October 21, 2016 Edition

Earlier starting dates built into latest calendars proposed for Sarasota County Schools, based on committee work

School Board members encourage public comments by Nov. 11

Last year, the Sarasota County School District was one of only three in the state to adopt a later starting date than allowed by the Florida Legislature. The decision came after a multitude of protests, especially from parents arguing for more time off in August than in May. (Read more »)

Charlotte County commissioners applaud Sarasota County steps to prepare for legalization of medical marijuana, with Amendment 2 on ballot

Board members to work through state association to try to ensure ‘home rule’ can prevail over state regulations

Charlotte County commissioners this week applauded their Sarasota County counterparts for taking action two years ago in preparation for the legalization of medical marijuana. As Charlotte County Commissioner Chris Constance put it during his board’s Oct. 19 joint meeting with the Sarasota County Commission in Port Charlotte, “We’re trying to define a strategy for [the potential that] Amendment 2 passes, [and] we’ve seen our neighbors to the north have done a good job assessing the situation.” (Read more »)

Most calls from the homeless for medical aid continue to originate in city of Sarasota, report shows

Behavioral health organizations working on better way to help those who repeatedly seek assistance, county’s director of homeless services says

The city of Sarasota continues to be the primary location from which the Sarasota County Fired Department’s EMS units transport homeless individuals with medical issues to a hospital, the department’s September report shows. (Read more »)

Bowden ultimately wins unanimous support of School Board as choice for next superintendent

Chair Shirley Brown first chose St. Johns County candidate

A process that began formally in the spring and drew a total of 49 applicants from across the United States ended up with the only homegrown candidate winning the job. (Read more »)

New county ordinance governing mangrove trimming and protection in effect as of Nov. 1

County commissioners cite Manasota Key destruction in 2014 as the impetus for seeking delegation of authority from the state

Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson still regrets not checking her email an hour or two sooner on Feb. 22, 2014. That was the day Manasota Key residents reported that a crew hired by owners of the property at 8215 Manasota Key Road in Englewood was “cutting and shredding huge amounts of mangroves with no visible permit,” as one put it. (Read more »)

Final Deepwater Horizon settlement will mean less money for the RESTORE Act

Planning continuing for state and local initiatives, but receipt of funding will be spread over 16 years

As Sarasota County’s coastal initiatives manager put it this week, it is a classic case of “Let me tell you the good news and the bad news.” (Read more »)

City Commission approves medical marijuana dispensary/treatment center moratorium for nine months

Board awaiting decision on Amendment 2 and expected Florida Legislature guidelines if the ballot initiative passes in November

A shortening of the period from a year to nine months garnered unanimous Sarasota City Commission approval this week of a moratorium on the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers in the city. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Sunset of outdoor retail display section of ordinance eliminated; county to seek more grant funds for the South Siesta Renourishment Project; complaints aired about dogs on South Siesta Beach; problems noted with new Givens Street flashing beacons; and nominees sought for annual Siesta Chamber awards

Coming on the heels of a nearly six-hour discussion of the Siesta Promenade project, it is no wonder the Sarasota County public hearing on Siesta Key’s outdoor retail displays went so quickly last week. (Read more »)

Tourist Development Tax revenue breaks another record, with one month left in the fiscal year

Through August, the figure beats the 2015 total by $882,000

With only one month’s data left to be compiled, Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue has set a new record, the latest figures from the Tax Collector’s Office show. (Read more »)

County library services in Hamilton Building drew more than 1,100 people a day in first week

Interim facility opened on Oct. 4; new library anticipated to be completed in fall of 2018

In its first week of operation in Venice’s Hamilton Building, Sarasota County’s interim public library on the island of Venice was averaging 1,120 visitors per day, Sarabeth Kalajian, the county’s director of libraries and historical resources, reported to the County Commission. (Read more »)

Ringling International Arts Festival serves up humor and intricate choreography among its offerings

Event always a welcome kickoff to fall

I have enjoyed the offbeat atmosphere of the Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) since the first performance eight years ago, eagerly awaiting the beginning of fall and the early days of October. (Read more »)

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24, for Nov. 8 General Election

Seven locations provided throughout the county

Early voting for the Nov. 8 General Election will begin on Monday, Oct. 24, and continue through Saturday, Nov. 5, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent announced this week. (Read more »)

Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization board announced

Members will oversee the organization’s effort to create a master plan for nearly 42 acres of city-owned land on Sarasota’s bayfront

The nine volunteer members of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) were announced this week by the group that has been working on a master plan for about 42 acres of bayfront property owned by the City of Sarasota. (Read more »)

Landscaping plans for Sarasota’s Lift Station 87 on agenda for Oct. 25 meeting in SRQ Media Studio

First phase of project still set for completion in mid-2017, city says

During its next public meeting, set for Oct. 25, the City of Sarasota’s Lift Station 87 project team will review proposed landscaping plans for the building that will be erected in Luke Wood Park, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County surpasses 300,000 registered voters as deadline looms

Sample ballots for Nov. 8 General Election have been mailed, elections office reports

Sarasota County surpassed the 300,000 mark for registered voters, Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent announced on Oct. 17. The news came as the Oct. 18 book-closing deadline for the Nov. 8 General Election approached. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office to host job fair for Emergency Operations Bureau positions

Event to be held on Saturday, Oct. 29

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office will host a job fair on Oct. 29 to recruit communications operators for the Emergency Operations Bureau, the office has announced. (Read more »)

Strickland named new finance director for City of Sarasota

She is the first woman to hold that role in the city’s history

Kelly Strickland has been promoted to financial administration director in the City of Sarasota, becoming the first woman to fill that role in the 100-plus years of city history, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Mote senior scientist honored as White House Champion of Change

Kevan Main directs Mote’s Aquaculture Research Park

On Oct. 7, Dr. Kevan Main, senior scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota was among 12 people from across the country honored in Washington, D.C., as “White House Champions of Change for Sustainable Seafood,” Mote announced. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota Police Department participating in voluntary medication drop-off program

Statewide initiative to run through Nov. 12

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and the Sarasota Police Department are participating in Operation Pill Drop, a statewide initiative that encourages the public to properly dispose of unwanted prescription medication, the offices have announced. (Read more »)

Rappaport stepping down from St. Armands Business Improvement District Board of Directors

Founder of that organization has served city 29 years

Marty Rappaport, who founded the St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID), announced last week that he is stepping down as a BID board member, City Manager Tom Barwin announced on Oct. 14. (Read more »)