundreds of people renew their commitments to each other in a gathering on the powdery soft white sand of Siesta Beach, a county news release says. Registration may be completed online at or by calling 861-9930. Registration ends on Monday, Feb. 10. No on-site registration will be provided, the release adds. The cost is $5 per couple. Its one of our most popular events that draws hundreds of couples from all over the area and, of course, one of the highlights is the announcement of the couple that has been married the longest, said Jonathan Poyner, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation pro gram coordinator, in the release. Its the perfect way to spend Valentines Day, sharing a gorgeous sunset on Americas best beach with the person most special in your life. The vow renewal ceremony will be ofciated by Magistrate Ed Wilson beginning promptly at 6 p.m. Couples arriving early will be treated to music beginning at 4:45 p.m., the release notes. The event sponsor, will provide giveaways, the release continues. Following the ceremony, each couple will receive a commemorative certificate and be invited to enjoy wedding-themed refreshments. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 or visit All couples are welcome to participate in the traditional wedding vow renewal event on Siesta Public Beach on Valentines Day. Image courtesy Sarasota County SAY I DO AGAIN EVENT SET FOR VALENTINES DAY ON SIESTA NEWS BRIEFS


Most Sarasota County Government ofces, including the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, will be closed Monday, Jan. 20, for the national observance celebrat ing the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., the county has announced. Additionally, all City of Sarasota adminis trative ofces will be closed, according to a city news release. As a result, the regular City Commission meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Commission Chambers in City Hall, located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota. All Sarasota County libraries will be closed, as will all Sarasota County recreation centers with the exception of the following, a county news release says: Arlington Park Recreation Center, open from noon to 5 p.m. Payne Park Tennis Center, open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will be on a normal bus schedule on Jan. 20, but the customer service stations at SCAT Administration and the downtown transfer station will be closed that day, the release notes. The collection schedule for solid waste, yard waste and recyclables will not be affected in the city or county by the holiday, according to the news releases from both local govern ments. The county landll at 4000 Knights T rail Road in Nokomis will be open, but the administrative ofce will be closed. The gun range at Knight Trail Park will be closed. Sarasota Countys chemical collection centers at 8750 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota and 250 S. Jackson Road in Venice will be closed, too; however, the Citizens Convenience Center at 4010 Knights Trail Road in Nokomis, will be open. For more information, visit or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR KING DAY Government ofces will be closed on Jan. 20 to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 77


Registration for the 25th Annual Gulf Coast Senior Games will continue through Friday, Jan. 31, Sarasota County is reminding the public. The games will take place Feb. 18-23 at venues throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, which partner yearly to host the event, a news release says. The games are designed to promote and maintain health and wellness and to enhance the quality of life for the counties residents who are over 50 years old, said Scott Jalwan, Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department event coordinator, in the release. Among the competition offered at this years Senior Games will be archery, basketball shooting, bocce, bowling, cribbage, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, racquetball, a 5-kilometer road race, shufeboard, swim ming, table tennis, tennis and track and eld. For a complete listing of events and times, visit To become a G ulf Coast Senior Games com petitor, register online at www.mymanatee. org/parks or ll out and send in the ofcial entry form to Gulf Coast Senior Games, 5502 33rd Ave. Drive West, Bradenton, FL 34209. Registration booklets are available at any Sarasota County recreation center or library, the release notes. The $12 entry fee entitles each participant to a T-shirt. An additional fee of $3 per event is required to compete, the release adds. Some events such as archery, bowling, golf, swim ming and tennis necessitate payment of a facility fee as well. The Gulf C oast Senior Games is a local qual ier for the 2014 Florida Senior Games State Championships, which will be held in Lee County Dec. 6-14, 2014. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000 and ask about the Gulf Coast Senior Ga mes. REGISTRATION UNDER WAY FOR GULF COAST SENIOR GAMES Table tennis is just one of the many events of the Gulf Coast Senior Games that are scheduled for Feb. 18-23. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 78


From mid-January to late April, Sarasota County public high schools will hold stu dent-parent information nights, also known as SPIN nights, for current eighth-grade stu dents and their families, the school district has announced. The events are designed to help families learn what area high schools have to offer in terms of magnet programs, special interest academies, career and technical education, and extracurricular activities such as athlet ics, clubs and service organizations, a district news release explains. Although schedules vary for each event, fam ilies are encouraged to arrive in time for a welcome and overview presentation, the release points out. Students may need to meet specic requirements for some schools and magnet programs, and admission may depend on whether space is available for stu dents who wish to attend a school other than their geographically designated high school, it adds. Parents or students who have specic ques tions may contact a school directly; contact information for all high schools is at www. The upcoming SPIN night dates and times are as follows: Thursday, Jan. 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Booker High Visual & Performing Arts/Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) information. Tuesday, Jan. 28, 6 to 8 p.m.: Venice High student-parent information night. Thursday, Jan. 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Booker High Law Academy/Advanced International Certicate of Education (AICE) information. Monday, Feb. 3, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: North Port High general student-parent information night. Tuesday, Feb. 4, 7 to 8 p.m.: Venice High International Baccalaureate (IB) informa tion for current ninth-graders only. (The Venice High IB program will begin in the fall of 2014.) Thursday, Feb. 6, 7 to 8 p.m.: Venice High IB information for current eighth-graders only. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 6 to 8 p.m.: Riverview High IB information and tour. Tuesday, April 1, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Booker High general student-parent information night. Thursday, April 17, 6 to 8 p.m.: Riverview High general student-parent information night. Wednesday, April 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m.: Suncoast Polytechnical High general student-parent information night. Tuesday, April 29, 6:30 to 8 p.m.: Sarasota High general student-parent information night. AREA HIGH SCHOOLS TO HOLD STUDENT-PARENT INFORMATION NIGHTS Press Releases & News Tips Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 79


Members of the Sarasota County Commission will be joining representatives of Friends of the Jacaranda Public Library and library staff in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, the county has announced. The yearlong celebration will kick off with a reception on Friday, Jan. 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., a news release says. The event will feature guest speakers starting at 6 p.m. The celebration will continue on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with activities for the entire family, the release notes. All the festivities will be held at Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, located at 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd. in Venice. Each event will be free and open to the public. Featured speakers on Jan. 24 will be Charles Hines, the Sarasota County Commission chairman; state Sen. Nancy Detert of Venice; Andrea Taylor, the library manager; and Scott Dowdy, president of the Friends of the Library, the release adds. On Jan. 25, the library will host a Wii tourna ment and offer face painting for teens, as well as a bounce house, games and art activities for children. The library has been serving Venice residents since its construction in 1994, the release explains. In the late 1980s, Sarasota County Library Advisory Board members and Venice residents recognized the need for expanded library se rvices there, and with funding from JACARANDA LIBRARY TO HOLD 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION The Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library is located at 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd. in Venice. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 80


a voter-ap proved, one-cent surtax for new capital improvement projects, Frances T. Bourne spearheaded the project, the release continues. Bourne, a lifelong literacy and education champion who helped incorporate the Friends organization in 1992, was a leader on the organizations original board of directors, the release adds. She shared her knowledge and passion to ensure the success of the library, the releas e says. The librar ys grand opening was held Jan. 15, 1994. On Dec. 10, 1995, the Sarasota County Commission renamed the library the Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library in honor of the woman who worked to create it, the release notes. The Friends of the Library continues that legacy of service as the primary sponsor of the 20th anniversary celebration. To learn more about the library or the 20th anniversary celebration, visit or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. A buttery feeds on a native plant. Photo by Fran Palmeri BUTTERFLY CLUB WELCOMES THE PUBLIC TO ITS NEXT MEETING From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 23, the Sarasota County Buttery Club will host guest speaker Bill Dunson on the topic, Backyard Wildlife Gardening on Manasota Key Dunson is a naturalist, biologist and pro fessor, a news release says. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The meeting will be held at the Sarasota Garden Club, located at 1131 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota. Admission is free for members; non-members are asked to pay $5 at the door. For more information, call 955-0875. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 81


The Sarasot a County Neighborhood Services Office has announced the locations and dates for the next round of Grant Orientation Workshops. Attendance at the workshops is a requirement to be eligible to receive a neigh borhood improvement grant, a county news release notes. In 2003, the Sarasota County Commission authorized the creation of the Neighborhood Grant Program for neighborhoods that wish to improve safety, preserve character and value, enhance physical and environmen tal health, promote healthy lifestyles and build leadership, the release adds. The proj ects must provide a public benefit and be supported by the community to be given con sideration, the release notes. Projects such as the removal of exotic plants, landscape beautication, restoration of a historical mon ument, creating a neighborhood gathering place, water quality improvements and pond restoration are examples of those eligible for the grant funding, the release says. Grant applications are due no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, April 28, at the Neighborhood Services Ofce, located on the fth oor or the County Administration Center at 1660 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota. No later than Friday, March 28, people must provide notication of their intent to submit an application, the release points out. That notication may be provided by letter or by email. Applicants must attend a Grant Orientation Workshop before they can apply for funding through the Neighborhood Grant Program, the release adds. Sp ace is limited, and reser vations are required. Each two-hour workshop is free. Applicants need to attend only one session, the release notes. To make a reservation, send an email to or call 861-5000. The res ervation should include the applicants name and phone number and the location, date and time of the workshop. Workshop dates, times and locations are subject to change, the release says. Workshops will be held at the following locations: Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota Saturday, Feb. 1, noon to 2 p.m.; Monday, March 17, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Selby Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota Tuesday, Feb. 25, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Venice Library, 300 S Nokomis Ave., Venice Tuesday, Jan. 21, 1 to 3 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 23, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. North Port Library, 13800 S. Tamiami Trail, North Port Tuesday, Feb. 4, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 12, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Elsie Quirk Library, 100 W. Dearborn St., Englewood Wednesday, Jan. 29, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. If a neighborhood association would like to host a grant workshop in its community, representatives may email that request to For more information, visit or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. COUNTY TO OFFER NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT ORIENTATION WORKSHOPS Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 82


For the second year in a row, the Sarasota Police Department is collecting jeans for the Teens for Jeans campaign, the department has announced. The campaign is being promoted by Aeropostale stores and a news release says. The Police Department lobby has a yellow bin available for donations of new or gently used jeans, the release adds. More than 1.5 million teenagers and chil dren are homeless in the United States, the release notes. Teens for Jeans is a campaign that helps those children and teens needing it the most, the release continues. When children run away or are taken to a shel ter for immediate assistance, its often without any personal belongings, said Capt. Corinne Stannish of the Police Departments Bureau of Support Services, who is heading up the cam paign. Theyre sent to school with borrowed items and feel like they stick out. Children that are able to have a pair of jeans to wear to school, it helps them t in and it doesnt make them feel like attention is being immediately drawn to them by what they are wearing. Donations may be dropped off at any time until Friday, Feb. 14, at the Police Department headquarters, which is located at 2099 Adams Lane in Sarasota. For more information about the program, visit teensforjeans POLICE COLLECTING DONATIONS FOR TEENS FOR JEANS CAMPAIGN The drop-off bin for the Teens for Jeans program is in the lobby of the Sarasota Police Department on Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota. Contributed photo The Jan. 10 art icle titled Atwell maligned incorrectly stated that the City of Sarasota admitted no guilt in the settlement of a law suit led last fall by Citizens for Sunshine, a Sarasota organization, regarding a down town meeting on homelessness attended by two city commissioners, Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman. The settlement stipulation states the following: The City admits that the Citys failure to pro vide notice of th e October 13, 2013 9:00 a.m. meeting a t the Tsunami restaurant and to take minutes was a violation of the Sunshine Law because it was known to the City that two or more City Commissioners would be present; and because the City accepted the invitation to the meeting intending to build a coalition to support our homeless efforts and to build support for a subject that was rea sonably foreseeable to come before the City Commission for future action. CORRECTION Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 83


Arthur M. Guilford, 68, regional chancellor of the University of South Florida SarasotaManatee, has announced he will officially retire at the end of January 2015. Citing the traditional hiring cycle for higher education administrators as June to August of each year, Guilford said in a news release, It will be helpful for me to step down from my current position at the end of July 2014. During the remaining six months, I will be available for special projects and to help facil itate an easy transition for the new regional chancellor. If they need me, I will be here. A national search will be conducted for a new regional chancellor, the release adds. Sophia Wisniewska, regional chancellor of USF St. Petersburg, has agreed to chair the search committee. A native Floridian, Guilford began his career at USF Tampa in 1975 as an assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, the release explains. He later served as chairman of the department for 15 years. He became associate dean of faculty and program devel opment for USF Tampas College of Arts and Sciences in 2004, overseeing tenure, honors and awards for more than 650 faculty mem bers, the release continues. In 2006, Guilford was appointed by USF President Judy Genshaft to lead the search for a new regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee. After meeting with several qualied candidates, the faculty collectively petitioned for Guilford to be interviewed for the position and he was appointed regional chancellor in 2007. The release notes, Among his many vision ary accomplishments [at the University of South F lorida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)] are attainment of separate accreditation for USFSM; the creation of a learning center in North Port; development of a robust gen eral education program and recruitment of the institutions rst freshman class into a four-year program; launching of the College of Hospitality & Technology Leaderships Culinary Innovation Lab in Lakewood Ranch; and the establishment of a unique partnership with Mote Marine that helps students on the path to a biology degree. All are emblemati c USF SARASOTA-MANATEE CHANCELLOR TO RETIRE Arthur M. Guilford/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 84


of the university s response to emerging com munity needs, the release continues. Since 2007, the number of degrees awarded by USFSM has increased by 18 percent, the release notes. USF President Judy Genshaft said in the release, The University of South Florida System is deeply appreciative of Arthur Guilfords leadership at USF SarasotaManatee. He has been a valued part of USF for almost four decades and a highly respected leader of a great team for the past seven years. I know that the entire Sarasota-Manatee com munity joins me in wishing him and his wife, Lynn, every happiness in retirement. The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organi zation, has announced the hiring of its new executive director, Shon Ewens. The Healthy Start Coalition provides profes sional services for pregnant women, infants and new families in Sarasota County to pre vent low birth weight, prematurity and other possible poor health and developmental out comes, a news release explains. Ewens comes to the Coalition after almost three years as executive director of the Literacy Council of Sarasota, the release adds. In addition to her work with that organization, she has 12 years of extensive managerial and executive level administrative experience working for YMCAs in Tampa, Sarasota and Birmingham, AL, the release notes. Additionally, the Coalition staff, board, service providers, community partners and clients have extended their heartfelt gratitude to Jennifer Highland, who served as executive director for 13 years, the release continues. In her last week with the organization, she shared with them the Florida Department of Healths 2012 Maternal Child Health Analysis Report, which showed Sarasota reporting better than expected outcomes in infant mortality, low birth weight and teen pregnancy concrete evidence of her strong tenure here and the hard work of the people she brought together on her Healthy Start Team, the release adds. For more information about The Healthy Start Coalition call 373-7070 or email Ewens at % HEALTHY START COALITION NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Shon Ewens/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 85


Detectives with the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce have arrested the second suspect in an armed burglary case involving a business on Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota, the ofce announced on Jan. 10. Jadavion Shird, 21, of 3217 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota, has been charged with Armed Burglary, a news release says. The Sheriffs Ofce reported last week that the owner of SRQ Fishing Oasis/Amendment II Armory, located at 3512 Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota, called 911 just before 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 when she saw two men break ing into the store on her remote surveillance system. After deputies arrived on scene and secured the business, they reviewed the footage, which showed one of the suspects carrying a small revolver, a news release pointed out. A ma n wearing identical clothing to that seen in the video was located a short distance away. The suspect, Ryan Pete, 33, of 3209 Joe Louis Drive, Sarasota who has a history of drug and weapons charges also was charged with Armed Burglary. According to the report, deputies recovered a black hooded sweatshirt and a pair of red gloves at 3201 Ridge Ave. while searching for the suspects. Upon viewing the surveillance footage on Jan. 8, another detective was able to identify the second suspect as Shird, who was wear ing red gloves when the video showed him entering the business, the report adds. Judge Frederick P. Mercurio of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court ordered Shird held without bond because the offense is punish able by life imprisonment, the report says. % SECOND SUSPECT ARRESTED IN BUSINESS BURGLARY CASE CRIME BLOTTER Jadavion Shird/Contributed photo


OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL The recent announce ment boast might be a more apt term by the Republican Party of Sarasota that it would present its annual Statesman of the Year award to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, was only the latest conrmation that the local party is rmly in the control of far-right ideologues. Of course, past honor ees Donald Trump and Sean Hannity already had mostly cemented our belief in that. That the Republican Party in our county is dominated by its right wing should not be a major concern to the rest of us, except that it has engineered a virtual stranglehold on all public ofces in the county, ensuring that no candidate for any of those ofces can gain election without passing the purity tests demanded by this radical element. The Republican Party of Sarasota essentially serves two masters. First are wealthy land developers, who want the freedom to pave over most of the countys earth without all of those pesky regulations that require greens pace, trafc planning, clean (and adequate) water and environmental integrity. All of that regulatory meddling gets in the way of cor porate prots, which displeases the bigwigs and rouses them to seek more malleable sycophants to serve in elected ofces in the upcoming election (aided, ironically, by term limits, which sweep out any too-independent ofcials after only a couple of terms). Second is the mouth-breather wing of the party that demented amalgamation of gun nuts, conspiracy theorists, xenophobes, rac ists (including the Take back our country THE GREATEST POLITICAL THREAT TO SARASOTA COUNTY


crowd), m isogynists and better dead than red zealots who make up the vocal lunatic fringe of the local Republican Party. Their inuence is almost as signicant as that of the developers, given their ability to organize the fearful and get them to the polls to vote for the radicals of their choice. When the cosmic forces align the interests of the moneyed bigwigs and the lunatic fringe, no rational candidate has any hope of win ning a Republican primary. Some suc cessful candidates might seem rational, but they scrupulously serve their masters while in office. The cost to good government and the citizens of Sarasota County is incalculable. A ray of sunshine briefly shone through this miasmic fog last spring, when it was announced in May that a new PAC, Open Our Elections, had been formed to begin gathering signatures of county voters for an initiative to amend the county charter and make all county elected positions nonpartisan. The plan was simple: Voters would cast bal lots on amending the countys charter to allow all county ofces county commissioners, tax collector, supervisor of elections, prop erty appraiser, clerk of court and sheriff to become nonpartisan. Any registered voter could le for an open ofce, and voters would not see a little R or D next to that persons name to indicat e party afliation. More important, there would be no party pri maries. All voters would be allowed to vote in a rst primary election that would determine a winner if one person received a majority of votes. If not, the top two vote-getters would proceed to a second, runoff election. The plan has been adopted in ve other char ter counties in Florida, including three of the states most populous ones: Leon, MiamiDade, Orange, Volusia and Columbia. So wh y are voters not poised to decide on this change to the Sarasota County charter? Because organizers have been well, dis organized. Matters have been complicated by their mistaken effort to get permission from the Florida Board of Elections, a body con trolled by Republicans with the sole purpose of ensuring that most candidates elected are Republicans. Predictably, the state elections ofce told the organizers that state law would not allow them to hold such a referendum. Never mind that ve other charter counties already have done so, and any effort by the state to invalidate Sarasota Countys initiative would run into heated opposition from those ve counties. In addition, Robert Butterworth, state attor ney general in 2000, assured Lee County that charter counties have every right to shift some or all o f their county ofces to non partisan: The nonpartisan plan has been adopted in ve other charter counties in Florida, including three of the states most populous ones: Leon, Miami-Dade, Orange, Volusia and Columbia. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 88


The Lee County Charter may be amended to provide for the nonpartisan election of county commission members. This ofce and the courts have considered the issue of non-partisan elections on several occasions. In Attorney Generals Opinion 79-106 the question was whether a special act could be passed providing for the non partisan election of county ofcers or county commissioners. In the response to this inquiry it was noted that Article III, section 11(a)(1), of the Florida Constitution pro vides that [t]here shall be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to [the] election, jurisdiction or duties of ofcers, except ofcers of municipali ties, chartered counties special districts or local governmental agencies. [emphasis applied] However, for some unknown reason, the PAC that wanted to open our elections has been hamstrung by uncertainty and bad advice. The net effect is that, after many months, nothing has been done to put this vital initia tive before the voters. Ideally, signatures should have been gathered and certied so the matter could have been voted on March 25, when county voters will decide on the continuation of a special tax for the school district. That roughly two-thirds of voters overwhelmingly support this extra tax every four years is a clear indication that the county is not in the thrall of special inter ests or right-wing crazies. On the contrary, thoughtful and responsible people are casting their ballots for the benet of the county and its c itizens. Logic would dictate that those same people would also look favorably upon a proposal to strip hyper-partisan control from vital county elective ofces. Alas, it was not to be. The groups which were organizing for this change have already con ceded that it likely will not be on the ballot in 2014, meaning yet another slate of candidates satisfactory only to developers and radical rightists probably will be those elected to important county ofces this year, including two new county commissioners. With all of the concerns voiced in the past year over proposed changes to the countys 2050 Plan, protection of environmentally sen sitive lands, ensuring developers pay for the infrastructure costs of new developments and preserving the optimal quality of life for Sarasota County residents, the single issue of much greater concern was the transformation of county ofces to nonpartisan. Without thoughtful, public-spirited citizens standing for ofce, able to win election with out pandering to the moneyed interests of developers or the demented demands of the Radical Right, the county is doomed to elect yet more sycophants in the pockets of the wealthy land developers or, worse, beholden to a radical, inhumane right-wing agenda. It is time for the great rational majority of vot ers in Sarasota County to rise up and make known their desire for free and fair elections in our county. It is time to organize a petition campaign to place a charter amendment on the ballot to end the oligarchy we have strug gled with for so long. % Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 89


COMMENTARY My next big tri p is not for at least six more weeks; yet, I feel as though I should be packing now and leaving for the airport tomorrow. I can think of a few reasons why I am already in panic mode: I booked this vacation about six months ago too long ago for me to prepare for it at the time. My itinerary is very exotic and adventur ous. I am going to Ecuador and the Amazon for nine days, in March, and I am nervous. Yes, I am going with a tour group (through Gate 1 Travel), and even though this company is very well established and has an excellent reputation, I am still wondering what could go wrong and ruin my vacation maybe I will forget to take something v ery important. This is why I now have three separate lists to obsess over, with th ree different headings to comfort me. Dividing items up by subject seems to help a little. (As I threw the insect repellent and Imodium on the floor of my closet in a travel pile, I started feeling much better.) No inoculations are required for our destinations, but the travel companys mate rial suggests a yellow fever vaccination before I go boating down the Amazon and hiking through the rain forest. Even though Ecuador is a very small country, its climate varies widely in indirect propor tion to its size. What you experience depends on where you are at a given time. We will be starting in Quito, the capital, and wending our way eastward until we reach the Amazon. I absolutely refuse to check more than one bag when I y, but now I have to pack for three different temperature zones. Is it time to throw the rain poncho on the closet oor, By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer TRAVEL FRENZY PRECEDES A LONG-AWAITED ADVENTURE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sar asota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to Lett with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other fac tors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 90


too? And what about Middle Earth, the equatorial line separating the Northern and Southern hemispheres? Will my northern foot be colder than my southern foot? Do I need to take more socks? And why do they keep emphasizing the high altitude of Quito, as if we could do something to change it? I prom ise to drink lots of uids. I must have ignored the item in the travel material about riding in a basket on a zip line. Do they not know I have severe acrophobia? At least when we travel by canoe along the Amazon, the boat will have a motor, so I will not have to bring my own paddle. I absolutely cannot wait to take this trip. As always, life is an adventure; I enjoy the ride. Once I get through the trafc on Interstate 275 and arrive at TIA (Tampa International Airport), I will be ready for anything. % 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 January 17, 2014 Page 91




On a bone-chilling day in January, I stop by Alpine Groves Park on the St. Johns River in Switzerland, FL. Off Route 13, it is part of the 200-mile long Bartram Trail that runs from the Carolinas to Florida. North Florida is William Bartram coun try, but today, probably the only aspect the Philadelphia naturalist would recognize is the river he called the San Juan. Still, I am thinking that sailing by here in his little boat in the 1770s, he would have seen huge live oaks and magnolias similar to those that grace this small park. For years, I have been on William Bartrams trail. But actually, like some delightful ghost, he has been following me. He is at my elbow at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park show ing off the Alachua Savanna. At Blue Spring BARTRAMS GHOST THE MAGIC OF AN 18TH CENTURY NATURALISTS EXPERIENCES REMAINS EVEN NOW IN THE FLORIDA LANDSCAPE Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer (Above) Little River Springs ows through a quiet wooded setting.


we marvel at watery kingdoms. There he is under a live oak at Wormsloe Plantation near Savannah, writing in his journal. In 1765, at age 26, William got his feet wet exploring Florida with his father, John, a renowned Philadelphia nurseryman and founder of Bartrams Garden. As botanist for King George III, John assessed natural resources in the American colonies and col lected plants to send to England. William sketched animals and plants, many of them new to American colonists. On the banks of the Altamaha River in Georgia, they found a small tree they later named Franklinia alat amaha after family friend Benjamin Franklin. Soon after, it disappeared from the wild. The one John planted in his garden spawned all the Franklinias in existence today, including on e I planted years ago in Annapolis to honor the Bartrams. Early on, William Bartram showed a talent for drawing and was offered a job in Franklins print shop, but John insisted his son go into business. Several ventures ended in failure. Then in 1772, an English physician and avid gardener, John Fothergill, offered William a stipend to collect plants for him from the southern colonies. William was thrilled to be out doing what he loved best. Friends, family members and Native Americans provided shelter and pro visions, but much of the time William was on his own. His world was uncharted. He got around by boat, on horseback or on foot, but there was no Weather Channel to warn him of Ixia blooms brightly. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 94


Tickseed abounds. A Great Egret has caught a tasty treat. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 95


A limpkin appears to be chuckling. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 96


approa ching tempests. Once he amazed his host when he arrived at Berresford, a plan tation on Lake George, just after a hurricane had passed through. Plants were his rst love. He collected hun dreds of different species, noted them in his journal and made drawings that he sent off to his benefactor. Many of these plants can still be found today. Around here climbing aster appears in late summer on shrubs along the banks of the Myakka River. Passionflower vine blooms in spring at Sleeping Turtles Preserve. Saw palmetto grows just about everywhere. Dr. Mark Deyrup, an entomologist at the Archbold Biological Research Station, calls it the most amazing plant in Florida because it attracts more than 300 species of insects. A zebra longwing relishes the nectar of beggar ticks. The Santa Fe River charms a visitor with the beauty of its surroundings. All photos by Fran Palmeri Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 97


Saw palmetto shares a pine atwoods vista. A Gulf Fritillary drinks its ll from a passionower. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 98


An eastern diamondback rattlesnake would startle the average person on a trail. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 99

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The rare celestial lily was lost for 150 years after Bartram discovered it in northeast Florida. Last May, I was fortunate to nd some in bloom along a road in St. Johns County. William drew animals from life. The Florida scrub jay launching herself from a scrub oak at Oscar Scherer State Park, a dancing sand hill crane and the limpkin he calls the crying bird which I see in the retention pond at Southgate Mall all bring him to mind. His wonderful drawing of a gopher tortoise inspires me as I try to capture its reptilian magnicence. When rst I ran into an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the largest venomous snake in North America, the word Bartram used to describe it magnanimous came to mind. How I hoped he was right as I stood shaking in my shoes, photographing it. Alligators loomed large in the Bartram saga. One night a horde pursued him into an inlet off the S t. Johns River (now called Idlewilde Dock). I was attacked on all sides, several endeavoring to overset the canoe, he wrote. His account of them belching water and smoke would be ridiculed. No creatures could be that big, that fearsome, that numer ous. But those were the days before alligator belts, handbags and shoes drove these crea tures to the brink of extinction. Later, respected naturalists including Floridas Archie Carr vindicated him. Upon his return to Philadelphia in 1777, William wrote Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida Published in 1791, the book is still in print. It includes some of his remarkable drawings, most of which are in the British Museum. His lyrical descriptions of the New World inspired British poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the latter of whom, in Kubla Khan evoked Bartrams descriptions of Florid as springs. A bison dozes amid Alachua Savanna. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 100

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Ever since then, Bartram has been accompa nying travelers on their own odysseys, real and ctional. John Muir brought along a copy of Travels on his thousand-mile walk through the South. Cold Mountains W.P. Inman car ried it with him on his perilous journey back home. My copy languished on a bookshelf until I saw a quote from it at Paynes Prairie. Now I read it to revive my spirits when I see Florida disappearing beneath my feet. John Bartram is celebrated in the City of Brotherly Love, but William has captured Floridas heart. Jacksonville has Bartram High School, a Bartram library and a development called Bartram Park. A modest soul, he would be embarrassed by the adulation. Bartrams Florida is a mere ghost of itself. Most places he visited have been eclipsed by development; landmarks such as Spaldings Lower Store remain in name only. But Paynes Prairie is restoring the Alachua Prairie back to the way it was in Williams day, using Travels as a guideline. Once again bison graze on the prairie. Over the years, William Bartram has been the lodestar in my walks around Florida. The wilderness he explored may be gone, but the magic of his experience remains. He crops up at every bend of the trail in a wildower, tree or bird. Sometimes I will glance over my shoulder to see a shadowy gure hurrying to his next appointment with nature. % A Florida scrub jay gives a visitor a quizzical look. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 101

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In joining force s this year with the Legacy of Valor campaign the 16th Annual Thunder by the Bay, organized by Suncoast Charities for Children may well have been one of the biggest yet, Lucy Nicandri, vice president of marketing and special events for Suncoast Charities, told The Sarasota News Leader this week. It will be about two weeks before data is avail able regarding the events economic impact on the county and its contributions to the charity are available, Nicandri said on Jan. 14, but preliminary indications look really, really good. The involvement of Paul Teutul Sr., founder of Orange County Chopp ers and himself a vete ran was huge, Nicandri pointed out. The internationally known custom bike builder donated his time for the event, she added. On Sunday, the Legacy of Valor Ride to Sarasota National Cemetery had more than 700 participants double the typical number for the traditional ride, she continued. Indoor events on Thursday and Friday nights also had higher attendance than usual, she noted. The whole element of saluting veterans and active military was a nice touch, Nicandri said of the 2 014 event. % All photos by Norman Schimmel WITH A FOCUS ON VETERANS AND ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY PERSONNEL AND GREAT WEATHER THE 2014 THUNDER BY THE BAY MAY HAVE BROKEN RECORDS HONORING VETERANS AND HELPING CHILDREN Staff Reports

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Paul Teutul Sr., founder of Orange County Choppers, volunteered to come to the event and donated his time, organizers say. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 103

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Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter and his coaching staff spent three days in Sarasota this week, conducting a mini camp. Players interested in trying out for the team including some released by other Major League Baseball operations were among the approximately 40 participants. Sarasota News Leader Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel visited Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 15, to cap ture some of that days activities. The Orioles begin their Spring Training schedule on Friday, Feb. 28, against the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte. Their first home game in Sarasota will be March 1 against the Toronto Blue Jays. % (Above) Manager Buck Showalter (left) watches action on the eld. All photos by Norman Schimmel A BALTIMORE ORIOLES MINI CAMP GIVES PLAYERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE THEMSELVES TEAM-WORTHY WORKING TO LOOK GOOD Staff Reports

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TROLLEY SERVICE IS ON SCHEDULE TO START IN JULY; NO PARKING SIGNS SHORTLY WILL BE COMING TO AVENIDA DE MAYO; COUNTY STAFF IS STILL AT WORK ON A NORTH SHELL ROAD PARKING PLAN; AND NUMEROUS BIKE THEFTS HAVE BEEN REPORTED SIESTA SEEN Sarasota C ounty Area Transits senior plan ner confirmed late last week that plans remain on track for the Siesta trolley service to begin in July. Sarah Blanchard reiterated that state grant money will be available that month to fund the service, which will offer stops every 20 to 30 minutes during peak periods. Further, the transportation will be provided seven days a week. The state funds total $1,087,500, according to a report provided the County Commission in August. Although Blanchard cautioned no nal deci sion has been made about how the buses will look they will not be actual trolleys they will circulate from Westeld Southgate Mall at the intersection of Siesta Drive and U.S. 41 through Siesta Village, with stops at the public beach and in Gulf Gate. Staff is continuing to work on a Turtle Beach route, which probably would run approximately every hour, she added. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Although the heading says 2016, plans remain in effect for Siesta trolley service to start in July. Image courtesy Sarasota County

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Referencing the August County Commission discussion, Blanchard said of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) staff, We heard it loud and clear that the board wants to make the Siesta service a priority over a proposed new route serving University Parkway. SCAT will be advertising the expanded Siesta service in advance of its start, she pointed out. We have a marketing campaign planned. Many times in years past, Siesta business owners have referenced the popularity of trolley service on Anna Maria Island in seek ing a similar system for Siesta, especially as a means of dealing with the never-ending park ing woes during high season. Blanchard noted of the Anna Maria service, People really use it. Even though it is free and the new Siesta bus route will not be, she said, she is optimis tic public support will be strong for an easy, alternate means of reaching Siesta. AVENIDA DE MAYO Although the County Commission voted on Oct. 23 to approve No Parking zones on segments of Avenida de Mayo, a formal res olution was necessary before staff could begin that work. The resolution won unani mous approval on the boards Jan. 14 consent agenda, so the signs should go up in about 30 days, county spokesman Curt Preisser told me this week. Avenida de Mayo resident Marlene Merkle began her quest in November 2012 to seek county action to prevent overow parking An aerial map shows the location of Avenida de Mayo on Siesta Key. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 112

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from Siesta Villag e from blocking residential trafc on the street. Because one entrance/ exit for the Villages municipal parking lot is on Avenida de Mayo, Merkle has pointed out that when the lot lls up, people have been inclined to leave vehicles on her street. In late May 2013, the County Commission split on a response to the situation, nally agree ing on a motion to ask staff and the Sheriffs Ofce to work with local residents to try to resolve the issues. Subsequently, thanks to some behind-thescenes work by officers of the Siesta Key Association (SKA), Fire Chief Mike Tobias issued a memo to the County Commission underscoring the danger of the parking situa tion. It might be impossible for an emergency vehicle to traverse the road, he pointed out, when vehicles are parked on both sides, as the remaining trafc lane would be too narrow. Ac ting in response to Tobias memo, the board in October approved the motion to prohibit parking on both sides of Avenida de Mayo from Canal Road to Avenida de Cortez and to establish staggered No Parking zones from Avenida de Cortez to Avenida del Norte in 500-foot sections. SKA Vice President Michael Shay had alerted organization members to the consent agenda item scheduled for this week. Hopefully, after the 14th, well see some movement on this, he said. NORTH SHELL ROAD UPDATE In yet further County Commission action this week, Commissioner Nora Patterson on Jan. 14 asked Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer, Whats happened on North Shell R oad? Foliage along the north side of North Shell Road has provided a buffer for private property owners. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 113

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She was referrin g to several discussions last year regarding a county staff proposal to cre ate a number of public parking spaces on county right of way along the road, so people could visit Beach Access 1 without intruding on private land. On Jan. 15, Harmer provided to the board an answer in the form of a memo from Chief County Engineer James K. Harriott Jr. Harriott wrote that the Transportation Department had completed a survey to deter mine the right of way limits along the road. The right of way boundary on the north side is approximately 40 feet from the centerline of the roadway, he added, and numerous trees and vegetation within the right of way pro vide a buffer for property owners. The pavement must have a width of at least 20 feet on each side of the centerline to per mit vehicle access, he continued. However, the pavement on the western side is wider. On Jan. 15, staff from the countys Field Services and Transportation departments were scheduled to remove sand from the road to determine the actual width and limits of pavement available today for emergency vehicles to safely turn around, Harriott continued. In the meantime, an initial design of 18 pub lic parking spaces has been completed. A public meeting was held on Dec. 5 to dis cuss those details with residents of the road, he added. Representatives from the Parks and Recreation, Fire, Transportation and Neighborhood Services departments were present for that session, he noted, which resulted in a large community turnout. On Dec. 11, he continued, representatives from Parks and Recreation, Fire, Transportation and Neighborhood Services met with resi dents on-site to discuss alternatives to the design. Based on the comments and input from the residents and other County departments the plan has been revised and now includes 11 parking spaces (down from the original con cept of 18 spaces), he wrote. On Jan. 10, staff met to review options and prepare for another meeting with the resi dents. Because of multiple concerns raised A Sarasota County ordinance prohibits standing in a parking space at the beach or otherwise trying to save the space for a motorist. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 114

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over public safety and crime, he pointed out, a Sheriffs Ofce supervisor was invited and briefed as well. The residents requested four additions to the project, Harriott explained: Addition of a mid-block crosswalk with out a traffic signal on Higel Avenue, a state-maintained road. Addition of parking on Point of Rocks Road for use by people wishing to use the beach at North Shell Road. Construction of walls along the North Shell Road right of way. Installation of curbing instead of the erec tion of a post-and-rope barrier. All those requests are outside the scope and budget of the project, Harriott noted. On Jan. 21, he added, staff will meet again with residents on North Shell Road to pro pose an alternative design with the 11 parking spaces. The proposal is within the original anticipated cost of $25,000. Harriott wrote that a nal report would be ready for the County Commission by Feb. 28. BEWARE OF BIKE THIEVES During the SKAs regular meeting on Jan. 9, Sarasota County Sheriffs Deputy Jason Mruczek reported that a lot of bike thefts have taken place over the last month or so, mostly at condominium complexes along Midnight Pass Road. Both pe rsonal bicycles and rental models have been stolen, he said. The perpetrators have been taking the locks as well. Although no suspects had been identified so far, he continued, many of the missing vehicles have serial numbers, which will be helpful to detectives in returning recovered bikes to their rightful owners. Anyone interested in having a serial number added to a bicycle or other personal items may contact the Crime Prevention ofce at 861-5200, he said. THE BUSY BEACH During his report, Deputy Mruczek also pointed out that the parking lot at Siesta Public Beach had been lling up fast during recent weekends, with some arguments erupt ing over s paces. Deputy Jason Mruczek gives a report to the Siesta Key Association on Jan. 9. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 115

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As a res ult of the new county ordinance that went into effect last year, a person may be ned $100 for trying to save a space in the lot, he noted. I think thats curtailed [the number of altercations] a little bit. The ordinance, which was approved in March 2013, prohibits The blocking of or obstructing access to or from vacant designated parking spaces except when moving a motor vehicle into and out of such designated parking space or when conducted by or with the permission of County ofcials. CONDO COUNCIL AWARDS The Siesta Key Condominium Council will hold its next meeting on Jan. 21 at 3:30 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Siesta Key Chapel, located at 4615 Gleason Ave. Members and guests are welcome to arrive at 3 p.m. to enjoy refreshments and socializing. The two featured items on the agenda are a report from Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta, and the presentation of the councils 2013 Christmas Lighting Contest Awards. Topics Patterson is scheduled to address follow: The proposed dredging of Big Pass for the Lido Beach Nourishment Project. The Siesta Key Flood Control Project. The Siesta Public Beach improvements. The Benderson Park rowing facilities and upcoming events. Winners of the Siesta Key Condominium Council Lighting Contest will be honored at the organizations Jan. 21 meeting. Excelsior on the bayside, won an honorable mention, having been praised for its lighted arches. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 116

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A bundled-up beach walker braves the north wind on the morning of Jan. 7. Siesta and Sarasota are bracing for more chilly weather over the next several days. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 117

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BREAK ING GROUND AT THE BEACH Speaking of those beach improvements: The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. The $21.5-million renovation of the park facil ities will take place over the next two years, county staff has explained, with four phases of work planned. Among the new features will be a multipurpose overlook/shelter facility on the west side of the park for events such as weddings, the restoration of the historic pavilion, expanded parking, improved traf c circulation and a 15-foot-wide pedestrian esplanade running the length of the park, a county news release notes. STORMWATER PROJECT UPDATE This week and next week at the site of the Beach Road Drainage Project, next to Siesta Public Beach, plans call for the contractor to continue coordination with the Siesta Beach Improvement project regarding fill being placed appropriately for the parking areas and the new maintenance facility that will be constructed, Isaac R. Brownman, capi tal projects director in the countys Public Works Department, reported to the County Commission. Additionally, work is proceeding on the gen eral site grading and landscape berm, he wrote in an email, and the pumping of groundwater offshore is continuing. Brownman also pointed out that a change order is being n egotiated with the contractor to pr ovide no extra time for this work, since it appears [it] can be performed concurrent with other site work items. Finally, Brownman noted, the 60-inch storm drainpipe is approximately 90 percent com plete. However, the existing lift station on Beach Road will be left in service for the time being to handle any rainfall events that will occur before the [new stormwater retention] pond is ready. % Sarasota County has extended an invitation to the public for the Jan. 22 groundbreaking for the improvements at Siesta Public Beach. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 118

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Ginnungagap #2 by Hans Van de Bovenkamp. Contributed image A&E BRIEFS

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Untitled by Jae-Hyo Lee. Contributed image Season of Sculpture will present the Season VII: Shared Ground Small Works Exhibition from Jan. 22 through May 30 at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune building in downtown Sarasota, the organization has announced. The show will feature 17 smaller-scale works by seven of the eight artists whose monumen tal sculptures are on exhibit along Sarasotas Bayfront Drive, a news release says. Those artists are Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Robert Chambers, Rick Herzog, Linda Howard, Jun Kaneko, Jae-Hyo Lee and Boaz Vaadia. Chambers Elipsota is a permanent art installation commissioned by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the release notes. This exhibition provides the public an oppor tunity to experience these artists smaller works and maquettes [models] in a more inti mate and indoor setting, that of the Sarasota Herald-Tribunes handsome and spacious glass-walled lobby gallery, the release adds. Among the works will be wall hanging, ped estal and freestanding sculptures. The show is curated by Fayanne Hayes and Andrew Maass, the release adds. By special invitation of the Season of Sculpture Board of Directors, with sponsorship by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune two works by area artists David Peterson and Jerry Soble also will be on display. The show will open from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Members of the public will be welcome. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune building is located at 1741 Main St. in Sarasota. The show may be seen from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday after Jan. 22. SEASON OF SCULPTURE ANNOUNCES NEW SMALL WORKS EXHIBITION Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 120

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Untitled Head by Jun Kaneko. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 121

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Internationally k nown performer Engelbert Humperdinck will appear at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 8 p.m., the Van Wezel has announced. During his 40-year career, Humperdinck has sold more than 150 million records, a news release points out, and he remains a constant force in the music industry. The release continues, [R]omance serves as the core of Engelbert Humperdincks music, with his number one hits including Release Me The Last Waltz After the Lovin and A Man Without Love In 1967, Humperdincks version of Release Me recorded in his well-known suave ballad style, made the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic and was No. 1 in Great Britain, taking away that slot fro m The Beatles the release adds. Th e song spent 56 weeks in the Top 50 in a single chart run. Release Me was believed to have sold 85,000 copies a day at the height of its popularity, and it is one of the best known of his songs, the release continues. Moreover, he has completed tracks with Elton John, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Neil Sedaka, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, Beverly Knight and Gene Simmons, among others. Additionally, Humperdinck has earned such accolades as four Grammy nominations, a Golden Globe for Entertainer of the Year (1988), 63 gold and 24 platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the release notes. Tickets are priced from $35 to $80. For more information, call the box ofce at 953-3368 or visit ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK TO PLAY THE VAN WEZEL Engelbert Humperdinck will take the Van Wezel stage on Jan. 19. Contributed photo by Sotres Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 122

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The Manasota Theatre Organ Society (MTOS) is bringing three world-class organists to Sarasota to perform on the historic Wurlitzer theater pipe organ it owns and maintains in Grace Church, the Society has announced. The fully restored instrument has four key boards and 32 sets of pipes for a total of more than 2,000 ranging from pencil-size to 16 feet in length, a news release notes. One of Americas busiest young theater organists, Mark Herman, will offer his unique blend of sensitivity and sophistication on Jan 19; prominent silent lm scorer Clark Wilson will accompany the 1927 silent lm comedy Girl Shy, starring Harold Lloyd, on Feb. 16; and celebrated theater organist Jelani Eddington will entertain with popular songs and his signature orchestral transcrip tions on March 16, the release adds. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. The church is located at 8000 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota. The concerts will begin at 2 p.m.; the doors will open at 1:15 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 379-6301. When people hear organ music, they think heavy, somber, stuff, says John Fischer, pres ident and concert chairman of the Manasota Theatre Organ Society, in the release. But they couldnt be more wrong. These perform ers are not just carrying on a rich American tradition, theyre known for their great WORLD-CLASS ORGANISTS TO PERFORM AT GRACE CHURCH Clark Wilson/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 123

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showmanship and thoroughly entertaining performances. Were talking fun with a cap ital F here! Herman has garnered both audience and critical acclaim for his interpretations of popular classics and his technical skills and musicianship, the release continues. In 2012, the American Theatre Organ Society named him the Organist of the Year; he is the young est person ever to receive that honor, the release notes. In February, Wilson will perform his original score to Girl Shy a romantic comedy. Wilson is one of the leading scorers of silent photo plays in America today, composing exclusively for the organ to creat e historically accurate Hark Herman/Contributed photo music a l accompaniments for works from the heyday of silent lm, the release points out. Film critic Leonard Maltin has lauded Wilson as a master of silent lm and showman of the rst order, the release adds. On March 19, Eddington will create a multi-textured tapestry of sound, the release says. Eddington has been a headliner at numer ous national and regional conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society, and he has toured across America and other parts of the world, the release notes. In 2007, he accompa nied the classic lm, The Hunchback of Notre Dame on Finlands largest pipe organ as part of an international organ festival. Eddington has also produced more than 30 theater organ albums on some of the best-known and most Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 124

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dynamic instruments in the country, includ ing two on the instrument he will play here in Sarasota, the release adds. According to Fischer, the organ at Grace Church originally was installed in the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville in 1927. An MTOS member dis covered it in a Miami warehouse in 1996. Th ats when we knew we had a rescue operation on our hands, says Fischer. The restored instrument debuted in 2001; today, it is heard weekly, as part of worship services, and monthly, as it is utilized for meetings and concerts presented by the Manasota Theatre Organ Society, t he r elease points out. Jelani Eddington/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 125

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Artwork by Rog er Parent, a past president of the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society, will be on display at Venice Theatres Mitzi Voelker Gallery through Feb. 7, the theatre has announced. Parent has won awards in regional exhibitions for his skillful use of vibrant color and lively energetic brushwork, a news release says. He is a participating member of the Florida Watercolor Society and was accepted in its juried exhibitions in 2012 and 2013. Parent nds that people are a remarkable subject for painting, especially in portraits or when they are in candid gestures, the release adds. The urban landscape is espe cially inspiring to him, it notes, because of the variety of shapes and colors and the play of light and shadow. The paintings in this show include sketches in watercolor and pastel, including award-win ning watercolors of San Miguel de Allende, where he has spent considerable time since retiring, the release adds. His home is in Sarasota. He has served as a juror and taught a work shop series of six sessions on color and design for artists at the Venice Art Center, the release notes. He also provides coaching and individual instruction to artists at all levels of experience. Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Visit PARENT ART SHOW ON VIEW AT MITZI VOELKER GALLERY IN VENICE Roger Parent shows visitors one of his untitled works. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 126

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Templo de Las Monjas Church is by Roger Parent. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 127

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Faith Lutheran Church recently launched Musical Journeys a concert series show casing music, cuisine and a travelogue that explores different regions of the world, the church has announced. On Jan. 19, the program theme will be The Holy Land with Michael Stuart on organ and Joseph Holt on piano, a news release says. On Feb. 16, violinist Daniel Jordan, cellist Christopher Schnell and pianist Holt will take guests on a European River Cruise the release adds. On March 30, castanet concert artist Carmen de Vicente and pianist Holt will spice it up with a Musical March down the Iberian Peninsula the release notes. Each event also will feature a post-concert reception with cuisine inspired by the region at the focus of that program, as well as a trav elogue during the concert provided by Randell Johnson of Randells Travels. Each concert will start at 4 p.m. Tickets, which are $20, are available at the ofce of Faith Lutheran Church, located at 7750 Beneva Road in Sarasota; by calling 924-4664; or by visiting So often great music is presented out of context, says Holt, music director at Faith Lutheran Church and artistic director of Gloria Musicae, in the release. But artistic creation always springs from a time, a place and a culture. This series puts it all together with an exploration of the food, folkways and philosophy that inspired the music. It truly is a journey of the mind and senses. On Jan. 19, Stuart, the organist-in-residence at the Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota, and Holt will perform sacred music for organ and FAITH LUTHERAN CHURCH TO PRESENT MUSICAL JOURNEYS Carmen DeVicente/Contributed photo Dan Jordan/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 128

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piano accompanied by video and photos from Israel and Jordan. The post-concert feast will feature Middle Eastern fare, including hum mus, falafel, baba ganoush and other spicy and sweet delights, the release points out. On Feb. 16, Jordan, Schnell and Holt will pres ent such selections as Brahms G Major Violin and Piano Sonata Schuberts Notturno for Piano Trio and Strauss waltzes, the release continues. Jordan is concertmaster for the Sarasota Orchestra; Schnell is assistant prin cipal cellist with the Sarasota Orchestra. The post-concert reception will feature such tasty European fare as sausages, croissant sandwiches, pts and tortes, the release adds. On March 30, the post-concert fare will be authentic Spanish and Portuguese tapas, the release notes. Joseph Holt/Contributed photo Bookstore1Sa rasota has announced that it will host its next Poetry Local Mic on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. at the store, located at 1359 Main St. in downtown Sarasota. Join local poets Linda Albert and Gabrielle Lennon for a delightful afternoon of reading and discussion, a news release says. On Jan. 23 at 6 p.m., Patricia Averbach will discuss and sign her novel, Painting Bridges the release continues. Painting Bridges presents a sensitive and accurate depiction of t he 1970s, when late BOOKSTORE1 TO HOST POETRY LOCAL MIC AND A BOOK SIGNING identificati on of deafness was the norm, resulting in limited language and speech devel opment, the release notes. Amplication equipment was rudimentary and bulky, and deaf educators were at war with one another in pursuit of parents hearts and minds. Purchase of the book at Bookstore1 is required for signing, the release adds. More event information is available at or by calling 365-7900. Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 129

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Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike the hysterically twisted, Chekhov-inspired 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Play, will continue Asolo Repertory Theatres 2013-14 season with previews Jan. 22-23 and opening night on Jan. 24, the theatre has announced. The show will run through April 13. Named after Chekhov characters by their theater-loving, professor parents, mid dle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia still live in their parents upscale farmhouse in Bucks County, PA, a news release explains. When their world-traveling movie-star sister, Masha, makes a surprise visit with her sexy, 20-some thing boy toy Spike, chaos rapidly ensues, the release adds. The weekend reunion is compounded by sibling rivalry, envy and jealousy. While the familys prophetic clean ing lady, Cassandra, warns of the foreboding events to come, this tornado of mayhem and fun simply cannot be stopped, the release says. The play is packed with subtle and not-sosubtle Chekhovian references, but audience members by no means need to be avid Chekhov enthusiasts to enjoy this fun-lled play, the release continues. Most references are explained by the characters themselves or the moment is funny on its own. Chris Durangs new play is quite simply one of the happiest theatre experiences Ive ever had, Michael Donald Edwards, producing artistic director of the Asolo Rep, says in the release. Dura ng, who is well known for his absurdly comical plays, is one of the funniest drama tists writing today, the release adds. His other works include Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, The Marriage of Bette and Boo and Miss Witherspoon He has received numerous Obie Awards as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical for A History of the American Film Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will continue the second season of Asolo Reps ve-year American Character Project and its focus on the truly extraordinary American Family, the release notes. Tickets start at $21. To purchase them, call 351-8000, go to or visit the Asolo Repertory Theatre box ofce, located in the lobby of the theatre. Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. 2013 TONY AWARD-WINNER TO OPEN AT ASOLO REP JAN. 22 Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will open at the Asolo Rep on Jan. 22. Contributed image FOR ADVERTISING INFO (941) 227-1080 Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 130

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The Sarasota Concert Association (SCA) will continue its 2014 season with the KalichsteinLaredo-Robinson Trio and guest violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama on Monday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, located at 777 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. After 35 years of critically acclaimed success, the trio members continue to dazzle audi ences with exhilarating performances that have made them superstars of the chamber music world, a news release says. Sparks will y in this one-night concert when they join forces with viola virtuoso Nokuthula Ngwenyama, it adds. The evenings program will feat ure works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Dvorak. Individual tickets are $40, $50, $60 and $70. Tickets and information for this program and others in the Great Performers Series are available by calling 955-0040 or visiting Thirty-six years after their 1977 debut at the White House, pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jamie Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson still bring technical mastery, expressive depth and magnetism to the con cert stage, the release notes. As one of the ASSOCIATION TO PRESENT THE KALICHSTEIN-LAREDO-ROBINSON TRIO The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 131

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few longlived ensembles with all of its orig inal members, the trio balances the careers of three internationally acclaimed soloists while they appear together at the worlds major concert halls, commission new works and maintain an active recording agenda, the release says. The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio has garnered a steady stream of awards and hon ors throughout its long career, the release continues. Musical America named the group the 2002 Ensemble of the Year, and the 200304 season was its rst as Chamber Ensemble in Residence at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It was awarded the Samuel Sanders Collaborative Artists Award by the Foundation for Recorded Music in 2002 and in 2011, the release notes. Born in Ca lifo rnia of Zimbabwean-Japanese parents, violist Ngwenyama came to interna tional attention when she won the coveted Primrose International Viola Competition, which she now presides over as director, the release points out. Recently featured as a Face to Watch by the Los Angeles Times, Ngwenyama continues to garner great atten tion and critical acclaim as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, the release says. The next concert in the Great Performers Series will be on Feb. 5 with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO). ECCOs fresh interpretations of new and old works cou pled with passionate and joyous playing have earned this conductor-less ensemble critical acclaim and an enthusiastic following world wide, the release points out. Nokuthula Ngwenyama/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 132

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DAVE BENNETT QUARTET PERFORMANCE SET FOR JAN. 26 Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota will present the Dave Bennett Quartet, with Bennett on clarinet, Tad Weed on piano, Don Mopsick on bass and Dick Maley on drums on Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, located at 709 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The group will perform such popular compo sitions as Moonglow Stompin at the Savoy and Just a Closer Walk with Thee a news release notes. Tickets are $40 and $45. They may be pur chased online at www.artistseriesconcerts. org or by calling 360-7399. Student rush tick ets, priced at $5, will be available 30 minutes before the performance. For group dis count tickets or for more information about this show or the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasotas 2013-2014 season, visit or call 306-1202. Bennett doesnt t the mold of most contem porary jazz clarinetists, the release explains. For starters, you dont nd many jazz clarinet players who name Alice Cooper, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Chris Isaak among their inu ences. You wont nd many musicians under 30 who are equally conversant with the music of Benny Goodman and Roy Orbison, the release says. In fact, you may not nd even one other clarinet virtuoso who occasionally breaks from his swing era repertoire to sing rockabilly hits while accompanying himself at the piano, it notes, adding that Bennett can play a mean barrelhouse boogie-woogie. Add in the talents of Tad Weed, Don Mopsick and Dick Maley and you understand why the Dave Bennett Quartet has a zealous bevy of fans of all ages, the release continues. % Dave Bennett/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 133

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Secular Spirituality: Oxymoron or Emotional Meaning? will be the topic of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasotas next Freethinkers Brieng from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, the organization has announced. The church is located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. Admission is free. The guest speaker will be Rabbi Adam Chalom, a news release says. Among the ques tions that will be discussed are the following: What is the balance between a secular life style and spiritual or emotional fulllment? Where do Humanists nd what Humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow called Peak Experiences? Is spirituality an inappropriate concept for Humanists or is it a basic human need that we must nd a way to meet? Chalom, a lifelong Humanist and Humanistic Jew, is one of the leading voices in Humanistic Judaism, the release points out. He is the dean for No rth America of the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism and rabbi of the Kol Hadash Humanistic Congregation in suburban Chicago, the release adds. He also serves on the Advisory Council of The Humanist Institute, and he participated in the 2012 Symposium of the Institute for Humanist Studies. Chalom recently edited Sherwin Wines posthumous magnum opus, A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews the release notes. For more information, call David Ryan at 3654027 or send an email to The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota is a welcoming congregation serving Sarasota and Manatee counties, the release adds. More information may be found at or by emailing The public is invited to the Freethinkers Brieng on Jan. 24 at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Fruitville Road. File photo RABBI CHALOM TO PRESENT PROGRAM AT FREETHINKERS BRIEFING RELIGION BRIEFS

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The music of Debbie Friedman the ground breaking singer/songwriter who passed away three years ago this month will be featured at the all-musical Shabbat Alive! worship ser vice on Friday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, the Temple has announced. Held quarterly at Temple Emanu-El, Shabbat Alive! services comprise contemporary, inno vative arrangements of traditional prayers performed by a full band of professional and volunteer musicians including new vocal ist Hannah Beatt, 13, a veteran of local theater (Top row, from left) Sam Silverberg, Stuart Miller, Paul Greene, Deborah Cameron, Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman, (middle row, from left) Kathy Rance, Rochelle Seldin, Dawn Dill, Rachel Nelson-Assi, (bottom row, from left) Dan Cartlidge, Hannah Beatt, Cynthia Roberts-Greene and Joe Bruno will lead the all-musical Shabbat Alive! service featuring the compositions of Debbie Friedman at Temple Emanu-El on Jan. 24. Contributed photo SHABBAT ALIVE! TO FEATURE MUSIC OF DEBBIE FRIEDMAN produc ti ons who also performed in Shrek: The Musical on Broadway, a news release says. Friedman has been credited with reinvigo rating prayer services throughout the Jewish world with her accessible, inspiring works, the release adds. The Shabbat Alive! service is free and open to all members of the community. Temple Emanu-El is located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota. For more infor mation, call 371-2788. % Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 135

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 17+ JANUARY FSU/Asolo Conservatory presents Loot Through Jan. 19; times vary; Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $27 to 29. Information: 351-8000 or 17+ JANUARY FST presents Monty Pythons Spamalot Through Jan. 25; times vary; Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $18 to 49. Information: 366-9000 or 17+ JANUARY Dabbert Gallery presents 10th Anniversary Exhibition Through Feb. 1; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 9551315 or 17+ JANUARY Allyn Gallup presents Nature and Irony Through Feb. 1; times vary; Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 366-2454 or 17+ JANUARY Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents The Whipping Man Through Feb. 2; times vary; 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 3661505 or 24 JANUARY Jazz Club of Sarasota presents the Jerry Eckert Jazz Trio Jan. 24, 2 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Admission: $7 for members/$12 for non-members. Information: 366-1552 or 26 JANUARY ASCS presents The Dave Bennett Quartet Jan. 26, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m., Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $40 to 45. Information: 306-1202 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader January 17, 2014 Page 136

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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 DREAMS OF BEING ON A NEW TEAM SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS