July 22 & 29, 2016 Double Edition

September the earliest SANCA representatives can begin regular presentations to County Commission

In May, the county administrator said the updates on the 2017 World Rowing Championships would begin June 8

As the Sarasota County commissioners prepared to begin their approximately month-long summer break at the end of last week, Commissioner Carolyn Mason took the opportunity to reprise a matter she had raised in May: The board should be hearing regular updates from the two key people heading up the preparations for the 2017 World Rowing Championships. (Read more »)


Community initiatives to help the homeless continue, but county commissioner voices frustrations over lack of progress

Charles Hines cites success of SHIFTS program and potential of Comprehensive Treatment Court, but bemoans county’s inability to establish a come-as-you-are shelter

After the Sarasota County Commission heard updates last week on the status of its major initiatives for the year, Commissioner Charles Hines broached a subject that seems to have no resolution in sight. (Read more »)


Redesign of Legacy Trail overpass at Laurel Road could delay project until 2018-19 fiscal year

FDOT responds to Sarasota County’s efforts to prevent the relocation of a water line that serves 60 percent of its customers, plus three other utility lines

If the Sarasota County Commission wants a redesign of a Legacy Trail overpass at Laurel Road, the earliest that can occur — and construction can begin — likely will be the 2018-19 fiscal year, the director of transportation development for the Florida Department of Transportation has notified the chief county engineer. (Read more »)


Settlement possible in years-long City of Sarasota litigation over Lift Station 87

City attorney tells the City Commission a mediation conference is planned for Sept. 7

As the City of Sarasota edges toward the start of arguably the most delicate phase of the Lift Station 87 project, it also is preparing for mediation with the firm that walked off the job years ago. (Read more »)


Potential project list raises concerns as County Commission plans for Sept. 6 public hearing on updated impact fees

Commissioners say staff should not have included facilities that the board had not approved as priorities in its Capital Improvement Plan

On Sept. 6, the Sarasota County Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on proposed updates to seven impact fees that will be in effect for a decade. (Read more »)


City Commission and staff looking into another way to spur affordable housing development in Sarasota

Legislative requirement sparks discussion about potential change in city policy

As a step forward in its effort to see more affordable housing provided in the community, the Sarasota City Commission may need to look no further than property it owns, the board members learned this week. (Read more »)


County Commission approves fire assessment settlement with City of Sarasota on 4-1 vote

Commissioner Christine Robinson voices concerns about policy implications for the future

A 4-1 vote of the Sarasota County Commission has ended an almost two-year-old dispute between the county and the City of Sarasota regarding fire assessments of city-owned property. (Read more »)


City Commission eyes the demolition of the G.WIZ building, citing the $50,000 annual expense to maintain it

Use of the property can be decided after the board votes on whether to proceed with razing the structure, vice mayor says

With the City of Sarasota paying close to $50,000 a year just to maintain the former home of the Gulf Coast Wonder and Imagination Zone (G.WIZ), the city commissioners voted unanimously this week to have staff explore the expense of demolishing it. (Read more »)


School Board millage rate falling by 0.33 mills for this tax year

Public hearing on the tentative 2016-17 budget set for 5:15 p.m. on July 26

If the owner of a house assessed at $100,000 in Sarasota County does not see that value go up, the person will pay $33 less in School Board taxes this year than he did last year. That was the news Al Weidner, deputy chief financial officer of the Sarasota County Schools, provided during the School Board’s July 19 meeting to accept the tentative budget for the next fiscal year. (Read more »)


Leaders of Bayfront 20:20 explain how a new organization will develop a master plan for 42 city acres

Private entities will cover the approximately $2.5-million expense of hiring a manager and bringing in experts to assist the group of local representatives

A planning organization of up to nine members is expected to take 18 to 24 months to craft a master plan and an oversight structure for 42 acres of bayfront property the City of Sarasota owns, two of the leaders of Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 told the City Commission this week. (Read more »)


Patterson Foundation commits $300,000 to organization that will create bayfront master plan

Initial gift of $100,000 will be followed by two more contributions pegged to Sarasota Bayfront 20:20’s community fundraising efforts

The Patterson Foundation of Sarasota will provide up to $300,000 in funding and consulting support for the work of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, the foundation has announced. As Bayfront 20:20 leaders Michael Klauber and Jon Thaxton explained to the Sarasota City Commission this week, the new group will create a master plan for nearly 42 acres of land on Sarasota’s bayfront. (Read more »)


The back of beyond: Florida’s natural lands offer a bounty to savor

Other people vacation in exotic places, but this writer finds much left to explore in her home state

This time of year, when my friends are spread across the U.S. or in more exotic places like Paris, I am still exploring natural Florida. (Read more »)


Do not disparage group travel if you have not tried it

Much can be said about leaving the planning to others

Group vacations: an oxymoron if ever there was one. How can you spend many long months saving for your dream vacation, planning your dream destination and then realizing that the most feasible and economical answer to your dilemma is to take an escorted tour? (Read more »)


Parents urged to get their children vaccinated for school

No appointment or fee is necessary at the Florida Department of Health offices in Sarasota and North Port if a child or youth is 18 or younger

With the Sarasota County Schools preparing to welcome students back on Aug. 22, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) is reminding parents that updated vaccines are required for kindergarten and seventh grade in all Florida schools. (Read more »)


Southbound lane on part of Orange Avenue to be closed July 25-28

Work related to Lift Station 87 will necessitate the action between Bay Point and Alta Vista Street

Starting Monday, July 25, southbound traffic on Orange Avenue between Bay Point (just south of Hudson Bayou) and Alta Vista Street will be reduced to one lane for three days for street repairs, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin has announced. (Read more »)


FDOT to hold another public hearing on proposed changes to I-75 between Bee Ridge and Fruitville roads

Session set for Tuesday, July 26

On Tuesday, July 26, District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will conduct another public hearing regarding proposed changes to the design of improvements to Interstate 75 from south of Bee Ridge Road to south of Fruitville Road in Sarasota County, FDOT has announced. (Read more »)


Evening pickleball sessions offered on Mondays in Venice

Open play will be conducted from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Venice Community Center

The Venice Community Center began offering evening pickleball games on Mondays as of July 18, Sarasota County has announced. The open play session will continue each Monday from 5 to 8 p.m. This is in addition to the morning open play (9 a.m. to noon) and the afternoon advanced play (1 to 4 p.m.) sessions already offered. (Read more »)


Sheriff’s Office warning the public to be wary of crimes of opportunity

Tips provided to prevent burglaries from vehicles

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents to help crack down on burglaries targeting items in vehicles — “a crime of opportunity that can be stopped in a few simple steps,” the office has announced. (Read more »)


Numbers keep climbing in record-breaking turtle-nesting season

Mote Marine reports many locations having surpassed their previous high marks

Through July 16, Mote Marine Laboratory scientists reported a record-breaking number of turtle nests along beaches it monitors — from Longboat Key through Venice. “In addition, the first nests of the 2016 season are starting to hatch,” a news release says. (Read more »)


Parents should ‘baby-proof’ their homes, Sheriff Office reminds the public

Deputies return two young children to the youngsters’ home after finding them alone near midnight at a service station

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is reminding parents to secure doors and windows in homes with small children. (Read more »)


North Port High principal to lead Sarasota High School as of Aug. 1

Jones returning to school where he began working for the district in 2005

Following the July 14 announcement by longtime Sarasota High School (SHS) Principal Jeff Hradek that he will retire from on July 29, North Port High School principal David Jones has requested the SHS posting, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)


Dolphin Aviation presents scholarships to five students of county schools

July 15 ceremony held at the firm’s facility at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport

Dolphin Aviation owner Ron Ciaravella and state Rep. Greg Steube of the 73rd District presented the 15th annual Dolphin Aviation Academic Scholarships to five students on July 15, the aviation firm has announced. The ceremony was held at Dolphin Aviation’s facility at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. (Read more »)