Sarasota News Leader


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

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University of Florida
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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 43 July 11, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. Inside ITS TIME SARASOTA ... NOT EVALUATING THE SYSTEM A TRANSITION




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


A friend chided me last week for digressing in this space from my usual report on topics of note in the issue. Therefore, I am making amends this week. And a busy week it was. Not only did the City Commission tackle a wealth of diverse matters from future use of the bayfront to keeping homes in foreclosure in good maintenance but the County Commission was working through its last set of regular sessions before starting its summer recess. Amid all that, City Editor Stan Zimmerman sussed out plans for an acknowledgement of defeat by the latest group trying to put a strong mayor in place, and he heard an unprecedented Down town Improvement District board endorsement of two people for temporary City Commission vacancies. On the county side, the fate of Warm Mineral Springs could be decided very soon, in great contrast to the fate of the planned communi ty homeless shelter. The County Commission this week also acted on diverting tourist tax revenue from promotional efforts to a fund for new attractions, and it heard eye-opening de tails about its bus systems operations. In fact, so much happened at the county level, I high ly recommend you peruse our News Briefs which has a number of shorter articles on some of the votes. And as icing on the news cake, Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker attended the July 10 Sarasota Tiger Bay Club debate of District 2 County Commission candidates. Last, but assuredly not least, our incredibly gifted nature photographer/essayist, Fran Palmeri, has provided another chapter in her Florida Alphabet Soup series. You will not want to miss it. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


ITS TIME SARASOTA ... NOT EVALUATING THE SYSTEM NE WS ITS TIME SARASOTA NOT 9 Latest strong-mayor effort appears to have failed Stan Zimmerman EVALUATING THE SYSTEM 11 An internal study shows Sarasota County is contributing considerably more money to the operation of its bus system each year than 11 other comparable local governments Roger Drouin A TRANSITION 15 A split County Commission vote clears the way for another big change on Fruitville Road east of Interstate 75 Roger Drouin DODGEBALL 19 Growth issues dominate at Sarasota County Commission debate Cooper Levey-Baker TAXING DISTRICT PUSHES INTERIM CANDIDATES 23 The Downtown Improvement District Board endorses Ken Shelin and Paul Thorpe to ll one of two City Commission seats that will be vacated Nov. 18 Stan Zimmerman SARASOTA COUNTY PENS A BREAKUP LETTER 26 County Commission wants out of its Warm Mineral Springs partnership Cooper Levey-Baker PROPERTY AND HOMELESSNESS 29 The City Commission approves more oversight of use of the bayfront, denies an expansion of a new residential overlay district and hears an update on help for the homeless Stan Zimmerman TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article COVER PHOTO CREDIT Tranquil Sunset Norman Schimmel


SIESTA SEEN OPINION FR EE SAMPLES ON ST. ARMANDS? 35 The Business Improvement District votes to ask the City Commission to consider a zoning change for the Circle Stan Zimmerman A MARKETING COMPROMISE 37 The County Commission agrees on the lowest proposed percentage in shifting Tourist Development Tax revenue from promoting attractions to investing in new ones Rachel Brown Hackney ROUNDABOUTS SET IN STONE 42 The public gets what was probably its last look at state transportation plans for U.S. 41 between 10th and 14th streets in Sarasota Stan Zimmerman NO PROGRESS 45 The County Commission sends a letter to the City Commission asking in regard to the proposed homeless shelter, Are you in or out? Roger Drouin AN IMPACT FEE SWITCH 50 The County Commission agrees to let the City Commission substitute a multi-modal model for one focused on roads Stan Zimmerman FOR THE ARTS 52 34 organizations have won $1,580,600 in arts and cultural grants for the next scal year Rachel Brown Hackney A LIBRARY, A TROLLEY, PARKING AND PAVING 58 The County Commission approves a range of July 8 consent agenda items, ranging from furniture for the new Gulf Gate Library to a contract for South County road resurfacing Rachel Brown Hackney Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article SHARE


NEWS BRIEFS SIEST A SEEN 65 A sign switcheroo occurs on North Shell Road; Roberts Point Road has its own parking problems; the Siesta Chamber meets its reworks fundraising goal; and the public beach park improvements are on schedule Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 76 CRIME BLOTTER 85 OPINION EDITORIAL 90 Bobs Boathouses deance an affront to the public ALL THE REST ... S IS FOR SPANISH MOSS 93 This adornment of nature has been gathered for many uses through the centuries Fran Palmeri COMMUNITY CALENDAR 99 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 101 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article S IS FOR SPANISH MOSS 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.


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A six-month-lon g petition drive to promote a referendum to replace the Sarasota City Charter with a new one giving executive pow ers to the ofce of mayor has fallen far short of its signature goal, and it is out of time. Although no one is talking on the record, the Its Time Sarasota steering committee acknowledged the inevitable during a meeting held Wednesday evening, July 9, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. A prior charter change approved by voters doubled the amount of time petitioners have to gather signatures for a referendum from 90 days to 180. The rst validated signature for this drive was obtained on Jan. 21, making July 21 the deadline under the 180-day rule. However, the group is more than 1,000 valid signatures short of the 3,548 needed to call a referendum, with time rap idly running out. The group already fa iled to meet other deadlines for the regular consideration of its petition. The Sarasota City Commission has to put the issue on the ballot, and that requires a city ordinance, which must be passed after an advertisement of a public hearing. Then there are other dates for specic actions that follow passage of such an ordinance if a measure is to meet the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ofces require ments under state law. The petition group hoped to put the ques tion on the November ballot. Instead, the News Leader has learned, it will issue a press release on Tuesday, July 15, about its failure to achieve success. City voters have rejected a strong-mayor form of government in the past. Efforts to use the citys Charter Review Board to propose the referendum question, and efforts to use the City Commission for the same, have failed as well. % (Above) Linda Holland, a past candidate for the Sarasota City Commission, is chairwoman of the Its Time initiative to change the city charter. Photo by Norman Schimmel ITS TIME SARASOTA NOT LATEST STRONG-MAYOR EFFORT APPEARS TO HAVE FAILED By Stan Zimmerman City Editor NEWS


...two days early! My Sunday Paper... One of my favorite things to do is spend all day Sunday relaxing with the Sunday newspaper, reading it from cover to cover. Unfortunately, my old Sunday paper is mostly classied ads, real estate ads, ad inserts and very little in the way of real, informative news. Thats why I love the award-winning Sarasota News Leader It is so full of news and features that relate to Sarasota County that I need a whole day to read it all ... perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. And reading it on my iPad means no trip to the recycling bin. The Sarasota News Leader access e-mail is delivered to my inbox every Friday morning. Of course, Im tempted to read some of it right away. Who could resist? But I know I have all day Sunday in fact, all week to read the No. 1 digital news weekly in Sarasota County. The Sarasota News Leader Your New Sunday Treat Old school journalism. 21st century delivery.


The results of a recent internal study of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) found that county funding represents a higher annual percentage of the bus systems budget than the local government support provided to 11 other comparable systems in the Southeastern United States. Sarasota County con tributed more than $14 million of SCATs $20 million in total operating funds in the 2013 fiscal year, the study showed. That is more than 2.5 times higher than the aver age amount of local funds contributed to the peer group transit systems. In addition, SCATs total operating expenses $20,017,000 were the highest of the study group, with Lee Countys LeeTran in second place. A consi derably higher cost per mile for paratransit service which is offered for residents with special needs, veterans and the elderly who have A SCAT Express bus travels its county route. Express buses, which operate between North and South county, feature Wi-Fi. Photo courtesy Sarasota County EVALUATING THE SYSTEM AN INTERNAL STUDY SHOWS SARASOTA COUNTY IS CONTRIBUTING CONSIDERABLY MORE MONEY TO THE OPERATION OF ITS BUS SYSTEM EACH YEAR THAN 11 OTHER COMPARABLE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS This will serve as a baseline for the County Commission to make decisions regarding public transit. Jonathan Paul Interim Transportation Planning Director Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


difficul ty ta kin g regular buses was one major reason for SCATs higher overall oper ating costs, the report showed. According to the study, SCAT had a $27.5 million operating budget in the 2013 scal year. That includes the cost of the paratransit service. The study was part of an effort to focus on ways the bus system can be run more ef ciently. More signicantly, it marks the rst step in evaluating whether privatization of the transit system would save the county money. The ndings impact could be seen in August, when the county commissioners will discuss a proposal to privatize or consolidate the pub lic transit system. The option of privatizing all or part of SCATs operations has appeared the more likely one after the potential for con solidation hit a snag earlier this year when the Manatee County commissioners backed away from discussions about merging their bus system with SCAT. In February, the Sarasota County commis sioners rolled ahead with further exploration of both o ptions, and in May, they gave staff the go-a head to conduct the study of SCATs operating expenses. In May, SCAT General Manager Glama Carter told the commission ers that privatization just for the paratransit service would save the county $1.5 million a year. Jonathan Paul, the countys interim trans portation planning director, presented the reports ndings to the County Commission during the boards Tuesday, July 8, session, but the commissioners did not discuss it. This will serve as a baseline for the County Commission to make decisions regarding public transit, Paul said. A COMPARISON STUDY Sarasotas transit system employs 262 staff members while running 55 xed-route buses and 84 paratransit buses. The study compared SCATs operations to those of 11 other bus s y stems in communities similar to Sa r asota County in the Southeastern The percentage of local funding in SCATs budget is higher than that of the 11 other comparable peer groups. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 12


United S tates. Five of the systems are pri vately operated, Paul told the commissioners. According to Paul, the report shows SCAT does not have a top-heavy organizational structure. Seventy-eight percent of its 262 positions comprise bus operators, mechanics and other personnel, such as attendants who assist users of the paratransit service. Fifty-seven percent of SCATs expenses are for salaries, wages and benets. The top perform ing ro utes for SCAT were No. 12/Lockwood Ridge; No. 99/Palmetto; No. 6/ Beneva; and No. 17 /Tamiami Trail. Nine of the [fixed] routes operate below the average cost for transit, Paul said. So roughly half are p er formi ng efcie ntly. % A chart in the SCAT report compares the populations of the peer groups that were studied. Image courtesy Sarasota County Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 13


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As Fruitville Road east of Interstate 75 transi tions from a series of pastures to a gateway village to Sarasota, another big change is com ing, as the result of county action this week. The Sarasota County commissioners on Wednesday, July 9, approved Benderson Developments plans to purchase 41 acres of county land to serve as the site of a busi ness complex. The property is in a prime location, right in the midst of the longplanned Fruitville Initiative area east of I-75. According to the agreement between the county and Benderson, the developer will have the rst 200,000 square feet of the complex con structed within six months of closing on the parcel. Wednesdays vote came two days after Bass Pro Shops officially announced its plans to open an 80,000-square-foot store in the Fruitville Initiative area. More than 300 acres along that cor ridor long have been foreseen as home to a mixed-use village of commercial property, Benderson says it will build the rst 200,000 square feet of the complex within six months after closing on the property. Image courtesy Sarasota County A TRANSITION A SPLIT COUNTY COMMISSION VOTE CLEARS THE WAY FOR ANOTHER BIG CHANGE ON FRUITVILLE ROAD EAST OF INTERSTATE 75 Light industrial Class A [space] is extremely hard to nd. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


reside nces and hotels. The county has been moving ahead with rezoning for largescale development there Wednesdays County Commission vote was split, howev er, with Chairman Charles Hines and Commissioner Nora Patterson dissent ing. Both voiced reservations about selling this piece of county property that is rising in value and has the potential to be a lure for a bigger opportunity. Board members supporting the project said it will ll a void in the countys lack of manufac turing space and, they hope, provide a facility wher e smaller compa nies can grow. Light industrial Class A [space] is extremely hard to find, noted Commissioner Joe Barbetta. After seve ral months of negotiations, Benderson offered the county $3 million for the site, but it also will pay $1.35 million to bring in ll material to enhance its design potential. The extra expense will make the construction of elevated truck delivery lanes possible, said Lin Kurant, the countys real estate services manager. Further, the company will grant easements to the county, in cluding a 28-foot-wide path The County Commission has approved Benderson Developments plans for a business complex on Fruitville Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County I think this hampers the [Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County] being able to negotiate with the larger big players. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 16


to the a djacent Celery Fields. Company staff worked with Sarasota Audubon members to plan the linear park space, said Benderson Vice President Larry Fineberg. While Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson said Bendersons purchase price gave her heartburn, she voted in favor of the sale after pointing out that she felt the space would be a great incubator for smaller companies, which make up a large portion of the countys employer base. I think it will inspire some similar types of growth in that area, Robinson added. GOING UP IN VALUE The $3 million appraisal of the property was on the low side because only f our recent An aerial view shows the property at Fruitville and Coburn roads. Image courtesy Sarasota County Benderson Vice President Larry Fineberg (left) listens to comments during his presentation to the County Commission on Nov. 26, 2013. File photo Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 17


parc el sales in the county could be found for comparison, Kurant told the commissioners. Thats not to say the property is not going to be worth a lot more in the future, Kurant said. Several factors are driving new demand in the area. Lakewood Ranchs movement to the south and the Fruitville Initiative already had been seen as economic drivers for next few years. The Bass Pro Shops announcement this week is likely to spur immediate interest. Patterson said she felt property in the Fruitville area will become more valuable with time as a result of those factors, arguing that the county would be selling the site to Benderson at too low a price. She also told Fineberg she is worried the rms proposal will simply result in tenants moving from another industrial park to the newer one. Hines said selling the property for the creation of a spec business complex designed to draw tenants would negate any potential for the county to utilize the parcel to land a major company looking for a new headquarters. I think this [sale] hampers the [ Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County ] being able to negotiate with the larger big players. REVISED PLANS Benderson staff had strived to alleviate some concerns about the project that commis sioners voiced on Nov. 26, 2013, when they heard the original proposal. Fineberg told the board on July 9 that the rm had tried to work closely with county staff on the design of the complex. We need this type of facility to diversify our economy the way we really want to, said Fineberg. Wed like to move forward and get a shovel in the ground. Fineberg also pointed to Bendersons guaran tee that the rst phase of construction will begin within six months. There is a tremen dous void in the market right now, and we are missing out on industrial [rms] and the good jobs we are looking for in Sarasota County, he told the commissioners. The new complex could include distribu tion services and research and development offices as well as light manufacturing, he pointed out. % Lin Kurant, the countys real estate services manager, offers remarks on the Benderson project during the July 9 commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 18


The que stions may have ranged from how to deal with homelessness to how sausage is made, but much of the discussion at the Thursday, July 10, Tiger Bay-hosted Sarasota County Commission debate came down to one hot topic: growth. Are we growing wisely? Are developers paying their fair share? Can the county afford additional infrastructure? The debate pitted Republican City Commissioners Shannon Snyder and Paul Caragiulo against no-party candidate Alexandra Coe and write-in hopefuls Steve McAllister and Pete Theisen. Snyder and Caragiulo will square off in the Aug. 26 GOP primary; the winner will then face Coe and the others in the November general election. Growth issues came to the fore early. Tom Tryon, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune s opin ion editor, asked how the candidates thought local cities would fare should the countys planned changes to Sarasota 2050 go through, as expected. Sarasota 2050 is a decade-old land-use plan intended to encourage the development of walkable, mixed-use com munities in areas previously closed to dense new neighborhoods. Its going to be open sprawl, Snyder said about the countys changes to the policy. He argued that new development out east would increase the burden on the City of Sarasotas infrastructure without providing the offset ting property ta x revenue. As we have more County Commission candidates for the District 2 seat share the dais as Tom Tryon of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (at the podium) asks the questions: (from left) Paul Caragiulo, Alexandra Coe, Steve McAllister, Shannon Snyder and Pete Theisen. Photo by Norman Schimmel GROWTH ISSUES DOMINATE AT SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION DEBATE DODGEBALL By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


and more uncontrolled growth, the cities are going to pay the price for it, he said. Caragiulo declined to take a stance on the issue, saying the 2050 plan can be good but that any plan should consistently be evaluated and tweaked. I dont think its functioning as desired, the way it stands right now, he said. Other debate revolved around the interchange at University Parkway and Interstate 75 and the heavy trafc anticipated there with the opening of The Mall at University Town Center this October. Snyder criticized the County Commission for allowing new construction to go through without requiring adequate infra structure rst. He said the situation would take at least 20 years to straighten out. When Control Growth Now President Dan Lobeck asked specically whether the candi dates would restore road impact fees, which have repeatedly been slashed by the current City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo listens to discussion during the joint City/County commissions meeting on homelessness on June 23. Photo by Norman Schimmel Alexandra Coe is a candidate for the District 2 seat. Image from her campaign website City Commissioner Shannon Snyder sits at the County Commission dais during a joint city/county meeting in June. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 20


County Commissi on, no one would bite. We have to look for a holistic way to remediate these concerns, Caragiulo said. Caragiulo praised the current board for its economic development policies, but the most eshed-out answer to the question came from write-in candidate McAllister, who called for increased attention to agriculture and the local food shed in addition to policies that support the nonprot and for-prot arts community. We need to stop grabbing onto whatever the trend of the month is, Snyder said, promising to support manufacturing and light-indus trial operations. Summing up her pitch, Coe, who has been active in the local Libertarian Party, said county government is not now reecting the values of the community. She added that a good infusion of et hics is needed. McAllister, The ballroom at Michaels On East is packed as the District 2 County Commission candidates participate in a Tiger Bay Club debate. Photo by Norman Schimmel Steve McAllister is a write-in candidate for the District 2 County Commission seat. Image from his Facebook page Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 21


meanwhile, said he was running as a write-in to encourage a more participatory democracy. When asked why voters should choose him, Caragiulo encouraged attendees to visit his website to see his list of supporters, which includes current County Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Charles Hines and Christine Robinson. I have a tremendous amount of support for a reason, he said. They know how serious I am about the job. Snyder dubbed himself a scal hawk whos never voted to raise the city millage rate. He was inspired to run after the firing of county Ethics and Compliance Ofcer Steve Uebelacker, and he said someone on the board needs to generate some real discus sions, calling himself the only one who will hold people accountable. If you want the status quo, he said, Im not your candidate. % Pete Theisen previously has run for City Commission. Photo by Stan Zimmerman 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 July 11, 2014 Page 22


In a startling display of audacity, an auton omous taxing body in the city took ofcial action this week to back two individuals to serve on the Sarasota City Commission. The Downtown Improvement District board on July 8 unanimously voted to recommend two people to the City Commission in the mat ter of lli ng the seats of City Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder, who will vacate them this fall under Floridas Resign-toRun rule. Both men are seeking the same County Commission seat. (See the related story in this issue.) Both have filed letters of res ignation as required by state law, effective Nov. 18. In mid-December, the three remaining city commissioners will pick two individuals to fill th e vacancies in District 2 (Caragiulos seat) and District 3 (Snyders seat). The new members would serve for ve months, until th e resolution of Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder by law have to resign from the City Commission in November because they are vying for the District 2 County Commission seat. Photo by Norman Schimmel TAXING DISTRICT PUSHES INTERIM CANDIDATES THE DOWNTOWN IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT BOARD ENDORSES KEN SHELIN AND PAUL THORPE TO FILL ONE OF TWO CITY COMMISSION SEATS THAT WILL BE VACATED NOV. 18 We have to realize we dont have any sway in this decision. Ernie Ritz Chairman Downtown Improvement District By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


city elections in the spring of 2015. The elec tion will be in March, with any runoff to be held in May. The DID board voted to support Paul Mr. Downtown Thorpe, a tireless volunteer for decades, and former City Commissioner Ken Shelin. Both men were in the audience, and both spoke to the DID board members. This is awkward. It wasnt planned, said Shelin. For a period of ve months, or whatever it turns out to be, it would be a comfortable thing for me to do. If the commission said, Yes to me, I would happily serve. Thorpe told the DID board, Sure, Id be inter ested in doing that. I have attended every City Commission meeting for the past 30 years. My heart is with the city, and Ive shown that by the things Ive done in this community. I would not run for election. DID board member Dr. Mark Kauffman then made a motion to send a letter to the Sarasota Cit y Commission expressing interest in one of these two men in [the commissioners] decision. The motion passed unanimously. DID Chairman Ernie Ritz cautioned, We have to realize we dont have any sway in this decision. Unfortunately, both Thorpe and Shelin live in District 2, which encompasses the down town, waterfront and islands. Thus, only one of the two men could serve if selected. At that p oint in the meeting, City Commissioner Susan Chapman asked to brief the DID on the procedur e to be used in picking the two interim commissioners. She said that on Sept. 2, the commission will open a two-week period for taking applications for the seats. One part of the process involves lling out the simple application form used for suppli cants to an advisory board. A second f orm is more rigorous. It is used to screen supplicants for a gubernatorial appointment. That is very extensive, said Chapman. We dont want everybody on a lark to apply. The Downtown Improvement District is a special taxing area of the City of Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 24


The City Commission at an upcoming meeting will codify these requirements into a resolu tion, she added. The interview process for applicants will be private, with each of the three serving commissioners ques tioning the nalists ind ividually. SECURITY PATROLS The city is about to hire a private rm to provide security for public facilities, including the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Diamond In vestigations and Security was picked after a competitive bid ding process. At present, the Downtown Merchants Association is paying for private security downtown, as is the operator of the Pineapple S quare shops. The DID board is i nterested in picking up the responsibility when the merchants let it lapse. Were going to run out of money, so well cease soon, said Ron Soto of the Merchants Association. The DID is intere sted in piggybacking on the contract, avoiding another round of competitive bidding. Normally, the contract has piggybacking, said Diamond Vice President David Evans. I havent seen the city contract yet. If there is no piggy-backing, you might want to put it in. Sight-u nseen, the DID board voted unanimously to hire Diamond for up to $5,000 a year for six days a week, up to nine hours a day. % Ken Shelin is a former city commissioner. Contributed photo 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 July 11, 2014 Page 25


Two weeks ago, Sarasota County Commission Chairman Charles Hines called the countys joint ownership of Warm Mineral Springs with the City of North Port a defective partner ship. This week, he and the other four county commissioners voted to end that arrange ment, off ering the city the opportunity to buy the countys share of the 81-acre Springs property. Representatives from the public spoke for more than an hour on the topic Tues day, July 8, many urging the county to do whatever it could to prevent the springs from closing on Sept. 1, when the county and citys current short-term management contract runs out. But theres little chance of that happening. The county says it cannot simply re-up the curr ent deal and any competitive solicita tion process would stretch beyond that Sept. 1 cutoff. Many speakers also asked the county to refrain from allowing any d evelopment on Unless the City of North Port buys Warm Mineral Springs from the county within the next couple of months, the resort will close again on Sept. 1. Photo courtesy Sarasota County SARASOTA COUNTY PENS A BREAKUP LETTER COUNTY COMMISSION WANTS OUT OF ITS WARM MINERAL SPRINGS PARTNERSHIP [Warm Mineral Springs is] a treasure, and were fortunate to have it here in the City of North Port. It makes sense for the City of North Port to be the sole owner. Linda Yates Commissioner City of North Port By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


the pr operty, without a doubt the primary friction point between the county and North Port. While county commissioners have gen erally favored plans to aggressively update the facilities around the Springs and to even allow amenities such as a hotel, the city has pushed to maintain a simple park-like envi ronment there. That disagreement hasnt signicantly shifted despite years of debate. So, with no resolution in sight, the County Commission decided to offer to sell its 50-per cent share in the springs. The county and city together paid $5.5 million for the property in 2010. A letter drafted by the county and sent to the North Port board this week offers to sell the countys stake for its original worth, $2.75 million, plus the costs associated with the sale. Response to the sale proposal from the pub lic was divided. North Ports Ken Maturo urged the County Commission, Do not sell it to the incompetent City of North Port, and asked the commissioners to wait till after the November elections to see if the North Port board changes. But Lorenzo Whitehead, currently cam paigning for outgoing North Port Mayor Jim Bluchers seat on the City Commission, argued the county should sell its share. Theres really no surprise, he said. Anyone with any political savvy could see this impasse coming years and years ago. Of course, the question remains: Does the current North Port board even want to buy the countys s take? And can it afford it? Although Warm Mineral Springs has scenic grounds, city and county staffs say the buildings are in dire need of repair. Photo courtesy City of North Port` Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 27


North Port City Commissioner Linda Yates. Photo courtesy City of North Port The City Commission is set to discuss the issue Monday. Blucher tells The Sarasota News Leader he wants to hear from the public before mak ing up his mind, but hes reluctant to spend more public money on the property. City Commissioner Linda Yates, meanwhile, tells the News Leader It would be a great thing for North Port to own Warm Mineral Springs 100 percent. But even though shed love to see the city hold title to the land outright, she doesnt know exactly where the money would come from. Yates criticizes the county for declining to take up the citys request that the two boards work together on a new year-long management plan, ostensibly the reason for the County Commissions discussion about the Springs this week. The county took no action on the proposal outlined in a letter sent by North Port two weeks ago. County Commission Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson said any short-term deal would allow the city to dawdle on the question of whether it would purchase the Springs. They are driving the closure of Warm Mineral Springs, Yates says. County Commissioners Nora Patterson and Hines pushed to stipulate in the sale offer that the Springs remain in public ownership, but that motion failed. Patterson said she was disappointed the county couldnt guarantee the land will remain in taxpayer hands. The whole reason weve gone through this agony is to protect the Springs, she said. It is obvious this relationship and joint own ership is just not going to work, Yates says. So we need to move forward now and resolve that. [Warm Mineral Springs is] a treasure, and were fortunate to have it here in the City of North Port. It makes sense for the City of North Port to be the sole owner. % Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 28


Shortand long-term use of city bayfront property, the renaming of a park, a new tool to force banks to manage their foreclosed property and a lengthy discussion of home lessness and vagrancy were the key points of the July 7 Sarasota City Commission meeting. The board members decided with a 3-2 vote to require any use of bayfront city land to get the city managers approval as well as their afrmative vote. Mayor Willie Shaw and Commissioner Shannon Snyder opposed the move. Three existing uses were grandfathered, so they will not go through the new approval process. They are the annual Embracing Our Differences art show, the biennial Season of Sculpture and the Unconditional Surrender statue, which is expected to be up at least another decade. The commissioners were unanimous in instructing city staff to begin coordinating with the Sarasota 20:20 group looking at the future of the 42 acres in and around the exist ing Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall parking (Above) City staff has received direction to become involved in the discussions about a new proposal for a cultural district in the area of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, including the venues parking lot. Photo by Norman Schimmel PROPERTY AND HOMELESSNESS THE CITY COMMISSION APPROVES MORE OVERSIGHT OF USE OF THE BAYFRONT, DENIES AN EXPANSION OF A NEW RESIDENTIAL OVERLAY DISTRICT AND HEARS AN UPDATE ON HELP FOR THE HOMELESS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


lot. In 2007, t he city received a $100,000 report proposing a future plan for what was called the cultural district. It envisioned new build ings for existing arts organizations, a parking structure, shops and restaurants. Then the real estate market failed, and grandi ose plans for adjoining parcels the old Quay property to the south and the Proscenium to the east collapsed as well. While the Proscenium remains in a legal snarl, the receiver of the Quay property is marketing it heavily, with rumors of sales abounding. There recently was friction between the city and the 20:20 group after a report was leaked with the citys l ogo on the cover, leading some to think the plan was city-authorized. After Mondays unanimous vote, city staffers may ofcially participate in the discussions. The commissioners will hold a workshop in November to hear the latest thinking on the proposal, including a staff evaluation. PARK RENAMED In exchange for $125,000, the city commission ers agreed to rename the city park under the eastern approach of the Ringling Causeway. Henceforth, it will be known as Eloise Erland Park. Its an honor to name this park after my late wife, Eloise. She so enjoyed Sarasota in the few years before she passed away, said her widower, Ernest Doc Erland. A map shows the new Rosemary Residential Overlay District, which the City Commission has approved and forwarded to the state for its endorsement. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 30


The majority of city commissioners Monday opposed adding more territory to the Rosemary Residential Overlay District, including the property that is home to The Players Theatre (marked by the red ag). Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 31


He will pay to install a small playground and coastal garden in the center of the prop erty and erect three shade structures over existing park benches. He also will create a $50,000 endowment to pay for maintenance of the park for 55 years. While the city has many parks named for individuals, this is the rst time in nearly a century it has agreed to name a park in return for a donation. The last example was the gift of land that became Payne Park in the 1920s. After accepting Erlands pledge of $125,000, the commissioners instructed staff to develop a policy to govern similar deals in the future. This may draw more interest from others, said Snyder. UNI TS NEW AND OLD In another matter, the commissioners voted 3-2 not to heed the plea of three property owners at the western fringe of the Rosemary District to be folded into the recently approved Rosemary Residential Overlay District. The R-ROD allows triple density, jumping to 75 dwelling units per acre. The petition to cre ate the special district (and accompanying change to the citys comprehensive plan) was initiated and funded by a developer wanting to build a large apartment complex. The dis trict will be short-lived, expiring in four years. The two commissioners who previously served on the Planning Board opposed the Valerie Guillory, who operates Trinity Without Borders, pleaded with both the City and County commissions this week for help to contain the violence in a camp of homeless people adjacent to her sanctuary. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 32


expansion. The reason we agreed to the R-ROD was because there was one rental project we wanted to jumpstart in that area, said Vice Mayor Susan Chapman. Adding the Jefferson Center and The Players [Theatre] could be the end of The Players, who might sell and move on. And the end of the Jefferson. Approving density because it feels good is not good planning, said Snyder. Id rather have quality planning. Mayor Shaw joined them in a 3-2 vote to deny the application to expand the district. On the other end of the scale, the board unanimously approved a staff-sponsored plan to force banks to maintain foreclosed properties. Neighborhood and Development Services Director Tim Litchet said it would requir e banks to register with the citys Code Compliance Division, designate a local agent to be responsible for maintenance and pay an annual fee of $250 per property. Banks that do not register will be cited, said Litchet. An earlier effort to manage the prob lem with unsightly properties in foreclosure was up-ended by the Florida Supreme Court, which ruled against the priority of a code enforcement lien. Prior to that, the city could seize and re-sell property if the owners failed to maintain it to a minimum standard. Litchet said the new procedure avoids the lien priority issue and follows the tool used by other jurisdictions. He added that staff has identied 425 properties that would require registr ation. People sit under tents on a rainy day at Trinity Without Borders. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 33


Its a sliding scale, said Litchet of the ne for not registering. It starts at $240 and goes up to $500 after two years, then $1,000, to a maximum of $4,000 if the property is fore closed or abandoned more than four years. We want to encourage the banks to take care of these properties. Banks that do not regis ter will be cited. HOMELESS LOCALS OR THE NEW TOURISTS? City police are starting to comb the homeless and vagrant population in town, looking spe cically for veterans. The city has adopted an informal policy that no veteran shall be home less in Sarasota. We have made contact with 132 individuals. Twelve say they are veterans, said Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. Five are conrmed veterans and qualied for case management and housing. Four are in the process and almost permanently housed and eligible for long-term counseling. The fth is in the pro cess and should be housed shortly. She was joined at the dais by two members of the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), case management specialist Calvin Collins and Sgt. Lori Jaress. City Manager Tom Barwin asked if the veterans were found downtown. Most of the ones Im talking to are not from the Sarasota area, replied Collins. One goal is to reconnect them with persons, family from wherever they are from. The HOT team is doing this one person at a time, said DiPino. Were trying to identify the vets rst and then the vulnerable adults. Our motto is to help people one individual at a time. Each one is unique. Meanwh ile, the numbers are growing and tempers are fraying. There are lots of people sleeping outdoors near The Salvation Army, said the Armys Maj. Ethan Frizzell during the afternoon session. The parties are getting larger. A lot of the arrests have drug issues, not just homeless issues. At the opening of the evening session, Valerie Guillory with the homelessness sanctuary Trinity Without Borders came forward to say the homeless camp adjacent to her 10th Street ministry is getting out of control. During the commissions open to the public period, she reported, Over the past few days, its getting very, very violent there. A 71-year-old woman was sexually assaulted. I dont know what its going to take to get the people into housing and cure the area. We have pregnant women back there. We have people recovering from heart surgery, just asking for your help to get them into housing again and self-sufciency. Jon Thaxton, who is on the staff of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, came forward during the evening session to brief the com missioners on progress regarding a shelter for homeless women and children. He is working with Harvest House using property owned by the ministry on Mango Avenue, south of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Sarasota. How many are just passing through? asked Snyder. Are we imposing some kind of resi dency requirements? Its the reason were setting up this two-phase system, one for families here more than one year, replied Thaxton. Many come here in hopes of employment and nding a better cli mate, he added. There may be a need for residency requirements, and we have given that a consideration. % Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 34


The City of Sarasota, like most cities, places restrictions on merchants. Unlike the bazaars of the Middle East, in the City of Sarasota, you cannot shove racks of your products on the sidewalk in front of your shop. And you cannot offer free samples to entice shoppers inside your doors. But so me or all of that could change on St. Armands Circle, after the property owners group decided to ask the City Commission to consider changes to the rul es. The St. Arm ands Business Improvement District the BID is a self-taxing body of commer cial property owners who pay for marketing, capital improvements and aesthetic enhance ments to their tony shopping zone. At their monthly meeting on July 8, the BID board members voted to inv estigate new language to make allowances for offer ing samples. City Attorney Robert Fournier, attending the session for a different St. Armands Circle has an abundance of upscale shops in complement to its restaurants. Photo by Norman Schimmel FREE SAMPLES ON ST. ARMANDS? THE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT VOTES TO ASK THE CITY COMMISSION TO CONSIDER A ZONING CHANGE FOR THE CIRCLE This could be a zoning text amendment especially for the St. Armands [Commercial Intensive Tourist] zoning district. Robert Fournier City Attorney City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


agenda item said the BIDs vote would be communicated to the City Commission. This could be a zoning text amendment especially for the St. Armands [Commercial Intensive Tourist] zoning district, he added. Fournier also weighed in when BID mem ber Marty Rappaport said the organizations lawyer was contacted by a group seeking min utes of its meetings. Rappaport added that was looking for the organi zations public records. Fournier said that was probably a routine matter. I think that is one of the tests this group runs on local governments to see if they are compliant, he added. BID members have been sensitive to public records requests since they were sued to produce email com munications about BID business through their personal accounts. Their legal fees are still getting sorted out. The item Fournier awaited involves a pub lic hearing on special events in the city. The hearing is set for July 21. The policy before 2009 was unwritten, he said. The new ordi nance will contain special conditions for St. Armands Circle, but the details have not been nalized. It is open for discussion, he added. We hav e special events weve done for 35 years, said Diane Corrigan, executive direc tor of the St. Armands Circle Association. We hope they will be grandfathered in, and it does no t become rst-come, rst-served. % Robert Fournier is the city attorney of Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel 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 July 11, 2014 Page 36


With C ommissioner Nora Patterson cast ing the only No vote, as she did during the June 19 Tourist Development Councils action on the same issue, the Sarasota County Commission this week approved the reallo cation o f a portion of Tourist Development Tax (TDT) reve nue to a fund for the development of new attractions. The change will redi rect 3.5 percent of the total county TDT rev enue that had been going to promotional efforts undertaken by Visit Sarasota County, the countys tour ism ofce. Additionally, the board vo ted unanimously to redirect excess funds from an account for Ed Smith Stadium into the capital investment account for new vis itor draws. Because of increases in TDT revenue over the past couple of years, the county has been accu mulating more money in the stadium account County commissioners want to see new assets join the countys beaches as attractions for visitors. Photo by Rachel Hackney A MARKETING COMPROMISE THE COUNTY COMMISSION AGREES ON THE LOWEST PROPOSED PERCENTAGE IN SHIFTING TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX REVENUE FROM PROMOTING ATTRACTIONS TO INVESTING IN NEW ONES We need to have other assets. We rely on our beaches, obviously. We rely on our arts and culture [to draw visitors]. A hurricane or a red tide can shut down those beaches relatively quickly, so we need those other assets. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


than it needs for debt service on a bond it took out to cover renovations of the facility as well as to pay for stadium maintenance. That board action on July 9 is expected to provide an extra $274,991 for the 2015 scal year and at least $443,004 in the 2019 scal year, according to projections by the countys Ofce of Financial Management. Earlier this year, when the commissioners dis cussed a proposal to shift promotional money away from Visit Sarasota County, the matter drew opposition from community leaders involved in the hospitality industry. However, during the June 19 meeting of the countys Tourist Development Council (TDC), which Patterson chairs, Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, told the members her board reluctantly would sup port a shift of 7.5 percent of the promotional money from one penny of the ve-cent TDT. Haley reiterated that point to the County Commission on July 9. Thanks to projections that the TDT revenue will continue to climb, she said, We should recover [the lost money] easily, and it would give us the ammunition to support what ever those new [tourist attraction] assets would be. The commission had voted to advertise for the July 9 public hearing a shift of up to 17.5 percent of that single pennys revenue to the tourist attraction fund, but several board Opponents of a shift in county Tourist Development Tax revenue from promotional efforts to a capital investment fund cited the need for extra funds to market new hotels that will be opening in Sarasota, such as the Aloft under construction on Palm Avenue. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 38


members this w eek suggested the 7.5 percent level was a good start and that future com missions could reassess the situation. Commissioner Joe Barbetta had been most vocal in supporting the maximum proposed transfer of funds. Roughly $1 million bonds out to about $11 million on a 15-year amor tization and about $17.5 million on a 30-year [amortization], he asked Doreen Buonpastore of the Ofce of Financial Management. Exactly, she replied. The real value is the bonding capability of [the redirected revenue], he noted. We need to have other assets, Barbetta con tinued. We rely on our beaches, obviously. We rely on our arts and culture [to draw vis itors]. A hurricane or a red tide can shut down those beaches relatively quickly, so we need those other assets. Regarding one example of a potential new draw, he said the county cannot accommodate more than about 800 people in one place for a meeting. If the community had a conference A chart shows the amount of money expected to go into a capital investment fund for new tourist attractions, based on the July 9 County Commission vote. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 39


center that could hold up to 2,200 persons at a time, the facility would be a year-round enticement for more people to visit the area. Still, he added, while he would prefer an ini tial shift of 10 percent of that one TDT pennys revenue, he would support the 7.5 percent level at the outset. THE COMPROMISE Thank you, Virginia, for meeting with me and for trying to collaborate on this issue, Vice Chairwoman Christine Ro binson told Haley. I think we worked the numbers backwards and forwards to try to gure this out. I think [7.5 percent] will be an important step. Chairman Charles Hines also thanked Haley and her board for being willing to compro mise on the issue. The initial reaction was Absolutely not! No way! he noted. Referring to a graphic Buonpastore had shown the board, Hines also reminded Haley that past County Commission commitments of funding to the expansion of the shooting clay course at Knight Trail Park in Nokomis A chart shows projections for revenue that will be reallocated from an Ed Smith Stadium account to a capital investment fund for tourist attractions. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 40


and improveme nts at the BMX track in Sarasota would mean more events and more people lling hotel rooms. [Those actions] will benet our restaurants; they will benet our hotels. Commissioner Carolyn Mason said she had struggled between supporting the 10-per cent and 7.5-percent proposals. But I think 7.5 percent is a good place to start. Future commissions will have to keep an eye on it. When Robinson began to make a motion on the funding shift, Patterson requested that the board vote on the stadium funds separately. I think its a reasonable move, she added of the latter accounting change, as the dollars keep coming in higher. After the unanimous vote on that change, Robinson made the motion for the shift of TDT revenue to the attractions fund. Patterson said, Im sort of torn on this because I think its a reasonable compromise. Nonetheless, she continued, I think its sort of a slippery slope, which is kind of illustrated by every body saying its a start. She reminded her colleagues that when the commission approved a hike in the TDT from 4.5 cents to 5 cents, which went into effect on May 1, 2011, the board members empha sized that meant more money would be going toward marketing the county. The way I really feel is we probably shouldnt [shift any of the promotional funds], she added, and Im going to vote to my heart. % A chart explains how promotional funds were allocated from the ve pennies of the Tourist Development Tax prior to the July 9 County Commission vote. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 41


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has held what might have been its nal public preview of the new segment of U.S. 41 between 10th and 14th streets in Sarasota. The section includes two multi-lane roundabouts. Plans are about 60 percent complete, with the remaind er concerned with details below the level of public scrutiny. Perhaps 30 members of the public showed up at a meeting late Tuesday afternoon, July 8, to view the p lans and talk with FDOT engineers and specialists about the project. It was a multi-media presentation, with a video showing how roundabouts work for drivers and pedestrians. While the roundabouts were the eye-catching element, there were also dia grams of the new roadway that will connect them, alon g with views of the wider sidewalks of t he Multi-Use Recreational Trail that runs parallel with the Tamiami Trail. The FDOT has held 48 meetings or presen tations on the plans since Feb. 7, 2011. A video with animation explains how pedestrians and drivers can co-exist in a multi-lane roundabout. Photo by Stan Zimmerman ROUNDABOUTS SET IN STONE THE PUBLIC GETS WHAT WAS PROBABLY ITS LAST LOOK AT STATE TRANSPORTATION PLANS FOR U.S. 41 BETWEEN 10TH AND 14TH STREETS IN SARASOTA If we only work at night, it takes longer because we have to move the machinery and supplies to the site every night and remove them around dawn. Alex DavisShaw City Engineer City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


Chris Rouse peruses the 17 hefty documents that provide the details on the roadway plan. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 43


It has compiled 17 hefty documents running into the thousands of pages. Issues related to noise, wetlands, environmental contami nation and cultural and historical resources have all been incorporated in them, in addi tion to the preliminary engineering work. The project will span three city parks, includ ing Centennial and its boat ramps at 10th Street. Special planning was necessary to allow for vehicles hauling trailers. Special attention also was paid to enabling pedestri ans to cross U.S. 41 to reach those three parks. Splitter islands will serve as safe havens in the middle of the roadway. The venture is expected to begin in April 2017. It will not be constructed piecemeal; instead, it will be treated as one large project. The total cost is now estimated at nearly $11 million. City Eng ineer Alex DavisShaw says the trickiest part of the construction will be the detours. If we only work at night, it takes longer because we have to move the machin ery and supplies to the site every night and remove them around dawn, she explained. Working full-time means diverting traffic with detours. But 10th Street needs to stay open because it is the only access to the boat ramps, one of the citys primary means for boaters to reach the bay. These are things were still working on, she said. During construction, locals will soon realize the Tamiami Trail will not be the fastest way to go north. At the peak of tourist season, as many as 40,000 vehicles per day use that roadway. % Ryan Chapdelain, a staff member with the citys Neighborhood and Development Services Department, explains a detail to Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Advisory Board Chairwoman Millie Small. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 44


Valerie Guillory had a message for the Sarasota County commissioners this week. I need you all to stand strong and keep moving towards a solution, said Guillory, addressing the effort to build a come-as-youare homeless shelter in Sarasota. Guillory, an advocate for the homeless and executive director of Trinity Without Borders, reported to the board this week that community con ditions are getting worse. A camp of homeless people off Washington Boulevard in the City of Sarasota has regrouped itself and expanded since a city homeless outreach team shuttered it weeks ago, and more problems have arisen with the people staying there, she said. I want you to specically know within the last few days we had a 71-year-old woman attacked b ack there, Guillory told the board. (Se e the related story in this issue.) Guillory and other proponents of a per manent, Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofceop erated shelter for Homeless people commonly gather at the Sarasota County Area Transit transfer station at Lemon Avenue and First Street in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel NO PROGRESS THE COUNTY COMMISSION SENDS A LETTER TO THE CITY COMMISSION ASKING IN REGARD TO THE PROPOSED HOMELESS SHELTER, ARE YOU IN OR OUT? I dont want them to pretend they have a voice in this if they are not going to be a partner. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Roger Drouin County Editor


a dults say the facility is one of the best options for addressing a growing population of home less people and issues associated with them. But plans for the shelter, once the goal of the city and county commissioners, remain at a standstill. The concept barely survived a joint meeting of the City and County commissions last month, when both voted to continue exploring sites inside and outside the city limits. This week, prospects for a city-county agree ment looked even bleaker. The question of how to proceed with the latest search led to further debate. And the City Commissions unwillingness to conrm the tentative schedule for another joint meeting in September further stymies plans, county commissioners say. It just seems like there is always a push back, Commissioner Joe Barbetta said about the effort to work with city commissioners and their staff to secure a site for the shelter. During his boards July 8 meeting, Barbetta voiced frustration at what he perceived as another series of setbacks on the part of city ofcials. He referenced an assertion a day earlier by Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw that because homeless individuals are not originally from the city, they are not a city concern. Barbetta characterized that as an argument that does not make sense. None of us are from the city, Barbetta pointed out. We all come from somewhere else, with the exception of [County Commissioner] Carolyn [Mason]. Wayne Applebee, the countys homelessness policies coordinator, noted that 78 percent of Homeless people again are camping on Central Avenue in the Rosemary District. Photo by Norman Schimmel It just seems like there is always a pushback. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 46


Page 1 is shown of the letter sent from the County Commission to Mayor Willie Shaw and the City Commission via email and U.S. Mail on July 9. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 47


all homeless people in the county have lived in the city for more than a year. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson said she does not believe the two local government bodies can work together to build a shel ter. I have no faith that we are going to end up in a partnership with the city, Robinson said during the July 8 session, the day before Guillory offered her comments to the board. Robinson suggested sending a letter to the City Commission, a proposal that won support from the other commissioners. The letter asks whether the city board members still want to meet in September to review potential shelter sites and whether they plan to follow home lessness consultant Robert Marbuts criteria for a facility. Even though Robinson says she does not think city leaders are interested in meeting, she wants them to address these issues. I dont want them to pretend they have a voice in this if they are not going to be a part ner, Robinson added. Commissioner Nora Patterson, however, has some hope that a site will be found, regard less of whether the city or county locates it or a realtor suggests a potential parcel. Im not ready to say the partnership is bro ken, Patterson said. It is wobbly. The two commissions also have yet to come to an agreement on construction and opera tional funding for the she lter. The City and County commissions met on June 23 to consider the latest information from staff members regarding the effort to build a homeless shelter in the community. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 48


ANOTHER DISAGREEMENT Even as various efforts to provide housing and programs to homeless families are moving forward across the county, the lack of prog ress on the shelter itself was most perceptible this week in an exchange of city and county emails, which conveyed different approaches for the next steps. City Manager Tom Barwin wants to take a fresh look at Marbuts cri teria for a shelter site, arguing for a search that includes parcels further from the citys urban core. Another reason we must review Dr. Marbuts criteria is because there is also a glaring, inher ent contradiction between Dr. Marbuts many statements (and what we saw and heard at Pinellas Safe Harbor ) [about] a come as you are jail diversion shelter which featured case workers and services within the shelter, Barwin wrote in a June 27 email to county staff. County Administrator Tom Harmer points out that at the last joint meeting on the topic held June 23, both commissions made motions that included direction to staff to leave Marbuts suggestions in place as the search for a viable site continues. Harmer said the best route is for city ofcials to search for potential sites in the city and for county staff to look for par cels in the county that are close to the city limits. Barwins email also was a topic of discussion at the July 8 County Commission meeting. Mr. Barwins extensive email it is clear to me he is rejecting everything, and his board did not speak up at all to reject any of that email, Barbet ta said. % THE SARASOTA News Leader Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The award-winning Sarasota News Leader Sarasota Countys #1 digital news weekly! Read it online today at The most comprehensive, unbiased coverage of local news and government in the Sarasota County area. Read it on your iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Android, Laptop, Computer or other Smartphones Available for FREE every Friday Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 49


Bicy clists, pedestrians, babies in strollers and people in wheelchairs have reason to cele brate. The Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved a city plan that authorizes the expenditure of road impact fees on something besides automobiles. The July 9 action caps a months-long effort by City Engineer Alex DavisShaw to create a multi-modal impact fee to replace the road impact fee paid by developers to buffer the cost of transportation improvements. DavisShaw gave a short presentation to the County Commission, outlining the advantages of the citys being able to use the funding for more than extra streets and wider ones. Of course, street improvements will still be pos sible with the new funding scheme, but now the money can be used for complete streets, with provisions for urban avenues featuring wide medians, as well as neighborhood thor oughfares with plenty of space for bicyclists and wider sidewalks for baby strollers and wheelchair users. A slide provided to the County Commissions offers background on the road impact fee interlocal agreements. Image courtesy Sarasota County AN IMPACT FEE SWITCH THE COUNTY COMMISSION AGREES TO LET THE CITY COMMISSION SUBSTITUTE A MULTI-MODAL MODEL FOR ONE FOCUSED ON ROADS By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The road imp ac t fee system was organized countywide through an interlocal agreement nearly a quarter of a century ago. The money was collected by all four municipalities and transferred to the county; funds were then doled back out for projects within or near the four cities. Since the agreements inception, the City of Sarasota has collected $15.2 million in road impact fees. About $3 million has been spent, and $7.7 million has been allocated to current projects. The remaining $4.5 mil lion is for pending and future projects, such as the proposed roundabout at U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue. The citys desire to replace the road impact fee with a city-administered multi-modal fee required an amendment to the interlo cal agreement with the county. Although the county action officially followed a public hearing, no one addressed the board on the matter. In light of recent city-county frictions, city of cials hoped the county commissioners would simply take a vote on the change. And that is what they did, approving the termination of the citys participation in the road impact fee system by a 4-0 vote, virtually without com ment. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson was absent from the room when the action was taken. % A chart shows the City of Sarasotas road impact fee collections and expenditures. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 51


For the rst ti me in three years, Jim Shirley won unanimous approval of more than $1 mil lion in arts grants for Sarasota groups without rst having to respond to questions about his outreach to South County organizations. The executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County appeared briey before the County Commission on July 9 to introduce Fran Tavalin, his ofces grants direc tor, before the Sarasota County Commission awarded $1,580,600 to 34 projects for the 2015 scal year, which starts Oct. 1. In 2012 and 2013, Commissioner Christine Robinson, who represents South County interests on the board, pressed Shirley about the number of meetings he had conducted to assist representatives of South County arts groups interested in the grants process. In 2012, she cast the solitary No vote on the annual awarding of funds, citing concerns of constituents who had found difculty in nav igating the application process. Last year, Robinson joined her colleagues in unanimous support of the grant awards after Tavalin pointed out that 8 percent of the funding would be divided among three South County entities and Shirley provided more details about his contacts with South County organizations. The Sarasota Concert Association presented Russias historic St. Petersburg Philharmonic in a Sarasota performance in February. For the rst time, the Concert Association has received a county grant to help cover the expenses of its programming. Contributed photo FOR THE ARTS 34 ORGANIZATIONS HAVE WON $1,580,600 IN ARTS AND CULTURAL GRANTS FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


A chart shows about 60 percent of the programs recommended for county funding through the Arts and Cultural Alliance during the 2015 scal year. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 53


This yea r, four South County groups received a combined $160,077 in grant funds, or about 10 percent of the $1,533,965 divvied up among 34 organizations. On July 9, Tavalin told the commissioners two new applicants would be among the recipients, the Englewood Art Center and the Sarasota Concert Association. According to the list the Alliance provided, Ringling College of Art and Design applied for the funding on behalf of the Englewood Art Center. The $13,853 grant will pay for an exhibit titled Celebrating the Florida Landscape The Sarasota Concert Association won $20,984 to help cover the expenses of its 70th anniversary season. Anothe r South County entity, Venice Museum and Archives intends to submit an applica tion next year, Tavalin noted. Following Tavalins remarks, Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out, Its all pretty straightforward. A staff memo provided to the commission ers says the Alliances Cultural/Arts Grant Panel received and evaluated 35 grant applications for 35 new projects for the next fiscal year. The only project that was not selected was determined to be incom plete and included outdated financials, the memo notes. Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts & Cultural Alliance, addresses the County Commission as Fern Tavalin, the Alliances grants director, waits her turn at the podium. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 54


THE GRANTS The following grant awards were made for the 2015 scal year: Art Center Sarasota, Merging Parallels in the amount of $39,652. Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Season Nineteen, in the amount of $34,405. Asolo Theatre, The American Character, Year Three in the amount of $86,990. Avenida de Colores, Sarasota Chalk Festival, in the amount of $47,185. Coexistence, Embracing Our Differences in the amount of $46,179. Florida Studio Theatre, Summerfest 2015, in the amount of $43,274. Florida Studio Theatre, 2015 Sarasota Festival of New Plays, in the amount of $43,274. Florida West Coast Symphony, dba Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra 2014-2015 Season Programming, in the amount of $86,548. The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has won a grant to help cover expenses of its 2014-15 season. Purlie was one of its 2013-14 productions. Image courtesy Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 55


The annual Chalk Festival produced by Avenida de Colores, which is moving from Sarasota to Venice this year, won a grant of $47,185. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 56


Fuzion Dance Artists, Fuzion Dance Artists Ninth Season Concert, in the amount of $5,616. Gloria Musicae, Fall Concert, in the amount of $10,906. Gulf Coast Heritage Association, Holly Days and Mangrove Lights in the amount of $46,980. Jazz Club of Sarasota, 35th Annual Sarasota Jazz Festival, in the amount of $14,159. Key Chorale, The First Thirty Years: A Celebration in the amount of $17,532. La Musica di Asolo, Things New in the amount of $17,872. Mote Marine Laboratory, Sea Amore in the amount of $86,548. Ringling College of Art and Design, 201415 Selby Exhibitions & Visiting Artists Program, in the amount of $33,736. Ringling College of Art and Design on behalf of the Englewood Art Center, Celebrating the Florida Landscape in the amount of $13,853. Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Twenty-Fourth Season, in the amount of $84,340. Sarasota Concert Association, 70th Anniversary Season, in the amount of $20,984. Sarasota F ilm Festival, 17th Annual Sarasota Film Festival, in the amount of $86,990. Sarasota Opera Association, Opera Lovers Weekend 2015, in the amount of $83,899. Saraso ta Pops Orchestra, The Pops 2014-15 Season, in the amount of $5,488. The Circus Arts Conservatory, Winter Production, in the amount of $63,918. The Circus Arts Conservatory, Holiday Spectacular and Spring Shows, in the amount of $20,644. The Florida State University on behalf of The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Foundation, Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898 and RePurposed in the amount of $83,457. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Fantastic Florida!/Gardens Treasures in the amount of $83,899. The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast, Hear & Now Concerts: The Next Generation of PMP Artists in the amount of $42,921. The Players, Broadway Theatre Series, in the amount of $39,161. The Players, Summer Sizzler Series, in the amount of $9,790. The Venice Symphony, The Grand Inauguration of the Venice Performing Arts Center in the amount of $30,808. Van Wezel Foundation, World Class Entertainment in the amount of $85,224. Venice Art Center, 2014-2015 exhibits, in the amount of $31,517. Venice Little The atre, Shoulder to Shoulder -15 in the amount of $83,899. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, WBTT Love, Laughter and Legends Season 2014-2015, in the a mount of $48,952. % Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 57


With the new two-story Gulf Gate Library scheduled to open in late January 2015, the Sarasota County Commission this week approved the purchases of furniture, xtures and equipment for it in an amount not to exceed $600,000. The item was among those approved on the boards July 8 consent agenda with no comment. During the commissioners June 25 bud get workshop, Sarabeth Kalajian, director of libraries and historical resources for the county, said the library construction was 70-percent complete at that point and on schedule. She reminded the board that the original Gulf Gate Library, which opened in November 1973, comprised 1,500 square feet. The new facility, located on the 7211 Curtiss Ave. site of its immediate predecessor, will have 25,920 square feet, Kalajian added. A July 8 memo provided to the commis sioners explains that furniture, xtures and equipment purchases and installation typ ically are handled through State of Florida contracts outside construction contracts. An aerial view of the construction of Gulf Gate Library, provided to the county by Willis Smith Construction in late June, shows the parking parcel across the street that the Friends of Gulf Gate Library gave Sarasota County in December. Photo courtesy Sarasota County A LIBRARY, A TROLLEY, PARKING AND PAVING THE COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES A RANGE OF JULY 8 CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS, RANGING FROM FURNITURE FOR THE NEW GULF GATE LIBRARY TO A CONTRACT FOR SOUTH COUNTY ROAD RESURFACING By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


This allows for discounts that can be signi cantly greater than can be provided through the Construction Manager, the memo notes. In a July 3 email to the board members, Kalajian wrote that the covered walkway at the entrance to the new facility and garden shade structures are in place. Interior wall painting is steadily progressing, she added. During the June 25 workshop, Kalajian reminded the commissioners that the Friends of Gulf Gate Library had donated a 25,000-square-foot parcel across the street from the new library that will be used to sup plement on-site parking. The organization is continuing to conduct fundraising for the facility, Kalajian continued, especially for the areas that will be used by children and teens and for the two planned reading gardens. The library has been operating at Westeld Sarasota Square while the construction has been under way. We think the temporary location at the mall has been a great suc cess, Kalajian said. Weve attracted new library users who will follow us to the new Gulf Gate Library. SIESTA TROLLEY FUNDS With Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) Route 10 being launched on July 12 to serve Siesta Key, the County Commission on July 8 adopted a resolution authorizing a Joint Participation Agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for a $1,087,500 grant that will cover 50 percent of the operating expenses for the rst three years of the service. An aerial photo shows the rear of the new Gulf Gate Library. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 59


In February 2011, the county obtained the FDOT grant for the trolley, or island bus, as SCAT is calling it, which will run from the Westeld Southgate mall on Siesta Drive through the Pavilion Shopping Centers in the Gulf Gate area, with stops in Siesta Village, at Siesta Public Beach and Turtle Beach. The trip from Southgate to Turtle Beach will take about an hour, according to SCAT staff. The grant required a 50-percent local match, according to a memo provided by SCAT Director Glama Carter. That will come in the form of salaries for the bus drivers, the memo notes. After the state funding for the service is exhausted, other sources of money will be needed to co ntinue the route, the memo points out. Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, has urged Siesta business own ers to encourage use of the route. County staff and a future County Commission will consider ridership when they look at extend ing the service beyond the initial three-year period, she has pointed out. A Feb. 24, 2011, letter from FDOT to thenSCAT General Manager Anthony Beckford says the project was designed to alleviate beach and Siesta Village parking. The route will operate seven days a week in conjunction with the existing Route 11 that The Siesta trolley, which is being rebranded as an island bus, will leave the Sarasota County Area Transit stop at Southgate mall about every 20 minutes. File photo Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 60


A map shows the boundaries of the Mira Mar District on Siesta Key. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 61


serves Siesta Key. The goal is to make waits for a bus to the island no longer than 20 min utes, SCAT staff says. IF IT AINT BROKE In the end, the vote was unanimous to hold a public hearing on Aug. 26 to extend the sun set date of the Residential Permit Parking Program ordinance for the Mira Mar District on Siesta Key. However, it came only after several minutes of discussion initiated by Commissioner Patterson. A July 8 me mo to the County Commission from Lisa Cece in the countys Public Works Transportation Ofce, pointed out that the Mira Mar District parking ordinance was adopted on June 20, 1995. The district is bor dered by Avenida Messina, Avenida Navarra, Avenida Veneccia, Columbus Boulevard and the section of Beach Road west of Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village. The memo from Cece notes that the last time the board acted on the ordinance was Jan. 12, 2011, when it approved an a mendment providing that A map shows the segments of roads that will be paved in South County beginning this month. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 62


vehicles with handicapped stickers could park in the marked handicapped parking spaces within the Mira Mar District. The sun set date was not extended at that time. Without commission action, the ordinance will sunset on Nov. 1, 2014. Staff is recom mending that the new sunset date be Nov. 1, 2019. That is the matter the board will address on Aug. 26. As Patterson put it during the boards regu lar meeting on July 8, Its kind of an unusual parking distri ct. The residents actually dont get a permit, so calling it a residential parking permit program is actually not what it is. The permits go to owners of the short-term rental units in the district, which, in many cases are duplexes that have been carved up into ve-plexes and six-plexes, Patterson noted. The owners distribute the permits to renters. The goal is to make sure the rent ers, who have no on-site parking available to An aerial view shows the section of Blackburn Point Road that will be repaved. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 63


them a t the units, are able to park legally on the street, she added. Prior to adoption of the original ordinance, as Patterson explained it, frustrations were aired over the number of people parking on the street to use what locals refer to as the dog beach, even though a county ordi nance forbids dogs at any of the public beach accesses and the public beach itself on Siesta Key. Patterson questioned whether the commis sioners should amend the ordinance to allow probably only a handful of homeowners in the Mira Mar District to apply for parking permits as well. She told her colleagues, I havent had complaints about this in years, but I used to from the one or two lone home owners Cece took the podium to note of the ordi nance, Its been pretty successful. It has reduced the vehicular congestion on neigh borhood streets. Do you think that there are enough [home owners] who live there that allowing them to pay ve bucks for a permit if they needed to or desired to would somehow unbalance whats working? Patterson asked. Staff could go back out to the area and con duct a survey of the residents and then report on its findings at the public hearing, Cece responded. In response to another question from Patterson, Cece said staff also could conduct a phone call poll of the neighbor hoods residents. I don t want to create a bunch of work over whats a pretty small issue, Patterson replied. We have the ability to amend this ordinance at any time if we should nd a problem, cor rect? Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh. Yes, you do, he told her. With Chairman Charles Hines and Commissioner Joe Barbetta both referenc ing old adages Let sleeping dogs lie from Hines and If it aint broke, dont x it from Barbetta Patterson again acknowledged, I have not had a call on it in about ve years. Commissioner Carolyn Mason made the motion to advertise the public hearing for the ordinance as is except for the change in the sunset date. Robinson seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously. SOUTH COUNTY RESURFACING PROJECTS The County Commission on July 8 also approved a $2,624,145.45 contract with Ajax Paving Industries of Florida, which is based in Nokomis, for the resurfacing of a total of 7.86 miles encompassing Knights Trail Road and segments of Laurel Road, Blackburn Point Road and East River Road in South County. Work is scheduled to begin this month with substantial completion expected in October, according to a memo provided to the board. The only other rm that bid on the project was Preferred Materials Inc. of Tampa. Its bid was for $2,932,827.82, a county Procurement Department tabulation sheet shows. % SHARE Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 64


SIESTA SEEN A SIGN SWITCHEROO OCCURS ON NORTH SHELL ROAD; ROBERTS POINT ROAD HAS ITS OWN PARKING PROBLEMS; THE SIESTA CHAMBER MEETS ITS FIREWORKS FUNDRAISING GOAL; AND THE PUBLIC BEACH PARK IMPROVEMENTS ARE ON SCHEDULE Although the new public parking spaces on North Shell Road were substantially com plete on July 3, a couple of issues remained to be resolved. The primary one, I learned this week, involves incorrect signage. Unlike the No Parking signs that went up in February on Avenida de Mayo, those on North Shell Road also bore the notice, Tow Away Zone. Therefore, the North Shell Road signs were being replaced this week, Tom Maroney, the countys transportation manager in the Public Works Department, told me on July 7. They were exuberantly put up there by the contractor, Maroney pointed out, add ing that the Tow Away Zone notices were not included at the countys direction. For consistencys sake, we are going to take them down. By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor The North Shell Road public parking project is almost complete. Photo by Rachel Hackney


The same rules apply on North Shell Road and Avenida de Mayo, he said. Anyone who parks in a No Parking zone is subject to a $25 ticket. However, the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce can have a vehicle towed if it presents a safety hazard on either street, Maroney noted. Maroney and Sgt. Scott Osborne, who heads up the Sheriffs Ofces Community Policing Station in Siesta Village, had discussed the situation shortly before I spoke with him, Maroney said. As for the other element of the project that needs to be addressed, the countys chief engi neer, James K. Harriott Jr., emailed the county commissioners on July 3 to tell them sod had not been installed around the back sec tions of the parking areas. This will happen next week, he wrote. The contractor felt that undertaking the work before the July Fourth holiday would make the necessary watering a challenge through the weekend, Harriott added. Most of the sod is the St. Augustine variety (replacing what was removed) so watering until it is established is necessary. Harriott continued in his email, I have met with a couple of residents from the area. Generally, they seem pleased and are optimisti c the more formal approach to Tow Away Zone signs on North Shell Road were expected to be replaced this week. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 66


parking will be an improvement to past park ing practices. One resident on the street did request some cleanup work and general maintenance at the beach park, Harriott noted, referring to Beach Access 1, which is at the west end of North Shell Road. Those requests would be forwarded to the Parks and Recreation Department for review, he wrote. By the way, the post-and-rope design provides even more protection for the re hydrant on the street, it appears. Still, the posts previ ously planted in front of the hydrant did not deter people from parking next to it, in direct violation of the law. That was a point Harriott made to the County Commiss ion on April 9, before it voted to approve the public parking plan for North Shell Road. I dont get it. I dont understand it, Harriott told the commissioners. As long as Ive been alive, I think, its been illegal to park in front of a re hydrant. People [here] do it all the time. I dont get it, was exactly what Maroney said on July 7, too, when he and I also discussed that same point. ROBERTS POINT ROAD WORRIES While the contractor was at work on North Shell Roads new designated spaces, residents on Roberts Point Road whose entrance is right across Higel Avenue from North Shell Road were becoming alarmed at the Roberts Point Road is on the east side of Higel Avenue, across from the entrance to North Shell Road. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 67


number of peopl e jamming up their street with vehicles. In late June, one Roberts Point Road resident emailed the commissioners, urging them to install No Parking signs along the street up to the rst turn. Please take this into seri ous consideration, the woman added, noting that she was sending the board members a number of signed petitions in support of the request. She included a photo of a syringe, pointing out that it was one of many that had been found near residences where young chil dren live. Deputy Chris McGregor of the Sheriffs Ofce alluded to the parking situation last week during his report at t he Siesta Key Village Assoc iation (SKVA) meeting. Now what scares me is across the street [from North Shell Road], he said, adding that he had talked with residents of Roberts Point Road over the past several weeks about their woes. In response to the email the woman resident sent the county commissioners, Chairman Charles Hines put her in contact with Paula Wiggins, the countys transportation plan ning manager. On June 26, Wiggins emailed the resident a copy of the form for her and her neighbors to use in petitioning action of the countys Trafc Advisory Council (TAC). She directed the resident to return the form to another county staff member, along with the letters and photos the resident had refer enced i n her email to the commissioners. A No Parking sign stands in front of one residence on Roberts Point Road. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 68


The TAC he ars petititions related to park ing before they are addressed by the County Commission. MEETING THE GOAL As it has in the past, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce met its fundraising goal again this year for the $35,000 July Fourth reworks show at the beach, Executive Director Debra Lynn-Schmitz told me on July 7. The Chamber covers the entire expense; no county money goes toward the event. Past Siesta Key Association Director Peter van Roekens was kind enough to share some highlights with the News Leader this week. The Chambers VIP picnic, a fundraiser that is held before the pyrotechnics, was pretty much sold out, Lynn-Schmitz said. I think it all went very smoothly. County staff had promised the new beach parking lot would be completed in time for the festivities, and it was. During the July 1 SKVA meeting, Deputy Chris McGregor remarked that the facility looks beautiful, The new parking lot at Siesta Public Beach opened just in time for the July Fourth holiday. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 69


including the b rick walkway that leads vis itors around the construction site to that Siesta quartz sand. And no heavenly reworks arrived to dis rupt the man-made show, Lynn-Schmitz pointed out. I can promise its not going to rain this year because we paid for a 60-foot by 90-foot tent to put over the picnic tables, SKVA member Kay Kouvatsos said during the organizations July 1 meeting. Lynn-Schmitz told me she worked on the cleanup after the reworks show end ed until about 10 p.m. and was back at the beach at 7 a.m. on Saturday to nish the job, pretty much all by myself. It only took about two hours, she added. Though volunteers who had gathered for a special beach garbage detail offered to assist her in the VIP picnic area, she said she declined. They had their hands full, she pointed out. As in the past, a lot of the re works spectators just left behind what they had brought with them for the day. My area was nothing compared to what people left on the beach, Lynn-Schmitz said. A walkway from the new Siesta Public Beach parking lot to the beach skirts the construction area. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 70


Siesta resident Peter van Roekens was kind enough to share his photos of the Siesta July Fourth reworks with the News Leader. Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 71


Contributed photo by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 72


Contributed photo by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 73


Contributed photo by Peter van Roekens Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 74


SPEAKING OF THE CLEANUP Siesta Key Association (SKA) President Michael Shay organized the volunteer Liberty Cleanup on July 5. In an email he sent that afternoon to all those who had helped, he extended his thanks and the gratitude of county staff. The Beach was a MESS, he wrote, and your help made a profound difference! Your work today was truly above and beyond and I am person ally very satised at the way our County residents rise to the challenge. I am espe cially grateful to those who dont live on the Key, but yet answer the call. All of you who helped out today are truly HEROES in my book! Shay asked for estimates of how many bags of recyclables and trash individuals lled, so he could le a report with county staff. Along with the public beach initiative, the vol unteers undertook the usual Adopt-A-Road cleanup on Higel Avenue from the hump bridge to the north Siesta Drive bridge, on Ocean Boulevard and in the Village. PU BLIC BEACH PARK IMPROVEMENTS During the June 25 County Commission bud get workshop, Carolyn Brown, director of parks and recreation, praised the rm that has been handling the construction manager at risk responsibilities for the Siesta Public Beach improvements. [Jon F.] Swift has just been outstanding to work with, she said. Commissioner Joe Barbetta told his colleagues and staff he felt the board owed gratitude to representatives of the communitys building rms, who urged the commissioners to adver tise the project with that type of management. Swift has been responsible for nding and supervising all the subcontractors to ensure the project comes in at or under budget. Brown also complimented the countys Capital Projects Department staff assigned to the beach park improvements, [They have] been great, so kudos to them, too. All signs indicate the project will be com pleted early in the 2016 scal year, she added. It just seems like everything is going very, very well % 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 July 11, 2014 Page 75


The Sarasota County School District saw its overall property value rise 7.61 percent from 2013 to 2014. Photo by Norman Schimmel NORTH PORT, SCHOOL DISTRICT, SEE BIG JUMPS IN PROPERTY VALUES NEWS BRIEFS Sarasota Co unty realized a slightly higher overall property tax value for this year than the earlier forecast showed, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraisers Ofce. The total nal value submitted to state of cials was $43,466,046,705, up 6.65 percent from the 2013 value and a slight increase over the preliminary gure of 6.5 percent that Property Appraiser Bill Furst conveyed to the County Commission during its June 25 budget workshop. The change translates into about $250,000 more for the county to incorporate into its 2015 scal year budget than staff had planned on as of June 25. The City of North Port saw the highest increase in value of all taxing entities, the Property Appraisers Ofce reported. Its total property value of $2,655,030,789 for 2014 is 10 percent higher than the 2013 number. The Sarasota County School District was in second place. Its property value of $46,981,167,444 for 2014 is up 7.61 percent compared to the 2013 gure. In third place is the Siesta Key Lighting District, with its total value 7.47 percent higher than the 2013 number. The City of Venice saw its total property value rise by 6.95 percent, while the Town of Longboat Key realized an increase of 5.18 percent. As previously reported, the City of Sarasotas property value is up 5.53 percent this year. Rachel Brown Hackney


It was a matter of formality during the July 9 Sarasota County Commission meeting, but the board voted unanimously to advertise its millage rates for the 2015 scal year. Kim Radtke of the countys Ofce of Financial Management pointed out that the board will have an opportunity to revisit the aggregate millage rate of 3.3912 when it holds its last budget workshop on Aug. 20. However, board members have been united in saying they will hold it steady. Chairman Charles Hines was met with silence when he asked on July 9, Any motion to increase the rate? He quickly added, Im just teasing. Radtke noted that the rate will not be adopted until after the commission holds its public hearings on the budget. Those are set for Sept. 8 and Sept. 22. The rst will be at the R.L. Anderson Center in Venice; the second, at the Sarasota County Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. The board traditionally votes to approve the budget after the nal public hearing. The proposed millage rate will be reected on the TRIM notices that will go out to property owners in August, according to a staff memo. By law, the County Commission can lower the rate during one of the September public hearings. However, it cannot increase the rate unless each taxpayer is sent a notice by rst class mail, the memo points out. Commissioner Joe Barbetta made the motion to advertise the total millage rate. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson seconded it. Rachel Brown Hackney COUNTY COMMISSION APPROVES ADVERTISEMENT OF MILLAGE RATE A chart shows the proposed Sarasota County millage rates for the 2015 scal year. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 77


Without comment on July 8, the Sarasota County Commission approved the purchase of 6.5 acres for a new 9,100-square-foot MidCounty Tax Collector Office and driving test range. It also agreed to a loan from an internal fund to pay for the land and early phases of the project. The facility is necessary because of the Florida Legislatures mandate that county tax coll ector ofces take over the issuance of all drivers licenses by June 30, 2015. The total purchase price for the new facility, which will be located at 5000 Sawyer Loop Road, south of Clark Road, is $1,550,000, according to a July 8 memo from county staff to the commissioners. The county plans to buy two parcels. The rst, from Culverhouse Limited Partnership, comprises 2.96 acres. Its cost is $805,000 The second, with a total of MID-COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR OFFICE SITE PURCHASE APPROVED A county map shows the Sawyer Loop Road site of the planned Mid-County Tax Collectors Ofce. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 78


State Rep. Darryl E. Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, is inviting members of the public to a July 15 community town hall meeting in Sarasota to provide a review of the 2014 Florida Legislatures session, the City of Sarasota has announced. After he presents his report, he will open the oor for questions, a news release says. The meeting will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, located at 1845 34th St. in Sarasota. ROUSON TO PROVIDE LEGISLATIVE SESSION REVIEW 2.77 acres, is owned by Cheshire Hunt Inc. Its price is $745,000. The closing date is Oct. 6, the memo notes. The memo notes that county staff identied about 30 sites in its effort to nd property that would meet the demands Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates explained would be necessary for the drivers license work. Among them is a closed driv ing course, a feature highly recommended by the state for safety purposes, she has told the commissioners. The county has until Sept. 5 to complete its due diligence on the two parcels, the memo points out. The contracts also are conditioned upon the County obtaining two appraisal reports, showing the average value for the prope rty is not less than the purchase price, the memo adds. If county staff is not satised with the due diligence reports, the memo notes, the county has the option to ter minate the contracts. The estimate for the due diligence is $50,000. To provide interim nancing for the purchase of the parcels, projected closing costs and some initial design and engineering work, staff proposed the county pursue an inter fund loan in the amount of $2,143,000, the memo explains. That will be repaid to the countys general fund when a bank loan is secured prior to the start of construction, the memo says. Rachel Brown Hackney The Robert L. Taylor Complex is in north Sarasota. File photo Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 79


With local schools scheduled to resume Aug. 18, Sarasota County public health and school ofcials are reminding parents to get their childrens immunizations updated. A parent of a child enrolling at a Sarasota County school for the rst time must pro vide the ofce staff with a completed Florida Certification of Immunization (DH 680), a Health Department news release points out. Available through healthcare providers and at the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Sarasota County (formerly known as the Sarasota County Health Department), that certication is the ofcial record showing that school-age children have had all the immunizations needed for their grade level, the news release explains. By the time a child starts school, he or she should already have had a number of required immunizations, the release contin ues. However, proof of updates, boosters and series completion is required before any child can become a student of the Sarasota County Schools or advance to some grade levels. Children entering seventh grade in August must have proof they received a tetanus/ diphtheria/pertussis booster (TDaP) within the past ve years, for example, the release points out. Parents also should make sure their college-bound teenagers have up-to-date required and recommended vaccines, which usually include those for meningitis and HPV. The registrar must be at the childs school to process a DH 680 form, the release adds. While some school staff members work year-round, the majority of Sarasota County School District school registrars will return to work July 24, i t says. According to school district staff, schools will be closed on all Fridays through Aug. 8. Students who do not have the required immu nizations will be sent home from public schools on the rst day, Aug. 18, the release notes. In addition, they will not be able to ride a bus or participate in sports, band or other extracurricular activities until the school has the DH 680 forms showing they have received the required immunizations, the release adds. The Department of Health, through the fed erally funded Vaccines for Children program, offers immunizations to eligible children at no cost, the release points out. No appoint ment is needed. A parent or legal guardian must be present and must bring prior shot records, the release says. Immunizations are also available free of charge to children with insurance. Please bring your insur ance card information, the release adds. Immunizations for children are available at the following locations: WILLIAM L. LITTLE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES CENTER Call 861-2900 for hours or visit The Walk-In Immunization Clinic is located at 2200 Ringling Blvd. in downtown Sarasota. NORTH PORT HEALT H CENTER Call 861-3864 for hours or visit The Walk-In Immunization Clinic is located at 6950 Outreach Way in North Port. For more information, contact a healthcare provider or the DOH-Sarasotas Office of School Health at 927-9000, Ext. 32101. For a complete shot schedule, visit the Sarasota County School Districts health website PARENTS ENCOURAGED TO HAVE CHILDREN VACCINATED BEFORE SCHOOL Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 80


The Sarasota Police De partment held its inau gural Junior Law Enforcement Academy for 30 children on July 9, the department has announced. The event gave children a chance to observe the inner workings of the Police Department, a news release says. Chief Bernadette DiPino spent time talking with children, sharing safety tips and encouraging the youngsters to keep in touch with the Police Department, the release adds. Academy participants had the opportunity to try on equipment, su ch as a bomb suit, and take part in a SWAT Challenge on the west lawn of the Police Department grounds, the release continues. Other specialty units participated in the activities, including the Marine Patrol and Dive Team, Criminalistics, K9 and the Emergency Response Team, the release notes. Plans are in the works for other future junior law enforcement days, the release says. To see video highlights of the July 9 activities, click here POLICE DEPARTMENT HOLDS INAUGURAL JUNIOR ACADEMY The anim al rescue and recovery team at Mote Marine Laboratory recently received $12,104 from the Sea Turtle Grants Program to purchase a new boat that will enhance Motes response to distressed sea turtles, dol phins and whales and make possible new research about the threats they face, Mote has announced in a news release. The funds helped pay for a 13-foot Boston Whaler for Motes Stranding Investigations Program, a 24-hour response service for sick, injured and stranded sea creatures in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the release notes. Mote bought the boat at a substantial discount from Marine Max Sarasota, located on City Island, the release says. Between 2003 and 2013, Mote responded to 697 sea turtles, the most commonly stranded marine animals in the two counties, the release continues. Thirty percent of the cases during the past year required a marine ves sel, the release points out. Animals found alive are brought to Motes hospitals for treat ment, while those recovered dead are given a NEW MOTE BOAT TO ENHANCE RESPONSES TO DISTRESSED SEA LIFE thorough necropsy (animal autopsy), it says. Findings are provided to state and federal wildlife managers and help fuel cutting-edge science. While Mote has several multi-use research vessels and its staff works closely with wildlife ofcials to address each stranding quickly, having a powerboat dedicated to the Stranding Investigations Program allows even more efcient responses at all hours, the release explains. Speed is essential whether the animal is reported dead or alive, said Gretchen Lovewell, manager of Motes Stranding Investigations Program, in the release. For living animals entangled in shing gear, a swift response may be all that saves them from drowning with the rising tide or exhausting their energy reserves. For an animal that has recently died, an hour in the Florida heat can make a major difference in how much their tissues have decomposed and in turn, how much we can learn from examining them. This new vessel allows for a quicker, more Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 81


(From left) Mote Marine Stranding Investigations Program Manager Gretchen Lovewell, Iain Stephenson of Marine Max and Rebeccah Hazelkkorn, Mote staff biologist, stand with Motes new Boston Whaler. Contributed photo efcient response, and the boats shallow draft means it can go virtually anywhere. Motes new boat will also allow scientists to develop new research studies to document boat trafc and monitor for sea turtles in Sarasota Bay, the release notes. Their goal is to look for hot spots where boat strikes on turtles happen most frequently. Mote is seek ing additional funds for this project online at the release adds. Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 82


About 320 Saras ota County School District custodians converged on Riverview High School on July 3 for their district-hosted annual professional development day, the dis trict has announced. Each of them selected five sessions to attend from among the 21 offered, a news release says. They studied subjects ranging from cash management to CPR and debrillator use to re safety and security to Internet navigation, the release notes. Other classes focused on subjects that would benet them and their families, such as nutr iti on, home repair, health insurance and preparing for retirement, the release adds. Although the day had a serious goal in its endeavor to raise the productivity level of the custodial staff, the release continues, the team-building activities were clearly the most fun. Organized around the theme of Custodial Olympics teams of custodians from individual schools went head-to-head in a series of activities that culminated in three trophies being awarded. Those events were the Golf Cart Rodeo, Duct Tape Wars, Olympic Games and building a spaghetti structure. The Golf Cart Rodeo required drivers to nav igate a slalom course of tennis balls on stands SARASOTA SCHOOLS CUSTODIAL DAY BUILDS TEAMWORK, SKILLS Tuttle Elementary School custodians Blondel Alexandre (left) and Gilda Williams participate in a team-building exercise called Duct Tape Wars during Custodial Day activities at Riverview High School. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 83


without knocking them over and to negotiate a series of turns and stops to demonstrate their knowledge of campus safety protocols, the release explains. In the Duct Tape Wars, they had to manip ulate long duct tape ribbons connected to a magic marker to write the word teamwork on a pad, it adds. In the spaghetti structure event, they were tasked with building the tallest possible structure from spaghetti and masking tape that would be capable of hold ing a marshmallow at its top. The Olympic Games was a series of timed events involving bowling with toilet paper rolls, solving a three-dimensional puzzle made of plastic pipe, and balancing a tennis ball on parallel mop handles. The Tuttle Elementary School team had the highest score at the end of the day, earning it the gold trophy. The Venice Elementary con testants won the silver, and the Toledo Blade Elementary team earned the bronze. The Sarasota County Schools custodial staff is widely recognized as one of the most ef cient in Florida, cleaning 8,820,835 square feet of oor space in 1,213 buildings every day with a staff of 320, the release points out. The average district custodian cleans more than 27,000 square feet of space a day. The Florida Department of Education stan dard is 19,000 square feet per day, the release notes. Stafng the district at that level would require 144 more custodians. % Pine View Head Custodian Marcia Hill (left) and driver Nikita Korsakov negotiate the tennis ball portion of the Golf Cart Rodeo under the watchful eye of monitor Brenda Green during Custodial Day. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 84


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce is asking the public to help identify a woman who is suspected of stealing more than $600 worth of cosmetics from the Ulta store, located at 6515 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, on Thursday, June 26, around 3:30 p.m. The suspect, who is described as a white female in her 40s, was accompanied by three young girls wearing matching striped dresses, a news release says. Surveillance video cap tured the woman carrying merchandise into the Ulta restroom, where items were removed from their boxes and the packaging discarded, the release a dds. The suspects left the store in a silver Saturn Vue, it notes. Anyone with information is asked to call Criminal Investigations at 861-4900, leave an anony mous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 366-TIPS (8477), going online at sarasotac or texting TIP109, plus a message, to CRIMES (274637). A female suspect and the three young girls who accompanied her are seen in surveillance video from the Ulta store on South Tamiami Trail on June 26. Image courtesy Sheriffs Ofce PUBLICS ASSISTANCE SOUGHT IN IDENTIFYING THEFT SUSPECT CRIME BLOTTER The Sheriffs Ofce has released surveillance video showing the suspect at the Ulta store. Video courtesy Sheriffs Ofce


Fifteen local convenience store clerks were cited for selling alcohol to a minor during the most recent undercover operation conducted on June 30 and July 1 by the Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce Juvenile Alcohol Task Force (JATF), the ofce has announced. The following businesses were found to be in violation of selling alcohol to a person under 21, a news release says, and each of the clerks was given a misdemeanor Notice to Appear: Marathon, 6212 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Citgo, 4529 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Mobil, 4350 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. BP, 2791 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Mobil, 2308 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Mobil, 8445 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Murphy USA, 117 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey. Shell, 1166 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey. Sam American Pantry, 810 Colonia Lane, Nokomis. Shell, 4300 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice. Mobil, 2745 Beneva Road, Sarasota. Marathon, 1135 Beneva Road, Sarasota. Shell, 5100 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Shell, 3440 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota. 7-Eleven, 5232 Ocean Blvd., Sarasota. The clerk at the Osprey Shell, Arthur Kleszczynski of Venice, was arrested, as he was cited for selling alcohol to a minor during th e last JATF operation, the news release notes. The results of this operation were forwarded to the Florida Bureau of Alcohol Beverages and Tobacco, Department of Business & Professional Regulation, which licenses alcohol sales at each establishment, the release adds. Another 64 businesses in Sarasota, Osprey, Venice, Nokomis and North Port were in com pliance and will be sent letters to commend owners and employees for helping to reduce the sale of alcohol to minors, the release points out. This is the second JATF operation this year, resulting in a combined 22 store clerks being cited for selling alcohol to minors, the release says 15 CONVENIENCE STORES CITED FOR SELLING ALCOHOL TO MINORS The Shell convenience store at the intersection of Siesta Drive and South Osprey Avenue in Sarasota was among those where a clerk was cited for selling alcohol to a person under 21. Image from Google Maps SIESTA DR. OSPREY AVE. Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 86


The Sarasota Cou nty Sheriffs Office has arrested a West Palm Beach man caught on camera stealing a purse at a bar in Siesta Key Village. Early Tuesday morning, July 1, the victim told the manager at the Beach Club that someone had stolen her purse, a news release says. The manager watched surveillance video, which shows the crime and then the suspect leaving the property. However, the suspect returned to the bar a short time later and was detained by security staff until deputies arrived, the release points out. The 45-year-old victim, who lives in Port Charlotte, told a deputy she found her purse MAN CAUGHT ON VIDEO STEALING A PURSE AT THE BEACH CLUB Surveillance shows the theft of a purse at a Siesta Village bar. Video courtesy Sheriffs Ofce Keith Hernandez/Contributed Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 87


The Sarasota County Sheriffs Ofce arrested a Venice man on the morning of July 2 for allegedly burglarizing several vehicles late at night, the ofce has reported. From June 17 to June 25, two victims reported items were stolen from vehicles parked at their homes on Flamingo Road and Hourglass Drive in Venice, a news release says. A third victim reported someone tried to break into his truck on Argyle Road, but a witness scared the suspect away, the release adds. The Sheriffs Ofce latent ngerprint exam iner determined prints recovered from each crime scene match those of Michael Morris, 32, of 290 Palmetto Drive, Venice. He is also the man seen on video using one of the victims credit cards at a Walmart, the release notes. Morris is charged with two counts of Burglary, one count of Attempted Burglary, one count of Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card and three counts of Criminal Use of Personal Identication. This is the 25th arrest for Morris, who was released from prison in January foll o wing a two-year sentence for Motor Vehicle Theft, the release adds. He also has prior arrests for Carrying a Concealed Weapon, Domestic Battery and Dealing in Stolen Property. FINGERPRINTS CONNECT SUSPECT TO SEVERAL BURGLARIES Michael Morris/Contributed photo missing when she returned from the restroom, according to the report. The purse, which contained a p hone and nearly $500 in cash, was recovered from Keith Hernandez, 27, who was arrested for Grand Theft, the release says. Hernandez rst told a deputy that someone had thrown the phone into his pocket, the report continues. When the deputy asked who did that, Hernandez replied that it was someone on the security staff of the Beach Club, the report adds. Then Hernandez said it was another deputy, who had arri ved on the sce ne earlier. After he made that state ment, the report says, Hernandez became uncooperative and would not answer any more questions. He was released from jail after posting $5,000 bond. Watching this video shows how quickly a crime can occur, said Sheriffs Ofce spokes person Wendy Rose in the release. Its also a good reminder to not leave purses unattended or carry large amounts of cash when its not absolutely necessary. Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 88


The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Ofce is remind ing the public about distraction schemes that can be a cover for residential burglaries. Typically, one suspect approaches a resi dent and requests to be allowed inside or to have access to the back yard, a news release explains. As that person is distracting the homeowner, another suspect or suspects enter the residence to steal jewelry and cash in just a matter of minutes, the release says. The situation varies, with suspects claiming to have arrived at the home to inspect a water leak, check property lines or to show the resi dent needed repairs. The suspects might also identify themselves as county employees or utility workers, the release points out. Homeowners are a dvised not to open their doors for someone who arrives unannounced and never allow the person into your home, the release says. Ask him or her to leave a business card in the door and request the persons employee identication number so you can contact [the] employer to verify whether [the person is] there on legitimate business, the release adds. Immediately contact the Sheriffs Ofce to report any suspicious activity, and if possible, try to obtain a tag number and description of the vehicle the person is driving, the release continues. Notifying law enforcement of cers will allow deputies to determine the real reason the person or persons are in the neigh borhood. Call the non-emergency number, which is 316-1201, the release says. % PUBLIC REMINDED ABOUT DISTRACTION SCHEMES FOR BURGLARIES 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 Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 89


BOBS BOATHOUSES DEFIANCE AN AFFRONT TO THE PUBLIC OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL Laws and o rdinances do not exist solely as a mechanism for identifying wrongdoers and the sanctions against them. In a civilized soci ety, laws and ordinances provide a framework boundaries, if you will whereby honest folk know what is and is not permissible behavior.Those boundaries normally function quite well, with the overwhelming majority of citi-zens remaining in compliance with them.And those who do not comply usually are apprehended, charged and tried. If convicted, they face appropriate penalties for their wrongdoings. Interestingly, in this modern era in which the U.S. Supreme court is anthropomorphizing corporations, granting them the previously human-only ri ghts of freedom of speech and religion, there remains one area where corpo rations are not being treated as people: when they break the law.In the beginning, corporations were allowed to exist as legal entities so the collective will of the owners, directors and ofcers could be expressed in their name. Corporations could buy and sell property, enter into contracts, sue and be sued. What was not contemplated in those early days was the notion that a cor -poration, which is a legal entity only for the conduct of the corporations affairs, could be a lawbreaker and, if a lawbreaker, subject to the judicial penalties prescribed for lawbreakers.Instead, most governments nd themselves dealing with corporate wrong doing as a civil


matter, subject to the same drawn-out pro cesses that seem to dene civil jurisprudence. And, unlike humans, corporations cannot be sent to prison or executed for criminal wrongdoing. The owners, directors and of cers could be so penalized, but that rarely has happened in the history of corporations in this country. So it is that Sarasota County and the Florida Department of Health nd themselves at odds with Bobs Boathouse (BBH) or rather its owners, directors and ofcers as it outs county zoning and noise ordinances and operates a permitted fountain as an illegal swimming pool, in deance of state law and a cease-and-desist order from the Department of Health. We have previously pointed out in this space that frustrated Sarasota County Sheriffs dep uties have taken to arresting managers at Bobs for continued violations of the countys noise ordinances, since simply citing them for noncompliance was having no effect. Now the Department of Health, after spend ing two months exhorting BBH to keep patrons out of the fountain, is on the cusp of a long, expensive (to the taxpayers) legal process to force compliance and the closure of the illegal pool all because BBH has essentially thumbed its corporate nose at existing laws and ordinances and the standards of orderly, law-abiding conduct in a civ ilized society. As reporte d last week by The Sarasota News Leader patrons continue to use the fountain as a swimming pool. Large pieces of furniture, apparently placed there by BBH personnel, make it obvious that the fountain is intended to be used as a recreational pool. Yet, the pool is so out of compliance with state health reg ulations for a public swimming facility that Health department employees ovetaxed their computer system as they entered all of the violations of state regulations, in seeking to document the situation for the issuance of a cease-and-desist order. According to the Department of Health, the pool is too close to food service areas. It does not have the required width of pad around it for safe use. It does not have a proper ltration system on its circulating pumps. It does not have a system for regulating the proper chem ical balance of the water or for controlling bacterial contamination. And it apparently does not have anti-entrapment devices on any drains or water-circulating system inlets. That last point i s a serious concern. Photos obtained by the News Leader show small children playing in the pool. Most regulations for the operation of public pools now require anti-entrapment dev ices as a consequence of a tragic mishap in North Carolina. A young c h ild sat on a drain in a public pool in Raleigh and, before she could be rescued, had 80 percent of her intestines sucked out of her an us by th e The cavalier and uncaring attitude of Bobs Boathouse in allowing young children to play in an illegal swimming pool, with the possibility of grievous injury or death lurking just beneath the surface, should be shocking to the people of Sarasota County. Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 91


vacuum. In a case th at garnered national attention, a jury awarded the child and her family $25 million in damages. But no amount of money could restore the childs ruined body or undo the countless surgeries she had to endure or prevent the lifetime of suffering she can expect. The cavalier and uncaring attitude of BBH in allowing young children to play in an illegal swimming pool, with the possibility of griev ous injury or death lurking just beneath the surface, should be shocking to the people of Sarasota County. But almost as shocking is the fact that some patrons of Bobs Boathouse apparently lack the mental capacity to protect themselves. Despite several prominent signs posted by the Department of Health proclaiming that the pool is closed and not for public use, patrons still voluntarily enter into an illegal, unlicensed and dangerous body of water. Worse, they let their small children play in that body of water, ignoring the horric risks their children face as a result. In almost any other instance, such behavior would be deemed child endangerment, and the parents or guardians would be subject to criminal penalties for those actions. Because BBH has decided to hide behind its attorneys, who have capitalized on the glacial pace of the civil justice system to delay com pliance and frustrate the county and state authorities, the danger to the public of the continued use of this fountain as an illegal swimming pool continues unabated. We hope that the owners of BBH have an ethi cal renaissance and this menace to the public health is shut down as in the pool drained, the furniture removed and the fence that pre viously enclosed this area restored. The owners and operators of BBH might think they have no responsibility to their patrons, if their patrons are so dimwitted as to engage in the dangerous use of this illegal pool in spite of clear signage warning against it. Yet a serious injury to or death of one of those patrons will acquaint BBH owners and opera tors with the personal injury case law that has stemmed from that tragic situation in North Carolina. Their out-of-state residence and the corporate veil will afford little protection in a multi-million-dollar wrongful death suit. We just hope that a death or debilitating injury does not have to be the price paid for the cal lous disregard for the public welfare by Bobs Boathouse and its owners and operators. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sar asota News Leader wel comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to Lett with Letter to the Editor in the subject line. Let ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other fac tors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 92


Editors note: This is the third in Palmeris Florida Alphabet Soup series, and she points out, Letters oat to the top in no par ticular order! On June 25, 1564, Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues stepped off a French ship onto a beach in northeast Florida into a throng of Timucua. The heavily tattooed men wore deerskin loincloths; the women, skirts of Spanish moss. In Painter in a Savage World Miles Harvey relates that Le Moyne, the rst European art ist to document the New World, noted in his journal The chiefs wife and her maid servants were all dressed in a special kind of moss hanging from their shoulders or around them as a girdle. The moss grew on many trees and hung together like a chain, with its green ish azure color shining like silk. The trees on which this moss grew were beautiful to look at because it hung down to the ground from the highest branches. Spanish moss is not Spanish. It is not a moss. It is an epiphyte an air plant and, sur prisingly, a member of the pineapple family. Surviving on air, rain and minerals washed off leaves of ve getation, it produces tiny owers THIS ADORNMENT OF NATURE HAS BEEN GATHERED FOR MANY USES THROUGH THE CENTURIES S IS FOR SPANISH MOSS IS FOR SPANISH MOSS S ALL THE REST ... Story and Photos By Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer


from spring through summer. Found as far north as Maryland, it is a symbol of the South. Like tinsel on a holiday tree, it can be festive or spooky in a Gothic sort of way. Tillandsia usenoides has always been put to practical use. Thousands of years ago, indigenous peoples tempered clay pots with moss. The Seminoles used it to make cord, blankets, clothing, sieves and a tea to cool a fever. Floridas settlers stuffed mat tresses with it. The auto industry used it in car seats. I think of the moss as a weathervane, which not only tells me which way the wind is blowing, but how hard. Along with pine needles, it makes great mulch for the garden. In springtime, nesting birds y by, trailing tufts of Spanish moss. The great horned owl will lay a bit of moss in the crotch of an oak to cushion its eggs. Bats nest in it. Owls rest by day camouflaged in mossladen trees. Is it good to eat? Cattle think so. On his thousand-mile walk to the Gulf, John Muir made a bed of the stuff among the gravestones at Savannahs St. Bonaventure Cemetery. Penniless at the time, he spent a peaceful week in that place, which he considered the most beautiful he had ever seen. Without Spanish moss, our trees would be diminished. Florida naturalist Archie Carr said it best: A big old live oak tree without its moss looks like a bishop in his underwear. % Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 94


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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 11+ JULY Florida Studio Theatre presents the Sixth Annual Improv Festival July 11-12; times vary. 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: weekend passes, $59; for one night of shows, $49; individual shows, $10 each; workshops, $29 per two-hour session. Information: 366-9000 or 11+ JULY Banyan Theater Company presents The Price by Arthur Miller Through July 13; times vary. Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tick ets: $28.50 for a single performance; $52 for two of Banyans summer season plays; and $70 for three shows. The Stye of the Blind Pig (July 17 to Aug. 3) by Phillip Hayes Dean and Collected Stories by Donald Margulies (Aug. 7-24). Information: banyantheatercom 11+ JULY Players Theatre presents Knowing Me, Knowing You: The Hits of Abba Through July 20; times vary. 838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $18. Information: 365-2494 or 11+ JULY FST presents Becoming Dr. Ruth Through July 27; times vary. Keating Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $34 to $44. Information: or 366-9000. 11+ JULY Allyn Gallup Gallery presents A Few Great, Big Pictures Through July 28; times vary. 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free. Information: 366-2454 or 11+ JULY Florida Studio Theatre presents Clearly Invisible Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger Through Aug. 3; times vary. John C. Court Cabaret, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $32 to $36. Information: 366-9000 or 11+ JULY Art Center Sarasota presents Florida Flavor Through Aug. 15; times vary. 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Free. The all-Florida, all-me dia juried exhibition showcases twoand three-dimensional works. Information: 365-2032 or COMMUNITY CALENDAR Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 99

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The best of upcoming EVENTS Submit Calendar Events To 11+ JULY FST Improv: Out of Bounds Match Up Through Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. Brownes Lab Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $15. Information: 366-9000 or 11+ JULY UUCS Presents J ane Shannon: Works in Fabric Through Sept. 4; times vary. Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Lexow Wing Gal lery. 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Free. Information: 371-4974 or the church website 11+ JULY Dabbert Gallery presents Summer Showcase Through Sept. 29; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free. Featuring works by three sculptors, one printmaker, 15 painters, one pastel artist and one photographer. Informa tion: 955-1315 or 12+ JULY Bookstore1Sarasota presents Breakfast Serial Book Club July 12 and each succeeding Saturday during the summer. From 10:30-11 a.m., staffers will read to 3to 6-year-olds; from 11:15-11:45 a.m., they will read to 7to 9-year-olds. 1359 Main St., Sarasota. Information: or 365-7900. 12 JULY Venice Community Center presents One Night Rodeo July 12, 8-11 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Center located at 326 Nokomis Ave., Venice. Tickets: $5. A Bradenton band, One Night Rodeo recently won the Great American Coun try and Music Nations Next Star Competition. More information and tickets: 861-1380. 12 JULY Fogartyville presents Passerine with special guests The Blue-Eyed Bettys July 12, 8 p.m. Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court, Sara sota. Tickets: $8 in advance; $10 at the door. Information: 894-6469 or 19 JULY ALSO Youth presents The Story of My Life July 19, 7 p.m. Goldstein Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets $25; proceeds benet ALSO Youth. The semi-autobiographical serio-comedy will focus on the lives of Mark Bowers and Joey Panek. Information: 951-2576 or Alsoyouth. org 19 JULY Venice Theatre Guild presents Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio July 19, 8 p.m. 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice. Tickets: $20. Show is part of the Summer Con cert Series. Information: 488-1115 or Sarasota News Leader July 11, 2014 Page 100

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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. A PRIMITIVE TELEVISION ANTENNA SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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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

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