Sarasota News Leader


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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)

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the source institution.
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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 33 May 2, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. Inside THE PINELLAS PARADOX 19 COUNTS OF RENTAL FRAUD OUCH!




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


One topic I seldom have mentioned in this space but one that is vital to our publication is quality of photographs. Many of you have taken the time to remark on how good the News Leader looks. Those of you who view it on an iPad get the fullest sense of my husbands vision for this weekly news magazine; yet, regardless of whether you are using an Apple device or something else, we want the images accompanying our stories to look as good as possible. When I rst learned to lay out pages years ago at the Pelican Press one of the rst things I heard from General Manager Karen Koblenz and from Cleve Posey, the News Leader s produc tion manager who held the same position at the Pelican was that we had to use high-resolution images. It was not always easy to make people understand what constituted such a photo, since I am not as tech nologically literate as I would like to be. Now, even cellphones have the capability of taking photos of sufcient quality to work well in the News Leader And we readily welcome readers contributions of images they have tak en with their smartphones, especially when they have captured activities that illustrate a story exceptionally well. The past couple of weeks, Cleve has had to tell me several times that photos I have given him for stories just would not work. I have made it plain to him that he is the nal arbi ter on that point. Do not ever hesitate to send us pictures! Just understand that some work better than others. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


THE PINELLAS PARADOX 19 COUNTS OF RENTAL FRAUD NEWS & COMMENTARY THE PINELLAS PARADOX 8 Analysis: Statistics from the Clearwater shelter seen as a model raise hard questions about assistance to the homeless Stan Zimmerman 19 COUNTS OF RENTAL FRAUD 14 A Sarasota chiropractor is arrested on charges related to his misrepresentation of accommodations in a Siesta Key house Rachel Brown Hackney OUCH! 23 County commissioner hit with Florida Commission on Ethics complaint Cooper Levey-Baker A SHRINKING DEFICIT 29 Though a projected county revenue shortfall in 2016 has been shrinking, a County Commission discussion this week reected disagreement over some reserve levels Roger Drouin A BACKUP PLAN 33 Late-hour state funding cut forces Benderson Park supporters to accelerate private fundraising efforts and the setback comes amid rising scrutiny Roger Drouin THE PRIVATIZATION TRACK 39 The County Commission approves a study of its bus services operating expenses Roger Drouin DID OPPOSES PAID PARKING 43 Worries aired about shoppers deserting downtown for the Mall at University Town Center after it is open Stan Zimmerman DISTRESS OVER A DUNE 46 County staff has been elding residents questions about a Ritz-Carlton project on the Lido Key shore Rachel Brown Hackney POSITIVE TRENDS 51 Sarasota County gets a good mid-year scal checkup Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article PHOTO CREDITS Front Cover: Quiet Shade Norman Schimmel Sarasota Leisure: A Table for Five Norman Schimmel


NEWS BRIEFS OPINION KEEPING CRIME DOWN 56 The Sheriffs Ofce continues to build on the success achieved since Tom Knight took was rst elected Rachel Brown Hackney SEWER SYSTEMS AND OPEN FIRES 60 The City Commission will hear more about Lift Station 87 and consider several matters regarding the homeless when it meets on May 5 Stan Zimmerman A NEW START FOR HEALTHY START 64 Healthy Start fundraising luncheon offers opportunity to meet the nonprots new chief Cooper Levey-Baker HIGHER PARKING FINE SUGGESTED 66 The leader of a Siesta Key organization says the $25 cost of a parking ticket does not deter repeat offenders on a neighborhood street Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 71 CRIME BLOTTER 80 OPINION EDITORIAL 87 County Commission should use excess tourism taxes for asset development instead of promotions SARASOTA LEISURE AN EVENING OF UNEXPECTED DELIGHTS 92 Kobborg, Cojocaru and friends wow Sarasota audiences Elinor Rogosin A&E BRIEFS 98 RELIGION BRIEFS 106 COMMUNITY CALENDAR 111 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 112 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article


Join Us For A Fundraising Reception Supporting SAVE OUR SIESTA SAND 2 Meet And Greet The Directors And Environmentalists That Oppose Dredging Big Pass FEATURED PRESENTERS Justin Bloom Esq. Environmental attorney and Director of Suncoast Waterkeeper Jono Miller Environmental activist who has studied the Myakka River, and shared duties coordinating the Environmental Studies Program at New College Rob Patten Former Executive Director of the Sarasota County Environmental Services Business Center Dr. David Shafer PhD Population ecologist and Principal of Shafer Consulting Peter van Roekens Environmental activist focused on navigation; Founder and Chair of the Boaters CoalitionSpace is limited, so please R.S.V.P. by Monday, 5/12, to Maria via phone at (941) 924-4900 or via email to to make a reservation. There will be several short presentations followed by the opportunity to ask questions in a small group setting. Wine and hors doeuvres will be served. Our fundraising goal is $50,000 to defend Siesta Key via legal action. So far we have achieved only 6% of our goal so please be as generous as you can every contribution large or small helps us reach our goal. R.S.V.P. Click To Donate Online Via PayPal Make your check out to SOSS2, Inc. and Mail to: 6600 S. Tamiami Tr. Sarasota, FL 34231DONATEHelp Us Save Our Siesta SandWednesday, May 14th 5:30-7:30PMBest Western Plus Siesta Key 6600 S. Tamiami Tr. Sarasota, FL 34231en Watch The SOSS2 Video


How many free meals does it take to turn one homeless person into a productive member of society? Thanks to the Pinellas County Sheriffs Ofce, there is a method to solve that equation. Pinellas Safe Harbor (PSH) is promoted as the model shelter for indigents. It is a come-asyou-are facility offering a full gamut of social services to help people get back on their feet. Run by the Pinellas County Sheriffs Ofce (PCSO), it opened on Jan. 6, 2011. Since that date, the PCSO has kept detailed statistical records on it. Those three years offer insights into homelessness and vagrancy on the west side of Tampa Bay. Because Pinellas S afe Harbor is the model proposed for a homeless shelter in Sarasota, the PSH experience provides a window into what Sarasota can anticipate if it opens a sim ilar facility. WHO IS HOMELESS? PSH is not a jail. But it is administered by dep uties familiar with jails and the record keeping required in those facilities. The deputies at PSH are joined by 17 social service providers from private and public agencies, plus repre sentatives of the Public Defenders Ofce and the St. Petersburg Police Department, all try ing to put lives back together o ne by one. The Pinellas Safe Harbor near Clearwater has been called a model for a Sarasota County homeless shelter. Image courtesy Pinellas Safe Harbor ANALYSIS: STATISTICS FROM THE CLEARWATER SHELTER SEEN AS A MODEL RAISE HARD QUESTIONS ABOUT ASSISTANCE TO THE HOMELESS THE PINELLAS PARADOX By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY


The magnitude of the p roblem is eye-open ing. In 2013, PSH served 5,110 individuals, many more than once. Among them were 433 described as having a special need because of mental illness. Alcohol and drug addic tion were listed as reasons for 639 people seeking help. Therefore, roughly 20 percent, or one-fth, of the people assisted had mental illness or addiction issues. Among the 5,110 people served by PSH in 2013, 638 were also veterans of active mili tary duty, or roughly 12.5 percent of the PSH population. That was down slightly from the 2012 percentage of 13.6 percent and the 13.1 gure for 2011. Overall, r oughly one-eighth of the people coming to Pinellas Safe Harbor were veterans who served on active duty at some point in their lives. People coming through the PSH gates are overwhelmingly male, but with some differ ences by age. The deputies reported statistics for age and sex, and the differences may por tend an unfortunate trend. The oldest age category 62-plus shows a consistent ratio of 4:1, men-to-women in the shelter. To add humanity to that ratio, in the second quarter of 2012, there were 46 males and 12 females in the shelter older than 62. Quarter by quarter and year by year, the ratio of 4:1 has been steady over the past three years. A Cardno consultant created this concept drawing of a shelter on the 1330 N. Osprey Ave. site in Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 9


The youngest grou p, ho wever, has a different ratio. For 18to 30-year-olds, the gure uc tuates between 2.5:1 and 3:1. Taking the third quarter of 2013 as an example, 203 men were in PSH along with 72 women. By far, the greatest number of people in the shelter continues to be those between 31 and 50 years old, with a slow change from 4:1 to 3:1 for the gender ratio over the threeyear period. More women are showing up in Pinellas Countys shelter as homeless. IS IT WORKING? Pinellas Safe Harbor is not only a come-asyou-are shelter. Drunk, stoned, sopping wet, broken leg, no difference. Welcome. But it is also a leave-when-you-want shelter. It offers outdoor lodging, prov iding refuge from the rain. But to get inside the climate-controlled building, you need to agree to sign up for pro grams. A case manager is assigned to help. The objec tive is simple: housing; going from homeless During a presentation to a joint meeting of the City and County commissions on April 22, staff presented this slide with cost estimate comparisons for Pinellas Safe Harbor and a Sarasota shelter. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 10


to homed. While there are a myriad of other issues, the fundamental objective is nding for its clients a clean, dry, safe and permanent place to sleep. How does PSH rate? One of the tables provided by the Sheriffs Office has the heading Destination upon Discharge. It shows how poor the success rate is. Of the 5,110 who entered PSH in 2013, 126 left to occupy a rental house or apartment. Sixteen bought a home. The 142 people who returned to a non-subsidized life represented about 2.8 percent of the 5,110. To provide per spective on that, the chance of bein g accepted after applying for admission to Harvard is 5.9 percent (the graduation rate is 97 percent). A person is twice as likely to get into and grad uate from Harvard than to come out of PSH and move into a non-subsidized home. What about the other 97.2 percent of people at PSH in 2013? In the same table, Destination upon Discharge, is the label unknown. It accounts for 3,370 people, or 66 percent, of the persons who came in the door. Add the 287 who went to places not meant for human habitation (street), and that means 68 per cent more than two-thirds were back on the street or staff could not account for them. In reality, the number is larger. A huge major ity of the people coming to PSH is expelled. The facility has an 8 p.m. curfew; statistics from the Sheriffs Ofce listed missed cur few as the reason 4,653 persons had for leaving PSH. In this table, there is a also line for completed program. In 2013, only two people both Cardno, the consulting rm working with Sarasota County staff, produced this concept drawing of a shelter on the 1800 N. East Ave. site in Sarasota. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 11


in th e rst quarter of the year completed program. Fourteen left for housing oppor tunity, and two reached maximum time allowed in program. The remainder fe ll into noncompliance with program (50), criminal activity (60) and disagreement with rules (234). Combined with the 4,653 who could not meet curfew, a total of 4,997 did not express a willingness to change their behavior. That is 98 percent of the people who entered the shelter in 2013. WHAT IS THE ANSWER? When PSH opened, the Sheriffs Ofce fed the occupants. In 2011, it served 228,102 meals; the following year, the nu mber was 69,527. The Metro politan Ministries began to help and by May 2012, it was serving three meals a day, taking over from the Sheriffs Ofce. In 2013, the Ministries provided 335,350 meals. If you divide that last number by the 142 peo ple that year who moved into non-subsidized rental housing or bought a home, it took 2,362 free meals to move one person into hous ing. If you use the number of people who completed program, that indicated it took 168,675 free meals for a person to make the transition. Assuming an individual eats three meals a day, that would be 153 years of meals. % Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 12


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After a months-long investigation prompted by reports of rental fraud that The Sarasota News Leader turned over to the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce, a Sarasota chiroprac tor was arrested on April 28 o n 19 counts of Scheme to Defraud, with victims across the country saying they are owed more than $53,000, the Sheriffs Ofce reported. The charges against Craig Siegel, 44, of 5174 Sandy Cove Ave. on Siesta Key came after his arrest earlier the same day for throwing a bucket of urine on a county Code Enforcement Ofcer, the Sheriffs Ofce said in a news release. The rental fraud incidents allegedly occurred between Jan. 14, 2013 and April 28 of this year, accord ing to the Sheriffs Ofce report. In late January, the News Leader con tacted th e Sheriffs On July 16, 2013, several vehicles with out-of-state license plates were parked in the driveway of the house at 6537 Sabal Drive. File photo A SARASOTA CHIROPRACTOR IS ARRESTED ON CHARGES RELATED TO HIS MISREPRESENTATION OF ACCOMMODATIONS IN A SIESTA KEY HOUSE 19 COUNTS OF RENTAL FRAUD Unfortunately we cannot give all the guest (sic) their money back since we have had to litigate this situation. Again, were (sic) sorry, but we cannot draw blood from a stone. Craig Siegel In a March 12 Email To A Renter Of the 6537 Sabal Drive House By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


Craig Siegel is shown in the mugshot taken after his arrest on April 28. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 15


Ofce after people emailed the publication with allegations that Siegel had refused to refund money to them after they entered into rental agreements for a house at 6537 Sabal Drive on south Siesta Key. The readers had learned online of the News Leader s articles regarding a lawsuit Sarasota County filed against Siegel in July 2013 for his refusal to respond to a Special Magistrates orders to address code violations at the house. T he April 28 Sherif fs Office news release said, Multiple people reported paying Craig Siegel, operator of Siesta Resorts LLC and Siesta Vacations Inc., to rent a 12-bedroom home in the 6500 block of Sabal Drive. Siegel modied the structure in 2013 but did so with out the proper permits, so Sarasota County Code Enforcement ordered him to dismantle the lower level new const ruction. The home An aerial view shows the location of the house at 6537 Sabal Drive on Siesta Key. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 16


A March 12 email from Craig Siegel to a family whose members had planned to rent the Sabal Drive house and then learned it had fewer bedrooms than advertised outlined the familys options. The email was signed, Respectfully Dr Craig. Contributed image Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 17


has just ve bed rooms, but Siegel still adver tises it as a 12-bedroom property. The release added that the 19 victims in the case were either forced to stay at the prop erty without adequate accommodations or sacriced the money they spent and had to pay to stay elsewhere. The release continues, Siegel told the victims to sue him, claiming he did not have money to return. However, detectives obtained nan cial records showing Siegel paid $172,500 to a Fidelity Investment Plan last year. Detectives identied additional victims, but they said they did not want to be part of the criminal investigation, fearing they would lose money they already had paid Siegel, the release says. Siegel was ordered held on $55,000 bond, according to the Sheriffs Ofce report. He was released on a cash bond in the evening of April 28, jail records show. His arraignment has been set for May 23. Siegel was listed as unemployed on his arrest record. An April 29 check of state chiropractic licensing documents shows Siegels license expired on March 31. It originally was issued by the state on Feb. 13, 1998. The News Leader learned earlier this year that Siegel was in the process of selling his State Street Spine practice to a couple relo cating to Sarasota. THE VICTIMS One victim, who asked that her name not be used, provid ed the News Leader with an email Siegel sent her on March 12 after she inquired about a refund for the house (the News Leader has not corrected spelling, punctuation or grammar): I deeply deeply apologize for this unfortu nate news, Siegel wrote. I have been doing vacation rentals for the last 12 years. In all this time I have been able to bring great places to visitors from around the world. In this time we have built quite a reputation, many, many return visitors, and great first hand recommendations throughout the industry. Unfortunately, this will change drastically due to the very, very unfortunate circumstances we have come to experience over the past several months. He continued, We cannot give very specic details due to ongoing liatigation, but I will give a broad reason for this email. Several months ago, a renter caused a major incidence at our managed property. We had to gut and demolish the entire lower level. We also were contacted by local county ofcials with zoning ordinance issues that stated we legally cannot manage or lease the lower level of the property in its current state. Siegel added, Trying to understand the zon ing, ordinances, and rebuild this property has been a total nightmare to say the least. We have ongoing litigation, and the cost of rebuilding, engineering, liens to the property, and many, many other issues have put us at a nancial crossroads. Siegel also wrote that he could not offer a refund, but he could give the family a credit for future use of the house, adding, We woul d Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 18


Sarasota County Code Enforcement Ofcer John Lally issued this Notice of Violation for the 6537 Sabal Drive property on Nov. 19, 2012. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 19


love to give a full cash refu nd as it states in our agreement, unfortunately litigation and expenses have limited our funds. He further wrote, There will be some that will want to go the litigation route. I would understand this since in the contract it clearly states that its a 100% full refund. YES,, that is EXACTLY what it says. Unfortunately we can not give all the guest their money back since we have had to litigate this situation. Again, were sorry, but we cannot draw blood from a stone. Among the other victims in the rental fraud case were Ken and Sharon Thibodeau of Howell, MI, who contacted the News Leader earlier this year after reading its articles about Siegel and the Sabal Drive house. Ken Thibodeau provided the following state ment to the News Leader regarding his familys involvement in the case: My wife, Sharon, and I were shocked to hear of the urine throwing felony battery charges facing Dr. Craig Siegel, but also felt a bit of a stress relief knowing that he is also being charged with 19 counts of felony Scheme to Defraud after being jailed for the rst incident that occurred Monday morning. We knew that the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce was working hard on the rental fraud case against Craig Siegel, which kept growing as other people were coming forward with similar complaints to ours. We would like to com mend the professiona lism and hard work that Detective Mark LeFebvre has put forth in this case over the past 4 months. We are trust ing that Craig Siegel will step up and honor his statement that he m ade after post ing bond and being released from jail when asked, So they will get their money back? and he replied, Absolutely. Absolutely. Thibodeau was referring to video that accom panied an April 28 report by Evan Axelback of FOX 13 News in Tampa. Thibodeau added, If Dr. Craig Siegel does not follow through with refunding our $5,040 immediately, then we are hopeful that the court system will take action and seize all of his properties and assets and consequently force him to pay FULL restitution to all of the victims named in the suit against him. Others victims are in Louisville, KY; Reston, VA; Ballston Spa, NY; Buffalo, NY; Alto, MI; Olathe, KS; Neenah, WI; St. Louis, MO; Old Orcutt, CA; Fairview, NC; North Prairie, WI; Monroeville, PA; Anoka, MI; Warner Robins, GA; Sarasota and Venice, according the Sheriffs Ofce report. BATTERY ON THE CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER Siegel was charged with Criminal Mischief and Battery on a Code Inspector in connec tion with April 28 incident involving James S. Holderby of the Code Enforcement Ofce. The Sheriffs Ofce report on that incident says Holderby has been involved in ongoing investigations with [Siegel] with regards to [Siegels] residence [on Sandy Cove Avenue]. The victim and [Siegel] were in court approx imately one week earlier, further conrming that [Siegel] was familiar with [Holderby], the report adds. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 20


According to t he agenda for the April 25 hearings of the Special Code Enforcement Magistrate, Holderby was present to testify in a case involving 5174 Sand Cove Land Trust. Siegel sold the property at 5174 Sandy Cove Ave. to that trust for $450,000 on Nov. 26, 2013, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraisers Ofce. The trustee of the corpo ration is James Radcliffe. About 7:20 a.m. on April 28, Holderby arrived at the Sandy Cove residence in his Sarasota County truck with the county emblem on the doors, the Sheriffs Ofce report says. After Holderby knocked on the door, the report continues, he heard a dog barking for about 30 seconds and then he heard footsteps com ing up behind him. As Holderby turned, Siegel threw a bucket lled with urine on him, the report says, a nd asked Ho lderby what he was doing on t he property. Holderby told a Sheriffs deputy that he began lming Siegel with his smartphone. At that point, according to the report, Siegel grabbed a hose and began to wash off the area where the urine had cov ered the ground and steps. Then Holderby called the Sheriffs Ofce. When Deputy Michael Day arrived, the report says, Holderby showed him his shirt and shorts, which were soaked in urine, the report notes. Holderby had a replace ment shirt to wear, the report adds, but Day could smell the odor on the shirt Holderby was wearing when Siegel allegedly threw the urine on him. The battery charge in that case is a felony, the report says, while the Criminal Mischief count is a misdemeanor. The combined bond on those counts was set at $1,620. % 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 May 2, 2014 Page 21


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A Saraso ta activist this week filed a for mal complaint against Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta with the Florida Commission on Ethics, accusing him of cast ing votes on matters involving companies with which he has nancial ties. On March 19 Adrien Lucas one of the founders of the annual Atomic Holiday Bazaar and an often-outraged voice in local politics appeared in the County Commission Chambers to oppose the countys long-term oper ating agreement with Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates. SANCA is the nonprofit associated with Benderson Development that is managing the work-inprogress rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park. Lucas, red up, called SANCA a slush fund and criticized Barbetta for SANCAs hir ing of Mary Kenealy Events for nearly $21,000 in catering services in 2 013. Kenealy Events is an event planning com pany run, according to Barbetta, by his wife. But paperw ork filed Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta. File photo COUNTY COMMISSIONER HIT WITH FLORIDA COMMISSION ON ETHICS COMPLAINT OUCH! I have no reason to believe this is going to go anywhere. I dont trust these people. Adrien Lucas Resident Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


with the Florida Division of Corporations listed Barbetta as Kenealy Events man ager, leading Lucas and others to question Barbettas true relationship with the com pany and SANCA. At that March 19 meeting, Barbetta, in fact, recused himself from voting on the SANCA operating agreement, telling the board he was doing so despite receiving no remuneration from Kenealy Events. The operating agreement with SANCA was eventually approved 4-0, without Barbetta. Five days later, updated state paperwork began showing Mary Kenealy as the man ager of the company, rather than Barbetta. Lucas remains unsatised. This week, she led a formal complaint with the state Commission on Ethics and posted the info to her personal blog, Exile on Main Street In it, she charges that while Barbetta recused himself from that March vote, he should have done so on previous SANCArelated votes as well. In addition, she alleges that Barbetta has voted on economic devel opment grants involving companies in which he holds stock: Venices PGT Industries and Lakewood Ranchs Sunovia (now known as Evolucia). Barbettas so-called Form 6, led with the Commission on Ethics, does indeed list both companies, among others, as ones in which he holds stock. Florida Statute 112.3143 dictates that no county, municipal, or other local public of cer shall vote in an official capacity upon any measure which would inure to his or her special private gain or loss, but the laws Atomic Holiday Bazaar organizer Adrien Lucas (left) with past Atomic Holiday Bazaar participant Richeal Parisi. Photo courtesy of Adrien Lucas Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 24


The current ling for Mary Kenealy Events with the Division of Corporations on the website of the Florida Department of State lists Kenealy as the manager. Image from the Florida Department of State Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 25


The 2013 annual report for Mary Kenealy Events, led with the state Division of Corporations, lists Joe Barbetta as the manager and is signed by Barbetta. Image from Florida Department of State Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 26


denition of a s pecial private gain or loss isnt exactly crystal-clear to the layman. Your guess is as good as mine. I have no reason to believe this is going to go anywhere, Lucas tells The Sarasota News Leader but not because the allegations arent valid. I dont trust these people, she says. They bend the rules. According to Sarasota attorney Morgan Bentley the chairman of the Commission on Ethics, the process works like this: Virlindia Doss, the commissions executive director, will determine whether the complaint has legal sufciency i.e., does the complaint actually describe an ethical violation the com mission is empowered to investigate? If the answer is yes, commission staff ers will begin their investigation and return to the commission board to report whether there is probable cause to believe a violation has occurred. If they feel one has, the case will then be made public and it will be con sidered during a secret hearing. Bentley says the whole process can take anywhere from six months to eight years. Barbetta tells the News Leader he cannot comment on the case. The state Ethics Commissio n basically po ints that out that things should remain condential until they have a nding, he says. I did nothing wrong and I have no comment. He adds that he doesnt know how long the investigation will take, but he is planning to respond next week. Bentley, likewise, cannot comment on the case and he tells the News Leader he hasnt even seen the complaint. In her blog post, Lucas writes that she wants Bentley to recuse him self from the process since he is Barbettas attorney. While not commenting on Lucas complaint, Bentley tells the News Leader he would never be involved in any case involving Barbetta. I wouldnt be in the room. Lucas says the commission informed her that she could end up being liable for attorneys fees if her complaint goes nowhere, a pros pect she admits is worrisome. I dont have a large pot to p*** in, she says. Im not getting paid to do this. Even if the commission nds a problem, it could simply ask Barbetta to correct some paperwork, Lucas points out. People may think that Im being a naysayer, she says, but I have no reason to believe this is going to go anywhere, considering how inuential Mr. Barbettas fri ends are. % 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 May 2, 2014 Page 27


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


Sarasota Countys budget outlook for future scal years is looking a little brighter. During a workshop on Tuesday, April 29, county staff reported that a projected 2016 general fund short fall has shrunk from a projection of $18.9 million as recently as February to $8.7 million. New property tax value projections ini tially lowered that number to $16.3 million. (See the related story in this issue.) However, the projected gap will be cut fur ther, thanks to a plan to utilize money freed up from reducing var ious departments reserve funds. Those accounts had accrued $7.6 million. This is very good news, Steve, Botelho, the countys nancial management officer Chairman Charles Hines asks a question during the fund balance discussion on April 29. Photo by Roger Drouin THOUGH A PROJECTED COUNTY REVENUE SHORTFALL IN 2016 HAS BEEN SHRINKING, A COUNTY COMMISSION DISCUSSION THIS WEEK REFLECTED DISAGREEMENT OVER SOME RESERVE LEVELS A SHRINKING DEFICIT I am much more comfortable with where we are heading. Our budget is in much better shape. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


and acting assistant administrator, told the commissioners. The commissioners, in turn, lauded County Administrator Tom Harmer and his staff for reining in expenses and for starting the bud get workshops early this year so the board could take a close look at the countys s cal health. After reviewing the projections, Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson pointed to the predicted FY 2016 shortfall being below $10 million and called it less worrisome. I am much more comfortable with where we are heading, Robinson said. Our budget is in much better shape. UP FOR DEBATE Despite the stronger overall budget outlook, some disagreement arose over just how much money the commissioners should leave in 18 different general fund reserves, an issue that will likely be debated this summer during later workshops as they hammer out the nal spending plan for the 2015 scal year. A discus sion Tuesday about the current level of a compensated absence reserve is reec tive of the board members contrasting views. The fund sets aside $8.8 million in case a large number of employees resign or retire and must be compensated for days of leave they have built up. Commissioner Joe Barbetta suggested lower ing that reserve by $5 million. I thought weve had too much money in there, Barbetta said, when compared to other counties. Commissioner Nora Patterson countered that while she is not opposed to taking a look at that reserve level, she does not want to lower it so much that in future years, a large number of employees could leave at one time, mak ing it necessary for the commission to take money from the general fund to cover their compensation. Patterson also argued against tapping into the countys general fund reserve and eco nomic uncertainty reserve accounts. I dont want to take the reserves down to nothing, Patterson said. County Administrator Tom Harmer (second from left) addresses the County Commission during the April 29 workshop. At left is Glen Zimmerman, chief information ofcer for the county; to the right of Harmer is Assistant Administrator Steve Botelho. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 30


Furt her, she pointed out that having rainy day reserves helped the county cope with the recession. Thank heavens they were put in place, she said. Patterson noted the economic uncertainty fund will be depleted in the 2016 scal year, based on current projections. In future years, we should try to build something back up, she told her colleagues. The commissioners did agree to lower the medical fund reserve from a level reecting 20 percent of total projected claims to 16.67 per cent, which is more in line with the amount kept in such funds in Lee and Hillsborough counties, for example. Rising expenses for the medical reserve, an insurance program self-funded by the county, has led to less money in the account, staff has pointed out since last year. We are not meeting the reserve policy [of 20 percent], Botelho said, and that is not a good thing. However, he pointed out, that policy previously set by the County Commission was higher than the industry standard. The actual reserves in the fund reect 18 per cent of projected claims, according to data provided to the board. % A chart shows totals in several reserve funds for Sarasota County at the end of the 2013 scal year on Sept. 30, 2013. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 31


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In a late-hour reversal Monday, April 28, state lawmakers killed $2.5 million in funding for the Nathan Benderson Park rowing venue. That setback forces the nonprot that was created to manage the facility to come up with a plan to accelerate its private fundraising efforts. Despite the denial of state funding this year, Paul Blackketter, president of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), is very condent the $52-million rowing complex will be ready to go by 2016, well in time to host the 2017 World Rowing Championship. But it is going to take $11 million in private donations in one year, and another request next year for state funding from the Legislature. The increasingly controversial row ing park touted by Teams compete in an event during the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association (FSRA) Sweep Championships on April 26 at Benderson Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel LATE-HOUR STATE FUNDING CUT FORCES BENDERSON PARK SUPPORTERS TO ACCELERATE PRIVATE FUNDRAISING EFFORTS AND THE SETBACK COMES AMID RISING SCRUTINY A BACKUP PLAN The message we got from our legislators is Show us you have a privatepublic partnership. Paul Blackketter President Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates By Roger Drouin County Editor


supporters as a state and local economic gen erator and scrutinized by county governance watchdogs has already received nearly $30 million in public funding, including $10 mil lion the state signed off on and $19.5 million from Sarasota County. Yet, state legislators this week balked at giving the project more public funding. They want to see a successful fundraising effort under way before funneling more state dollars into it. Late Monday, following legislative negotia tions, the $2.5 million appropriation for the rowing complex appeared on a list of new projects for the state budget. Then the fund ing disappeared. The message we got from our legislators is Show us you have a private-public partner ship, Blackketter told The Sarasota News Leader Tuesday as he was preparing to leave Tallahassee, where he had been lobbying for the state funding. They want to know the private [money] will be there for the facility, which I think is fair. The funding setback comes amid rising scru tiny for SANCA, the nonprot charged with managing the rowing complex. In early April, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that SANCA had failed to file the proper state paperwork to allow it, as a charitable organiza tion, to collect tax-deductible donations. That ling problem was quickly corrected, but not before it caused heartburn and egg on the face for the SANCA board as well as county commissioners, as Commissioner Carolyn Mason told her colleagues during their April 23 meet ing. The incident also raised more Some people watch events from the shore as others stroll through Benderson Park during the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association Sweep Championships on April 26. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 34


questions about t he nancial management of the rowing venue. The project has been ercely criticized by a group of residents concerned the nonprot is relying too heavily on Sarasota County and state funding instead of private monies the organization has promised to collect. Cathy Antunes, president of Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government, has pointed to what she characterizes as the alarming lack of a competitive bidding process and other fiscal safeguards that could have kept the costs of the project in check. The worst combination is to have a public-pri vate project without any competitive bidding that is run by a private entity, Antunes said. The county recently formally exempted row ing center construction from procurement and bidding, which is unfortunate and fails to protect the public purse. A NEW PLAN Amid all the scrutiny and this weeks setback, Blackketter is determined to see concepts for a boathouse and world-class racing cen ter become reality at the park, which he and other supporters say will become a magnet for more sports tourism. SANCA will spend the next year fundraising, with the goal of raising $11 million in private donations for necessary equipment and struc tures before the World Championships can be held. The pendulum has swung to the private sector to fund-raise and get the park started, Blackketter told the News Leader If that $11 million goal is met, representatives of the nonprot will go back to Tallahassee in Participants in the FSRA Sweep Championships gather under a tent at Benderson Park on April 26. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 35


2015 and a sk for a matching $11 million con tribution from the state. That is a switch from the groups previous strategy, which had settled on snaring addi tional state funding before SANCA went after private donations. That plan also called for SANCA to wait a few months for the com pletion of architectural renderings before launching its fundraising campaign. Although designs for the park, including a layout of a boathouse, have not been nished, accelerated fundraising efforts will start soon, Blackketter told the News Leader There is enough interest to probably start immediately, Blackketter said. Blackketter also told the News Leader he did not think the paperwork slip-up specically was the reason state legislators pulled the funding for the park this year as the budget was nalized. The p aperwork was something that got xed very quickly, Blackketter said. They are big picture people up here, and [our] showing them the partnership is intact is what they want to see. The SANCA president was referring to the concept of the rowing venue as the creation of public-private partnership the way it orig inally was pitched to local and state ofcials. If anything, the funding setback has a silver lining for Blackketter: [Development of the rowing facility] started at the very beginning as a private-public partnership, and this will allow us to demonstrate that, he said. RISING COSTS The projects estimated nal price tag keeps going up. As costs rise, so do worries. With $30 million already having come in the form of taxpayer support, Antunes, the Citizens group president, questions the new plan to bring in o nly $11 million in private Tents are set up for an event at Benderson Park before the USMasters Rowing Championships began in August 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel The worst combination is to have a publicprivate project without any competitive bidding that is run by a private entity. Cathy Antunes President Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 36


contribu tions, half of the $22 million SANCA says it still needs to complete the project. SANCA ought to take ownership of funding the remaining $22 million through their fund raising efforts, Antunes said. A partnership implies a 50/50 commitment. The estimated public cost of the project is exceeding the $31.2 million expense of reno vating Ed Smith Stadium to serve as the Spring Training home for the Baltimore Orioles. In addition to the county signing off on $19.5 million for the rowing facilitys creation and the state allocating $10 million toward that effort, the county has pledged another $788,000 annually for maintenance and per sonnel costs for the complex. The County Commission also authorized the county administrator to direct up to $100,000 more each year for nonrecurring expenses without consulting the board. To call it a public-private partnership is a joke, Antunes told the News Leader It is a public project. In comparison, while the effort to bring the Orioles to Sarasota was not perfect in her view, Antunes said, at least the Orioles contri bution to the undertaking was much clearer. HEARTBURN During the County Commissions full-day bud get workshop on Tuesday, April 29, the topic of the Benderson Park funding cut did not come up during a review of legislative issues affecting the county. Last week, the board debated whether recent missteps at the rowing facility suggested more oversight was needed SANCA had failed to le the necessary paper work in time with the st ate to maintain its ability to take in tax-deductible donations. Although the filing problem was quickly corrected, Commissioner Carolyn Mason said the controversy had caused her heart burn and that perhaps the county should be exercising more direct oversight of the non prot. Mason added that she wanted SANCA to succeed, but she was concerned about the situation. For whatever reason, this happened, and we got egg on our faces as well, because we have an investment, and Manatee County does, too, Mason said. However, no o ther commissioner backed Mason. Chairman Charles Hines did say that along with embarrassing SANCA, the incident had left mud on the county commissioners faces. County Administrator Tom Harmer and Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker both attend SANCA board meetings, Harmer told the board, offering a level of oversight with which the commission seemed comfortable. Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker con tributed to thi s report. % Paul Blackketter. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 37


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The Sa raso ta County commissioners this week gave staff the go-ahead to conduct a thorough study of the operating expenses of the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) bus system. The ind ependent cost estimate (ICE) will focus on ways t he sys t em can be run more efficiently. More sig nicantly, it will mark the first step toward evaluating whether privatization of the transit system would save mo ney. Count y Administrator Tom Harmer told the commissioners on April 29 that before staff undertook any further exploration of the privatization proposal, he wanted to know whether they would prefer a study of that option for just some of SCATs services or all of them. Im very much in favor of pur suing a study on this, replied Commissioner Nora Patterson, referring to a review of the entire system. A Sarasota County Area Transit paratransit bus (right) is stopped at Southgate Mall in Sarasota at the same time a SCAT hybrid bus is picking up passengers. File photo THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES A STUDY OF ITS BUS SERVICES OPERATING EXPENSES THE PRIVATIZATION TRACK We are reviewing this to see if we can get the same level of service or better level Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


However, If we go ahead and say explore this, that doesnt mean we are going to do this, she added, speaking of privatization. The county has been studying two big poten tial changes : privatization as well as merging SCAT with Manatee Countys transit system. The latter option hit a snag after the Manatee County commissioners backed away from discussions earlier this year. Nonetheless, the ICE will analyze the possibility of a merger. During previous meetings, Sarasota com missioners have discussed leasing the SCAT buses to a private operator while reta ining ownership of the eet and oversight of operations. On Tuesday, Chairman Charles Hines said he, too, was in favor of proceeding with this evaluation. After the cost-estimate results are completed, public meetings can be held to share the infor mation with residents, he added. The study will be conducted in-house, led by Sarasota County Interim Transportation Planning Director Jonathan Paul. The vote approving the review wa s unanimous. A graphic shown to the County Commission this week outlines some of the goals for a bus system study the board approved. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 40


DIFFERENT OPTIONS The intent [of the study] is to give the board the information needed to make a decision whether to do a privatization or a merger, Paul told the commissioners. It will look at data from comparable counties throughout the Southeast, especially how much their bus operations cost. It also will analyze SCATs miles of service and its costs per mile, per hour and per passenger. Paul pointed out that several companies throughout Florida offer transit management services, if the County Commission ulti mately chooses to pursue that option. Both Volusia and Collier counties have privatized bus systems. Hines reiterated Pattersons message that pursuing the study does not mean a decision has been made on SCATs future, although he said he expects to hear from residents who will have misunderstood the boards April 29 action. We will receive emails tomorrow say ing the county is privatizing, Hines pointed out. We are reviewing this to see if we can get the same level of service or better level while saving money, he added. Bus riders and drivers may oppose any attempt at privatization, but residents might support the potential cost savings, Patterson noted. Glama Carter, general manager of SCAT, addressed members of the Siesta Key Village Association last month. File photo Im very much in favor of pursuing a study on this. Nora Patterson Sarasota County Commissioner Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 41


One option priva tizing paratransit service which is offered for residents with special needs, veterans and the elderly who have difculty taking regular buses would save the county $1.5 million alone, reported SCAT General Manager Glama Carter. The average cost per such trip is $39, higher than the expense reported in communities that outsource the service. They pay an aver age of $27 per trip, Carters statistics showed. Patterson took issue with the Sarasota gure, asking why it is so much higher. P aul said county staff could not provide an answer at this point, but the study would delve into that. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson pointed out that the topic of privatizing services is a tough one for Carter, who, as the chief of SCAT operations, has come to know the bus drivers. Robinson thanked Carter for pro posing to undertake the study with an eye to achieving efciencies. % A chart outlines the countys current paratransit service business model. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 42


Sarasotas Downtown Improvement District (DID) board took a stand Tuesday, April 29, to oppose any effort to reinstitute paid park ing in the city. With Chairman Ernie Ritz absent, the group voted 3-1 on the issue, with member Eileen Hampshire in the minority. It was Hampshire who started the discussion. She is a member of a small board advis ing City of Sarasota Parking Manager Mark Lyons. During the past two meetings, the Parking Advisory Board has discussed ways to reintroduce paid parking. Parking now is free both on the streets and in city-operated garages. As a consequence, Lyons department is $544,000 in the red, nec essitating a sub sid y from property tax revenue. The Sarasota City Commission late last year con sidered instituting paid parking for the Palm Avenue parking garage. But it backe d Meter stumps remained in downtown Sarasota in late summer of 2012 after the City Commission nixed the idea of paid parking. Photo by Norman Schimmel WORRIES AIRED ABOUT SHOPPERS DESERTING DOWNTOWN FOR THE MALL AT UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER AFTER IT OPENS DID OPPOSES PAID PARKING Writing letters is a waste of time. You should designate a person to make a presentation to the City Commission. John Moran Operations Manager Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


off when merchants said starting the plan at the beginning of tourist season was a bad idea. That was a sentiment echoed on April 29 by DID board members. We should have paid parking and attach a map to the new [University Town Center] mall, said member Tom Mannausa. In a few months, theyll just bypass the city and go straight to the mall. There is a fear the new mall, which will open in October, will sap discretionary spending at downtown stores. Hampshire, who runs a shop on Palm Avenue, said she is uncon cerned. In the mall, you could be in Peoria. Im not worried. Dr. Mark Kauffman, another DID board mem ber, owns a substantial amount of downtown commercial property. He, like Mannausa, opposes reintroduction of paid parking. Its too soon, he said, referring to the previous fiasco during which the city installed and then took down new parking meters. Please relate to your committee the feelings of this board, Kaufman told Hampshire. Mann ausa then made a motion to draft a let ter to the Parking Advisory Board and City Commission, urging no change in parking for two years, until May 1, 2016. The districts operations manager, John Moran, told the group, Writing letters is a waste of time. You should designate a person to make a presen tation to the City Commission. The motion passed 3-1, and Moran said he would draft the letter. Considerable progress was visible in early March at the site of the Mall at University Town Center off University Parkway. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 44


For the past t wo months, the Parking Advisory Board has irted with the idea of recommending paid parking, but its members differ in views relating to location, equipment and strategy. Hampshire is adamant that the meters used last time were in her words awful. After eight people showed up at a commission meeting with bags over their heads to urge bagging the new meters, the commissioners caved in and killed the initiative. Lyons knows he faces opposition from mer chants, who have been vocal on the issue, but he also knows city commissioners are con cerned about the perpetual half-million-dollar hole in their budget. Even if parking is free to motorists, it still takes money to maintain the parking garages and enforce two-hour time restrictions in various areas of the city, including St. Ar mands Circle and Southside Village. The latest idea oated by the advisory com mittee is to use meters to enforce very short-term parking periods for a handful of spots in the busiest areas. That would open up places where a driver could pull in, get a cup of coffee or pick up a pre-ordered lunch or a clutch of owers. But if there are no spaces in downtown Sarasota, the driver will take his business elsewhere. Who parks on the street? asked Hampshire during the DID meeting. Employees; store owners; waiters. They are not shopping. Cleaning ladies at 1350 Main (a condominium complex). There are no spaces available, but there are no shoppers in the stores. % Search for text in stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and entering a search term. Search the current edition or all editions. QUICK TIP Search Only The Issue You Are Viewing Search All Issues Your search term here Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 45


Although the Ritz-Carlton (the tallest building, at the center of the photo) is close to the citys waterfront, its beach facilities are on Lido Key. Photo by Norman Schimmel The City of Sarasota signed off on a Sarasota Ritz-Carlton project that calls for reshap ing the prole of a dune at the hotels Beach Club on Lido Key The Sarasota News Leader has learned. In early April, the Florida Department of Environmental Protect ion (DEP) issued a permit for the work, which calls for the seaward por tion of the dune to be moved further land ward, according to an April 2 letter sent to DEP by Courtney Mendez, senior planner for the City of Sarasota. The proposed changes do not contravene any applicable provisions of the Zoning Code provided beach pathways are maintained and native habitat is not negatively impacted, Mendez added, later refe rencing those stip ulations as findings by another city staff member. Mendez included a memo from David L. Smith in the city s Department COUNTY STAFF HAS BEEN FIELDING RESIDENTS QUESTIONS ABOUT A RITZ-CARLTON PROJECT ON THE LIDO KEY SHORE DISTRESS OVER A DUNE I know of several properties that have requested from the DEP in the past to do some similar work and were unequivocally turned down. Carl Shoffstall President Lido Key Residents Association By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


of Neighborhood & Development Services, which said he had reviewed the Ritz-Carltons proposal to determine whether it was consis tent with the citys comprehensive plan. He added that in his opinion, it was, as long as the two existing pathways to the beach [are] maintained or, if [they will be] replaced, dune walkover structures shall be constructed over the reshaped dunes to prevent impacts to native vegetation and the dune system and as long as native habitat did not suffer any negative effects from the project. Dee Ann Miller, a DEP spokeswoman, responded with an April 30 email after the A section of the Ritz-Carlton permit approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection shows the area and details of the work. Image courtesy State of Florida Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 47


News Leader requested information about the project. [T]he applicant had a study con ducted that demonstrated that there would be no net loss of sand as a result of this project and no loss of the protective value of the dune (as required by our rules and regulations), she wrote. That information was submitted as part of the application. The Ritz-Carlton Beach Club is located at 1234 Ben Franklin Drive on Lido Key. Sarasota County staff has been elding emails from people inquiring about the project, Matt Osterhoudt, acting director of the countys Natural Resources Department, told the News Leader on April 30. However, given the fact that the property is within the citys juris diction, he said, the countys Coastal Setback Ordinance does not apply to the project. After he began receiving emails from the pub lic, Osterhoudt said, I did talk to the local An engineers drawing shows plans for reconguring the dune at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club. Image courtesy State of Florida Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 48


eld rep for DEP. That person informed him the permit had been issued to the Ritz-Carlton by DEP staff in Tallahassee. Carl Shoffstall, president of the Lido Key Residents Association (LKRA), was one of those who contacted the county commission ers about the project. In an April 25 email, he expressed alarm that the work had opened up a Pandoras Box. To say the least, I am very disappointed that the Ritz management did not inform [the Lido Key Residents Association board] of this work, he wrote. From what I have been told, some of our members who live next door to the Ritz were notied prior to work starting and they did not inform [the board] either. Regardless of whether it was an oversight of the Ritz management not to inform the An aerial view shows the Ritz-Carlton Beach Club at 1234 Ben Franklin Drive on Lido Key. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 49


association, Sh offstall continued, my opin ion is that since DEP approved this work I dont see why anyone on the beach who would want to do what the Ritz has done should not be able to also. I know of several properties that have requested from the DEP in the past to do some similar work and were unequivo cally turned down. He added, In 30 years of my construction career, wetlands, beaches, as well as man groves were strictly OFF LIMITS. Only an act of God could get a permit to change something. PERMIT DETAILS In an April 9 letter to SLAB L.L.C., in care of Brett D. Moore of Humiston and Moore Engineers in Naples, S. Muthuswamy, an engi neer with the Coastal Construction Control Line Program of DEP, wrote that the per mit for the dune reconguration had been approved. However, construction could not commence until the rm complied with special condi tions outlined with the permit, Muthuswamy pointed out. First, those conditions required a preconstruction conference at the site among the contractor, the owner or authorized agent, and a staff representative of [DEP] to estab lish an understanding among the parties as to the items specied in the special and general conditions of the permit. Muthuswamy directed Moore to contact Steve West, a department eld inspector, to set up that conference. The letter included the other following spe cial conditions: A ll excavated sand material is to remain on the site in the immediate vicinity of the existing dune. The reshaped dune shall be re-vegetated with sea oats or other dune stabilizing salt-resistant grassy or ground cover vege tation prior to completion of the authorized work. Existing native dune vegetation shall be disturbed only to the minimum extent necessary. All imported fill material shall be com patible with native sand both in grain size distribution and color. Sand sources also had to be free from clay, marl, cobble or construction debris. No construction, operation, transporta tion or storage of equipment or materials is authorized seaward of the dune crest or rigid coastal structure in marine turtle nest ing habitat during the marine turtle nesting season, May 1 through October 31. All debris and equipment associated with the dune restoration project or exposed due to recent erosion must be removed from the beach prior to May 1. The sandy area exposed by the landward relocation of the dune shall be kept free of obstructions that could interfere with nesting marine turtles or emerging hatchlings. This requirement shall apply during nighttime hours during the marine turtle nesting season May 1 through October 31. No additional permanent exterior lighting is authorized. Oster houdt told the commissioners in his April 25 email that DEP staff had advised him that if citizens are seeking more information about the FDEP permit, [the department rec ommends] reaching directly out to the FDEP at (850) 245-7636. % Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 50


Jumps in estim ates of taxable property values for Sarasota County were among numerous pieces of good economic news for the County Commission on April 29 as staff reviewed the rst half of the current scal year and looked ahead to FY 201 5. County Administrator Tom Harmer also won praise from com missioners for his efforts to improve the countys finan cial future by holding down expenses Weve tried to be frugal, Harmer said. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson pointed to that as an example of the leadership of this administration. When she has talked one-on-one with staff members, she added, they have noted Harmers emphasis on conservative spending. We havent seen that in the last two years, Robinson add ed. The Sarasota County commissioners and County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh (far right) listen to a presentation during the April 29 budget workshop. Photo by Norman Schimmel SARASOTA COUNTY GETS A GOOD MID-YEAR FISCAL CHECKUP POSITIVE TRENDS We have to budget for the worstcase scenario. Mr. Harmer, youve gotten the message from the County Commission that this is what you have to do and its refreshing to see. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


During the preparation of the past two scal year budgets especially in 2013 Robinson voiced consternation at times with then-County Administrator Randall Reid for recommendations regarding higher outlays of funds. Robinson voted against both the FY 2013 and FY 2014 budgets. We have to budget for the worst-case sce nario, Robinson said during the April 29 workshop. Mr. Harmer, youve gotten the message from the County Commission that this is what you have to do and its refresh ing to see. Harmer thank ed her and expressed appreci ation for the work of county staff members. During the review of property value pro jections, Botelho showed the board a chart with state predictions calling for a rise of 6.6 percent in the 2015 scal year, up from the December 2013 estimate of 5.4 percent. The state prediction has property values climbing another 5.5 percent in FY 2016 down just slightly from the 5.6-percent estimate released in December. However, the FY 2017 and FY 201 8 numbers are both 6.2 A chart compares property value estimates from the state provided in December and in March for the next ve scal years. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 52


percent higher than the 5.9 percent and 5.8 percent gures, respectively, that the state released in December. The preliminary tax values for this year are due June 1 from the Sarasota County Property Appraisers Office, with the final numbers expected by July 1. County property values went up 4.22 percent last year. The County Commission is scheduled to vote on its not-to-exceed millage rates on July 9, according to the schedule Harmer has laid out for the board. Major revenue sources are up 5.2 per cent cumulatively through the first half of FY 2014, another chart showe d, while permit applications for the construction of single-family homes are up 32 percent. REVENUE SOURCES The countys Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue projections remain the brightest item in charts comparing actual revenue to what was budgeted for the rst half of FY 2014. It was up 16.9 percent through March, and staff projections call for it to continue to climb, though more modestly, in FY 2015. The bud get called for total collections of $5,290,756 for the rst six months of this scal year, but the actual number is $6,183,051. In response to a question from Commissioner Nora Patterson, Acting Assistant County A chart presented to the County Commission in April 2013 shows far lower property value estimates for the next ve scal years compared to the most recent values released from the state. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 53


Administrator Steve Botelho, who is also the countys chief nancial management ofcer, explained that staff is projecting the TDT funds to show an increase of 8.6 percent for FY 2015 compared to the current scal year. Were still trying to stay somewhat conserva tive, he told Patterson. Commissioner Joe Barbetta joined Patterson in voicing concerns that the average member of the public does not understand that TDT revenue, by law, can be used only for certain purposes and not for road improvements, for example. In second place behind the TDT revenue for the first six months of the fiscal year, the county has seen a 9.6-percent rise over bud get in Communications Services Tax revenue. The money comes from a 5.42-percent tax on retail sales of communications services, according to a chart presented to the board. The state collects the funds and remits them to the counties. Sarasota County had budgeted $4,931,776 for the rst six months of FY 2014, but it has received $5,404,450 for that period. Botelho and his staff predict the revenue stream will increase by 8.5 percent in FY 2015. Yet another bright note is an increase of 4.7 percent in the infrastru cture surtax revenue A chart shows mid-year revenue projections for a number of Sarasota County funding sources. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 54


so far t his scal year. The county had expected $14,180,018 for the first six months, but it collected $14,846,711. Nonetheless, the pro -jection for FY 2015 is for a 3-percent rise over this years total.Just last month, during their capital projects workshop, commissioners bemoaned the lag in collections of the surtax revenue since the recession began.The only source of revenue below projec tions for the first six months of the fiscal year, according to the staff presentation, is the Florida Power & Light (FPL) franchise fee. The company charges a 5.9-percent assessment on its sales of electrical energy in unincorporated areas of the county, collects the money and turns it over to the county. The budget projection at this point of the scal year was for $8,203,836; however, the county has collected $8,158,421, or 0.6 percent less than predicted.County staff is calling for an overall drop in that revenue of 1.1 percent in FY 2015.Altogether, the chart shows, staff had esti -mated income of $29,203,166 for the rst six months of the scal year for revenue from the half-cent sales tax, the FPL franchise fees, the Communications Services Tax and state revenue sharing. Instead, it has collected 3.4 percent more for a total of $30,189,520.The total for the Infrastructure Surtax, gas taxes and the TDT revenue streams is $29,252,480 for the rst six months, a 6.8-per -cent hike over the projected amount of $27,400,967. % 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) 922-4611SarasotaCommunityAcupuncture.comOpen 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 May 2, 2014 Page 55


Crime in the unincorporated areas of Sarasota County fell 13 percent for the rst quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2013, Sheriff Tom Knight announced on April 30 a continuation of a decline Knight has linked to his implementation of an intelligence-led policing philosophy. The latest statistics reflect a 33-percent reduction compared to the rst quarter of 2009, when he first took office, a news release points out. The Sheriffs Ofce previously reported that Part 1 Offenses in the unincorporated areas of the county the most serious crimes, such as homicide, robbery and aggravated assault dropped 11 percent in 2013 com pa red to 2012 records. They have fallen 30 percent since 2009. This is significantly different from the situation in the state of Florida as a whole, the news release says. The state has reported that Part 1 crimes have Sheriff Tom Knight has guided his ofce with his intelligence-led policing philosophy. Contributed image THE SHERIFFS OFFICE CONTINUES TO BUILD ON THE SUCCESS ACHIEVED SINCE TOM KNIGHT WAS FIRST ELECTED KEEPING CRIME DOWN We are committed to our intelligence-led policing model, Intelligence 2 Action, which certainly contributed to this unprecedented drop in crime. Tom Knight Sheriff Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


decreased 4 perce nt in the past year and 21 percent since 2009. We are committed to our intelligence-led policing model, Intelligence 2 Action, which certainly contributed to this unprecedented drop in crime, said Knight in the release. These results can be directly attributed to the tireless efforts of our personnel. They not only accepted this model but took complete ownership of it. And, despite our impres sive accomplishments in the rst few years of the program, the men and women of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office did not grow complacent. Knight added, The mission now is to main tain our quality workforce and continue to adapt to crime trends to furth er improve the quality of life here. I could not be more proud of our people. During an appearance before the County Commission in mid-January, Knight noted that his ofces statistics continued to show Sarasota County with the greatest decrease in crime of the 33 Florida counties with pop ulations of 100,000 or greater. In reporting on the departments workforce, Maj. Kurt Hoffman, head of the Administrative Division and general counsel, said, Were starting to get a reputation as the place to go for people interested in law enforce ment careers. Between mid-November 2012 and mid-Feb ruary of this year, Hoffman pointed out, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce scheduled (From left) Sheriff Tom Knight, Col. Steve Burns and Maj. Kurt Hoffman prepare to discuss their ofces proposed 2014 scal year budget with the County Commission in June 2013. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 57


A chart in the 2013 Annual Report of the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce offers statistics on the inmate population in the jail. Image courtesy Sheriffs Ofce Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 58


interviews with 30 people already certied as Florida law enforcement ofcers who were interested in joining the force. Many of them had military experience, too, he added. ANNUAL REPORT The Sheriffs Offices 2013 annual report, released a couple of weeks ago, says the department had 413 sworn law enforcement officers, 206 correctional officers and 380 civilians on the job last year. Of those, 628 were men and 335 were women. The agency hired 59 new people in 2013 to ll open posi tions or to replace persons who were leaving or retiring, the report adds. While it notes the decrease in crime, it also says, Trafc safety remains a top priority and trafc enforcement is the main request from citizens as well. To that end, its ofcers wrote 34,415 trafc citations in 2013 and made 653 arrests for Driving Under the Inuence. Regarding corrections, the report says the Sarasota County Jail processed 13,415 inmates in 2013, including those arrested by local police departments, the Florida Highway Patrol and other state and federal agencies. The average total number of inmates per quarter was 944. The declining jail population, county commis sioners have pointed out, has enabled them to delay plans to construct a new jail; before Knight was elected, that project had a much higher priority. Along with its statistics regarding people, the ofce also reported on the work of its Animal Services division. Last year, ofcers in that part of the agency took in 3,386 dogs and cats, the maj ority of which were strays, the report notes. While 905 animals were returned to their owners and another 534 were adopted, the report says, the large and loving network of shelters and rescue groups enabled another 927 pets to be transferred to other facilities. The report also offers information about the ofces community outreach initiatives, point ing out that the ofce donated $100,000 to a number of nonprot organizations last year. The funds came from unclaimed property and forfeitures by criminals. Among the groups that beneted from those contributions were Do the Right Thing of Sarasota County Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, All Faiths Food Bank and Operation Second Chance % Sheriff Tom Knight receives a Siesta Key Association (SKA) T-shirt from then-SKA President Catherine Luckner (not shown) on March 1 as a show of appreciation from the neighborhood organization. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 59


Sewer lift sta tions serving the eastern portion of the city and more homelessness issues will be on the agenda for the Sarasota city commis sioners on Monday, May 5. They will receive more information on Lift Station 87 between Mound Street and Hudson Bayou. And they will be asked to embark on the rehabilitation of another lift station north of Fruitville Road. The city is rehabilitating its gravity-feed sewer system, and the latest project will install three new submerged pumps at Lift Station 40, at the southwest corner of Eighth Street and Shade Avenue. The $1 million project is expected to be awarded to TLC Diversied of Palmetto during the May 5 meeting. All-new electrical and instrumentation equip ment will be put in, and a new overhead bridge crane will be installed. The overhaul will include interior and exterior painting and some plumbing replacement. Work will be under way by summer. The commissioners will get another update on Lift Station 87. Two weeks ago, residents of the Central Park condominiums, who live near the lift station site, asked for screening to hide or disguise their view of the abandoned The Lift Station 87 project will be back on the City Commission agenda Monday. Image courtesy City of Sarasota THE CITY COMMISSION WILL HEAR MORE ABOUT LIFT STATION 87 AND CONSIDER SEVERAL MATTERS REGARDING THE HOMELESS WHEN IT MEETS ON MAY 5 SEWER SYSTEMS AND OPEN FIRES By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


constructi on area. Since the previous design engineer walked off the job in frustration, the site has been relatively inactive. Work is expected to start back up with new designs, including several options the com missioners will see for the rst time Monday. The new design engineer will discuss the advisability of putting some of the equipment aboveground; the old design put everything below ground and out of sight. However, the belowground equipment could prove vulnerable to hurricane-driven storm surges, so the commissioners at their last meeting asked about putting some of the gear aboveground. They and the neighbors will see what the enclosure and landscaping could look like. ON THE FIRE FRONT Following our report of open fires in two homeless camps near a fuel storage facility in the center of town, the city attorney was asked to report on open burn ordinances. His April 24 memo says, in part, The city does not currently have an ordinance that makes it unlawful to have open campres or open cooking res on private or public property. While Sarasota County has a ban on open res, the ordinance has several large loop holes. It allows res without a permit for Girl or Boy Scout troops, church groups and orga nized youth groups. Fourniers memo asks, Couldnt a re set by a church group become just as dangerous as a re set by an atheist? An alarm raised last month about homeless peoples campres getting out of control near Midco Petroleum on Sixth Street will have the city attorney discussing open burning ordinances on May 5. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 61


Fournier said the C ity Commission might want to consider an ordinance to make it unlawful to start ground res or cooking res in certain locations, or to prohibit open cook ing res unless the re is in a device designed to prevent it from spreading. City staffers could nd only a 1992 ordinance prohibiting any person to burn or bury any solid waste within the city limits. Before orga nized garbage pick-up, virtually every house had an outdoor re pit to burn cardboard, paper and other ammable wastes. VAGRANCY BY THE NUMBERS On Monday, City Manager Tom Barwin will deliver his biweekly update on homelessness and vagrancy in Sarasota. This time, he will be armed with statistics. He will be presenting the results of the annual Point in Time sur vey of the homeless and offering details from three years of records kept at the Pinellas Safe Harbor come-as-you-are shelter (see the related story in this issue). The annual homeless census is conducted nationwide on a single day. This year, the date (Middle row, from left) City Attorney Robert Fournier, City Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini and City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo listen to resident Manuel Chepote during a past commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 62


was Jan. 27. Detail ed results have not been released yet, but Barwin will provide the big picture. Homelessness in Sarasota County appears to have declined by 99 from 2013, he reports in a memo. But homelessness in Manatee County appears to have increased by 277. The census is conducted by the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness. Its prelim inary results indicate the regional homeless number increased 8.7 percent. The number of homeless children dropped to 361 from 439 in 2013. The nonprot organization reports, The number of Black/African-American individuals counted jumped from 241 to 443 and is statistically higher than the county demographic. It found 316 people were sleeping in a place not meant for habitation in Sarasota County, and 233 people were considered chronic homeless, dened as homeless at four or more times in the past three years. The part nership stressed the annual survey always undercounts the actual number of homeless. Barwin is offering 53 pages of statistics gath ered by the Pinellas County Sheriffs Ofce while it has been operating the Pinellas home less shelter for the past three years. A third agenda item concerning vagrancy and homelessness will be the second and nal reading of a new ordinance banning loitering in the middle of a roundabout. One individual is found almost daily on the inner apron of the roundabout at Pineapple Avenue and Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. % City Manager Tom Barwin discusses homelessness issues during a joint meeting of the City and County commissions in February 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 63


One hundr ed twenty community leaders packed the Grand Foyer of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall last Friday, pledg ing their support for the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, now under the leadership of a new exe cutive director for the first time in 13 years. Healthy Start offers countless support services to pregnant women, new mothers and infants, helping women gai n access to care and offering pro grams, such as smoking cessation classes, intended to ensure healthy pregnancies and deliveries. After years of ghting for policies to reduce Am e ricas high i nfant mortality rate, thenGov. Lawton Chiles established Floridas Healthy Start pro gram in the early s. Healthy Start today s ubsists on a New Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County Executive Director Shon Ewens (left) chats with Healthy Start supporters at the organizations April 25 luncheon. Photo by Peter Acker HEALTHY START FUNDRAISING LUNCHEON OFFERS OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE NONPROFITS NEW CHIEF A NEW START FOR HEALTHY START Its something that I wanted to be involved in; its something I believe in. Shon Ewens Executive Director Healthy Start Coalition Of Sarasota County By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


combination o f government grants and pri vate donations, the latter prompted by events like last weeks Giving Sarasota a Healthy Start luncheon, the rst of its kind for the Sarasota Healthy Start. Sarasota City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell, who was MC of the event, proclaimed April 25 Giving Sarasota a Healthy Start Day and spoke about her time serving as the president of her local La Leche League when she was a new mom. She called women Sarasotas most disadvantaged population and argued that a healthy citizenry leads to a healthy democracy and good government. Former Mayor Kelly K irschner a longtime supporter of the organization also took the podium, introducing the keynote speaker: Jack Levine, the founder of Tallahassees 4Generations Institute Kirschner talked about the $1 million-plus hospital bill he and his wife racked up when their rst child was born three months premature. He estimated that just treating the symptoms of unhealthy birth outcomes costs Sarasota County more than $60 million each year. The luncheon also offered an opportunity to meet Healthy Starts new executive director, Shon Ewens, who took over early this year after the nonprots longtime leader, Jennifer Highland, announced her retirement. Ewens previously worked for the Literacy Council of Sarasota, whose ofces are located near Healthy Starts in the sprawling 17th Street Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center. That proximity allowed Ewens to learn about Healthy Starts mission and observe its work. Its something that I wanted to be involved in; its something I believe in, Ewens told The Sarasota News Leader after the luncheon. Its where Im supposed to be. Ewens primary objective in her rst years is to get the word out. I just dont think the community really knows who and what we are, she said. My main goal as the execu tive director is to let every single person in Sarasota County know who we are, what we are and what we do. Her applic ation came at a providential time: She interviewed for the Healthy Start job just two weeks after giving birth to her third child. I actually had to leave my interview in the middle because I was still breastfeeding, Ewens said with a laugh. My husband was in the car with t he baby. % Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 65


Residents of Siesta Keys Avenida de Mayo are continuing to call the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office about people violating the parking restrictions the county recently imposed on their street, but the presi dent of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) has suggested raising the parking fine may be the key to the solution. Michael Shay, who was named president of the neighborhood advocacy organization on March 1, wrote The Sarasota News Leader in an email this week that if the countywide $25 ne is supposed to be a deterrent to illegal parking, then here on the Key it is not working. Moreover Shay says, while deputies are responding to calls about vehicles in No Parking zones on the street, he feels more regular patrols of Avenida de Mayo would be helpful. Drivers continue to park illegally just north of the Canal Road intersection. Vehicles were left there early on Saturday morning for Siesta Fiesta. File photo THE LEADER OF A SIESTA KEY ORGANIZATION SAYS THE $25 COST OF A PARKING TICKET DOES NOT DETER REPEAT OFFENDERS ON A NEIGHBORHOOD STREET HIGHER PARKING FINE SUGGESTED In an ideal situation, you would have enough public parking. ... I would say that were pretty much at capacity [on Siesta Key] in season. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


On April 18, Shay emailed County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on the island, to say that while the No Parking signs had been up for only about two months, he did not feel they were working as a deter rent to keep the [right of way] completely open and safe. He proposed a higher fee or signage indicating violators would have their vehicles towed. That same day, Shay reported in an email to other SKA board members a copy of which he provided to the News Leader that he had called the Sheriffs Ofce about six cars being parked illegally on Avenida de Mayo. When a deputy arrived about 15 minutes later, he added, the deputy said he had observed many of the tickets written on Avenida de Mayo were going to repeat offenders. The deputy whom Shay declined to identify also told Shay that as he completed writing one citation on April 18, the owner of the vehicle approached him and asked why the deputy was giving him a ticket. The driver added that he had been parking there for years. Shay said the deputy concurred with him that the $25 fee is not a deterrent in such cases. In interviews with the News Leader this week, two county commissioners had differ ing views on raising the ne. Its true; people may decide that $25 is worth it so they can park and not worry about their vehicle being towed, Patterson told the News Leader on April 30. Asked if she would be willing to raise the ne, she replied, I hate to do it. There is a bad taste in somebodys mouth when they have to pay a ne. Add-A-Closet at 329 Avenida de Mayo was advertising parking spaces for $10 during Siesta Fiesta, according to residents on the street. Contributed photo A homeowner near the intersection of Avenida de Mayo and Avenida de Cortez reportedly violated the county code by selling parking spaces in his yard during Siesta Fiesta. Contributed photo Cars were parked in a homeowners yard near the Avenida de Mayo/Avenida de Cortez intersection on April 27. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 67


She added, You do the best y ou can to create a balancing act between residents and the needs of businesses. However, board Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson said she would consider increas ing the ne if the Sheriffs Ofce provided the County Commission with information indi cating that would ameliorate the situation. I wo uld want to make sure thats the issue, she said of Shays concern that the ne is too low to stop repeat offenders. She agreed that someone with multiple citations should be aware of the cost of a ticket. Still, Robinson pointed out, Most people dont know wha t the nes are. An aerial view shows the proximity of Avenida de Mayo to Siesta Village. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 68


In all her tr avels around the country, she added, she could recall only one place that had No Parking signage indicating the amount of a citation: Miami Beach. Chairman Charles Hines could not be reached for comment because he was out of town, his assistant told the News Leader Neither Commissioner Joe Barbetta nor Commissioner Carolyn Mason responded to the News Leader s messages seeking their views. THE BACKGROUND On Oct. 23, 2013, the commission approved restrictions calling for no parking on the street or the public right of way from the intersection of Avenida de Mayo and Canal Road to the intersection of Avenida de Mayo and Avenida de Cortez. Beyond that, no-park ing zones are staggered in 500-foot sections from Avenida de Cortez to Avenida Del Norte. The goal is to ensure emergency vehicles have sufcient room to traverse the street, as stip ulated by the National Fire Protection Code. County staff nally erected signs on the street in early February, but Deputy Chris McGregor told SKA members at their Feb. 6 meeting that the wording and arrows as well as the loca tion of some of the signs were too bafing to be enforceable Staff made some adjust ments, which satised Sgt. Scott Osborne, leader of the Sheriffs Ofces Community Policing Station on the island, so deputies began writing tickets when residents alerted them to illegally parked vehicles. THE LAW News Leader research into county and state laws show s that Section 122-141 of the Sarasota C ounty Code of Ordinances says, Any person Parking a Vehicle in violation of or contrary to the Signs, and/or posted instructions located thereon, on any County road, street, bridge or right-of-way shall be punishable by a civil ne of $25.00, and the disposition thereof shall be governed by the provisions of [the Florida State Statutes]. Additionally, Sgt. Osborne of the Sheriffs Ofce conrmed for the News Leader that the countys $25 ne is for the day of the viola tion. Another citation may be written only if the driver moves the vehicle and then returns and parks it illegally again, Wendy Rose, community affairs manager for the Sheriffs Ofce, told the News Leader after checking with Osborne. The state laws referenced above say that if a person has outstanding parking tickets, the Tax Collectors Ofce is to refuse to issue a license plate or revalidation sticker until the person presents a receipt from the govern mental entity or the clerk of court [providing] the data showing that the nes outstanding have been paid. A proposal for public parking on a vacant lot at Treasure Boat Way and Ocean Boulevard, shown in May 2012, was shot down by residents fretful about the noise its use would create in their neighborhood. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 69


Rose al so noted that licenses can be sus pended or revoked for unpaid nes, but that action is handled by the courts or the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Deputies receive such information when they run drivers license checks during trafc stops, she added. THE BUSY KEY Shay and Avenida de Mayo residents reported numerous violations over the past week end, when the 36th Annual Siesta Fiesta ne arts and crafts show was taking place in Siesta Village. Not only were vehicles parked illegally on the street, but people at Add-A-Closet located at 329 Avenida de Mayo, were selling parking and blocking off the free public access to the right of way, Shay wrote in an email to county Code Enforcement staff. Additionally, a homeowner at the intersection of Avenida de Cortez and Avenida de Mayo was selling parking spaces in his yard for $10 apiece. Shay noted that the yard had about 20 vehi cles in it when he went by there. Charles Marchione, a supervisor in the Code Enforcement Ofce, responded to Shay that staff would investigate those situations, which are a violation of the county code. In an ideal situation, Patterson told the News Leader you would have enough public parking. ... I would say that were pretty much at capacity [on Siesta Key] in season. The ultimate solution would be for the county to provide more public parking spaces near Siesta Village, Patterson said. However, her past attempts to garner support from her col leagues for taking such action have failed. Several years ago, Patterson pointed out that she was among those who proposed the county look into purchasing a vacant parcel at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Treasure Boat Way, even though it was a bit of a walk to the main part of the Village. Patterson said neighboring residents complained that peo ple using the lot would create too much noise at night. I think we have to realize its not a perfect world, Patterson added of the parking prob lems on Siesta Key. I think there will always be some conicts. % 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 May 2, 2014 Page 70


(Above) The countys bus system has made a change in its service for veterans. Photo courtesy Sarasota County NEWS BRIEFS On Monday, May 5, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will move one of the six pick-up points it offers for veterans trans portation to Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Bay Pines and to James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, the county has announced. The pick-up point at the closed Bank of America branch located near the corner of U.S. 301 and 12th Street in Sarasota is being moved to the North Sarasota Library, which is at 2810 Newtown Blvd. in Sarasota, a news release says. Because the bank branch is closed, the release continues, moving the pick-up loca tion to the library will provide veterans a safer place where they can catch a SCAT bus, according to SCAT ofcials. The new North Sarasota Library pick-up location joins ve others that SCAT offers to those who need to reach Tampa-based veter ans services, the release adds: SCAT RELOCATES ONE OF THE PICK-UP POINTS FOR VETERANS SERVICE


Wal mart U.S. 41 and Jacaranda Boulevard, Venice (SCAT transfer point). Publix Nokomis (parking lot in front of store). JCPenny at Westeld Sarasota Square, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (west side facing U.S. 41). Sarasota Pavilion/Gulf Gate SCAT trans fer point (north side of Old Navy store). Veterans Office 2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Reservations for SCAT veterans services are required, and seating is limited, the release points out. There is a charge of $8 to $13, depending on the pick-up point. To register, call SCAT Plus at 861-1234, TTY 7-1-1 or 1-800-955-8771. To learn more about the service, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 861-5000. SCAT hybrid bus. File photo. Sponsored by Sarasota Audubon and Johnson PhotoImaging, Connecting With Nature at the Celery Fields a juried photo contest, invites members of the public to visit the Celery Fields, a 440-acre habitat of wetlands, birds and wildlife, and submit up to three photos that show a connection with nature, Sarasota Audubon has announced. Entries must be received by the end of the day on Sunday, May 4, a news release explains. Visit the Sarasota Audubon website for com plete contest rules, the release adds. Johnson PhotoImaging will arrange the juried panel and award the prizes, the release con tinues. First prize is $150; second, $100; and third, $50. SARASOTA AUDUBON CO-SPONSORING NATURE PHOTO CONTEST Sarasota Audubon will announce the winners on its Facebook page and share the winning photos throughout the 2014 Giving Challenge on May 6 and 7, the release says. To garner community support for complet ing the Visitor & Nature Center at the Celery Fields Connecting with Nature at the Celery Fields is the Sarasota Audubon theme for the 2014 Giving Challenge of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County the release points out. In addition to the photo contest, the chapter is offering a free class on May 6 with master bird photographer Robert Bolcik and sched uling bird naturalists on the Celery Fields boardwalks on the mornings of May 6 and May 7, the rel ease notes. Further, celebrated Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 72


bird and wildlife photographer Lou Newman will open Birds & Bears a wildlife photogra phy exhibit at Plymouth Harbor on May 6. By inviting the public to participate in a photo contest and sharing photos on Facebook throughout the 2014 Giving Challenge, Audubon is hoping to inspire community members to donate $25, the release adds. Photography is a tr emendously inspiring and educational tool, said Sarasota Audubon President Jeanne Dubi in the release. With so many eyes on th is 24-hour event [the A boardwalk and covered shelter at the Celery Fields offer good vantage points for bird-watchers. Photo by Roger Drouin Giv ing Challenge], were hoping to promote awareness of our efforts in building what will become an outstanding environmental educa tion center for all ages, she noted. For more information on the photo con test and other Connecting with Nature at the Celery Fields activities, visit sara To donate to Sarasota Audubon during the 2014 Giving Challenge, visit on May 6 and 7 and enter Sarasota Audubon in the search bar. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 73


Community Youth Development (CYD) will showcase the Pathway of STARs near the food court at Westeld Sarasota Square Mall from Friday, May 2, through Wednesday, May 7, during mall hours, the organization has announced. Each of the 162 stars will represent a current STAR student, a news release explains: a high school student who has completed CYDs comprehensive, 75-hour STAR Leadership Training Program. Students learn important skills such as team-building, communication and leadership through the program, the release points out. After they complete it, they are eligible to serve on a nonprot board of directors or on a city or county advisory board as a full voting member, the release adds. We are so excited to team up with Westeld Sarasota Square Mall to feature our STARs, said Karen Bogues, CYD executive director, in the release. We are eager to share the importance of the STAR Leadership Training and the immense impact it is having on teens in Sarasota County. The Pathway of STARs is a great way for us to educate the community on this program. The display coincides with the 2014 Giving Challenge which will be held May 6-7 to promote nonprots in Sarasota County and the surrounding areas, the release contin ues. Visitors to the Pathway of STARs will have the opportunity to learn more about the STAR Leadership Training Program, create their own stars, take photos on the pathway and show their support by posting a photo with the hashtag #BeASTAR, the release adds. Youth in g rad es 6 through 12 participate in a variety of social and personal skill devel opment programs through CYD, the release notes. In 2013, the organization served 2,192 young people throughout Sarasota County. Community Youth Development is funded in part by Sarasota County Government. COMMUNITY YOUTH DEVELOPMENT TO SHOWCASE STARS Image from the Community Youth Development website Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 74


The Center for Building Hope will hold an open house on Tuesday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to showcase the free programs and services on its 5-acre campus in Lakewood Ranch, the centers staff has announced. The facility is a healing environment for adults, children, couples and families in the community, a news release points out. When an individual or family member is impacted by cancer, the Center for Building Hope provides a place where the person or fam ily members can go to talk with people who can offer support and to participate in activ ities to build their bodies and spirits, the release adds. The open house is being held in conjunc tion with the Giving Partner Challenge of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. It wi ll highlight several programs provided by the center, including demonstrations of yoga, classes teaching painting with watercolors, Qigong games, pottery sessions for beginners, expressive writing classes, massage sessions for two people and support groups. Our energetic and compassionate staff will be available to answer questions and show visitors how we improve the quality of life of those dealing with a cancer diagnosis through exercise, education, social activities and sup port, said Andrea Feldmar, program director, in the release. Our participants have logged in 32,000 hours in visits annually, and we want to provide even more support in 2014. For more information about the Center for Building Hope, visit CENTER FOR BUILDING HOPE TO HOST OPEN HOUSE ON MAY 6 A support group meets at the Center for Building Hope. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 75


Residents turn ed in 64 pounds of prescription medication to the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce and 23 pounds to the Sarasota Police Department during the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) national turn-in event on Saturday, April 26, the offices have announced. Since the Sheriffs Ofce launched Operation Medicine Cabinet in 2009, the total amount of pharmaceutical drugs turned in has reached the mark of 6,126 pounds, a news release says. Anyone who missed the Saturday event can drop off unused or expired prescrip tion medication year-round, the Sheriffs Ofce and Police Department point out. The Sheriffs Ofce has permanent drop boxes at the Criminal Justice Center, located at 2071 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota, which is open 24 hours a day; and at the South County ofce, located at 4531 State Road 776 in Venice, where the hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Sarasota Police Department headquar ters has a permanent drop box located in its lobby at 2099 Adams Lane in Sarasota. While there has been a decline in the num ber of prescription drug overdose deaths in Sarasota County and a drop in the number of babies born addicted to prescription pain killers, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce continues educational outreach efforts and promotes drug turn-in opportunities since many misused and abused medication is obtained from home medicine cabinets, the Sheriffs Ofce news release notes. The Police Department release also reminds the public that ush ing medications down the toilet or throwing them in a trash can be harmful and cause health hazards to humans and animals. Last October, Americans turned in 324 tons (more than 647,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at about 4,114 sites operated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its thousands of state and local law enforcement partners, the Police Department release adds. Combining those results with the amounts collected in the seven earlier drug take-back events shows the DEA and its partners have taken in more than 3.4 million pounds of pills, the Police Department release says. ABOUT 90 POUNDS OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS TURNED IN LAST WEEK A prescription medication drop-off box is located in the lobby of the Sarasota Police Department on Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 76


On April 25, the Sarasota Police Department announced a partnership with Ringling College of Art and Design called Blue + You an initiative that will create programs and events to allow the public to interact with the police force. Ringling students unveiled an improved web site for the Police Department, sarasotapd. org and then, on April 26, helped host the showing of a movie for the community, a news release points out. The Police Department has been partner ing with the college as a client of The Collaboratory during this spring semester, the release notes. The project intends to fortify and reestablish the visual and com municative aspects of the Sarasota Police Department through design and social media, such as use of our website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, the release adds. Were proud to unveil and reveal a new brand for the Sarasota Police Department, said Chief Bernadette DiPino in the release. When you see Blue + You its an extension of our community policing outreach. The color blue represents law enforcement. The plus sign means we work together and we combine with each other, she pointed out in the release. The You is our community and citizens. The goal, she continued, is to create a safe place to live, work and play. Any time you see the Blue + You [logo], youll know its a Sarasota Police Department event, said DiPino. We are honored to be partnering with the Sarasota Police Department during our pilot phase in The Collaboratory, said Cynthia Gravino, associate vice president of col laborative enterprises at the college, in the release. The Collaboratory provides opportu nities for Ringling College students to obtain real-life, client-based project experience in a multidisciplinary studio setting, she added in the release. POLICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES RINGLING COLLEGE PARTNERSHIP Ringling College students created this poster for the first Blue + You movie night. Image courtesy Sarasota Police Department Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 77


Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino gathers with attendees of the rst Blue + You movie event on April 26. Photo by Norman Schimmel People watch a movie projected on a wall at the Sarasota Police Department. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 78


The Venice Area Board of Realtors has awarded $40,000 in scholarships to 20 area students, with each receiving $2,000, the orga nization has announced. The money came in as proceeds from the boards annual golf tournament, yard sale and other fundraisers, a news release explains. State Sen. Nancy Detert matched the boards $20,000 to double the amount of the awards, the release points out. Since 1992 the Board has donated more than $260,000 to local graduating seniors, the release notes. This ye ars recipients are David Holcomb, Lisa Fusco, Collin Naaman, Alexandra Flerlage, Patrick Collins, Katie Dunn-Rankin, Cassandra Kasmirski, Andre Juliao, Taylor Hughes, Brenna Steffanni, Chase Leonhard, Taylor Hill, Deaven Palm, Gianna Pecora, Olivia Russo, Douglas Orther, Carly Grimes, Morgan Meadows, Jordan Rosa and Jordan Cunningham, the release says. All will be Venice High graduates with the exception of Katie Dunn-Rankin and Carly Grimes, who both attend Pine View School in Osprey, the release adds. % VENICE BOARD OF REALTORS AWARDS $40,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS The honored students gather with members of the Scholarship Committee of the Venice Board of Realtors. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 79


The Saraso ta County Sheriffs Office has arrested 12 people in Operation Intercept III, an initiative to protect Sarasota County children from online predators, the office has announced. Suspects ranging in age from 20 to 50 responded to Internet-based ads, online apps or social media sites and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations, a news release explains. One of the suspects is an armed security guard who thought he was going to have sex with a mother and her 12-year-old daughter, the release adds. Some of the men sent explicit photos and one brought drugs, it says. For another example, it notes, A 44-year-old man agreed to get a 14-year-old girl pregnant. The release con tinues, Ultimately, they all traveled with the intent to have sex with a male or female child. You would thin k the frequency of Internet predator operations here in Sarasota County and surrounding jurisdictions would reduce the number of criminals prowling online for the sole purpose of sexually exploiting chil dren, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. Most adults probably arent aware of the sites kids are using, so law enforcement will continue to stand between children and these disturbed individuals, but parents need to pay attention to what your kids are doing online. Be a parent, he added. Its OK to check. The following suspects were arrested in this three-day operation and charged with the following: Brian Hawley, 37, of 17678 Sabal Palm Drive North, Fort Myers; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious B attery Attempted, and The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce released a composite of the mug shots of the 12 people arrested in Operation Intercept III. Contributed image 12 ARRESTED IN ONLINE PREDATOR STING IN SARASOTA COUNTY CRIME BLOTTER


two coun ts of Transmission of Materials Harmful to Minors. Raymond Kidder, 50, of 123 S. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Blake Holliday, 24, of 1015 Marlin Lakes Circle, No. 722, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Daniel Ferris, 24, of 204 Katelyn Cove, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Edgar Covarrubias-Garcia, 38, of 2126 11th Place, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Michael Parent, 43, of 1721 Parakeet Way, Unit 703, Sarasota; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted, and Transmission of Materials Harmful to Minors. Harry Walter s, 44, of 3451 Queens St., No. 901, Sarasota, Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Daniel Abbey, 30, of 2218 Metro Drive, Ruskin; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Batter y Attempted, and Transmission of Materials Harmful to Minors. Dwight Meek, 43, of 725 18th Avenue West, Palmetto; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Jameson Fahey, 20, of 1145 Martha Place, Englewood; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. James Baker, 33, of 5002 E. Colonial Drive, Apt. 7, Tampa; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted. Edmond Jones, 20, of 4510 Third Street Circle West, No. 314, Bradenton; Use of a Computer to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Act, Travel to Solicit a Child to Commit Sex Acts, Lewd & Lascivious Battery Attempted, Possession of less than 20 Grams of Cannabis and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Detectives seized two motorcycles during the operation, the release points out. In addition, some of the information obtained during this initiative resulted in further investigations, which are ongoing, it notes. Operations such as this a re manpower-inten sive and require high-tech surveillance and monitoring systems, the release explains. The Sheriffs Ofce thanks the Orange County Sheriffs office, Manatee County Sheriffs Office, Pinellas County Sheriffs Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security and the Sarasota and Bradenton police departments for assistance, the release adds. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 81


Detectives with th e Sarasota Police Department are working to identify a suspect who burglarized a vehicle at Bird Key Park, allegedly stole several credit cards and then used one of the cards at an area Shell station, the department has announced. On April 2 between noon and 12:30 p.m., a vehicle was reported to have been bur glarized at the park, a news release says. A beach bag, a wallet and its contents were reported stolen, the release adds. The sus pect allegedly used one of the stolen credit cards a short time afte r the vehicle burglary occurred. H e was seen on video surveillance at the Shell station located at the intersection of U.S. 301 and Fruitville Road in Sarasota, the release continues. The suspect was a passenger in a dark blue or black, newer model sedan, possibly a Nissan or Toyota, the release points out. Anyone with information about the suspect or inci dents is encouraged to call Detective Dwayne Shellhammer at 954-7014, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477) or going online at sarasotacrimestop POLICE DETECTIVES SEEKING SUSPECT IN BURGLARY CASE The suspect in a vehicle burglary and stolen credit card case is shown in an image from video surveillance at a Sarasota Shell station. Image courtesy Police Department Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 82


The Sarasot a County Sheriffs Office has arrested the woman responsible for a shooting two weeks ago at a home across from Riverview High School, the office has announced. Deputies were called to a house on Lords Avenue in Sarasota around 1:30 p.m. on April 16 after a neighbor reported a lengthy dis turbance had escalated to shots being red, a news release says. Responding deputies found Jeffrey Bell had been wounded in the leg, the release adds. He was transported to the hospital, where he was treated for his injury and released. Also at the home was his wife, Lauren Bell, along with another man and a 7-year-old child, the release continues. During the inves tigation, detectives learned that Lauren shot Jeffrey during a domestic dispute when the child was standing nearby, the release says. Lauren Bell told detectives she did not mean to shoot Jeffrey Bell, according to the report. The Bells have been married for ve years, the report adds, though they have been a cou ple for 10 years. Jeffrey had gone to pick up the child from school, the report says. When he returned home, he expected that Lauren and the other man were still inside the house. He started knocking on the door and banging on the win dows to get them to open the door, the report says. However, Lauren told him to leave because she wanted the house to herself, the report adds. Lau ren th en threatened to call law enforce ment ofcers if he did not go away, the report continues. When Lauren came to the door a second time, she was armed with the handgun, which she pointed at Jeffrey, according to the report. He told her to shoot him if that was what she planned to do, the report says. The gun went off as she lowered it, the report continues. When detectives interviewed the other man in the house, he told them he was in the mas ter bedroom the entire time of the incident and that he was hanging out with the Bells the previous night, according to the report. WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SHOOTING NEAR RIVERVIEW HIGH SCHOOL Lauren Bell/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 83


D etectives with the Sarasota Police Department are searching for a woman who was caught on camera entering a home in the 100 block of South Boulevard of the Presidents in Sarasota, the ofce has reported. The woman is unknown to police or the home owner, a news release says. The homeowner, who is out of town, alerted the Police Department after logging into his home security system and noticing the woman inside the residence on at least two different occasions, the release adds. At one point during the video, the woman is seen waving at the camera. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call Detective Dwayne Shellhammer at 954-7014, leave an anon ymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477) or going online at sarasotac DETECTIVES SEARCHING FOR WOMAN CAUGHT ENTERING HOME Video taken inside a Sarasota home that reportedly was entered unlawfully may be viewed on YouTube Video courtesy Sarasota Police Department A detectives cursory review of the cellular phone provided by Jeffrey Bell revealed that he took videos, still photographs, and partic ipated in Lauren Bell and Roger Wolf having sex and sleeping together in the morning hours of [April 16] in the house, the report says. Lauren Bell is charged with Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, Aggravated Battery with a Firearm, Child Neglect without Bodily Harm and Discharging a Firearm on Residential Property. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 84


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce assumed full law enforcement dispatch service for the City of Venice as of May 1, the ofce has announced, making its transition to a regional law dispatch service on that date. The Emergency Operations Bureau assumed overnight dispatch service for the Venice Police Department (VPD) on Jan. 2 in prepa ration for this consolidation, a news release points out, and residents did not experi ence any change in service. City of Venice residents should continue to dial 911 for all emergencies, but they should note the new non-emergency number to call is 941-3161201, the release adds. The Venice Police Department is the first law enforcement agency to consolidate dispatch services with the Sheriffs Emergency Operations Bureau since the Sarasota Police Department did so in 1996, the release contin ues. Last year, Sarasota County Government offered each municipality the opportunity to save money and improve efciency, it says. The Sheriffs Ofce now provides 911 call taking and dispatch services for ve re departments and three law enforcement agencies. Regional law dispatch service throughout Sarasota County is the same concept used for more than 17 years with the re agencies we serve, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. While the change will not be noticeable to citizens, it is designed to increase effective ness and improve safety for law enforcement personnel and the public in general. SHERIFFS OFFICE TAKING OVER DISPATCH FOR VENICE AS OF MAY 1 A sign marks the entrance to the Sarasota County Justice Center on Ringling Boulevard in Sarasota. The countys 911 dispatch services will be relocated to the new Emergency Operations Center when it is completed next year on Cattlemen Road. File photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 85


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is inves tigating a robbery during which a womans purse was stolen in the parking lot of the Publix located at 3690 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, the ofce has reported. Around 3:40 p.m. on April 28, a 73-year-old woman was walking through the parking lot when a suspect rode by on a bicycle and snatched her purse off her shoulder, a news release says. The suspect ed toward Bee Ridge Road, dropped his bike near Porter Oncology and continued northeast on foot, it adds. The suspect was not located, but evidence including the gray 26-inch Ross mountain bike he was riding and the victims purse have been recovered, the release points out. The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s who, at the time, was wearing a tan hat, brown shirt and long pants, the release says. Anyone with information is asked to call C rime St oppers at 366-TIPS (8477) or go online at To help guard against purse snatching, women should keep these tips in mind, the release adds: Carry the smallest purse possible and keep it close to the body at all times. Take only the cash, card or identication you will need, not everything you have. Expensive bags can be bigger targets, so choose carefully, based on each trip. As a safeguard, be sure to keep a current list of credit cards, their numbers and the issuers toll-free phone numbers at home or in your glove compartment. If you ever need to report the cards stolen, it helps to have this information written down instead of trying to remember all of it. % SHERIFFS OFFICE SEEKING ROBBERY SUSPECT; SAFETY TIPS OFFERED Simply put, Crime Stoppers relies upon the cooperation between the police the media and the community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 86


OPINION EDITORIAL COUNTY COMMISSION SHOULD USE EXCESS TOURISM TAXES FOR ASSET DEVELOPMENT INSTEAD OF PROMOTIONS EDITORIAL In t he decades follow ing World War II, northern manufacturers were looking for locations in the South, where the weather was more moderate, property taxes were con siderably lower and average wages were a lot less than those paid to a mostly union work force in their current locations. Southern states reacted by establishing offices for economic development, which would work with companies contemplating new plant locations in the South. Counties and larger cities, not content to trust their states to direct industrial prospects to their corners of the state, estab lished their own industrial development commissions, with stafng and budgets for industrial recruitment. And thus began what has been disparagingly referred to as the Great Buffalo Hunt scores of industrial recruiters from cities, counties and states falling all over themselves to solicit fewer and fewer manufacturing plant relocations. Rather than call off the effort when that truth became evident, all of those agencies doubled down, offering more and more incentives to lure dwindling industrial jobs to their areas. In the latter days of the Great Buffalo Hunt, forward-thinking communities realized that tourism had almost as significant an impact on their local ec onomies as industrial


recruitment, with far less environmental impact, and should be developed in the same way. This new effort was nanced in most cases by an additional sales tax on lodging. Tourism Development Authorities (TDAs) and Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs) sprang up across the country like the prairie grass on which those proverbial buffalo might munch. Almost overnight, travelers found that rooms in even tiny communi ties cost as much as 6 to 7 percent more with the addition of a bed tax. Unlike the mantra of a popular baseball movie If you build it, they will come these TDAs and CVBs maintained that if you promote it, they will come. Communities with natural tourism assets, such as beaches or mountains, tended to fare better than those that were shilling their annual Possum Festival or whatever. But even beachgoers and mountain scenery lov ers desire more than one or two activities to lure them to a destination again and again. What most managers of TDAs and CVBs never understood and many still do not under stand is that promotion is only a small part of the equation. Much more of tourism tax revenue must be expended on upgrading existing assets, improving infrastructure and developing new attractions. It is in this context that we were gratied to hear Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta propose that a portion of the local room tax specically all revenues that exceed $15 million be set aside for just those regen erative purposes: improving what we have and adding new tourism assets. But the reaction of Virginia Haley, presi dent of Visit Sarasota County (which used to be the Sarasota County Convention and Visitors Bureau), would lead one to believe Ba rbetta had instead suggested she dart back and forth across Interstate 75 in the dark. Haley was before the County Commission to ask for almost $800,000 in additional funds for promotion, which mostly had materialized through higher than expected tax collections. Barbettas contention the correct one, we believe was that increasing tax revenues should not just be spent on more and more promotion and advertising. At some point, we need to build on what we already have, or visitors will tire of the sameness and go somewhere else. All the advertising dollars in the world will not lure visitors to a location that has lost its luster. What most managers of TDAs and CVBs never understood and many still do not understand is that promotion is only a small part of the equation. Much more of tourism tax revenue must be expended on upgrading existing assets, improving infrastructure and developing new attractions. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 88


Haley claimed such a plan would make Sarasota unknown to the rest of the world. Only her promotion efforts were the key to bringing more and more tourists to the Suncoast, she implied. She was aided by Commissioner Nora Patterson, who chairs the countys Tourist Development Council. Patterson and the other members of that council have long been indoctrinated by Haley with the gospel of promotion, so Pattersons words of sup port sounded as if they had been uttered by Haley herself. Ive been told Sarasota is pretty much a wellkept secret, Patterson stated, in defending Haleys request for more promotion dollars. Really? We suspect the locals who nd nav igating seasonal trafc a maddening affair would beg to differ. If Sarasota is such a well-kept secret, why are all of these people coming here? If anything, Sarasota is much better known than either Haley or Patterson would have us believe. The years-long ranking of Siesta Beach in the top ve of Dr. Beachs list of best beaches in America and its eventual claim to the No. 1 spot did a great deal to raise awareness of our area. And promotion dollars spent by Visit Sarasota County did not inu ence Dr. Beach in making his assessment of our nonpareil beach. Mother Nature did that. Yet, Haley and Visit Sarasota County crowed about the No. 1 beach designation as if it were the end of a longtime promotional campaign on their part. After the county added the last half-cent Tourist Development Tax increment in 2011, making the room tax a full 5 percent (and that half-cent was earmarked exclusively for pro motion), total tourism tax revenues jumped by more than 21 percent, for a total in Fiscal Year 2012 of $13,976,000. So the $15 million cap that Barbetta proposes is a very reason able one. Even at $15 million, the established allocation for promotion would be more than $5 million each year. The current revised budget of Visit Sarasota County is much larger $6,360,718 because of other statutory allocations that are administered by the CVB. In fairness, that cap should be adjusted upward each year by the amount of annual ination. But tax revenue that exceeds that amount should be earmarked for tourism asset and infrastructure development. One would think that, with the opening of Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista in 1971, Orlando had all the tourism assets for which it could possibly hope. Yet, Disney has constantly upgraded and improved the theme park over the past four decades, knowing that newer and better experiences are what keep the crowds coming back. And the many companion theme parks that have sprung up in the area since Disney opened Universal Studios and SeaWorld, to name just a couple have further bur nished the reputation of Greater Orlando as a destination of inter national renown. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 89


Sarasota Cou nty has some nice beaches. Period. Despite Ed Smith Stadium, the Ringling Museum, Myakka River State Park, Oscar Scherer State Park and Nathan Benderson Park, there are no destination attractions that compare with Siesta Beach. But there could be. Let us hope that Barbettas vision will not be squelched by the provincial thinking of those who subscribe wholly to the Promote, pro mote, promote! mantra. Let us hope that some of the tax dollars our visitors pay to us can help develop attractions that will bring them back for more along with their friends and acquaintances. % 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. Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among subscribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click here to Subscribe Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 90




Johan Kobborg and Alina Cojocaru starred in Sir Peter Wrights Giselle for Sarasota Ballet several years ago. Contributed photo Frank Atura AN EVENING OF UNEXPECTED DELIGHTS


A big thanks to Iain Webb and the Sarasota Ballet for inviting a group of international ballet stars to wow Sarasota audiences with an evenings feast of exciting, beautiful danc ing that, above all, allowed Alina Cojocaru to capture the audiences heart. The program opened with the familiar The Rose Adage variation from The Sleeping Beauty which challenges a ballerina in terms of grace and ability as she balances in attitude while projecting the yearning of a young girl choosing a suitor. Cojocaru was spectacularly perfect as she collected a rose from each of the four courtiers. As each man left, she posed for a moment, arms circling above her head, until the next suitor stepped up to partner her. She is so light on her feet that when she dances, she appears to oat across the stage like a fairy. But this illusion is made real by her strong technique. This Sleeping Beauty role is often associ ated with the legendary Margot Fonteyn, with whom Cojocaru shares a liquid musi cality and an easy grace; but in this evenings KOBBORG, COJOCARU AND FRIENDS WOW SARASOTA AUDIENCES By Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer Daniil Simkin/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 93


Herman Cornejo/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 94


performance, Cojocaru added a touch of 21st century technical dazzle to this famous 19th century variation. Cojocaru had an opportunity to explore a less traditional role in Les Lutins Johan Kobborgs charming ballet. He has set this smooth, light-hearted work as a conversa tion between music and dance. A lone dancer loose-limbed Daniel Ulbricht in his best performance of the evening challenged a violinist, Kurt Nikkanen, to an imaginary con versation/competition. There is an aura of improvisation to the quirky, quicksilver cho reography. After a pause, Herman Cornejo came bounding in. The two men challenged one another with spins and jumps; but then a girl, with her back to the audience, slid into view. It was Cojocaru, who was both charming and playful as she irted with the two men and the violinist. Les Lutins one of the evenings surprises, is a delightful story ballet, and it left me with the feeling that Kobborg has an interesting future as a choreographer. The evenings choice of ballets offered Cojocaru the opportunity to show her range of emotions as a dancer/actress, going from the innocent playfulness of Les Lutins to the role of the intense passionate lover in the pas de deux from Kenneth MacMillans ballet Manon based on the Abbe Prevost tale of a tragic love story. From one moment to the next, Cojocaru (Manon) was elegant, expressive and ecstatic, turning each step of the choreography into Daniel Ulbrict/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 95


an emotional language as she flirted with Kobborg, urging him to stay with her. Cojocaru is small, a slip of a girl whose waiike appearance belies her technical strength. Her unusually expressive legs sliced through the air like a sharp-edged sword. As Manon, she was coy, hesitant and, nally, rapturous, clinging to Kobborg, the ardent lover who returned her tender caresses at last. In the evergreen traditional pas de deux from the ballet Le Corsaire which is always guar anteed to thrill audiences, Daniil Simkin and Misa Kuranaga were a stunning combustible duo. He was like a sprite, joyously soaring through the air in a series of unique barrel turns and open-legged leaps, and then per forming numberless pirouettes, all with an understanding of the choreographys intrin sic shading of dynamics and musicality. And Kuranaga was equally a wonderful discovery. She was precise and sparkling in her numer ous pirouettes, which matched the brio of Simkins exciting performance. As I watched these two energetic dancers graze the stage in response to the amboyant, energetic and driving rhythms of the Adolphe Adam score, it was not only fun to observe them, but it was also easily one of the highlights of an evening lled with special moments and gor geous dancing. Misa Kuranaga/Contributed photo Erica De La O/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 96


Another surpris e highlight was Simkins mar velous solo interpretation of a Jacques Brel song, Les Bourgeois It was an entertaining and delightful characterization of a weary boulevardier or man about town. Simkin has a way of throwing himself into the air as he leaps around the stage. However, it was his subtle, quick gestures whether icking a wrist, searching his pockets for cigarettes or nonchalantly shrugging a shoulder that revealed the characters story in this short piece. As for the evenings other ballets, the Coppelia Pas de Deux was gentle but uninspired, while Erica De La O and Kristopher Wojtera collab orated in Freeow a pared-down duet that nicely connected to the Bach music for one of the interesting contemporary pieces on the program. Of course, there had to be a grand nale, but before the entire company of nine dancers lled the stage, performing a series of pirou ettes that made them appear like a gathering of turning tops or whirling dervishes, each dancer had an opportunity to shine in the Don Quixote Divertissements Among the memorable moments: Cornejo, in the white costume of a prince, striding onto the stage with the familiar panache of a premier dan seur ; a ery Kuranaga tossing off a series of fouetees ; and Cojocaru reprising the wellknown irtatious solo with a fan from the Don Quixote ballet. And as the evening came to a close, I am certain that I was not alone in feeling that a return engagement of Johan Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru & Friends would be a welcome and happy occasion. % Manuel R. Chepote, LUTCF Chepote Insurance Inc. 1300 Main Street Sarasota, Florida (941) 366-0100 Serving Sarasota & Manatee Counties Click for driving directions Auto Home Life Renters Motorcycles Flood Business Annuities Financial Services Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 97


A&E BRIEFS Michael Royal will perform on LeBarge on May 4. Contributed photo by Carol LoRicco The Jazz Club o f Sarasota will present its pop ular Jazz on the Water cruise on Sunday, May 4, from 3 to 5 p.m. aboard LeBarge, which departs from Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota, the club has announced. Guests will enjoy the swinging sounds of the Michael Royal Trio with Michael Royal on keyboards, Johnny Moore on drums and Michael Ross on bass, a news release notes. Tickets are $30 for Jazz Club members and $35 for non-members. Snacks and beverages will be available for sale; guests are requested not to bring coolers, the release adds. Boarding will begin at 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 366-1552. Pianist and composer Royal is considered to be a pioneer in the establishment of jazz in Florida, the release says. He developed his o wn unique idiom for the piano, merging classical influences of Ravel and Debussy with the sounds of John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans, it points out. Royal has performed at major jazz venues around the world, and with such acclaimed jazz and pop artists as Clifford Jordan, George Morrow, John La Porta, The Count Basie Orchestra, Ira Sullivan and Mark Murphy, the release adds. The jazz cruise has been a favorite for more than 10 years, says Dave Walrath, president of the Jazz Club of Sarasota, in the release. What better way to enjoy a beautiful spring day than by sailing around Sarasota Bay while enjoying the sounds of exceptional jazz? For more information about the Jazz Club of Sarasota, call 366-1552, or visit JAZZ CLUB TO PRESENT JAZZ ON THE WATER CRUISE MAY 4


Dabb ert G allery will present Expressions of Spring from May 2 through May 31, with an opening reception scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 2, the gallery has announced. The gallery is located at 76 S. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota. Five Florida artists will be featured in the show, a news release says: Luke Steadman, William Jerdon, Jeff Cornell, Nancy Turner and Beatrice del Perugia. The release describes the artists styles as follows: The Sisterhood by Nancy Turner EXPRESSIONS OF SPRING TO OPEN AT DABBERT GALLERY ON MAY 2 Dancer in Blue by William Jerdon Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 99

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Steadman: His work is quiet and con templative, enveloped in atmosphere and mood. Jerdon: His [a]uthentic nudes and sensu ous still lifes are always compelling. Cornell: His [s]oft pastel pigments are meticulously blended to create dreamlike imagery of superb gurative realism. Tur ner: H er [e]loquent womens narratives are revealed with soft-color harmonies. Del Perugia: Her offbeat way of seeing things makes you wonder and smile. For more information, call 955-1315 or visit The Ringling College of Art and Design will present Senior Thesis Exhibitions through early May, giving members of the community a chance to enjoy the best work of its gradu ating seniors, the college has announced. Among the events will be Freak Show at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 2, in the Roskamp Exhibition Hall (see the accompanying map). The following is the schedule of events: Fine Arts Tuesday through Saturday, May 3; noon to 3 p.m., Two Columns Gallery, 1947 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Graphic Design Friday, May 2, 7 to 10 p.m., Diane Roskamp Exhibition Hall in the Ulla Searing Center (Building 8 on cam pus map). Illustration opening reception, Friday, May 2, 5 to 8 p.m., Selby Gallery, 1174 Dr. Martin Luther King Way (Building 20 on campus map). The exhibit will be in the Selby Gallery from May 2 through May 6; hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. An exhibit also will be in the Christ-Janer Gallery in the Arland and Sally Christ-Janer Center (Building 27 on the campus map), May 2 through May 8; hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Digital Filmmaking Friday, May 2; Sunday, May 4; Sunday, May 11. May 2: Screening Part 1, beginning at 7 p.m. May 4: Screening Part 2, beginning at 7 p.m. May 11: Graduation Screening beginning at 1 p.m. All events will be in the Academic Center Auditorium in the Academic Building, 2363 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota (Building 34 on the campus map). RINGLINGS SENIOR THESIS EXHIBITIONS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Ringling College Thesis exhibitions 2014 Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 100

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A Ringling College campus map shows the location of all the exhibition facilities. Image courtesy Ringling College Motion Design Saturday, May 3, Thesis Screening from 7 to 8 p.m., Academic Center Auditorium in the Academic Building (Building 34 on the campus map); reception from 8 to 10 p.m., Diane Roskamp Exhibition Hall in the Ulla Searing Center (Building 8 on the campus map). Ph otography and Digital Imaging Saturday, May 3, through Wednesday, May 7. Opening Reception: May 3, 6 to 9 p.m., Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. Galleries in the Academic Building (Building 34 on the campus map); and Crossley Gallery in the Whitaker Bayou Studios, 2698 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota (Building 28 on the campus map). Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 101

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Venice Theat res Generations Series will present the musical How I Became a Pirate from May 8 through May 25, the theatre has announced. Performances will take place on Venice Theatres Pinkerton Stage Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. Matines will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and $17 for adults, a news release says. They may be purchased online at or by calling the box ofce at 488-1115. How I Became a Pirate tells the story of young Jeremy Jacob (played by Ryan Hunek), who spots a pirate ship in the distance while play ing on the beach, the release explains. The boat comes ashore and Jeremy meets Capt. Braid Beard (Toni Hajroja) and his mates. Th ey recr uit him to help nd the perfect dig ging spot for their treasure, it says. During time with his new friends, Jeremy is instructed on how to be a pirate; in turn, he shares with them what a typical kids day is like, the release notes. Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman have written upbeat music, humorous lyrics and a script based on the popular childrens book of the same name, whose author is Melinda Long, with illustrations by David Shannon, the release points out. The cast features 12 students who are in kin dergarten through 10th grade. The majority have taken classes through Venice Theatres Education Department, the release adds. The theatre is located at 140 W. Tampa Ave. in Venice. VENICE THEATRE TO PRODUCE THE MUSICAL HOW I BECAME A PIRATE Key Chorale is seeking an executive director, the group has announced. The Sarasota-based Chorale is a 110-voice auditioned volunteer choral ensemble ded icated to performing and promoting choral music of the highest quality, a news release says. This leadership position will be respon sible year-round for overall administration, nancial management and daily operations, the release adds. The executive director will need to develop a focused strategy consistent with the Chorales mission and, by advocating, prove the Chorales growing presence in Southwest Florida, it notes. For additional information visit keychorale. org and click on the About Us tab. KEY CHORALE SEEKING AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Bach selections are among those in the Key Chorale repertoire. Image from Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 102

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(From left) Toni Hajroja, Ryan Hunek and Ava Podewitz (as Pirate Scurvy Dog) will star in Venice Theatres production of How I Became a Pirate. Contributed photo by Renee McVety Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 103

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Artist Series C oncerts of Sarasota will pres ent excerpts from Franz Lehrs romantic operetta The Merry Widow on Saturday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 11, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Historic Asolo Theater, located at 5401 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota, the organization has announced. Tickets, which are $25 to $45, may be pur chased online at or by calling 360-7399. Lehrs operetta premiered in Vienna in 1905, a news release points out. It has long charmed audiences with its light-hearted tale of suitors seeking the hand of a wealthy young widow in n-de-sicle Paris, the release adds. Set in a whirl of dazzling parties, well-heeled CONCERT SERIES TO PRESENT EXCERPTS FROM THE MERRY WIDOW ladies, dashing bachelors and ever-owing bubbly, The Merry Widow follows the story of Ambassador Baron Zeta the part will be sung by bass-baritone John Fiorito who is desperate to save his country from bankruptcy, the release notes. His plan? To prevent the rich and beautiful heiress Hanna Glawari (to be sung by soprano Susana Diaz) from marrying a foreigner thus keeping her fortune in place, the release continues. Baritone Andrew Garland will sing the part of Danilo, the handsome playboy, while Valencienne, the ambassadors wife, will be portrayed by soprano Lindsay Russell, the release adds. The role of Count de Rosillon will be performed by tenor Gregory Schmidt. % Andrew Garland/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 104

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Susana Diaz/Contributed photo % Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 105

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The next Freethinkers Briefing will fea ture Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, who will share an overview of the international women priests movement and her journey from obedient nun to leader in an initia tive focused on Gospel equality in inclusive grassroots communities in the United States, South America and Canada, the Freethinkers have announced. Her topic for the free May 2 program will be Roman Catholic Women Priests: A Spiritual Revolution or a Holy Shakeup? It will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 11:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, located at 3975 Fruitville Road, a news release says. Meehan was born in County Laois, Ireland. She and her parents, Jack and Bridie, and her brothers, Pat rick and Sean, immigrated to the United States when she was 8, the release notes. They lived in Arlington, VA. Meehan entered the Immaculate Heart of Mary Order at the age of 18 and left 10 years later, the release adds. Subsequently, she joined the Sisters for Christian Community (SCC), an independent religious order whose focus is on nurturing spiritual unity and com munity among all religions, the release says. Meehan worked for 15 years in pastoral min istry at Ft. Myer Chapel in Arlington, VA, the release continues. Additionally, she has writ ten 20 books, including The Healing Power of Prayer A Promise of Presence Delighting in the Feminine Divine and Living Gospel Equality Now The Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota is located at 3975 Fruitville Road. File photo BISHOP MEEHAN TO PRESENT NEXT FREETHINKERS BRIEFING RELIGION BRIEFS

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Furthe r, Meehan has been a television pro ducer, the release adds. Her Godtalk programs have aired on Fairfax Cable, a local access channel in northern Virginia. On July 31, 2006, Meehan was one of 12 women who were ordained Roman Catholic priests by the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement, the release points out. On April 19, 2009, she was ordained a bishop. She serves the Association of Roman Ca tholic Women Priests Her email address is soabmm@aol. com She also serves as a co-pastor of the Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, which meets at 4 p.m. each Saturday at St. Andrew United Church of Christ, located at 6908 Beneva Road in Sarasota. For information about Freethinkers Briengs, call David Ryan at 365-4027 or email at Frank Schaefer will speak on the theme Acting in Love Unconditionally during the annual spring service of the Gulfcoast Affirming Interfaith Network (GAIN), the organization has announced. The program will begin at 7 p.m. on May 8 at the Suncoast Cathedral of the Metropolitan Community Church, located at 3276 E. Venice Ave. in Venice, a news release says. Schaefer is a former ordained minister of the United Methodist Church, a position he held for more than 20 years, the release adds. In December 2013, Schaefer was tried by a United Methodist court for ofciating at his sons same-sex marriage and was defrocked over his refusal to uphold the Book of Discipline. To uphold the book would have meant having to denounce gay marriage rights, the release explains. He and his wife, Brigette, have four chil dren, the release continues. Now a United Metho dist Church layperson, speaker and activist, he continues to advocate for human rights, the release notes. GAIN represents diverse faith communities, afrming the dignity of all, the release says. It comprises 15 churches and synagogues, plus innumerable allied groups and supporters, the release adds. The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches will introduce Schaefer and serve as moderator of the May 8 program. The program also will feature a discussion by parents about raising LGBT children, as well as music by Diversity and the GAIN ensem ble, the release notes. A reception will follow the service. Everyone is welcome, the release points out. There is no charge. SCHAEFER TO SPEAK ON TOPIC ACTING IN LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY Press Releases & News Tips Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 107

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It started with a simple passing of a hat at a Temple board meeting and has since evolved into an integral part of Temple Sinais Social Action Committee initiative, a Temple news release explains. Some years ago, a Temple board member casually suggested sending little gift packages to Jewish members of the Armed Forces serv ing overseas. The idea struck a chord with the Temple Sinai board members and, soon, the congregation as a whole, the release continues. Before long, the project found a home in the Social Action Committee and it became an ongoing effort, undertaken three times a year, the release says. The packages rst went to troops in Ir aq and Afghanistan for the obser vances of Rosh Hashanah, Hanukah and Passover. Inside were paperback books, magazines, music CDs and movie DVDs, which Temple members had collected. Snacks of hard candy, nuts and gum were added, the release notes. Then, items appropriate to the holiday were included, such as honey for the New Year and dreidels at Hanukah. Packages continue to be sent to soldiers serv ing overseas, enclosing the above items as well as handmade greeting cards and draw ings saying, Thank you for your service, the release adds. These cards are often made by TEMPLE SINAI SENDS CARE PACKAGES TO TROOPS OVERSEAS Betty Liner (left) and Nita Ettinger proudly display the certicate of appreciation presented to Temple Sinai from a squadron in a cavalry regiment for the care packages the soldiers received. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 108

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the religion school students at Temple Sinai and also by adults during Mitzvah Day. Temple Sinai has received many heartfelt thank-you notes over the years, the release continues. Recently, Temple members were surprised to receive a certicate of appreciation mounted on a plaque. It came from Chaos Troop 1st Squadron 112th Cavalry Regiment, recog nizing Temple Sinai for leadership and dedication to the Troop, the release says. A note also arrived from a soldier named Samuel: Thank you for the generous Passover car e package. Always nice to get a reminder of home out here in Afghanistan. I am lucky to be on a large base and I will be able to attend a Passover Seder here. I appreciate your time and effort. My day was made brighter. The goal of the Social Action Committee of Temple Sinai is to educate and motivate the congregation and the community to partici pate in Tikkun Olam : repairing the world, the release explains. This care package project exemplies that goal, it points out. Please call 924-1802 if you would like to con tribute in any way to this effort, the release concludes. The Temple Sinai Social Action Committee recently sent care packages for Passover to Jewish members of the Armed Forces serving overseas: (from left) Dottie Katz, Richard Brown, Sid Rothschild, Jerry Danoff, Zvi Rogovin, Natalie Tate, Howard Katz and Mike Benesch, vice president of programming. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 109

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Temple EmanuEl Sisterhood formally installed its new leaders at a Sisterhood Shabbat on Friday evening, April 25, the Temple has announced. Welcomed to the pulpit and blessed by Rabbi Brenner J. Glickman were incom ing Sisterhood President Linda Weiss and officers Joanne Maguire, Judy Thibault, Joan Zaroff, Marlies Gluck-Upton, Elaine Klein, Barbara Gerber, Rabbi E laine Rose Glickman, Mona Salomon and Ethel Gross, a news release says. Two days later, on April 27, the new Sisterhood board undertook its first formal action by presenting a check for $22,500 to Temple Emanu-El Religious School in support of the schools educational and scholarship programs, the release adds. For more infor mation about Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood and its slate of programs for the upcoming year, call 371-2788. % TEMPLE EMANU-EL WELCOMES NEW SISTERHOOD BOARD Incoming Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood President Linda Weiss (front row, center) joins her ofcers (back row, from left) Joanne Maguire, Judy Thibault, Joan Zaroff, (middle row, from left) Marlies Gluck-Upton, Elaine Klein, Barbara Gerber, Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman (front row, from left) Mona Salomon and Ethel Gross. Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 110

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 02+ MAY Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presents Bubbling Brown Sugar Through May 11; times vary. 1646 10th Way, Sarasota. Tickets: $29.50. Information: 3661505 or 02+ MAY Florida Studio Theatre presents Tom Jones Through June 1; times vary. Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $19 to $42. Information: 366-9000 or 02+ MAY Asolo Repertory Theatre presents Hero: The Musical Through June 1; times vary. Mertz Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $21 and up. Information: 351-8000 or 02+ MAY Florida Studio Theatre presents Too Darn Hot Through June 1; times vary. J.C. Court Cabaret, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $18 to $36. Information: 366-9000 or 04 MAY Selby Gardens Spring Music Series: Kim Betts & the Gamble Creek Band May 4, 1 p.m. Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Admission: $19 for adult non-members; members and children 11 and under admitted free; $5 for members guests. Information: 366-5731 or 09 MAY WSLR presents Kim Lenz and the Jaguars May 9, 8 p.m. Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sara sota. Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at the door. Information: 894-6469 or 12+ JUNE Players Theatre presents The Dixie Swim Club June 12-22, times vary. 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $18. Information: 3652494 or Community Calendar The best of upcoming EVENTS Sarasota News Leader May 2, 2014 Page 111

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Each week, Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel searches Sarasota County for iconic shots that underscore why the community is a favorite with residents and tourists alike. READY FOR THE RACE SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS