Sarasota News Leader


Material Information

Sarasota News Leader
Physical Description:
Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Sarasota, FL
Creation Date:
July 12, 2013
Publication Date:


newspaper   ( marcgt )
newspaper   ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd


COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 19 January 24, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. Inside FRACKING FRONTIER? FINALLY BACK IN THE BLACK? CALM AND COMPOSED




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


Once upon a t ime, it seemed the weeks were not as busy for us when the County Commission was not in session. That board might not have met this week except informally for the Siesta Public Beach Park improvements groundbreaking on Wednesday but this week has been incredibly busy. And, yes, the City Commission and the Downtown Improvement District did have regular meetings on Tuesday, I should point out. As one of my regular correspondents reminded me, it is that time of year, after all. From talk of fracking in the Florida House to talk of the busi ness plan for operating Benderson Park events, from a wonderful interview County Editor Roger Drouin conducted with Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer to the proposal for a new Sarasota County Technical Institute in North Port, our staff once again has found diverse topics to tackle. And Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel was everywhere over the past week from the kickoff of the Sarasota Keys program down town to the recognition of aerialist Nik Wallen da as a Circus Celebrity to the Ringling Bridge Run to that Siesta groundbreaking. I do not think he had time to sleep! On the Sarasota Leisure side, our offerings include Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Bak ers preview of World Peace Day, and contrib utor Barbara Donderos foray into the world of a stage production manager at Florida Studio Theatre. Additionally, City Editor Stan Zimmerman, Roger and I all have stories to carry over to the next issue or two for lack of time to pursue them. And, yes, the County Commission meets again next week. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


FRACKING FRONTIER? FINALLY BACK IN THE BLACK NEWS & COMMENTARY FRACKING FRONTIER? 9 Florida natural gas rush looking more plausible, with possible implications for Sarasota County Roger Drouin FINALLY BACK IN THE BLACK? 15 While it is too early to call the projection a certainty, the Sarasota County Schools may not have to draw on reserves to balance its 2014-15 budget Rachel Brown Hackney CALM AND COMPOSED 20 As a reghter, Tom Harmer learned to be comfortable in unexpected situations, and to stay calm Roger Drouin ROWING FORWARD 26 Long-term rowing park business plan unveiled at Tourist Development Council meeting Cooper Levey-Baker AN SCTI FOR NORTH PORT 31 A site selection process probably will be concluded this summer for a combined technical institute and new county library in North Port, with community leaders working on ways to pay for construction Rachel Brown Hackney ANOTHER $7.5 MILLION 38 The City Commission gets a brieng on ndings, recommendations and cost estimates to make Lift Station 87 a reality at last Stan Zimmerman TAP WATER AND SOFTWARE 42 The City Commission learns that about 3,200 city utility customers will have to pay $350 for a backow preventer, and it approves new Police Department computer equipment Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front cover: Tickling the Ivories Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: A Frosty Footrace Norman Schimmel


NEWS BRIEFS OPINION WH O PAYS FOR THIS CLEANING? 45 Downtown Improvement District Board members look to the city for help in removing grime and chewing gum from the sidewalks Stan Zimmerman MAKING IT HAPPEN 49 Sixteen students in Sarasota County are on the path to graduate with precision machining skills that could earn them annual pay up to $90,000 in a few years Rachel Brown Hackney BEACH BLANKETS, ANYONE??? 54 County leaders and representatives of Siesta Key organizations mark the formal beginning of refurbishments to Siesta Public Beach Staff Reports NEWS BRIEFS 60 CRIME BLOTTER 68 OPINION EDITORIAL 70 City of Sarasota needs all citizens actively involved LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 73 Sarasota County has its own version of Economics 101 Rodger Skidmore News Leader biased in coverage of Lido project David Moore Writer disagrees with charact erization of Republicans Pete Theisen Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article For Advertising Info (941) 227-1080


PEACE CORPS SIESTA SEEN SARASOTA LEISURE PEACE CORPS 76 World Peace Day tackles Occupy Wall Street, honors locals for religious courage Cooper Levey-Baker SHOW WITHIN A SHOW 79 The stage manager is the unseen force in making sure theater productions run as smoothly as possible Barbara Dondero PLAY ME A TUNE 84 Sarasota Keys draws a crowd with its launch downtown, and interest continues to build Rachel Brown Hackney A BIG HONOR 89 Internationally known aerialist Nik Wallenda becomes the youngest person to be named a Circus Celebrity Staff Reports FLYING FEET 91 The annual Ringling Bridge Run draws its usual plethora of competitors but, this time, on a chilly morning Staff Reports SIESTA SEEN 97 Commissioner Patterson talks about the need for a completely independent peer review of the Lido Renourishment Project and who is vying to win her seat in an address to the Condo Council; new crossing lights nally are up at Beach Road intersections Rachel Brown Hackney A&E BRIEFS 106 RELIGION BRIEFS 123 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 128 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 129 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


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


The once seemingly far-fetched possibility of fracked wells and impoundment ponds in Florida could soon be a reality. A state House panel last week OKd two bills that would require the reporting of chemicals used in fracking. In a partisan 8-4 vote, the two measures cleared the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee which has a Republican majority as state leg islators grapple with the potential of the Sunshine State becoming the Fracking Frontier. Even more telling, one industry lobbyist says some research has shown that fracking ofcially called hydraulic fracturing could force up oil and gas that is trapped thou sands of feet below the surface in Floridas compressed limestone formations. Whe re hydraulic frac turing has been most successful has been in shale-typ e structures, An organization on Facebook opposes fracking in Florida. Image from FLORIDA NATURAL GAS RUSH LOOKING MORE PLAUSIBLE, WITH POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS FOR SARASOTA COUNTY FRACKING FRONTIER? The camels nose is in the tent. We know there is interest. Mary Jean Yon Legislative Director Audubon Florida By Roger Drouin County Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


said David Mica, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Association. It is now thought that it can work in other formations. Those formations, Mica explained to The Sarasota News Leader include Florida limestone 10,000 feet or deeper below the surface. Hydraulic fracturing injects a cocktail of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to blast open rock below ground to release Florida Audubon has started a petition drive against fracking. Image courtesy Florida Audubon Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 10


trapped oil and gas. The controversial process uses large amounts of water and produces owback that contains some of the chemicals employed in the action. The camels nose is in the tent, said Mary Jean Yon, legislative director at Audubon Florida, which has started a petition drive opposed to hydraulic fracturing in Florida. We know there is an interest. Proponents such as Mica say fracking would help provide energy in a state that gets about 60 percent of its electricity from natural gas. They also point to historic conventional oil and gas drilling in the state, along with improvements in pipe casing and other tech nology used in hydraulic fracturing. Critics such as Yon, however, warn the pro cess could harm groundwater supplies and A fracking operation is under way in Warren Center, PA. Image from Ostoff Law via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 11


suck milli ons of gallons of water from the aquifer. When it comes to fracking in Florida, the indus trys attention appears to be focused on two parts of the state. The rst is the Sunniland Trend in Southwest Florida, mostly in Lee, Collier and Hendry counties. That trend is 150 miles long and 20 miles wide, stretching from Fort Myers to Miami. The second area is northwest Florida. But that does not mean the gas and oil companies are not looking in other regions. A lot of the activity has to remain condential because the stakes are so high, Mica said of the race to bring hydraulic fracturing to new places. Public attention is on those two areas in southwest Florida and northwest Florida. Also unknown is whether it will be econom ically feasible to frack in Florida, where the geology is so different from natural gasrich areas such as the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Media reports as early as October 2012 in the Fort Myers News Press detailed some initial interest of at least two companies in regard to the deep unexplored regions of the Sunniland Trend. A DELICATE BALANCE Even fracking to the south in Lee, Collier and Hendry counties could have implications in Sarasota, said Jon Thaxton, former county commissioner and current director of commu nity investment at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Thaxton has concerns. One of those regards the potential stresses on the aquifer, rivers and lakes as well as the potential for cont amination in a state where a delicate bala nce keeps water clean and viable as a source of drinking water. Yon, the legislative director at Audubon Florida, says water used in the fracking pro cess in Lee or Collier counties could have a big impact on the water supply even in Sarasota County. One of the rst and foremost concerns would be the amount of water used to carry out this process, Yon noted. If there are counties nearby where fracking is happening, there should be some concern [in Sarasota County]. There are no county lines on the Peace River or the aquifer. Sarasota County draws its drinking water from several sources, including wells through out the county, as well as the Manatee River and the Peace River/M anasota Regional Water Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, speaks on the Florida House oor. Photo courtesy Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 12


Supply A uthority, which uses the Peace River as its source. Thaxton said he is not completely negative on hydraulic fracturing as an industry. Coal is considered a dirtier fuel. But there has been enough recent negative news in fracking-in tense states such as Pennsylvania that the idea of fracking anywhere close to Sarasota County raises the issue of real threats from damage to economic engines such as tourism to possible water contamination. Environmental standards should be main tained, Thaxton pointed out. DISCLOSURE OR DISGUISE? Audubon Florida, along with environmental ists, contends the proposed two Florida House bills (HB 71 and HB 157) do not do a good job of establishing environmental standards and holding oil and gas companies accountable if they frack in Florida. Critics argue the mea sures appear to offer disclosure but that they actually provide the oil and gas companies cover to start the process in Florida. The first bill, HB 71, would require com panies to inform the state Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) of the chemicals they would use in the process and for the state agency to forward that informa tion to a national registry called FracFocus. org The second bill, HB 157, would allow DEP to determine if an exemption from pub lic disclosure should be given to any chemical that a company argues needs to be shielded as a trade secret. Both bills are sponsored by Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero. There are two problems with the bills, Yon said. First, There is no mention of the concentra tion of these chemicals, Yon said. Audubon Florida also has a level of discomfort with the use of which was created through industry funding. The major red flag for Yon is the trade secrets provision that would provide a path for the industry to try to disguise the use of certain chemicals or compounds that could be toxic individually or in combination with other substances. House Bill 157 says the industry can leave anything out by claiming trade secrets, Yon pointed out. Thats a huge issue. Mica told the News Leader that fracking pro ponents might be willing to strike a deal to add some language to HB 71 to ease con cerns about concentrations. I think that is a responsible thing, to disclose the amount of the chemicals, he said. Were going to work with them on that. In addition to opposition from environmen tal groups such as Audubon Florida, some grassroots concerns have percolated. In 2012, Floridians Against Fracking started a Facebook page. As of Wednesday evening, Jan. 22, the group had 325 likes. As of press time, Jan. 23, FDEPs Mining and Minerals Regulation division had not responded to a request for information on whether there are active fracking permits or applications for permits. % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 13


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 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 24, 2014 Page 14


Although the Governors Office has not released its 2015 scal year budget yet, and legislative funding remains an unknown, the Sarasota County School Board budget for 2014-15 could be the rst one balanced with out reserve funds since 2007-08, the school districts deputy chief nancial ofcer told the bo ard during its Jan. 21 workshop. This appears to be having a budget sur plus, board member Frank Kovach said of the pro jection prov ided to the board, and I havent seen that in so long. It was just really hard to believe However, he conceded, things could come up to reverse that. Weidner, the de puty CFO, told the other board mem bers Kovach called him on Jan. 17 to say Weidner must have made a big mis take, based on the material Weidner had sent the board for the Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Al Weidner discusses the projected 2014-15 school district budget. Photo by Rachel Hackney WHILE IT IS TOO EARLY TO CALL THE PROJECTION A CERTAINTY, THE SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOLS MAY NOT HAVE TO DRAW ON RESERVES TO BALANCE ITS 2014-15 BUDGET FINALLY BACK IN THE BLACK? The one big unknown is what the governor and the Legislature will do. Al Weidner Deputy Chief Financial Ofcer Sarasota County Schools By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


workshop. Finally, Weidner said, he realized Kovach was joking. After all these years, board member Shirley Brown replied with a chuckle, youve nally, nally listened to what Mr. Kovach requested and balanced our budget. For years, Kovach has argued that the district needed to stop dipping into its reserve fund to keep its budget in the black. The one big unknown is what the governor and the Legislature will do, Weidner pointed out. The Governors Office typically has released its budget by this time o f year, he not ed, indicating the plan could be out at any time. If the Legislature designates new school funding for certain functions as it did with teacher salary increases in the current scal year the Sarasota district budget would change completely, Weidner said. Given the nancial hardships many Florida school districts are facing, he continued, he hoped that would not be the case. School districts need to not have additional funding earmarked for specic purposes, he told the board members. School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin makes a point during the Jan. 21 workshop. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 16


School Board member Frank Kovach listens to a presentation on Jan. 21. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 17


Many other distri cts have very low reserves, Chairwoman Jane Goodwin agreed, and a number are struggling. According to the projections Weidner pre sented to the board on Jan. 22, the total estimated revenue for the 2014-15 scal year is $393,972,940. The estimated appropriations are $393,019,966. Adding in the estimated rev enue left unspent in the current scal year, the district would have a surplus of $47,961,180 on June 30, 2015. The total of the districts reserve fund is pro jected to be $37,717,131 as of June 30, 2015, or 9.6 percent of the budget. Mitsi Corcoran, the districts chief nancial ofcer, pointed out to The Sarasota News Leader last year that School Board policy 7.101 provides for a minimum unassigned fund balance of 7.5 percent. That is more scally conservative than the state required minimum of 3 percent, as set out in Florida Statute 1011.051. The statutes also provide that if a school districts reserve falls to 2 per cent or below, that district is considered to be in a state of nancial emergency, she added. Board member Carol Todd said on Wednesday, Every year we have a higher percent in our reserve than we had anticipated. We do very well. Goodwin credited Superintendent Lori White and the staff. Todd concurred, noting that when White has to recommend cuts, the board members have heated discussions sometimes, but our staff [members] know how to save. They know how to squeeze these dollars, and I think we need to compliment every one in this district. White thanke d Goodwin and Todd for their remarks. There are so many ways our staff makes sacrices, trying to prioritize what the greatest needs are. White added, What we would all love to see go away are those tre mendous budget cuts at the end of the year, which have been necessitated by funding shortfalls. During his presentation, Weidner noted the following assumptions in his preparation of the projected budget: A 5 percent increase in property valuations in Sarasota County. However, Weidner added, Im really anticipating a little bit more than that. Values went up 4.22 per cent for the current scal year. Expected renewal of the districts special 1 mill tax. The referendum will be held for the fourth time on March 25. The tax would bring in about $42 million, district leaders have said. An enrollment decrease of 80 students, which would mean the loss of three teachers. Continuation of the hiring freeze that has been in effect since the recession necessi tated that action about six years ago. A 10-percent increase in district healthcare costs, effective Jan. 1, 2015. A 4-percent rise in the expense for other employee benets, effective Jan. 1, 2015. A 5-percent uptick in fuel and energy costs. Weidner noted that this is his 32nd year of working on distric t budgets. % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 18


Witness the beauty and grace of the Original Lipizzan Stallions of Austria. See the rare and beautiful Airs Above the Ground, as seen in Walt Disneys Miracle of the White Stallions Rehearsal performances ursday thru Saturday, thru May 3rd (ur. & Fri. at 3pm; Sat. at 10am; Call to reserve groups of 15 or more) Weddings Events & Clinics Riding Lessons Breeding Herrmann Royal Lipizzan Stallions (941) 322-1501 32755 Singletary Road Myakka City, Florida 34251 Click To Watch The Video Click For Interactive Map


Before 8 a.m., Tom Harmer checks his sched ule as soon as he walks into his ofce at the Sarasota County Administration Building in downtown Sarasota. On the left, is his To Do list. There are more than a half dozen As scribb led beside it. Those are my priori ties, Harmer says. On the right is a detailed schedule indi cating another busy day. When he gets a chance, Harmer lls in some notes about the day what went well; what he might have to address the following day. It is a system the former fire chief and Titusville city manager has used for a long time, and over the pas t three months, it has helped keep him organized as Sarasota Countys interim county administrator, a post that over sees more than 2,000 employees and more than 20 departments. Tom Harmer poses with the county seal in the lobby outside his and the county commissioners ofces. Photo by Roger Drouin AS A FIREFIGHTER, TOM HARMER LEARNED TO BE COMFORTABLE IN UNEXPECTED SITUATIONS, AND TO STAY CALM CALM AND COMPOSED Never, ever during my 13 years with the Chamber, has a county administrator ever attended a North Port Chamber meeting. We were very honored. Fred Tower Chairman Government Relations Committee North Port Chamber of Commerce By Roger Drouin County Editor


Harmers sche dule has been full as he handles double duty, balancing some of his former responsibilities as deputy administrator while overseeing the countys day-to-day operations and communications with commissioners. Working with his administrative staff, he adopted the motto Full Steam Ahead in October. When I was asked to serve as interim admin istrator, one of the things that was important to me and the board was trying to make the transition as smooth as possible, Harmer said during an interview with The Sarasota News Leader in his ofce Wednesday morn ing, Jan. 22. In October, the commissioners voted 4-1 to re then-Administrator Randall Reid without cause. They unanimously replaced him with Harmer, who was hired by Reid in July 2012 to ll the post of deputy county administrator. During the Tuesday, Jan. 28, County Commission meeting, the board members will review Harmers job performance so far. That discussion will likely include discussion about whether to extend his tenure as interim administrator or whether to remove interim from his title. WHEN THE TONE GOES OFF Harmer has 2 6 years of experience in local government, including almost eight years as city manager of Titusville, where he also was executive director of the Community Development Agency. Additionally, he has served as re chief and emergency manager in Titusville. Prior to that, Harmer was dep uty re chief in Tall ahassee and a reghter/ EMT for three years in Davie, according to his resume. I like to work; always have liked to work, Harmer said. I guess because I have always liked the jobs Ive had and the challenge of trying to make a difference. During his time as a reghter, Harmer also a former interrogator for the U.S. Marine Corps learned to be comfortable in a vast array of situations. As a firefighter, you never know what to expect when the [alarm] tone goes off, Harmer pointed out. It can be as simple as a snake in the fireplace to a building fully engulfed, with someone trapped inside. He also learned how to maintain his com posure. You cant be the one that gets so excited you dont know what to do, Harmer said. You learn to have that calm presence. GET TO KNOW TOM HARMER Hometown : Philadelphia; he moved to Florida at the age of 12. Hobbies : Biking and kayaking (he just purchased a kayak). Family : wife Dee Dee; two sons, 26 and 33, who live in Orlando. DOWNLOAD THE PDF Read Tom Harmers Resume Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 21


Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer offers remarks during the Jan. 22 groundbreaking for the Siesta Public Beach Park improvements. (See the related story in this issue.) Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 22


In some ways, it was his reghting experi ence that prepared him for high-pressure, high-scrutiny roles in governmental management. There is always someone who has to see the county administrator, Harmer noted, and you have to make time. Teamwork is key, in both reghting and gov ernment operations. You cant just go out there and do it yourself, Harmer said. There are over 2,000 of us if something is an important county project, Harmer added. We have to think of ourselves as an entire team. Harmer hopes to strike a chord of collabora tion outside county government headquarters as he seeks to address unresolved issues rangin g from a recommended homeless shel ter in Sarasota to a dispute between city and county commissioners over the former Police Department site on Ringling Boulevard. The key is that somehow this stays a collab orative effort, he said of consultant Robert Marbuts recommendation for a homeless shelter in Sarasota. There will be some pub lic debate on where the shelter should go and who pays for what, but it has to be a collabo rative effort. The topic is slated for discussion during an April 1 joint session of the City and County commissions. In addition to meeting with his staffers, working with the county commissioners and addressi ng issues, Harmer has been trying to Tom Harmer (left) listens as Ed Gable, the countys facilities services director, addresses the County Commission during an October 2013 workshop. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 23


get out more in the community than he did as a deputy administrator. That effort has not gone unnoticed. In a Jan. 14 email to County Commissioner Christine Robinson, Fred Tower, chairman of the North Port Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Committee, praised Harmer. The North Port Chamber had a Business After Hours honoring a North Port business, a function held every month, Tower wrote. Your interim county administrator showed up and [was introduced] and he spoke for a few minutes and introduced himself. His wife also accompanied him. Never, ever during my 13 years with the cham ber has a county administrator ever attended a North Port Chamber meeting. We were very honored, Tower added. You have a winner. THE BUDGET CHALLENGE Much of Harmers schedule during the coming months will be focused on the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. This year the County Commission will hold earlier workshops than it has in previous years to address its new spending plan. Harmer will also receive budget proposals sooner from the department heads, allow ing him and the nance staff to go through the material and put together a County Administrators Budget to present to the county commissioners. Well be scrutinizing department budgets, Harmer said. During the process as long as he sits in the chief administrators chair Harmer and staff members will be working to come up with a plan to mitigate a projected 2016 gen eral fund decit, and that includes trying to trim expenses. % Tom Harmer joins the commissioners at the dais during one of his rst board meetings as interim administrator. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 24


Pulled Pork Ribs Chicken Beef Brisket Sides Made Fresh From Scratch Big salad Chilled Salmon Beer & Wine Homemade Desserts Kid Friendly 301 S Pineapple Ave Sarasota, FL Open: Mon-Sat 11:30am to 9:00pm Catering Across The Suncoast Since 2005 Click For Driving Directions Click To View Our Video Online 941-366-2271 (BBQ1)


Pressed hard last month by the Sarasota County Commission to deliver a detailed busi ness plan for the rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park, the head of the nonprot created to manage the venue unveiled some of those numbers this wee k, offering an optimistic look at the parks long-term nances. Doing the unveiling was Paul Blackketter, executive director for planning with Benderson Developme nt and the president of Suncoast Aquatics Nature Center Associates (SANCA), the nonprot charged with raising money for and overseeing the park. He addressed the Tourist Development Council Wednesday evening, Jan. 22, spe cifically to garner feed back before pre senting the Suncoast Aquatics plan to the County Commission next week. Chaired by County Commissioner Nora Patterson, the Tourist Development Rowers compete in a race during the USRowing Masters National Championships at Benderson Park in August 2013. File photo LONG-TERM ROWING PARK BUSINESS PLAN UNVEILED AT TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL MEETING ROWING FORWARD Public-private partnerships can be very dicey. Theres a perception that theres no scrutiny put to them, that theyre a form of welfare. Paul Caragiulo Commissioner City of Sarasota And Tourist Development Council Member By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Council is made up of representatives from the countys cities e.g., Venice Vice Mayor Bob Daniels, North Port Commissioner Cheryl Cook and City of Sarasota Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and the private sector e.g., Sarasota News Leader Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel. Blackketter discussed all the research that had gone into the business plan, which included trips to almost every major rowing center in the country, and then dove into the num bers. Suncoast Aquatics is projecting that 25 total events will take place at the rowing cen ter this year, a number the group thinks will grow to 81 by 2020, with projected growth in each of the types of events as well. Seventeen training teams have already booked the park for 2014; Blackketters presentation indicated that number could swell to 52 by the end of the decade. Each so-dubbed large event would gener ate upwards of $15,000 in prot over the next couple of years, Blackketter explained. But revenue from so-called special events, such Benderson Park will be hosting a number of major events leading up to the World Rowing Championships in 2017. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 27


(From left) Paul Blackketter, County Commissioner Joe Barbetta and Benderson Development CEO Randy Benderson gather during a regatta at Benderson Park in February 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 28


as the 2017 Wor ld Rowing Championships, is difficult to estimate. The events are so big that outcomes are tough to gauge at this point, Blackketter said. They bring in televi sion. They bring in world athletes. One key to success Blackketter laid out was the need for Suncoast Aquatics to grow events. How can the organization nurture a medium-sized competition to help it become larger as the years go on? Blackketter said the group was dedicated to working with organiz ers to grow their programs from year to year. Then talk turned to money. Blackketter was adamant that Suncoast Aquatics would not be coming back to Sarasota County which has already chipped in $19.5 million for park improvements for additional funds. We will not be asking for capital from Sarasota County, he said, telling the Council he is very condent that Suncoast Aquatics can raise the rest of the money needed to get the park up and running. How much are we talking? $22 million. Blackketter said Randy Benderson, presi dent of the company that bears his familys name, would personally chair the founda tion charged with rounding up all that dough. Blackketter said he has spoken with several fundraisers to ask them if the $22 million goal is doable, and theyve assured him it is. If theres any project out there today, this is certainly one you can raise the money for, Blackketter said he has heard. Caragiulo complimented Blackketter on the amount of detail in the business plan, but said the group needed to develop a sim pler message for the public. Public-private partnerships can be very dicey, Caragiulo pointed out. Theres a perception that theres no scrutiny put to them, that theyre a form of welfare. Wheres our talking points? he asked. Blackketter referred the Council to one par ticular slide in his presentation, the one that showed an $8.5 million economic impact this year leaping up to a $56.1 million impact in 2020. One major concern discussed during Blackketters meeting with the County Commission in December was the states insistence that the county repay half of the states $10 million investment in the rowing park if the facility fails to generate $25 mil lion in sales taxes by the end of 2018. But Blackketter said Wednesday that debate may be moot. He has spoken to Enterprise Florida, the public-private entity that oversees eco nomic development projects for the state, and asked its staff to gut the so-called clawback provision in its deal with Sarasota County. He expects to have amendments to that contract within a few weeks, he said. Patterson called the Council a tough crowd; Blackketter will face another tough crowd Tuesday, Jan. 28, when he delivers the Suncoast Aquatics plan to the County Commission. In December, the board asked critical questions about why the business plan had been delayed for so long. Weve had the business plan discussion for a long time, Blackketter acknowledged Wednesday. With such a signicant investment of taxpayer dol lars on the line, dont expect that discussion to end soon. % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 29


Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida941-953-4060


Staff mem bers of the Sarasota County Schools, the City of North Port and Sarasota County are working on a project that would combine a new Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI) and a second public library in North Port, the school districts director of long-ran ge planning told local government ofcia ls from all over the county during the Convocation of Governments on Jan. 17 at the SCTI main campus in Sarasota. Although Ken Marsh said no funds are avail able for construction, the district h as carry-over school impact fee revenue that can be used for site acquisition. The tentative timeline calls for the purchase to take place by the summer, he added. I believe we will have a site soon, Todd Bowden, the districts executive director of career, technical and adu lt education, told the School Board members during their Jan. 21 workshop in Sarasota. Schools Superintendent Lori White added during that workshop that staff is exploring revenue streams to The main Sarasota County Technical Institute campus is located at the intersection of Proctor and Beneva roads in Sarasota. Image courtesy School Board A SITE SELECTION PROCESS PROBABLY WILL BE CONCLUDED THIS SUMMER FOR A COMBINED TECHNICAL INSTITUTE AND NEW COUNTY LIBRARY IN NORTH PORT, WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS WORKING ON WAYS TO PAY FOR CONSTRUCTION AN SCTI FOR NORTH PORT I think we all understand were in a very fragile recovery, and I think part of that recovery is what were talking about today. James Blucher Mayor City of North Port By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


pay for the facilities. During the Convocation of Governments last week, North Port Mayor James Blucher pointed out that city commis sioners and staff already have talked with state Sen. Nancy Detert of Venice to seek her help in securing funding from the Legislature to help with the project. What I heard loud and clear [on Jan. 17] was Sooner rather than later for the proposal to become a reality, Bowden told the School Board this week. THE BACKGROUND Marsh explained to the local government lead ers on Jan. 17 that White directed him and his staff about a year ago to start looking at poten tial sites for a new SCT I in North Port. The City of North Ports Economic Development Strategic Plan for 2013-2018 points out one of that communitys weaknesses is lack of a vocational or technical school, he added, which really helped motivate us to proceed. Regarding the library: Marsh noted that in 2006, he and Sarabeth Kalajian, the countys director of libraries and historical resources, were working on the very real possibility of putting a second county library within the districts Woodland Middle School However, because of the recession, Marsh said, That didnt happen, unfortunately. Then, last spring, he continued, Kalajian phoned him to ask whether the district had any new plans for a school in North Port, so he told her about the SCTI proposal. Light bulbs went off all over the place, Marsh (From left) North Port City Manager Jonathan Lewis, North Port Mayor James Blucher and School Board member Caroline Zucker listen to a presentation during the Jan. 17 Convocation of Governments. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 32


added. We have been working on this ever since. A search committee started out with 34 sites, Marsh continued. Once the determination was made to include a new public library as part of the project, a number of those sites were excluded because they were really too close to the existing North Port Library. All of the remaining locations, he noted, are in what is called the Toledo Blade corridor between Interstate 75 and Price Boulevard. Only a handful of locations remains under investigation, Marsh pointed out, adding that he als o is working with John Herrli, the coun tys land acquisition manager. THE NEED FOR A NORTH PORT SCTI Bowden explained to the local government leaders that more than 200 North Port High School students spend three hours a day at the SCTI main campus, located at the inter section of Beneva and Proctor roads in Sarasota, to take career and technical edu cation classes. Their commute is 45 minutes each way, he pointed out. Not only would a North Port campus serve them better, he said, but it als o would be able to offer a range of A School Board PowerPoint slide lists potential career development opportunities that could be provided at a Sarasota County Technical Institute in North Port. Image courtesy School Board Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 33


courses fr om those in adult basic educa tion to those that would enable students to pursue careers in such elds as automotive service technology, business technology, cos metology, culinary arts, manufacturing and nursing. During the Jan. 22 School Board meeting, Bowden pointed to those courses as certain programs [that] belong at every technical center. It really [would be] a scaled-down version of our main campus, he added of the North Port SCTI. Further, as a branch of the primary SCTI, he noted, it would be immediately accredited, and it would be able to offer nancial aid. THE LIBRARY VISION During her remarks at the convocation, Kalajian, the county libraries director, talked of her vision for the new North Port library. She likened the potential to what she saw in a recent visit to the Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College. That facility, she said, [has] drawn award-winning atten tion for its innovative merging of high-end technology access to digital information and traditional library collections and resources. As for the existing North Port Library, she added, Were at capacity or near capacity THE FINANCIAL ASPECTS School Board member Shirley Brown explained to her fellow local government A chart lists some of the site considerations for the location of a new Sarasota County Technical Institute in combination with a second Sarasota County library in North Port. Image courtesy School Board Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 34


lead ers on Jan. 17 that the districts construc tion plans have been limited over the past ve years, since the Legislature cut the allowable property tax for capi tal funds from 2.0 mills to 1.5 mills. One mill brings in about $40 million, she added. Seeking help from the countys legislative delegation to allow the district to go back to the 2-mill level may be one of our major priorities during the 20 14 legislative session, she pointed out. Then North Port Mayor Blucher announced that North Port leaders already had been working with Detert. The City Commission would like to see the combined SCTI/library completed as soon as possible. I think this is an exciting opportunity for all of us, County Commis sioner Carolyn Mason said. [The project] should be done, and I think it can be done. Its going to behoove all of us to continue to work together to have these conversations to make it happen. I know it can be done, especially with all the people sitting in this room, School Board member Caroline Zucker added. This could be a game-changer for North Port and for Sarasota County, County Commissioner Christine Robinson said. What role [is the county] going to play in this? she asked. Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer replied that over the next couple of months, the County Commission would be crafting its next ve-year capital budget priorities list, so the libra ry funding could be part of that discussion. (From left) Sarasota Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, North Port City Commissioner Linda Yates, Vice Mayor Emilio Carlesimo of Venice, Longboat Town Manager Dave Bullock and Mayor Jim Brown of Longboat Key listen to the discussion during the Convocation of Governments. Photo by Rachel Hackney I think its the most exciting thing that we could possibly do in the school district. Jane Goodwin Chairwoman Sarasota County School Board Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 35


Moreover, Harm er said, the countys govern mental relations staff would work closely with the School Board and North Port city leaders regarding the effort to obtain legisla tive support. Realistically, we do have to examine the funding closely, County Commissioner Nora Patterson pointed out. This may be a proj ect you cant break ground on as soon as you acquire the property. Patterson also noted that the expense of oper ating the new library would be another factor for County Commission consideration. She estimated that cost at $1 million per year. While Blucher said he appreciated Pattersons scal caution, I think we all understand were in a very fragile recovery, and I think part of that recovery is what were talking about today. County Commissioner Joe Barbetta urged Marsh to have the site selection committee take a close look at property owned by the City of North Port and the county, to deter mine whether one of those parcels would be acceptable. That would obviously save some money and expedite the process if we looked at our own land rst. Marsh replie d that North Port property had been reviewed, with one possible location found, but he would work with Herrli, the countys land acquisition manager, to take a closer look at county sites. When Blucher asked if the district had devised a construction estimate, Marsh told him it did not have a gure at this point. Staff is very close, I think, to getting to what that total would be Marsh added that tentative plan calls for the SC TI to be built in phases. It woul d not be a turn-key project, Bowden noted. OTHER WORDS OF SUPPORT Mayor Jim Brown of Longboat Key, Vice Mayor Emilio Carlesimo of Venice, Vice Mayor Willie Shaw of Sarasota and Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell all voiced support for a North Port SCTI with a new library. I dont see how you cant do this, Brown pointed out. North Port, he added, [is] where the people are going to come from that are going to ll the jobs in this county. I am fully committed to this project, School Board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin said. I think its the most exciting thing that we could possibly do in the school district. % A map shows part of the area between Price Boulevard and Interstate 75 in North Port. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 36


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


The conclusion of a review of the work done to date on the City of Sarasotas Lift Station 87 in Luke Wood Park shows another $7.5 million will be needed to complete the proj ect if all goes well. So far it has not. After beginning the original estimated $12.4 million project, the previou s engineer ing team members walked off the site in failure. And it was a good thing they did, for they were on the verge of dr illing into the northern support slab of the Osprey Avenue bridge over Hudson Bayou. The Sarasota City Commission took the latest news calmly on Tuesday, Jan. 21, while receiv ing a brieng by city utility ofcials and the project manager of an engineering company hir ed to nd out what went wrong. Were very lucky we didnt have a catastrophe with our utility department, said M ayor Shannon Snyder This is bad Construction material cluttered Luke Wood Park near downtown Sarasota in late 2012. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE CITY COMMISSION GETS A BRIEFING ON FINDINGS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND COST ESTIMATES TO MAKE LIFT STATION 87 A REALITY AT LAST ANOTHER $7.5 MILLION I just want [the lift station] nished in my lifetime. Susan Chapman Commissioner City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


no matter how you cut it. The fact that we found out before we had a bigger tragedy, I thank you for that. Much of that original project can be rescued, said Robert Garland, the project manager for McKim & Creed, the consulting engineering rm hired to gure out what went wrong and pick up the pieces. We have a complete pic ture of the underground situation, he said. The lift station itself is about 85 to 90 percent complete, but we have identied about 200 issues to be addressed in the Phase 2 design. Garland hopes the commission will allow his rm to start that Phase 2 work, including designing a new system of pipes and pumps to carry about one-third of the citys sewage. We hope to have this built by the nal quarter of 2015, he added. We are committed to that schedule. Most of Garlands news was revealed piece meal in a series of public meetings conducted as a joint effort last year of his team and senior city utility staffers. A public meeting last month at the Waldemere Fire Station in Sarasota was a direct public outreach initia tive. But the dollar gures Tuesday were new. One major and costly change is the need to run pipe deeper under Hudson Bayou. Garland says it must be at least eight feet further below ground than called for in the original plan. That means the pumping sta tion on the north side of the bayou needs to be lower, too. In October 2013, the construction site was mostly vacant as a team from a new engineering rm took an intensive look at the Lift Station 87 project. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 39


Snyder asked ho w the latter could be done. We can lower the current floor [which is now about 25 feet below the surface], or build something contiguous [using some of the same walls], or go adjacent and put in a new one, said Garland. That question will not have a nal answer until McKim & Creed is authorized to begin the design phase. The company, in a small way, is already in Phase 2, which will require environmental permitting. Because of the usual delay in getting permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the A map shows the location of Pomelo Avenue and Alta Vista Street in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 40


company is alr eady lling out the required paperwork. Garland opened his remarks to the commis sion by offering thanks to the residents for their patience. There will be a need for more residential patience, as some streets will be torn up to install new water, sewer, storm water and reclaimed water lines. Citizens on Pomelo Avenue and Alta Vista Street will receive access to reclaimed water, if they want to pay a connection charge. The non-po table water is often used for irrigation at a fraction of the cost of drinkable water. All streets damaged during the work will be completely resurfaced. COUNTING THE DOLLARS The original Lift Station 87 contract was for $12.4 million. Of that, about $10 million has been spent, leaving $2.4 million in the budget. However, the work to complete the project is estimated to run roughly $9 million, meaning the city will need to nd an additional $7.5 million. If McKim & Creed gets the green light for Phase Two, the company will be able to pro vide more rened cost estimates. Garland said he expects the cost to lower the lift station could ru n between $400,000 and $500,000. And for safety and maintenance, well need a change order with the contractor, he added. City Utility Director Mitt Tidwell said, I antic ipate that will be about $1 million. The $9 million already spent includes $1.1 million for McKim & Creeds Phase 1 work, as well as $790,000 to mothball the already-in stalled pumps and other heavy equipment. Tidwell noted, Were estimating, without the design [work] or negotiations with the con tractor, another $9 million, raising the total price to $21 million. Westra Construction was the contractor for the project, and it is asking for $2 million for breach of contract with the city, which halted the original work when the former engineer ing and design rm, AECOM, walked off the job. These would be damages to recover from AECOM, said Deputy City Attorney Mike Connolly. The city sued AECOM after it stopped work. So far, the city has spent more than $400,000 in legal expenses in the case. The City Commission accepted the legal news with resignation. Said Commissioner Susan Chapman, I just want [the lift station] n ished in my life time. % Neal Schafers ENHANCE YOUR SMILE. ENHANCE YOUR LIFE.For a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 To view our extensive smile gallery, visit My interest in photography reminded me about how my smile made me unhappy. A childhood accident caused my permanent teeth to come in askew. I had seen how Dr. Koval restored the smile of a friends father. With Dr. Koval, we discovered I also had cracked fillings and a shifted jaw all which she corrected. I am 100% satisfied with Dr. Kovals meticulous work and sincere care to make my smile look natural and picture-perfect.Christine Koval, D.M.D.Awarded 20 Gold Medals for Smile Makeovers by the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 41


If you have a pool or well, a unanimous deci sion by the City Commission on Jan. 21 is going to cost you $350. That is the expense of a backow preventer, which stops contami nation of the citys drinking-water system. The c ity was planning to give the U-shaped plumbing away for free to residential water customers, and it had $1.2 million of the devices ready. But the threat of a class-action lawsuit from a major owner of apartment buildings in town Harvey Vengroff prompted the city to abandon free and substitute pay so all customers are treated equally under the law. The b ackflow pre venters are necessary for homes with irriga tion, wells and pools, along with those that use reclaimed water for irrigation. Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell said the ci ty has 19,000 City residents who do not have backow preventers will be required to get and pay for them. Image from photobucket THE CITY COMMISSION LEARNS THAT ABOUT 3,200 CITY UTILITY CUSTOMERS WILL HAVE TO PAY $350 FOR A BACKFLOW PREVENTER, AND IT APPROVES NEW POLICE DEPARTMENT COMPUTER EQUIPMENT TAP WATER AND SOFTWARE It was at the height of the recession, and there was [City] Commission resistance to forcing people to pay $350. Sarah Warren Assistant City Attorney City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


c ustomer connections. About 2,600 already have the devices (for which they paid), while 3,200 other customers need the equipment. The remainder have no requirement for it. For those who do, the cost will be about $350. Some customers will simply write a check for that amount, but others can pay under an installment plan. Tidwell estimates the latter would require the addition of about $10 per month to those homeowners water bills; the expense would be paid off in three years. The Utilities Department proposed free pre venters so the devices could be installed quickly. And it was at the height of the recession, and there was [City] Commission resistance to forcing people to pay $350, Assistant City Attorney Sarah Warren recalled. Tidwell pointed out, We have a cross-con nection control ordinance, but weve been a little slow in implementation. That is no longer the case. There are a cou ple of wrinkles to iron out interest on the three-year loan under the installment plan, perhaps? but if you need a backow pre venter, be prepared for a visit from someone in your city Utilities Department. POLICE COMPUTER UPGRADE It has been a year coming, but the city com missioners this week green-lighted a robust upgrade to the Police Departments comput ing power. The New World Systems Corp. will receive $850,000 for the software transaction. Mayor Shannon Snyder put a stick in the pro verbial procurement wheel in late October, New Police Department software will make it easy to keep track of ofcers locations. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 43


because N ew World Systems was being sued by Collier County for $1.7 million for non-com pliance. City of Sarasota Procurement Manager Mary Tucker investigated the suit and reported that Collier County had settled the case after mediation. The problem, she said, is New World offers an off-the-shelf product, while Collier wanted a custom installation. New World has been in business 32 years, she said. And this is their only lawsuit. Capt. Corinne Stannish, head of administra tion for the Police Department, explained the software will allow staff to know the status of ofcer and auto assignments, and it will use the Global Positioning System to post vehi cle locations, either on a map or on a satellite photo. When asked about a specic individ ual, the new system will give alerts, pictures, prior activity and past calls, she said. Snyder asked in October whether a regional solution would be possible with a single soft ware package. Sarasota Police Department Information Technology Chief Adam Richter said on Tuesday, Theres no perfect solution for data sharing with local agencies. But he added that state software Cop-Link is a giant system in our state, and all of our of cers have a log-in. [The New World package would be] the core software for our department, added Richter. The Orlando Police Department has used the companys software for 25 years, Stannish said. The money to buy the software package will not come from the citys general fund. Instead, it will come from the proceeds of the $25 million bond issue approved by voters to build and equip the new Police Department on Adams Lane, overlooking Payne Park. The purchase was approved by a 4-1 vote, with Snyder in the minority. % Mayor Shannon Snyder listens to comments during a City Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 44


In its salad days, the Sarasota Downtown Improvement District board members consid ered sidewalk cleaning an important task, but peripheral to their major mission down town beautication. Now that a beautication has been completed, the DID is so short of money that sidewalk scrubbing is almost out of n ancial reach. During the groups Jan. 21 meeting, members looked for ways to soften the cost. First up was a representa tive of the D owntown Merc hants Association (DMA). Ron Campion, who is that groups chairman of clean side walks, said, Wed like to partner with the DID to clean our sidewalks to a higher level. The problem is grease, grit and gum, in that order. Camp ions plan is for the DID to front as much as $25,000 for the DMA to buy a sidewalk clean ing machine. The merchants associ ation would take it from there, hiring a part-time retiree to Downtown Improvement District board members say outdoor dining is one primary reason city sidewalks stay dirty. Photo by Norman Schimmel DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT BOARD MEMBERS LOOK TO THE CITY FOR HELP IN REMOVING GRIME AND CHEWING GUM FROM THE SIDEWALKS WHO PAYS FOR THIS CLEANING? Wed like to partner with the DID to clean our sidewalks to a higher level. Ron Campion Member Downtown Merchants Association By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


operate the equipment. We can run a scrub bing machine; cover the cost of water and detergent, noted Campion. Your part would be to fund the machine. However, the machine would not remove chewing gum. That requires a different machine, which costs $4,000. Is this worth pursuing? asked Campion. Sidewalk cleaning was put forward as a high-priority task when promoters sought the approval of downtown property owners to create the district and tax themselves 2 mills annually to fund it. Its the rst thing were supposed to be doing, said the DIDs newest board member, Ron Soto. Our sidewalks are a disgrace, said DID board member Eileen Hampshire. Im supporting of anything to make the sidewalks clean. She regularly spruces up the sidewalk in front of her business on Palm Avenue. I think the merchants can organize and pay for it, she added. Board member Dr. Mark Kauffman suggested another solution. Maybe the city could offer something. The primary reason for dirty side walks is the restaurants. Either they wash every two weeks, or pay the city to do it. This is labor-intensive, he said. The city has tried on two previous occasions to solicit a sidewalk-cleaning company, but in both cases, the responses were not deemed sufcient. Now a third Request for Proposals is to be released at the end of the month. Michael del Rossi with the citys Public Works Department said, Twice before, it didnt work Main Street underwent a beautication project last year at Downtown Improvement District expense. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 46


out. Now were g oing for a three-year con tract, including removing the gum. We would do [the work] twice a year. The city would fund that. DID Chairman Ernie Ritz suggested restau rants pay more for sidewalk cafe permits to cover the expense. Something in the range of $500 or $1,000 per year, said Kauffman. Only for restaurants with outdoor dining. Kauffman added that the DID might be willing to put some money towards supplemental cleaning, but he noted, I think there is a limit to how much the downtown merchants can contribute. Hampshire added another funding source to the mix, suggesting the old busine ss tax be tapped. The inventory tax on retail establish ments may be a source, she said. While the difference between clean and dirty concrete is simply shades of grey, the chewing gum residue is immediately appar ent. Therefore, maybe the city should tax chewing gum retailers, but that idea was not raised. DENSITY ALERT In other business this week, Karin Murphy with the citys Urban Design Studio gave a short brieng to the DID. She said her team is looking at measures to provide incentives for downtown redevelopment. One might be new building code language concerning rst-oor measurements. It could remove the penalty for higher ceilings, added Murphy. The Urban Design Studio operates under City of Sarasota aegis in the Federal Building on Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 47


Another i ncentive would be higher densities more dwelling units per acre. She noted a triple-density plan is moving forward in the Rosemary District across Fruitville Road from downtown. She also suggested the pos sibility of transferring development rights to increase downtown density. Some historic buildings in downtowns are destroyed simply because of the underlying density of the zoning. A two-story historic hardware store, for example, could be torn down to build a 10-story condominium. The Historic Preservation Board recently cleared the way for such action on Second Street, allowing demolition of a two-story apartment building on the historic register to facilitate construction of a 10-story hotel. A transfer of development rights (TDR) would allow the owner of the hypothetical historic hardware store to sell the excess units allowed on the property to facilitate a development with extra density elsewhere in a dened area. TDRs create a market for density that can be bought, sold, bartered or swapped among buyers and sellers. The county is starting to use TDRs, allow ing density transfers from agricultural land (ma king it no longer developable) to urban villages east of Interstate 75. The TDR and other ideas from the studio will get a public airing on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Selby Public Library at Five Points. % Dr. Mark Kauffman is a DID board member. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 48


Almost 17 m onths after the Sarasota County Commission and the Sarasota County School Board agreed to collaborate on a new work force initiative in response to a survey of area manufacturers, 16 students are learning pre cision machining skills in a program launched late last summer at Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI), local government officials from all over the county learned Jan. 17 during the annual Convocation of Governments at SCTI. Mire y a E avey, executive director of CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and Todd Bowden, executive director of career, tech nical and adult education in the Sarasota County Schools, provided an overview of the progra m during the session, which was hos ted by the School Board and attended by mayors and city c ouncil me mb ers and commissioners, along with the county commissio ners Todd Bowden of the Sarasota County Schools talks about workforce development during the Convocation of Governments on Jan. 21. Photo by Rachel Hackney SIXTEEN STUDENTS IN SARASOTA COUNTY ARE ON THE PATH TO GRADUATE WITH PRECISION MACHINING SKILLS THAT COULD EARN THEM ANNUAL PAY UP TO $90,000 IN A FEW YEARS MAKING IT HAPPEN Theyre going to be making $80,000, $90,000 per year. Mireya Eavey Executive Director CareerEdge Funders Collaborative By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


After six or seven year s, Eavey said of preci sion machinists, Theyre going to be making $80,000, $90,000 per year. When Mayor Jim Brown of Longboat Key asked the cost of the program, Bowden replied that it is less than $4,000. I can tel l you today we are receiving calls about when that [rst] class is g raduating, Bo wden told the group. Additionally, the new precision machining lab has turned out to be quite popular on a statewide basis, he added. SCTI has hosted representatives of half a dozen other technical institutes, most of whom asked how the school was able to get the program up and running in such a short time frame, Bowden pointed out. North Port City Commissioner Rhonda DiFranco (foreground, seated) prepares for the start of the Convocation of Governments as Schools Superintendent Lori White (left rear) speaks with Longboat Town Commissioner David Brenner and Mireya Eavey (standing to the right of DiFranco) talks with Todd Bowden. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 50


His answer, Bowden explained, is that with this model, Employers take the lead and a variety of organizations line up behind them to make things happen. County commissioners also took the opportu nity to note that the current vice chairwoman of their board Christine Robinson called for timelines to be set to ensure community leaders took action in response to the 2012 manufacturers survey. During an Aug. 29, 2012, joint meeting of the School Board and the County Commission, Stephanie Kempton, a professional researcher with her own rm, Kempton Research and Planning, presented ndings from the survey of manufacturers in Sarasota and Manatee counties. A mong the results, Kempton said, was a response from 100 people indicating that 41 percent of the jobs that had gone unlled for three or more months were clas sied as skilled production positions for production machinists, operators, craft work ers, distributors and technicians. Moreover, a pool of 105 responses indicated that 75 percent of the companies surveyed had between one and 10 positions open. Fifty-six of 103 respondents said they needed to hire skilled production workers, which is a huge percentage, Kempton pointed out. Eavey commissioned the survey on behalf of CareerEdge after d iscussions with Bowden, Students participate in training in the precision machinists program at SCTI. Image courtesy School Board Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 51


she explained to the board. He had told her he needed data about what careers were avail able and what employee skills manufacturers were seeking before addressing any changes in the SCTI curriculum. In November 2012, Bowden announced that the school district was working on the new precision manufacturing program. That came as a result of the work of a committee organized to address the survey results. The County Commission provided $330,000 to buy the necessary equipment, Eavey noted on Jan. 17. Bowden added that the rst class will grad uate on June 26; its members were seated on Sept. 3. While SCTI originally planned to start the program in August 2013, he said, It was the hiring of the instructor that I thought would be the lynchpin for success of this program. That person proved to be Edward Doherty, a machinist, Bowden continued. He was born to be a machinist. He loves what he does He absolutely has a passion for manufacturing. Doherty joined the SCTI faculty on Aug. 26. To make sure the class can graduate in late June, Bowden pointed out, the students will work through spring break and on some Saturdays. As part of the course, Bowden noted, the stu dents will spend two weeks one each at two different machine shops on a full-time basis. It is not enough for them to just visit a manufacturing facility, he added, or to spend a day at such a place. The approach SCTI settled on, he explained, is a result of the effort to make sure the students can nd work after graduation. We expect job offers to ow better after manufacturers see the students at work with regular employ ees over each of those weeks, he said. Still, if every student cannot nd a job, Bowden told the local government leaders he plans to call people at area rms to remind them of the commitment they made to the program. THE ROAD AHEAD Recruiting the rst class which began with 18 people was not difcult, Bowden pointed out. However, recruiting the second, third and fourth classes ma y be more challenging. Ed Doherty is the precision machining program instructor at SCTI. Image courtesy School Board Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 52


Already, he said, efforts are under way to mar ket the program to high school seniors and to recent high school graduates. We are developing an outreach video for the students, so they can get excited about high-technology manufacturing, Eavey pointed out. One other factor that could help with demand for such classes at SCTI, Bowden explained, would be the ability to change the name of the school from institute to college. An initiative already is under way in the Florida House of Representatives to make that possi ble, he noted. Students continually talk, College, college, college, he told the School Board during its Jan. 21 workshop, and Everybody wants their baby to go to college By next year, Bowden said during the con vocation, he hopes SCTI and the 48 other institutions similar to it in Florida will be known as technical colleges. The next precision machining class will get under way on Aug. 18 at SCTI, Bowden said, with 18 students expected in that group and a second class of six in an evening program. Those in the latter group will need one-and-ahalf years to graduate, he added. At that point, well have some staggered grad uations, he said. The programs commitment calls for 100 new machinists to be available in the community in ve years, he explained. Further, while school district leaders made a promise to manufacturers to undertake the precision machining program rst, Bowden said if it pr oves as successful as the survey indicated it would be, school leaders will consider starting a welding program. Were preparing to engage the community again and say, If you will lead, were prepared to fol low. It has got to be led by the employers. CareerEdge is getting ready to organize the members of the committee that worked on the precision machining program so they can determine whether demand is sufcient for welding classes, he said. Research has shown that a common skills set can be applied in 80 percent of the manufac turing jobs available, Bowden also noted. The other 20 percent is too specialized, he said, to make it economically feasible to create spe cic programs to answer those needs. KUDOS OFFERED County Commissioner Joe Barbetta praised the work of Bowden and Eavey. I think youre on track to make [the program] super successful. Barbetta also extended special thanks to County Commissioner Robinson for keeping this one on the front burner and pushing it forward. He thanked the School Board, too, for its commitment. Robinson was among the numerous local government ofcials who took advantage of an opportunity before the convocation began to tour the precision machining facilities. She was very pleased with what she saw, she told The Sarasota Ne ws Leader % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 53


Sarasota Coun ty Commission Chairman Charles Hines emailed Interim County Administrator Tom Harmer on Monday, writ ing, Weather permitting I think it would be fun for those Commissioners who are attending the Siesta Key ground break to wear Florida style outts rather than the standard business attire. Any thoughts? Harmers response: I like the idea. Let me know and the staff I am sure will be happy to participate. Unfortunately, the temperature at SarasotaBradenton International Airport just before the 11 a.m. ceremony began was 54 degrees, with the wind blowi ng out of the north at 12 mph. As Sarasota News Leader Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel, who was at the beach, put it, It is freezing! Most of the attendees may have been attired more appropriately for New York City in the winter than a tropical Florida beach visit, but the event nonetheless was festive. The $21.5 million project will put a fresh face on facilities that county ofcials say are long overdue for upgrades. Among the facets of the effort will be resto ration of the historic pavilion and the creation of a 15-foot-wide esplanade along the entire length of the beach park, to provide a safer means for people to get from one end to the With sand stockpiled in the background for use in the construction, the dignitaries and the audience gather for the event to begin. All photos by Norman Schimmel COUNTY LEADERS AND REPRESENTATIVES OF SIESTA KEY ORGANIZATIONS MARK THE FORMAL BEGINNING OF REFURBISHMENTS TO SIESTA PUBLIC BEACH BEACH BLANKETS, ANYONE??? Staff Reports


oth er withou t having to deal with trafc in the parking lots. In remarks the previous day at a meeting of the Siesta Key Condominium Council, Commissioner Nora Patterson who lives on Siesta said of the project, Were really doing it up big. She explained that the work will be done in phases, because we cant shut down major portions of the parking [areas] all at one time. While she added that she felt the overall expense of the project was too high, Patterson noted the improvements will add about 16 percent more parking spaces to the facility. Still, she told the audience of about 50 people, Its pretty packed now, so I cant say more people will enjoy it. Nonetheless, when the project is completed, she said she believes the result will be gor geous. % A windblown Carolyn Brown, director of the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department, offers remarks on the project. Chairman Charles Hines remarks on the importance of the occasion. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 55


A sculpture by Siesta Key master sand sculptor Brian Wigelsworth stood as the centerpiece for the event. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 56


Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, offers her thoughts. A close-up of Brian Wigelsworths sand sculpture shows how it pays homage to the improvement plans. The Sarasota County commissioners are bundled up in the brisk wind before the start of the event: (front row, from left) Nora Patterson, Charles Hines, Carolyn Mason, Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 57


The chairs are all set up, awaiting the attendees in the playground area on the eastern side of the beach park. Let the breaking of ground begin! Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 58


Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner takes a turn at the podium. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 59 %


The Su nco ast Partnership to End Homelessness, working in tandem with its partners and volunteers, will be conducting the Annual Homeless Census on the night of Monday, Jan. 27, the nonprot organization has announced. Known as a Point-in-Time count, this national survey focuses on who is homeless during a single night in January, and it captures sub stantially more demographic information than the survey done in the fall for homeless ness consultant Dr. Robert Marbut, who was hired by the City and County of Sarasota, a news release points out. The results of this survey are critical to tar geted planning to meet the needs of families and individuals experiencing homelessness, the release explains. This required survey qualifies the r egion for nearly $800,000 in federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The programs beneting in this current fund ing cycle are Catholic Charities Diocese of Venices Our Mothers House and Casa San Jose programs, the Salvation Army of Sarasotas F.A.I.T.H. program, Harvest Tabernacle and Renaissance Manor/CASL the release notes. In addition, smaller federal grants support planning and the continued improvement of the data and case management software that providers need to coordinate services, the release says. Volunteers are still needed to assist both during and after the count, the release con tinues. Anyone interested in volunteering in Sarasota County may contact the Volunteer Community Connections ofce at connect or by calling 953-5965. Homeless people gather on Central Avenue in Sarasota in early 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel ANNUAL HOMELESS CENSUS TO BE UNDERTAKEN IN COUNTIES NEWS BRIEFS


Local civic organization Control Growth Now (CGN) will honor former Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid as its Citizen of the Year at the groups 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting and Luncheon, it has announced. The event will be held on Saturday, March 15, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Marina Jacks upstairs meeting room overlooking Sarasota Bay, a news release notes. Control Growth Now is honoring Randall Reid, says the groups president, attorney Dan Lobeck, because he put ethics and sensible planning rst in his service to all of the people of Sarasota County, the release continues. Among CGNs other speakers will be County Commission candidate Lourdes Ramirez. R egistration for the luncheon is $20, with a choice of pan seared grouper, chicken caprese or vegetarian plate. The meal will include rice, a vegetable, dessert and choice of tea or coffee. CONTROL GROWTH NOW TO HONOR RANDALL REID AS CITIZEN OF YEAR The event is open to the public. Guests may register by calling Lobeck at 364-8777 or 955-5622. First Step of Sarasota Inc., a nonprot sub stance abuse treatment agency, will honor Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight at the 11th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon, sched uled for Feb. 19 at Michaels On East in Sarasota, the organization has announced. Each year, First Step presents the Caring Heart of the Year award to an individual who has made a positive impact in the commu nity, with a focus on those whose efforts have improved the lives of women and children or those who have dedicated themselves to raising awareness or providing treatment for FIRST STEP TO HONOR KNIGHT AT ANNUAL CARING HEARTS LUNCHEON substance abuse or mental health disorders, a news release explains. Since he was rst elected in 2008, Knight has worked diligently to increase aware ness of the dangers of prescription drug abuse, the release adds. He implemented a Pharmaceutical Diversion Investigative Unit and permanent drop boxes for the safe dis posal of unused medications, for example, the release says. Recently, Knight brought the states Safe Sleep Campaign to Sarasota County, the release points out. The Sheriffs Ofce is working with child safety advocates Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 61


Sheriff Tom Knight/Contributed photo to edu cate mothers about safe sleeping envi ronments and will provide them with brand new portable cribs, it adds. The Caring Hearts Luncheon benets First Steps Mothers and Infants program and is a celebration of the healthy, drug-free babies born each year thanks to the efforts of [that] program, the release explains. In this spe cialized program, pregnant women receive both group and individual counseling for their substance abuse disorders, along with parenting, nutrition and life skills classes, the release says. The residential program is proud to have celebrated the births of 322 healthy, drug-free babies, it notes. For more information about the 11th Annual Caring Hearts Luncheon, visit or call Kelly French at 552-2065. Goodwill Manasota launched its Good Readers program on Jan. 23 at Alta Vista Elementary School in Sarasota, to engage students and help develop and foster a love of reading, the organization notes in a news release. At Alta Vista, 94 percent of students are living in households below the poverty line, a news release points out. Goodwill representatives presented each student with complimentary books at the end of the session. Strong literacy skills are closely linked to the probability of having a good job, decent earnings and access to training opportuni ties, said Bob Rosinsky, president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota, in the release. It is the greatest weapon in the ongoing struggle between success and failure between eco nomic vitality and prosperity, he adds in the release. Research has shown that reading is the single most important activity for literacy develop ment and is critically linked to childrens later success, the release explains. Unfortunately, poverty and illiteracy are closely connected and parents raising children in poverty are less likely to buy or have access to books and more likely to have limited literacy skills themselves. The goal of the Good Readers program is to provide additional support and assistance, the release adds. Education has always been a focus for us, said Rosinsky in the release. This time we are reaching out to educationally at-risk students, to provide help to those who need it most. Anyone who would like to participate in the Good Readers program may contact Goodwill Manasota at 355-2721, Ext. 114, or email Rick Hughes at GOODWILL MANASOTA LAUNCHING GOOD READERS PROGRAM Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 62


The City of Sarasotas Bobby Jones Golf Club has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the development of the Bobby Jones Golf Club Strategic Plan, the city has announced. The session is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Bobby Jones Clubhouse Restaurant, located at 1000 Circus Blvd. in Sarasota. BOBBY JONES GOLF CLUB SEEKS COMMENTS FOR STRATEGIC PLAN Were s eeking input from our residents, golf ers, business owners and visitors to establish a new strategic plan, said Susan Martin, club manager, in a news release. This plan will be the blueprint for the future of the golf club, and we welcome all comments from our citi zens, she adds in the release. Boats rest at their moorings on the Sarasota bayfront. Photo by Norman Schimmel The City of S arasota has announced the completion of Phase 2 of the Sarasota Bay Mooring Field, which includes an additional 35 moorings, bringing the total to 70. Each mooring anchor is storm-rated and designed for vessels up to 100 feet in length, a news release says. In conjunction with the mooring eld, a new Slow Speed Minimum Wake zone has been installed and delineated with post-mounted signs, the release adds. Late this year, Phase 3 will get under way with the placement of the nal 39 additional moorings, which will bring the total to 109, the release points out. The mooring eld is managed by Sarasota Moorings LLC, located at Marina Jack and accessible from Big Pass, New Pass and the Intracoastal Waterway, the release notes. The use of the mooring eld provides guests with a host of great amenities, including two dinghy dock locations, shower and laundry access, pump-out services and a full-time friendly staff, it adds. Rental information, including rates, may be found at www.marinajacks. com/marina/sarasota-b ay-mooring-eld.htm l PHASE 2 OF THE CITYS DOWNTOWN MOORING FIELD COMPLETED Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 63


Eric Rosengren, president and chief executive ofcer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, will discuss the nations economic outlook as part of the New Topics New College lecture series, the college has announced. Rosengrens presentation will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion at New College, a news release says. Rosengren has written extensively on mac roeconomics, international banking, bank supervision and risk management, includ ing articles in leading economics and nance PRESIDENT OF BOSTON FEDERAL RESERVE TO SPEAK AT NEW COLLEGE journals, the release notes. Much of his recent research has focused on how prob lems in the nancial sector impact the real economy, the release adds. Sainer Pavilion is on New Colleges Caples Campus, directly south of The Ringling museum complex, at 5313 Bay Shore Road. Admission will be $20 for the public; it will be free to New College students, faculty and staff. The public may reserve seats online at donate. or by calling 487-4888. New College of Florida is located just north of Sarasota on U.S. 41. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 64


Married couples will have the opportunity to say, Be my forever valentine, in a special way at Historic Spanish Point on Friday, Feb. 14, the site has announced. The museum is offering Lets Do it Again at Marys Chapel a day of memorable wedding vow renewal ceremonies planned for Valentines Day in a historic setting, a news release says. Couples will participate in a 30-minute cer emony conducted by a wedding ofciant in HISTORIC SPANISH POINT INVITING COUPLES TO DO IT AGAIN Marys C hapel on the museum grounds, the release adds. Each couple will receive a photo keepsake of the event, a certicate of vow renewal and champagne and chocolates at the Pergola. Each couple may bring four guests, the release notes. The cost is $199 per couple. Reservations are limited and required. For more information or to reserve a spot, call Gilly Francis at 468-0611. The Pergola is one of Historic Spanish Points landmarks. Image courtesy Historic Spanish Point Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 65


SARASOTA COUNTY LIBRARIES TO OFFER FREE PUBLIC WEBINARS Selby Public Library is in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel The Sarasota County Library System will be continuing its free webinar offerings through out the year, with a focus on topics such as technology, self-empowerment, parenting, personal nance and entrepreneurship, the county has announced. These webinars will be presented once live, and they then will be archived and viewable for one year from any computer, a news release notes. Sarasota County library card holders can access and register for webinars online at the libraries web page at Classes may be taken from any Mac or PC at home, in an ofce or at a patron computer in a library, the release explains. No additional software or components are needed, except for head phones at the library, it adds. The rst classes offered are designed to assist tech-savvy individuals or those wanting to be more tech-savvy: Jan. 29 at 3 p.m.: Best Apps for Your Tablet will explain how to best use the growing mobile application marketplace, and it will share ideas and suggestions on some of the best applications for e-readers, pro ductivity, homework and learning, children and fun, the release notes. Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.: Social Media Basics will give participants a look at how to connect, share, learn and explore the world through the social media programs Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Among the upcoming webinars will be Creating Effective Websites on March 12, Keeping Your Family Safe Online on Sept. 10, and Getting the Most Out of the Internet in 2014 and Beyond! on Sept. 24. Library patrons are encouraged to register and attend the live sessions, or utilize the archived sessions during the year, the release continues. For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 66


The City of Sarasota has scheduled muchneeded upgrades for the City Commission Chambers beginning Feb. 24, the city has announced. The upgrades will require approximately two weeks to complete, a news release says. During that period, the Sarasota City Commission will be hosted by the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners for the March 3 regu lar Sarasota City Commission meeting in the County Commission Chambers on the rst oor of the Sarasota County Administration Building. That facility is located at 1660 Ringling Blvd. in downtown Sarasota. Meeting locations for city advisory boards will be determined and noticed in advance, the release adds. The audio-visual equipment upgrades are necessary to replace outdated and failing technology s o the City of Sarasota can con tinue to broadcast live City Commission and advisory board meetings without the service interruptions currently experienced on a rou tine basis, the release notes. The upgrades are part of the citys continuing effort to assure the public of transparency and openness in city government, the release continues. Meeting locations for the City Commission and advisory boards will be announced on the meeting notices regularly sent out in advance of those sessions, the release says. Anyone who has not already done so may sign up for City of Sarasota eSubscriptions by visiting In the lower left corner under News and Events, select eSubscriptions, and then select the meetings for which you would like to receive notices, the release points out. % CITY COMMISSION SCHEDULES UPGRADES TO ITS CHAMBERS The March 3 City Commission meeting will be held in the County Commission Chambers in the Administration Building on Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota. File photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 67


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office has arrested a 28-year-old woman for killing her dog in a cruel and painful manner because she didnt want anyone else to have it, the Sheriffs Ofce has reported. The Animal Services division was contacted by the Venice Police Department in November after receiving a report that Shelley Bezanson, 28, of 42 W. Oak Street, Unit F3, Osprey, had killed her seven-year-old dog, Diamond, and planned to bury it at a home on Base Avenue, a news release says. The investigation revealed that Bezanson had tried to convince her veter inarian to euthanize Diamond, but the request was refused because the animal was not sick and there was no ethical or justiable reason to do so, the release adds. The vets staff had encouraged Bezanson to return Diamond to the Sarasota Humane Society, it continues, but she refused and chose to kill the dog herself. A necropsy conrmed Diamond was stran gled and suffered a prolonged, painful and cruel death, the release adds. Bezanson was taken into custody Friday, Jan. 17, and charged with Cruelty to Animals: Resulting in Cruel Death. She is being held on a $25,000 bond. Shelley Bezanson is shown with her dog after she adopted it from the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Photo courtesy Sheriffs Ofce OSPREY WOMAN CHARGED WITH KILLING HER DOG CRIME BLOTTER Shelley Bezanson/Contributed photo


what they suspected was four pieces of crack cocaine, the release adds. They then con ducted a eld test on the suspected cocaine, which had a positive result. Williams was placed under arrest for Possession of Crack Cocaine and taken to the Sarasota County Jail, the release says. % Charles Willia ms, 41, of Bradenton, has been charged with felony possession of crack cocaine after he told ofcers, I dont smoke cigarettes, I smoke weed, the Sarasota Police Department reported on Jan. 23. Ofcers were on patrol in the area of Whitaker Park (1401 N. Tamiami Trail) in Sarasota when they observed several people sitting at a table on the north end of the park, a news release says. As they approached the people, the ofcers noticed Williams turn around on the bench where he was sitting and drop a cigarette box to the ground, the release adds. Ofcers told Williams he dropped his cigarettes, the release continues, prompting his response about smoking weed. After officers picked up the cigarette box and opened it, the release says, they found it contained a small blue plastic bag containing Charles Williams/Contributed photo BRADENTON MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF CRACK COCAINE Purchase a full-page, advertising twelve pack between now and January 31st, 2013 and receive four of these fantastic SNL 16oz Tervis Tumblers. Show your support for e Progressive Voice Of Southwest Florida around the house, around the oce, wherever you go with these locally manufactured, high-quality insulated tumblers. or (941) 227-1080 Advertisers must meet all terms and conditions of sale for the 12-pack advertising package. Limit of one set of four tumblers per advertiser. Offer is valid while supplies last. Tervis is a registered trademark of Tervis Tumbler Company. The Sarasota News Leader is not afliated with Tervis Tumbler Company. A Very Special Oer For Advertisers Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 69


EDITORIAL OPINION EDITORIAL An old joke has a news paper reporter approaching a voter, asking him, How do you respond to the assertion that most voters are ignorant and apathetic? The voter replies, I dont know, and I dont care! As news has spread that yet another attempt is being made to alter the City of Sarasotas government, this time with a from-scratch replacement of the existing city charter, one has to wonder if it is not more prudent to look at the root causes of the citys issues. And the primary focus should be on a disconnected and uncaring citizenry. D espite the hope we expressed here a year ago that more qualied citizens would step forward and offer themselves as candidates for the City Commission, only the six candi dates already announced actually led. And while all of the candidates were serious in their desire to win election, not all were seri ous choices for the voters. That was reected, sadly, in the rst round of balloting on March 12, when barely 17 percent of registered voters straggled to the polls. The runoff election, which decided the two new commissioners from among the three nalists, was not much better: Not even one-in-ve vot ers bothered to cast a ballot. CITY OF SARASOTA NEEDS ALL CITIZENS ACTIVELY INVOLVED


Many pundits over the years have offered many theories as to why the voters of the city appear so disinterested in their government. Certainly, the combined factors of ignorance and apathy have their roles. Despite numerous public appearances by candidates throughout the campaign period, only a handful of people ever showed up for the events. And, likely, many in attendance were the same who went to other events. The larger majority of the citys voters were not reached, either because those per sons were not aware of opportunities to meet their candidates, or because they simply did not care about the process. Now a new collective or old collective, if one looks at the principals involved in this latest effort is attempting yet again to have the City of Sarasota establish a strong mayor one elected directly by the voters, with executive authority to run the city, assisted by a hired deputy mayor, which would corre spond to our current city manager. Rather than the entire City Commission which would now be called the City Council setting pol icy and giving orders to the city manager, only the mayor would be giving direction to the deputy mayor. And while the mayor would not have a vote during City Council meetings, he or she would be able to veto actions of the council, sub ject to an override by at least four of the ve council members. Some critics of this new proposal have pointed out that the latest effort has been conducted in the shadows, with an entirely new city char ter drafted without any public participa tion not even by the citys Charter Review Board. These critics believe that the pro ponents, having failed in the past to convince city voters to endorse a strong mayor, are att empting to offer an entirely new charter they hope will be more attractive to voters. Certainly, it will be more confusing. There have been three attempts in recent years to establish a strong mayor in Sarasota, and every effort has been soundly defeated by voters, by an average two-to-one margin. Is it assumed by the proponents of this new city charter that those rebukes were because the issue was establishing a strong mayor only, and not putting forth a wholesale revamping of the city charter (which also would estab lish a strong mayor)? Nonetheless, the group proposing the new charter has put forth one idea worthy of Some critics of this new proposal have pointed out that the latest effort has been conducted in the shadows, with an entirely new city charter drafted without any public participation not even by the citys Charter Review Board. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 71


considera tion: moving municipal elections to November, when voter turnout tends to be higher. It would be higher still if the elec tions for municipal ofcials were held in even years, when county ofcials are selected. Consider the general election of 2012, which also had a presidential contest on the ballot. A number of charter amendments for the City of Sarasota were on the ballot and more than 55 percent of city voters turned out to cast ballots on those proposals, defeating the vast majority. But the fact remains that more than three times as many city voters cast ballots for or against those charter amendments in November than cast ballots for the election of two new city commissioners the following March. Therefore, holding city elections in even years in November should have the effect of dramatically increasing voter participation. Of course, that change will not address the eye-rolling and yawning by city voters as the usual cadre of hacks and rejects le to run, yet again, for a plum seat on the City Commission. It still is necessary for seriously qualied and civic-minded citizens to step forward and offer themselves for election to the City Commission. We believe the traditional election in March even further suppresses voter turnout. The sad effect of this is that a handful of city vot ers make the biennial Hobsons Choice for the latest additions to the City Commission, and that dysfu nctional body then continues to struggle with the major issues confront ing the city. It becomes, to use a popular computer-programming acronym, GIGO garbage in, garbage out. But a wholesale rewriting of the city charter is not needed. Moreover, advocates have not proven that a conversion of the citys gov erning model to one with a strong mayor is necessary, as indicated by voters abject rejec tion of such a proposal the last three times it was attempted. Moving city elections to November, espe cially if they are held in even years, just might increase voter participation enough that bet ter-qualied candidates would want to run, and citizens might be more open to serious discussions of amending the city charter. However, this current dark-of-night approach is wrong, and a disservice to the city even a city populated by apparently disinterested citizens. Work to amend the charter to move the city elections to November. Then see how that impacts voter participation. If it has little or no effect credible candi dates for the City Commission are still in short supply, and voters cannot be bothered to show up on Election Day then the larger ques tion, which has been broached by some, but mostly ignored, will return to the fore: Does the City of Sarasota even need to exist? % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 72


To the Editor: Economists, in determining when a recession has truly ended, often look at leading and lag ging indicators. A leading indicator might be a decrease in inventory the thinking being that if inven tory is low, new orders will follow, which would lead to an increase in jobs. A lagging indicator might be a decrease in the level of unemployment, showing that more jobs have already been created. Pumping money into the economy to get the country out of a recession after it is already out of a recession would simply fuel ination. In Sarasota, we have a different set of indica tors. A leading one is the number of building lots that developers have bought, with projects about to be started. This publication has had many articles about such situations in the past few months. A lagging indicator is the fact that those same developers are asking the city and county to give them variances and to reduce impact fees so they can make additional prof its. However, they would not be buying building lots or starting projects if they were not going to make money in the rst place. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR SARASOTA COUNTY HAS ITS OWN VERSION OF ECONOMICS 101 It seems th at the city and county commission ers who give unwarranted variances and cut impact fees when they do not need to do so are pandering to their campaign contributors, lining their own pockets if their day jobs are related to an increase in building activ ity or simply reacting to gut feelings rather than a rational analysis of economic factors. Case in point: On Jan. 14, the County Commission kept the road impact fees at the 2011 levels (when fees were slashed 50 percent to get us out of a recession) and on Feb. 12, it will institute a procedure whereby builders can claim they are still being unfairly treated (having to pay their fair share of required changes to roads necessitated by the construction of new homes). Ination might be dened as a faster than normal (or required) increase in the cost of goods or, in Sarasota, as an unwarranted increase in the amount of existing property for which taxpayers will be assessed relative to the costs of new infrastructure. Rodger Skidmore Siesta Key Press Releases & News Tips Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 73


To the Editor: I am disappointed by The Sarasota News Leader s one-sided news coverage of the pro posal for Lido beach Renourishment Project. I read only of the opposition from Siesta Key (expected, as Sarasota citizens have a long record of objecting to any planned change). Anyone who has lived on Lido Key for over a decade, as I have, has seen the south point of the key and the shoals to its south expand greatly as sand from Lido is moved south by natural wave action. That is, as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has said, Lido is hoping to get some of its own sand back. I am not going to be dogmatic, but I would hope the News Leader would provide more balanced coverage rather than appear ing to support the Great Sand Grab. David Moore Lido Key NEWS LEADER BIASED IN COVERAGE OF LIDO PROJECT WRITER DISAGREES WITH CHARACTERIZATION OF REPUBLICANS To the Editor: I read each issue with considerable interest and nd your news articles to be interesting and informative. However, I usually disagree with your opinion pieces. At issue last week was your characterization of the Republican Party as composed of mon eyed bigwigs who comprise a demented lunatic fringe that is dominated by its right wing. Actually, the Republican Party in Sarasota is dominated by its left wing. Think of it. The moneyed bigwigs are con stantly seeking various handouts, favors, tax expenditures in their favor and subsidies, millions of dollars at a crack. That is not right; it is left! A single mom welfare cheat costs the tax payers a few thousand dollars a year. A land developer who may claim to need help even though no one believes that and seeks favorable treatment by his bought-andpaid-for commissioners gets away with other peoples money in the millions! Who, after all, is the real welfare cheat? Welfare for the rich is still welfare! Welfare is left, not right. Pete Theisen Sarasota 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. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 74


Sarasota Leisure SARASOTA LEISURE Your Lifestyle Guide To The Suncoast Inside PEACE CORPS SHOW WITHIN A SHOW FLYING FEET


I need to nd people who arent like me, says Arlene Pearlman. People like me are very nice, but theyre the same. Six years ago, that simple urge led Pearlman to found the Womens Interfaith Network. But what began as a small group of friends from different backgrounds has grown exponen tially, into a community with 124 women from a variety of religions. There are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Bahs even a Wiccan. The Network offers monthly events that cover faith issues from across the spectrum, and it organizes a book group, but Pearlman says among its most important cornerstones are the regular conversations called Common Tables. The events bring together six to eight women for lunch; participants are encouraged to talk about the afterlife, their childhoods, their reli gious traditions and holidays whatever. Pearlman notes that the lunches remind attendees that a handful of principles cuts across all belief systems. We all want our kids to be safe, she says. We all want wars to stop. Jacci Tutt (left) and Arlene Pearlman participate in a Womens Interfaith Network Seder. Photo courtesy WORLD PEACE DAY TACKLES OCCUPY WALL STREET, HONORS LOCALS FOR RELIGIOUS COURAGE PEACE CORPS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


That message will resound at this Saturdays World Peace Day, where Pearlman and Jacci Tutt, one of the Networks founding members and a founding board member of Sarasota United for Responsibility, will be presented with the Center for Religious Tolerances Elisabeth Schilder Award for Courage in Religious Tolerance. Pearlman adds that she was tickled when she found out about the recognition. Tutt says she was shocked to be given an award named for a German schoolteacher who challenged Hitlers racial policies after Kristallnacht. For Tutt, the idea of uniting female voices is par ticularly urgent. We found that the women were the ones we could rely on for peace making, she says, because you guys seem to be messing everything up. According to Pearlman, men are welcome at the Networks public events, and they frequently ask to join the organization, but Pearlman instead pushes them to form their own group. Keeping the organization cen tered around womens connectedness is vital, she says. Nobodys vying to be the alpha dog, which happens with men. Its a level playing eld. We want to be friends. We dont want to be adversaries. We dont want to be in competition. But, it would be cool to see men doing it, she adds. Then we could have a prom. Tutt sees a big difference in how open to diversity Sarasota residents have become. She moved here 20 years ago. Even local plays and shows have become more diverse, she says, but challenges remain. Racially, the diversity is there, she points out, but we arent tapping into it the way we ne ed to. The Sc hilder Award is only part of World Peace Day, organized by the South West Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice. Activists Zoltn Glck and Manissa McCleave Maharawal will deliver a keynote speech on the future of Occupy Wall Street, which has engineered a series of interesting and provocative programs since the movement was kicked out of Zuccotti Park in late 2011. One example: Occupy Sandy, a do-it-yourself emergency response movement that formed to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012. Another: Rolling Jubilee, a program that buys up American debt for pennies on the dollar and then abolishes it. Having raised $680,000, Jubilee has already eliminated $14.7 million in debt. There will also be a panel discussion, mod erated by WM NFs Rob Lorei and made up of Arlene Pearlman will be honored on Jan. 25. Photo by Barney Sack, courtesy Arlene Pearlman Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 77


homeless advocate Vallerie Guillory; Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, one of rst ordained Catholic women priests in the U.S.; and Judge Charles Williams, who is involved in a project that brings female Middle Eastern students to New College. The discussion, as you can probably guess, will be all over the map. But, as Tutt says, were all more alike than not. That goes for the issues we care about, too. What is it that were ghting and arguing about? Tutt asks. World Peace Day runs 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25. It will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. % Occupy Wall Street activists gather in New York Citys Zuccotti Park in September 2011. Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 78


Kelli Karen, production stage manager at Florida Studio Theatre, tells her lighting director, House lights to half! The show is about to begin. Photo by Fran Palmeri SHOW WITHIN A SHOW


The theatre, strictly speaking, is not a business at all but a collection of indi vidualized chaos that operates best when it is allowed to ower in its proper medley of disorder, derangement, irregularity and confusion. Moss Hart Act One What is the difference among an air trafc controller, an emergency room nurse and a stage manager? Nothing! Thirty-five minutes before show time, the stage manager checks the sign-in sheet back stage, hoping that all actors and crew are on board. Then she visits dressing rooms to announce, Half-hour, please! Half-hour! The actors, according to theatre etiquette, respond, Half-hour! Thank you! That is when scrambling becomes a ne art. Wheres the sword for the Act One ght scene? Why is the paint on the dance oor still wet? These emergencies dealt with, it is time to Kelli Karen works from her prompt book. Photo by Fran Palmeri THE STAGE MANAGER IS THE UNSEEN FORCE IN MAKING SURE THEATER PRODUCTIONS RUN AS SMOOTHLY AS POSSIBLE By Barbara Dondero Contributing Writer Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 80


Patrick Noonan and Priscilla Fernandez star as Arthur and Guinevere in Monty Pythons Spamalot at Florida Studio Theatre. Contributed photo by Maria Lyle Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 81


notify everyone that the audience is being seated: Ladies and gentlemen, the house is open! Fifteen minutes please. All respond, except for one person frantically searching for the property mistress. Would she retrieve the shoes he left in the front row of the orchestra, please? Then it is time for the final call, Places please! The stage manager takes her position, adjusts her headset and takes a deep breath. She has memorized every word and notation for action in the show. Traditionally on opening night, the director leaves town. It is all up to her now. She begins to call the show. House lights to half, she tells the lighting director, who is awaiting cues in the control booth. When I worked as a stage manager for the Hampton Theatre Company on Long Island, I was told by a friend, The director proposes. The stage manager disposes. I thought it would be fun to ask Kelli Karen, production stage manager for Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, what she thought of that advice. I was lucky to catch her during tech week (also known as hell week) just before Monty Pythons Spamalot opened this season. Yes, she agreed, except that I would say the director, the artistic director, the music direc tor and the production manager propose, and the stage manager disposes. Why not look for the name of the stage manager in your theatre program and ask for an autograph! Photo by Fran Palmeri Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 82


CALLING CUES She calls each cue in three parts: rst, a warn ing; soon after, a standby; then, seconds later, at the exact moment of execution, Go. Spamalot has only a few hundred cues, Karen said, but Thirty Nine Steps had a four-person cast playing 150 characters. She shuddered. Imagine calling over 2,000 cues! Its like a show within a show. THE BOOK Most shows run smoothly because Karen has her prompt book affectionately called the Bible, which she never lets out of her sight. As she holds up her pencil, I notice the worn-down eraser. This is all I ever need, she says. Next to each line of the script, I write all sound and lighting cues, plus stage directions whether an actor speaks his line from upstage, downstage or center stage as deemed by the director. CALAMITIES What could possibly go wrong during a pro duction? I asked. Last night, she replied, a power surge in Act Two blew a fuse. After notifying Artistic Director Richard Hopkins, I stopped the show. Then looking a s if she were having a bad dream, Karen remembered a fuse blowing just minutes before the finale of Shotgun. Thinking the show was over, the audience members began applauding. She cued the actors to continue reciting their lines. Seven seconds later a lifetime the lights came back on, she explained. The audience members, realizing what had happened, applauded madly for the actors who had carried o n during the blackout. THE C OOL AUNT Of all the roles required of a stage manager, what are you best at, I asked. Caring for individuals, she answered. Handling all types of personalities. Im responsible for 16 people in this cast, three in the orchestra and three in the control booth, plus others backstage 27 people in all for whom I play favorite aunt, nurse and techie. She explained that from the outset of her three-week rehearsal period, she tries to set a humorous tone. If someone forgets to sign in, she said, I ask, Is Warrens understudy here? He quickly obliges. In reality, there is no understudy for Warren. She smiled. The actors tell me, Youre like the cool aunt we want to hang out with. The cool aunt gets to go on vacation for eight weeks at the end of the season. Last year, after visiting her family in New Jersey, Karen went on a medical mission in Swaziland, in South Africa, with representatives of Hearts Are She counted out meds, helped with classes on AIDS and read to children while they waited to see a doctor. Did you resist the impulse to stage-manage on vacation? I asked. Yes! she admitted. Just before curtain time, Kelli says a silent prayer for each actors success and tells all the cast members, Breathe and be awesome! Silently, I wish ed the same for her as she went backstage once again to perform her magical show-within-a-show. Spamalot closes on Saturday, Jan. 25. Then Kelli Karen will begin rehearsals for FSTs Daddy Long Legs, which opens on Feb. 5. For more information, visit % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 83


The temperature may have been brisk, but Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County was delighted with the crowd that gathered for the kickoff of the Alliances Sarasota Keys program, held in downtown Sarasota on the evening of Friday, Jan. 17. We did have a great turnout, Shirley told The Sarasota News Leader on Jan. 22. If the music is hot enough, you dont worry about the weather. As a jam session began in Five Points Park, Shirley said, he watched more and more people walk up, intrigued by the music and wa nting to nd out what was happening. That was exactly what he was hoping for, he added. Among the musicians participating in that concert were Rich Ridenour, Lee Dougherty Ross and Jesse Martins, according to the Sarasota Keys Facebook page With the approval of the City Commission, the Alliance has placed six spinet pianos along the sidewalks of Main Street, Pineapple Avenue and Palm Avenue for daytime use. The pia nos are open for the public to play, explore, learn, practice and most importantly, enjoy, an Alliance news release says. A group of pianists jams in Five Points Park to mark the opening evening of Street Keys. Photo by Norman Schimmel SARASOTA KEYS DRAWS A CROWD WITH ITS LAUNCH DOWNTOWN, AND INTEREST CONTINUES TO BUILD PLAY ME A TUNE By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, welcomes people to the Jan. 17 launch of Street Keys in Five Points Park as City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell listens. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 85


The city commissioners split 3-2 on a Dec. 2 vote to allow the six-month pilot program. Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioners Suzanne Atwell and Paul Caragiulo were in the majority. Atwell told a reporter during the Jan. 17 Convocation of Governments at Sarasota County Technical Institute that she was excited about the project getting under way, adding with a laugh that she was brush ing up on Chopsticks Local businesses and individuals chipped in to sponsor and host the pianos, the Alliance re lease points out. Six Sarasota artists were selected, with the help of curator Tim Jaeger, to craft the pianos into works of public art, the release adds. The artists were Jack Dowd, Richard Capes, Gale Fulton-Ross, Steven Strenk, Cassia Kite and Lori Loveberry George. Kite and Jaeger partnered on one of the pianos. His observations from walking along Main Street this week, Shirley told the News Leader indicate a warm public response. Some Gale Fulton-Ross was among the participating visual artists chosen for the project. The theme for her piano is Secret Life of a Circle. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 86


County Commissioner Joe Barbetta and his wife, Mary, (left), join County Commissioner Carolyn Mason for the event. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarabeth Kalajian, director of libraries for Sarasota County, City Manager Tom Barwin and City Commissioner Susan Chapman also were among the crowd. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 87


people seeing the pianos for the rst time are uncertain about why the musical instruments are out in the open, he noted, but people are taking advantage of this new opportunity. I saw a 3-year-old doing some playing the other day, Shirley said. Thats what we want. While it remains unknown whether the City Commission will extend Sarasota Keys beyo nd this trial basis, Shirley added, Im just happy were able to do it. The pianos are located at the Sarasota Opera House on Pineapple Avenue, across from Five Points Park; Louies Modern and the DiFilippo Kent Gallery on Palm Avenue; and Mattisons City Grille, Main Street Traders and the Bohemian Bliss Boutique along Main Street. % The playing of the piano in front of Louies Modern restaurant on Palm Avenue drew an audience later in the evening. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 88


Almost exactly a week shy of his 35th birth day Jan. 24 Nik Wallenda had only to walk across a stage to accept congratulations for his latest feat becoming the youngest person ever to be named a Circus Celebrity in Sarasota. During a Jan. 18 ceremony at The Ringling, Wallenda joined The Rudy Rudynoff Family and Felix Adler in receiving that honor for 2014. The annual recognition goes to out standing representatives of the circus world. During back-to-back summers, Wallenda won international acclaim for his crossings of Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. The 2014 Circus Celebrity program notes, From his childhood, Nik dreamed of walking the wire in places no one had walked before. On June 15, 2012, he realized a part of this dream, walking 1,800 feet across the widest part of Horseshoe Falls. That event, the program points out, was the focal point of ABC TVs highest rated Nik Wallenda receives applause as he steps to the podium. Pedro Reis (right, just behind Wallenda) and his wife, Dolly co-founders of The Circus Arts Conservatory spoke of Wallendas accomplishments prior to Wallendas introduction. All photos by Norman Schimmel INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN AERIALIST NIK WALLENDA BECOMES THE YOUNGEST PERSON TO BE NAMED A CIRCUS CELEBRITY A BIG HONOR Staff Reports


non-sports program in 10 years, seen by an estimated 13.3 million people. Then on June 23, 2013, the program con tinues, Nik thrilled the world again as he walked 1,400 feet across a section of the Grand Canyon. At a height of 1,500 feet, the walk was the highest of [his] career Viewership for the Discovery Channel, which carried that feat, was 23 million just in the United States. The Sarasota native has been performing for a number of years with Circus Sarasota, part of the newly organized Circus Arts Conservatory. The co-founders of Circus Sarasota and the Conservatory, Dolly and Pedro Reis, intro duced Wallenda during the Circus Celebrity program. % Nik Wallenda and his wife, Erendira, accept congratulations at the reception. Attendees enjoy the reception at The Ringling. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 90


With a police escort, runners prepare for their ascent of the Ringling Bridge in the early morning. All photos by Norman Schimmel FLYING FEET More than 2,000 people participated in the Wilde Automotive Ringling Bridge Run on Saturday, Jan. 18, which featured a 4-mile run across the Sarasota landmark for which it is named. THE ANNUAL RINGLING BRIDGE RUN DRAWS ITS USUAL PLETHORA OF COMPETITORS BUT, THIS TIME, ON A CHILLY MORNING Staff Reports A 1mile Fun Run also drew participants. The top overall time for the event was 21:21:60, achieved by Blake Riley, 16, a member of the Riverv iew High School cross country team.


Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin is one of the thousands of competitors. The top woman nisher was Kaitlin Koplin, 29, with a time of 23:51:87. According to the race results website 1,887 completed the longer run. The event started at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, north of the bridge on U.S. 41. The competition is a fundraiser for the Sarasota YMCAs family programs. Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel was on the bridge and on Gulfstream Avenue to capture faces in the crowd. % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 92


The moon hangs amid the palms as dawn begins to give the runners more light. A sign directs participants to the Fun Run part of the course. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 93


Kathy Pletzke, the IT director for the Town of Longboat Key, puts her running skills to the test. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 94


Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 95


% Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 96


COMMISSIONER PATTERSON TALKS ABOUT THE NEED FOR A COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT PEER REVIEW OF THE LIDO RENOURISHMENT PROJECT AND WHO IS VYING TO WIN HER SEAT IN AN ADDRESS TO THE CONDO COUNCIL; NEW CROSSING LIGHTS FINALLY ARE UP AT BEACH ROAD INTERSECTIONS SIESTA SEEN In a Jan. 21 address to about 45 members of the Siesta Key Condominium Council, County Commissioner Nora Patterson said the pro posed Lido Key Renourishment Project is not a done deal. Her hope, she added, is that a peer review will be undertaken of the modeling and reports expected from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers late this winter regarding the proposed construction of three groins on south Lido Key and dredging of the shoal in Big Sarasota Pass. She added her preference is for a triple check on those groins. Depending on the results of such a review, she told the audience, Well either feel better about [the project]; well take the groins out By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor New lights have gone up on the Beach Road intersections near Siesta Public Beach, replacing the lights that ashed constantly. Photo by Rachel Hackney


and let the rest of the project go; or well have it just done to us. Patterson continued, Write letters; email concerns. I hate to say we are politicians but we are politicians. While the County Commission does represent Siesta Key, she pointed out, it also represents all the other residents of the county, including those in the city of Sarasota and those on Lido Key. So weve got a very difcult decision to make. Your participation would be a good thing in my mind. Patterson explained that some of the condo minium complexes on Lido were built way too close to the water and that erosion over the years has threatened them. As for the plan to renourish Lido Beach, she said, Im all for it. Earlier, Patterson told the audience she wanted to hear from somebody other than the Army Corps about the validity of the fed eral agencys contention that the project will not have a negative impact on Siesta Key. I personally would like a peer review by some people who dont have their wallets in this game Moreover, Patterson continued, I really dont like the idea of groins on Lido Key. She Commissioner Nora Patterson presents a rst-place Christmas Lighting Contest award to Eric Shroack of Peppertree Bay. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 98


pointed out that the countys comprehensive plan prohibits hardened structures such as groins. Patterson explained that sand builds up on the north side of a groin, and on the south side you tend to lose sand. Additionally, because many people enjoy walking on the southern portion of Lido Beach, she pointed out, she is concerned the groins will not remained covered, as Corps representatives have insisted, and that the structures will impede public enjoyment of the beach. Because one of those proposed groins appears to be on count y property, Patterson noted, The county may have some say about whether the $22 million, 50-year proj ect can proceed. The Corps has yet to apply for the necessary permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, according to information provided to The Sarasota News Leader last week. In 1994, when Big Pass was eyed for dredg ing, she added, a Save Our Sand Committee of the Siesta Key Association was organized to oppose the plan. At that time, she said, the City of Venice wanted to mine the Big Pass shoal for a large renourishment project, while the City of Sarasota wanted to use some of the sand for a smaller effort on Lido. However, Commissioner Nora Patterson congratulates Veronica Bajtale of Beachaven for its rst-place honors. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 99

PAGE 100

after protests mounted, the municipalities backed away from the proposal, she noted. The Save Our Sand group even petitioned the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to prevent Venice from getting the permit it needed for the dredging. That docu ment said the petitioners have accumulated evidence from eminent coastal engineering experts disputing [the City of Venices] asser tions that the activities authorized by the Permit will not adversely affect publicly and privately owned portions of Siesta Key. She continued, Its been sort of a simmer ing conict ever since, because the shoal has become enormous With the natural flow of sand from north to south on the west coast of Florida, she explained, sand that has been added to the beaches on Lido and Longboat keys in past renourishments comes down to the shoal just off Siesta Key. Patterson said people are welcome to address the com m ission about this topic and any Commissioner Nora Patterson presents one of the rst-place plaques to Doug Oberlee of Sandpiper Beach Club. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 100

PAGE 101

matter during the public comments seg ments at the opening of each morning and afternoon session of a regular meeting. Say what you think. When Siesta Key Association Vice President Michael Shay asked whether the County Commission would hold a public hearing on the matter, Patterson said, A public hearing would be ne. A NEW CHAMPION FOR THE KEY During her remarks, Patterson also told the audience several people have asked her, Whos going to be the champion of Siesta Key? when she steps down from the County Commission in November. (Term limits pre vent her from running again, though she said she had no plans to le for re-election before a Florida Supreme Court decision made it impossible.) Commissioner Nora Patterson congratulates Roger Deary of The Anchorage for its third-place honors. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 101

PAGE 102

Patterson pointed out that all the commission ers are elected at-large and that while she has advocated for Siesta Key, she also has fought for constituents in other parts of the county. Two good people have led for her seat, she continued. One, Al Maio, is an accountant with Kimley Horn and Associates Inc., a design consulting rm, she said, and hes a good guy. The other candidate is Lourdes Ramirez, Patterson noted. She asked Ramirez, who was present, to stand. Commissioner Nora Patterson presents a third-place ribbon to William Slovik of Harbour Towne. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 102

PAGE 103

Lourdes is also a f riend of mine, Patterson continued. Ive known her for years. Shes got a good brain, and she lives on Siesta Key. Patterson added, Im going to leave you with that note. THE ROUNDABOUT Concern apparently is spreading on Siesta Key about the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) proposal for a round about at the intersection of Beac h Road and M idnight Pass Road, just south of St. Boniface Episcopal Church. On Wednesday afternoon the day after the Condo Council meeting Patterson emailed Chief County Engineer James K. Harriott Jr.: I am getting a lot of negative feedback from Siesta Key residents on the pedestrian improvement on the [ Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization ] work plan that turns out to be a roundabout. I think this needs to be aired to the public at a meet ing run by FDOT that can show how this will Commissioner Nora Patterson chats with Richard Jones of Whispering Sands as she gives him the complexs ribbon for third place in its category. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 103

PAGE 104

work eve n do one of those demos with a birds eye view of a similar roundabout. This situation is fairly unique to the roundabout discussions as the [Siesta] roads are just 2 lane but the trafc is sometimes very heavy. [Residents of a] nearby condominium proj ect of some size [fear] that they will never be able to even get out of their driveways in sea son. Others think the level of trafc on the circle will be so heavy that it will cause more backup than a trafc light. Patterson added that she planned to raise the topic during one of the County Commissions regular meetings next week. In the meantime she suggested Harriott let FDOT representa tives know there is concern. A response on their part to hold a couple of meetings as they did for the pedestrian walkways [on Midnight Pass Road] would be great, where people actually got to vote in a straw poll. In the latter note, Patterson was referring to the new Midnight Pass crosswalks con structed in late 2012 between Beach Road and Stickney Point Road. FDOT held a pub lic hearing about residents safety concerns along that stretch of road and then surveyed condominium residents before planning the project. SPEAKING OF CROSSINGS On Jan. 20, Tony Romanus, president and technology chairman of the Siesta Isles Association, sent Commissioner Patterson an email saying, On behalf of the Siesta Isles Association Board o f Directors and the residen ts of our community I wanted to thank you for your support of the upgraded cross walk warning signal at the intersection of Beach Road and Beach Way Drive. He added, This crosswalk is the primary path for our neighborhood of 298 homes to get across Beach Road to Siesta Beach. As you have heard, the previous signal was inef fective. My experience more often than not was that drivers did not slow down at all for people trying to cross. Im optimistic that this new warning system will improve the safety at this crosswalk. My observation is that the upgraded units installed by FDOT on Midnight Pass Road work very well. Finally, he wrote, We are also appreciative of the support provided by the Siesta Key Association, especially Peter Van Roekens. During the Feb. 5, 2013, Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) meeting, van Roekens secretary of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and a Terrace East condominium com plex representative at the SKVA meetings raised the matter about those constantly ashing lights at the Beach Road crosswalks near Siesta Public Beach. Just as he pursued a county response to the need for better illu mination of crosswalks in Siesta Village, he went on a mission, so to speak, to address this second safety issue. Discu ssions about those Beach Road lights continued at the February 2013 SKA meet ing, and Patterson brought the matter to the attention of her fellow commissioners and county staff. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 104

PAGE 105

T he n ew signs with wig-wag lights like those at the six new Midnight Pass cross walks FDOT installed in 2012 went up on Jan. 17. Van Roekens extended his thanks for the completion of the project in an email to Lisa L. Cece, business professional and special district coordinator in the countys Transportation and Real Estate Department. Cece has assumed responsibilities previously handled by Ryan Montague in the countys Trafc/Mobility Ofce. Montague left county employment last fall, having taken a job with the Florida Press Association. CHRISTMAS LIGHTING CONTEST HONOREES The Condo Council agenda on Tuesday also featured the presentation of the annual awards to the winners of the 2013 Christmas Lighting Contest. Condo Council Secretary Helen Clifford told the audience members the key had a great Christmas season. This was probably the most beautiful place in Sarasota, and along Midnight Pass was just breathtaking. The winners, as previously reported in this column, follow: Category 1 (101 or more units) First place: Peppertr ee Bay Seco nd place: Siesta Dunes Third place: Whispering Sands Honorable Mention: Excelsior Category 2 (51 to 100 units) First place: Beachaven Second Place: Crescent Arms Third place: The Anchorage Honorable Mention: Tortuga Category 3 (50 or fewer units) First place: Sandpiper Beach Club Second place: Siesta Sands Third place: Harbour Towne Honorable Mention: Terrace East CLARIFICATION My eagle-eyed former editor at the Pelican Press Anne Johnson, gently pointed out to me last week that I mentioned Point of Rocks in conjunction with parking for visi tors to Beach Access 1 on North Shell Road, but Point of Rocks is quite a bit south of that beach access. I checked with county spokes man Curt Preisser this week to nd out for sure whether Chief County Engineer James K. Harriott Jr. meant to write Roberts Point Road instead of Point of Rocks in the memo I quoted. Preisser was unable to get an answer for me by deadline, but he said he felt pretty sure my assumpt ion was correct. % Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 105

PAGE 106

Kin Killin Kin will be on display at the North Sarasota Library Jan. 28 through Feb. 23. Contributed image A&E BRIEFS

PAGE 107

Kin Killin Kin a ser ies created by Ohio art ist James Pate, will be featured at the North Sarasota Library from Jan. 28 through Feb. 23, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County has announced. Pates work addresses one of the most criti cal social ills of our time youth violence, a yer points out. His powerful images are a visual call to action to nd solutions and discuss positive alternatives toward negative behavior, it adds. The series of images reflects Pates deep love for the African American community and great concern for the epidemic of youth vio lence plaguing it, the yer continues. If I can save one young brother, these 10 years of creating this series will not have been in vain, Pate says in the yer. Pate is considered to be one of the most important African American artists in the United States, the yer points out. He is known YOUTH VIOLENCE TO BE FOCUS OF NORTH SARASOTA LIBRARY EXHIBIT for his self-described Techno-Cubism style. In an article on the website Neighborhood Scribe La Risa Lynch writes that Pate uses stark charcoal drawings in a storyboard format. An article by Deborah Bayliss on The Chicago Citizen website says Pate hopes that trou bled youth, young adults, drug traffickers and gang members who feel hopeless will see the provocative images such as Turn of Endearment a brightly colored oil painting that depicts a young man gradually turning away from a life of crime, and will be inspired to do the same thing. Bayliss wrote about Kin Killin Kin when it was on exhibit last fall at the DuSable Museum of African History in Chicago. The North Sarasota Library is located at 2801 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota. For more infor mation, visit the Arts and Cultural Alliance website Sumi-e, an Asian art form that is nearly 2,000 years old, will be the focus of an exhibition and sale in the historic Selby House at Selby Gardens beginning Jan. 29, The Gardens has announced. Closely related to the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy, the brush strokes used to create Sumi-e paintings are based on the strokes used to produce the beautiful characters of Chinese writing, a news release says. The exhibition will include work representing a variety of Oriental Brush Painting schools, RICH TRADITION OF ANCIENT ART TO BE SHOWCASED AT SELBY GARDENS the release c ontinues, as the artists have developed their talents by studying Chinese, Japanese, Korean and contemporary styles. The exhibit will be produced by the Sarasota Chapter of the Sumi-e Society of America, which serves as a cultural bridge between Eastern and Western art and also seeks to foster and encourage the study and the appreciation of Oriental Brush Painting, the release explains. For more information about the exhibit, visit the Selby Gardens website Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 107

PAGE 108

Tulips by Keiko Romerstein. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 108

PAGE 109

Twenty-two students from seven Sarasota County high schools captured top honors before a standing-room-only crowd Wednesday night, Jan. 15, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County has announced. The Foundation is marking the 19th year of its annual Juried Art Show competition. Ashlee Baker, a senior at Sarasota High, won Best of Show for her sculpture, Dark Rain. Six other Best of School winners were Azul Diaz, Pine View; Yuwen Liu, Venice High; Sabino Lops, Riverview High; Rachel Ross, Booker High; Alina Timshina, North Port High; and Ginger Whitely, Suncoast Polytechnical High. Thre e students placed two pieces in the Top 25: North Ports Hayley Denham and Olga Gasanova; and Sarasota Highs Yalicia Miller, a news release says. Susan Scott and Cheryl Gordon, the Education Foundations executive director and board chairman, respectively, welcomed the audi ence of more than 200 to the reception, the release adds. Steve Cantees, executive director of Sarasota County High Schools, congratulated the participants and thanked their art teachers for dedicating many extra hours to help students with their submissions. Ringling Colleges admissions director, James Dean, presented the H eart of Art Awards EVENING OF EXCELLENCE PROGRAM ANNOUNCES ITS 2014 TOP 25 Winners of the Evening of Excellence student awards, with the event co-chairs, are (front row, from left) Rachel Ross, Alina Timshina, Azul Diaz, Sabino Lops, Clarissa Choi, Paige Miller, Brittany Probus, Courtney Kern, Ashlee Baker; (middle row, from left) Kris Numbers, Olga Gasanova, Wade Turner, Jayda Blake, Christina Gunter, Ginger Whitely, Hayley Denham; (back row, from left) Yalicia Miller, Andr Johnson, Co-Chairwoman Alix Morin, Susan Scott (executive director of the Education Foundation), Co-Chairman Taylor Collins, Devin Brown and Yuwen Liu. Winning students not pictured are Trequan Moreland and Allison Jones. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 109

PAGE 110

including fr ee supplies and tuition for sum mer art classes to eight promising young artists selected by their high school art teach ers, the release notes. Taylor T. Collins and Alix Morin, the 2014 Evening of Excellence co-chairs, then announced the winning students. A panel of ve arts professionals used a blind-scor ing process to select the Top 25 works out of 347 entries submitted by students from every Sarasota County public high school, the release explains. The panel of judges com prised artist and New College instructor Jean Blackburn; artist and interior designer Katie Cassidy; James Dean and Dr. Christopher Wilson from Ringling College of Art and Design; and April Irwin, digital design teacher at Sarasota County Technical Institute. All entries were on view Jan. 11-14 in a free public exhibition a t Ringling College of Art and Design, t he scene of the announcements. During the four days of the art show, visitors were invited to vote for their favorite work to win the Marie B. Ritter Peoples Choice Award, the release continues. Sarasota Highs Brittany Probus received the most votes and the $250 prize for her electronic media piece titled Transient the release adds. The student artists are donating all 25 of their winning pieces paintings, photographs, mixed media, sculpture and more to the Education Foundation. Both the students and their art will be photographed by Gene Pollux of Pollux Photography and Digital Imaging. Then each piece will be professionally framed by local galleries, which will be donating materials and services, the release notes. Finally, the students will be honored at the Evening of Excel lence gala dinner and Sarasota High senior Ashlee Baker with her Best of Show piece, a sculpture titled Dark Rain. Contributed photo Venice High senior Yuwen Liu with her Best of School mixed media piece, Who am I? Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 110

PAGE 111

auction on t he last Friday in February, when they will see their work auctioned off to the highest bidder. Last years event grossed more than $229,000, including a live auction total of $28,650, the release says. Through the work of the Education Foundation, the pro ceeds benet the 41,200 students enrolled in Sarasota Countys public schools, the release points out. The 22 students will receive cash awards from $500 to $2,000 as well as other gifts and recognition for their talent and generosity, the release says. More than $35,000 in prizes, scholarships and art department grants will be presented during this years Evening of Excellence activities, it notes. Since 1996, Evening of Excellence has grown to become both the premier arts com petition for area high school students and a xture on the social calendar, the release continues. This years theme is An Evening in Paris taking inspiration from the student whose award-winning work from last years event was adapted for the gala invitation, the release points out. Sponsorships are available starting at $1,000, the release adds. Individual tickets are $200, with $250 the fee for patrons. This years din ner and auction will be held on Friday, Feb. 28. Guests may arrive for the cocktail hour at 6 p.m. at Michaels On East, when they can meet the students and view the artwork before bidding. To request an invitation, call the Education Foundation at 927-0965 or visit www.EdFoundation .net Suncoast Polytech junior Ginger Whitely with her Best of School drawing, Jay-Walking. Contributed photo Booker High junior Rachel Ross with her Best of School sculpture, The Driving Range. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 111

PAGE 112

Other Deser t Cities by Jon Robin Baitz a scathingly funny play by the creator of TVs Brothers & Sisters has opened at the Asolo Repertory Theatre and will continue through Feb. 27, a theatre news release says. Directed by Greg Leaming, the story brings dysfunctional family drama to new heights, the release points out. Promising young nov elist Brooke Wyeth is home in Palm Springs for the holidays with a copy of her latest man uscript one shes not showing her parents. Her brother is a reality TV show producer, her father a former movie actor turned politician, and her mother is a 1960s-era comedy writer turned socialite, the release continues. But now long-buried secrets threaten to put this picture-perfect family back in the tabloids. Hold onto y ou r seats things are about to get bumpy, it adds. The Asolo Rep cautions that the play contains mature language. Funny, erce and immensely entertaining, the New York Times calls the production. The Wall Street Journal adds that it packs a roundhouse punch. Tickets s tart 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 Perfor ming Arts. OTHER DESERT CITIES PLAYING AT ASOLO REP THROUGH FEB. 27 Carolyn Michel, Laren Klein and Benjamin Williamson star in Other Desert Cities at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Contributed photo by Gary Sweetman. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 112

PAGE 113

The Jazz Club of Sarasota has announced the fifth annual High School Jazz Festival will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, at Riverview High School, located at 1 Ram Way in Sarasota. Admission is free to this non-competitive event, which will show case the talents of musicians from Booker High School, Manatee High, Riverview High, Sarasota High and Southeast High, a news release notes. For information, call 366-1552. If youre wondering about the future of jazz, the answer is right here at this festival the only one of its kind on Floridas west coast, says festival coordinator and Jazz Club of Sarasota board member Gordon Garrett in the release. Every year audiences are amazed at the talent and high level of musical ability demonstrated by these young jazz perform ers. They are indeed the future of jazz the ones who will keep the ame burning. This year the festival moves to Riverview High School under the guidance of the schools associate music director and Jazz Club board member, Norm Vagn, the release continues. The lead musician mentor for the event is George McClain, leader of the Sarasota Jazz Project big band and another Jazz Club of Sarasota board member, the release adds. McClain will be onstage to offer real time insight and advice to the young musicians, HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ FESTIVAL RETURNS ON JAN. 24 AT RIVERVIEW HIGH The Manatee High School Jazz Ensemble performs in concert. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 113

PAGE 114

many of whom receive Jazz Club of Sarasota scholarships to continue their studies in jazz while in college, the release points out. Sponsoring events like this is a big part of the Jazz Club of Sarasotas mission, says Garrett in the release. Its a perfect fit with our scholarship program, which has presented thousands of dollars of scholarships to local young musicians over the past 16 years. McClain agrees. It is a real privilege to work with these outstanding young artists, he adds in the release. This festival is a great way to support them and the future of jazz. I encour age anyone who loves jazz to come see them perform. For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 366-1552 or visit High school students will entertain audience members during a Jan. 24 jazz festival at Riverview High School in Sarasota. Contributed photo FST Improv r eturns for another season begin ning Friday, Jan. 24, and continuing through April, with performances each week Thursday through Sunday, Florida Studio Theatre has announced. Three hilarious shows will be performed in the brand new Bownes Lab, a news release says. Tickets range from $12 to $15. Subscriptions are available to see all three shows for as little as $21, the release adds. Tickets may be purchased from the FST box ofce at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in Sarasota, by calling 366-9000 or by going online at Managing Director and FST Improv MC Rebecca Hopkins talks in the release of the excitement of FST Improvs edgy, steampu nk-inspired new home: Its January 2014. Its the start of not only a new year, but of a new theatre at FST Bownes Lab. It is a time of possibilities, resolutions and prom ises. To celebrate our fancy new space, we are expanding our schedule to offer three shows that will make the world a less depressing place. The rst of th ese shows is Out of Bounds the all-star FST Improv comedy game show. Since 2001, the release continues, FST Improv com edy troupe members have played together in the all-improv game show explosion of madness. This is a fast-paced, no-holdsbarred show featuring ve virtuoso improv comedians for a night of games, scenes and skillful storytel ling. There are no rules and no FST IMPROV IS BACK FOR ANOTHER SEASON IN SARASOTA Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 114

PAGE 115

An FST Improv group performs in May 2013. Contributed photo boundaries ju st spectacular comedy and incredible improvisation. The second show, 52 Card Pickup takes 52 suggestions for one play, the release explains. The audience will take control, it notes, deciding what crazy characters, unexpected locations and incredible hurdles the actors will portray just by lling out the cards on each table before the show begins. Will it be delightfully frenzied or mysterious and satir ically sinister? Rounding out the series will be TEXT M for Murder FST cordially invites audiences to witness a completely improvised murder! the release says. Audiences do, of course, have the honor of choosing the murder weapon and the scene of the crime. They call the shots as the clueless detectives meet and question eccentric suspects, reveal secrets and uncover deadly motives, the release continues. Each week will feature a new, completely impro vised murder. Back for another season are cast members Hopkins, Christine Alexander, Tim Beasley, Catey Brannan, Chris Friday, Patrick A. Jackson, Darryl Knapp, Angel Parker, Jim Prosser and Steve Turrisi. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 115

PAGE 116

Having won just abo ut every music award imaginable, country music legend Merle Haggard will be appearing at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota on Jan. 29, the venue has announced. With his unique ability to lyrically connect his listeners with emotions and circum stances that could either be all too familiar or entirely foreign, Haggard bridges a gap with which many songwriters struggle their entire careers, a news release says. Johnny Cash once introduced Haggard by saying Heres a man who writes about his own life and has had a life to write about, the release adds. Haggard became a strong symbol of work ing class America with so ngs such as Working Man Blues and Hungry Eyes the release notes. One of the beautiful aspects of Haggards approach to music is that he always [has been] true to going his own way and making his own sound, it says. Even when recording tributes to the musicians who inu enced him such as Jimmie Eidgers, Lefty Frizzell and Bob Willis Haggard always incorporated elements of jazz, rock, blues and folk into his compositions while maintaining reverence for traditional country style, the release continues. Tickets are priced from $52.62 to $63.32. For more information, call the box ofce at 9533368 or visit www.Van MERLE HAGGARD BRINGING HIS HONKY TONK GROOVE TO TOWN Merle Haggard performs during a 2013 concert. Photo by Jeremy Luke Roberts via Flickr and Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 116

PAGE 117

Venice Theatre will pr esent one of its most popular national acts on Sunday, Jan. 26, and Monday, Jan. 27. The Capitol Steps will bring its up-to-the-min ute political humor to the Venice stage at 8 p.m. on Sunday and 3 and 8 p.m. on Monday. Tickets are $47, the theatre has announced. Notorious for poking fun at Democrats and Republicans alike, the Capitol Steps has been around since 1981, a news release points out. It has been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS, and it can be heard four times a year on National Public Radio s tations nationwide du ring t heir Politics Takes a Holiday radio specials, the release adds. The Steps have been described by The Wall Street Journal as, a favorite on the Washington social circuit. Their political satire brings chuckles rave reviews guf faws and bipartisan grins all around. Their satire hits the mark. The Capitol Steps are what Washington would be like if everyone were funnier and could sing, says humorist P.J. ORourke in the release. CAPITOL STEPS BRINGING ITS COMICAL ACT BACK TO VENICE The Capitol Steps will return to Venice Theatre this weekend. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 117

PAGE 118

Bookstor e 1Sarasota will present a program with poet Alexis Orgera of Sarasota at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, the downtown Sarasota shop has announced. Orgera will read and sign her newest collec tion, Dust Jacket which won the Coconut Books Braddock Prize, a news release says. She is also the author of the poetry collection How Like Foreign Objects Her poems, essays and reviews can be found in Another Chicago Magazine, Black Warrior Review, Drunken Boat, Forklift Ohio, Green Mountains Review, Gulf Coast, H_ngm_n, HTMLGiant, The Journal, jubilat, Memorious, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, Sixth Finch and sto rySouth among others, the release notes. She lives in Sarasota, where she has taught writing at New College and Ringling College of Art and Des i gn. SARASOTA POET ORGERA TO READ FROM HER NEWEST COLLECTION Bookstore1Sarasota is located at 1359 Main St. For more information on this and other events at the shop, visit www.bookstore1sara or call 365-7900. Alexis Orgera/Contributed photo Now in the height of its concert and special events season, Venice Theatre presents shows most Sunday nights, Monday afternoons and Monday evenings, the release continues. Coming in February are The Sounds of Harry James and the Andrews Sisters for one per formance on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m.; Tony and Emmy Award winner Ben Vereen on Feb. 7 and 8; and folksters The Kingston Trio on Feb. 23 and 24. In March, the theatre will welcome, for the rst time, celebrity impersonator Rich Little; he will appear on March 2 and 3. The Frankie Valli tribute act Lets Hang On will take the stage on March 9 and 10; and Rave On (a tribute to Buddy Holly) is scheduled on March 16 and 17. The conc ert and special events series will conclude in April with Monday, Monday (a tribute to The Mamas and the Papas) on April 6 and 7, and The Baby Boomer Comedy Show on April 13 and 14. Tickets for all Venice Theatre shows through June are available at the box ofce at 488-1115 or online at Venice Theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. on the island in Venice. Box ofce hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before show time. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 118

PAGE 119

As a resul t of popular demand, Florida Studio Theatre has extended the runs of The Prima Donnettes, developed by Richard Hopkins and Jim Prosser with special assistance by Rebecca Hopkins; and Thurgood by George Stevens Jr., the theatre has announced. The Prima Donnettes which opened on Oct. 25 in the John C. Court Cabaret, has been extended for a 17th week, the release points out, shattering all previous Cabaret show records. In the release, returning company member and Prima Donnette Jannie Jones describes her experience: I love doing this show with my sweet and talented cast. What I lov e e ven more are the smiles, cheers and participation of our audiences as they travel down memory lane. Its simply a joy! Thurgood has been extended for a 13th week. Cast as American hero Thurgood Marshall, Montae Russell is most recognized for his role as Dwight Zadro on the series ER the release notes. Russell portrayed Thurgood Marshall at the Pittsburgh Public Theatre last summer and is a seasoned performer on Broadway and around the country, the release adds. Thurgood will run through March 8, while The Prima Donnettes has been extended through Feb. 14. THE PRIMA DONNETTES AND THURGOOD EXTENDED AT FST The Prima Donnettes (from left) Jannie Jones, Susan Haefner, Erin McGrath and Liz Power will be performing at Florida Studio Theatre through Feb. 14. Photo by Maria Lyle. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 119

PAGE 120

Subscriptions for all three FST Cabaret shows may be purchased for as little as $35, a news release points out, while tickets for all four Mainstage shows may be purchased for as little as $45 online at by phone at 366-9000 or by visiting the box ofce at 1241 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. Single tickets for The Prima Donnettes cost from $18 to $36; for Thurgood, from $36 to $39. Artist John-Norman Tuck of Sarasota recently presented two large-scale paintings to the Manatee Players in Bradenton. Well known as a hairstylist at Green Ginger Hair Design on St. Armands Circle as well as an artist, Tuck says he is a tremendous fan of the musical theater. The subject matter of his paintings ranges from famous personalities to landscapes to pets to ora. He also has donated paintings to Plymouth Harbor and the Sarasota Bay Club For more information about his artistry, visit A GIFT FROM THE HEART Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 120

PAGE 121

The Sarasota Conce rt Association (SCA) will continue its 2014 season with the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO) on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 8 p.m., part of its Great Performers Series The concert will be at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, located at 777 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, an SCA news release says. Individual tickets are $40, $50, $60 and $70. Tickets and information are available by calling 955-0040 or visiting The East Coast Chamber Orchestra, a con ductor-less string orchestra often known as ECCO, is composed of some of the classi cal music scenes most vibrant, gifted and busy young string players, including soloists, chamber musicians and members of major American orchestras, the release points out. As ECCO, the group convenes for select periods each year to explore and perform dif ferent musical works and to indulge in the joy and camaraderie of classical music-making, the release adds. ECCO was formed in 2001 when a group of young musicians, mostly colleagues and friends who had rst crossed paths at lead ing conservatories and music festivals across the country, envisioned the creation of a democratically run, self-conducted chamber orchestra that would thrive on the delights, growth and conviviality that can be part of classical music-making, the release contin ues. The group made its New York City debut ASSOCIATION TO PRESENT THE EAST COAST CHAMBER ORCHESTRA The East Coast Chamber Orchestra will perform at the Van Wezel on Feb. 5. Photo courtesy of the orchestra Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 121

PAGE 122

in 2004, and it embarked on its rst U.S. tour in 2006. Fourteen years later, ECCOs inter pretations of new and old works, coupled with passionate and joyous playing, continue to earn its members critical acclaim and an enthusiastic following at concerts and festi vals worldwide, the release adds. ECCOs Sarasota concert will take listeners on a musical voyage through time, begin ning with Mozarts Divertimento in B Flat Major, K. 137 and then leaping into the 21st century with David Ludwigs Virtuosity: Five Micro-Concertos for String Orchestra which was commissioned for the orchestra in 2013 by the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, the release notes. The program also will include Eric Saties Gymnopdies No. 1 Judd Greensteins 2006 composition Four on the Floor Tristis est Anima Mea by Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa and Ravels String Quartet in F Major The Great Performers Series season will continue on Feb. 19 with the historic St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Russias oldest symphony orchestra. The Sarasota perfor mance will be conducted by Nikolai Alexeev, and it will feature pianist Denis Kozhukhin, the release says. % The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched they must be felt with the heart. Helen Keller 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 24, 2014 Page 122

PAGE 123

Israel, the U .S. and the Muddle East: Hope without Delusion will be the theme for a weekend event at Temple Sinai Jan. 24 and 25, the Temple has announced. Professor Mark Rosenblum, director of the Jewish Studies Program and Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College, will be the guest, a news release says. He is an award-winning historian who is an expert on the region and has often appeared on television as a skilled analyst, the release points out. He has met with the past six U.S. presidents to discuss the issue of American policy and the ArabIsraeli conict, the release adds. Most recently, he was awarded a prestigious Clinton Global Initiative grant for a public education pro ject about coexistence, the release says. Rosenblum will speak during the 6 p.m. Friday Shabbat service. Guests are invited to arrive at 5:15 p.m. for the welcome reception. He will continue his remarks during the 10 a.m. Saturday Shabbat service, the release notes. These services are free and everyone is welcome, the release points out. It will be an enlightening experience as Rosenblum recently returned from the region and has a fresh take on the subject, the release adds. For more information, email TS.SIR2014@ or visit for a complete list of topics and titles. Temple Sinai is located off Proctor Road in Sarasota. File photo MIDDLE EAST SCHOLAR TO BE GUEST OF TEMPLE SINAI JAN. 24-25 RELIGION BRIEFS

PAGE 124

The 19th A nnual Westar Religious Literacy Seminar in Sarasota will be held Feb. 7-8 at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Fruitville Road in Sarasota with the theme Does God Have a Future? Why It Matters Now The church which has a welcoming congre gation, is located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota a news release says. The early church relied on Plato, not Jesus, to talk about God, a news release points out. How did this come about? Religious studies scholars Joe Bessler and David Galston will explain [the answer] and show how later gen erations came to challenge the classical model of God, the release continues. Participants will learn about new language for God, assess recent attempts to accuse or defend God and attempt to answer the pressing question, Does God have a future? the release adds. Joseph A. Bessler is the Robert Travis Peake associate professor of theology at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK, where he also serves as associate dean, the release notes. He is the author of A Sca ndalous Jesus: How Three Historic Quests Changed Theology for the Better (2013). David Galston is a university chaplain and adjunct professor of philosophy at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, and academic adviser to the SnowStar Institute in Canada, the release explains. He is the author of Embracing the Human Jesus: A Wisdom Path for Contemporary Christianity (2012). The organizer of the seminar is Westar Institute The program will be sponsored by the Advocates for Religious Literacy at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota in cooperation with Advocates for Religious Literacy in Florida. The fee for all events is $60 if paid by Jan. 24, the release notes. After that date, the cost will be $75. Single session fees are $20 for the Friday lec ture; $20 for the Saturday morning workshop; and $30 for the Saturday afternoon workshop. For more information, call David Ryan at 3654027 or email WESTAR RELIGIOUS LITERACY SEMINAR SET FOR FEBRUARY Temple Emanu-El, located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, invites members of the community to a Shabbat dinner on Friday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m., with Shabbat services fol lowing at 7:30 p.m. This festive meal will welcome Temple mem bers and community guests for delicious food in a warm and friendly atmosphere, TEMPLE EMANU-EL TO HOST SHABBAT DINNER ON JAN. 31 a news release says. Chicken and vegetar ian options will be offered, along with side dishes, salad and dessert. The cost is $18 per adult and $8 per child ages 6 to 12; children ages 5 and under will be admitted free. Reservations are required by Jan. 27. For more information or to make a reservation, call Ethel Gross at 388-7899. Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 124

PAGE 125

Little girls and their fathers, grandpas or special friends are warmly invited to the Daddy-Daughter Dance on Sunday, Feb. 9, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, located at 151 McIntosh Road in Sarasota, the Temple has announced. Back by popular demand, Temple Emanu-Els third biannual Daddy-Daughter Dance will feature a disco ball, music and dancing; a nail salon and makeup station; nger sandwiches, chicken ngers, macaroni and cheese, fruit, crudits, tea, root beer oats and a gallery of homemade desserts; father-daughter games and crafts; professional father-daughter portra its; and a rafe for prizes, including a father-daughter dinner at Michaels on East and Vera Bradley gear, a news release says. Every girl will receive raffle tickets and a long-stemmed rose. Admission to the Daddy Daughter Dance is $18 with paid reservations received by Feb. 3, or $30 at the door, the release notes. Payment may be mailed to Temple Emanu-El, Attention: Daddy-Daughter Dance, 151 McIntosh Road, Sarasota, Florida 34232; please note the daughters age on the reservation. For more informat ion, call 356-3006. PUBLIC INVITED TO DADDY-DAUGHTER DANCE AT TEMPLE EMANU-EL Alexandra and Madison Witherspoon wore matching dresses at Temple Emanu-Els most recent DaddyDaughter Dance. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 125

PAGE 126

Marc Rosenthal and daughter Tayla enjoyed the festivities at the most recent Daddy-Daughter Dance at Temple Emanu-El. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 126

PAGE 127

Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman escorted his daughter, Eden, to the Daddy-Daughter Dance. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 127 %

PAGE 128

YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 24+ 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 24+ JANUARY Dabbert Gallery presents 10th Anniversary Exhibition Through Feb. 1; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free admission. Information: 9551315 or 24+ 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 24+ JANUARY Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents The Whipping Man Through Feb. 2; times vary; 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 3661505 or 26 JANUARY ASCS presents The Dave Bennett Quartet Jan. 26, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $40-45. Information: 306-1202 or 31 JANUARY Jazz Club of Sarasota presents vocalist Kit Moran Jan. 31, 2 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church, 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Admission: $7 for members/$12 for non-members. Information: 366-1552 or 18 FEBRUARY FSU/Asolo Conservatory presents How I Learned To Drive Feb. 18 through Mar. 9; times vary; Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $27 to 29. Information: 351-8000 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 128

PAGE 129

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 HMMM ... PERHAPS SWIMMING IN THAT CESSPOOL WAS A BAD IDEA. SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS