Category Archives: Environmental News

Top stories – Nov. 2 Edition

Click on the pages below to read the entire article:   To see all stories in this week’s edition, click on the cover below:  

Posted in Ask Otus, City of Sarasota, Downtown Sarasota, Environmental News, Neighborhoods, Political News, Sarasota County, Weather | Comments Off

‘No swim’ advisory posted for Bird Key Park

A “no swim” advisory has been issued for Bird Key Park, a recently renovated recreational area directly west of the Ringling Causeway bridge on the north side of Bird Key. Sarasota County Health Department officials received testing results from beach … Continue reading

Posted in City of Sarasota, Environmental News, Health & Medicine | Comments Off

Siesta stormwater project set to go out for bid in November

Open house on beach improvements set for October Sarasota County probably will put the Siesta stormwater project out for bid in November, with the bid award expected in February, the project manager told members of the Siesta Key Association during … Continue reading

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Florida Association of Counties pushes ‘softly’ to get Sarasota County to sign onto oil spill fund consortium

Representatives from the Florida Association of Counties updated the Sarasota County Commission Sept. 12 on its work to unify the 23 gulf counties affected by the 2010 BP oil spill into a consortium that could control Florida’s share of the … Continue reading

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News Briefs for Sept. 14, 2012

International Coastal Cleanup planned for Sept. 15 Keep Sarasota County Beautiful is seeking volunteers to participate in the 2012 International Coastal Cleanup from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Sept. 15. A Siesta Key Association team of volunteers will clean … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Environmental News, Health & Medicine, Parks and Recreation, Sarasota County, Siesta Key, Transportation | Comments Off

Koch-backed tea party group rolls into Sarasota

“It’s not about a party, it’s not about helping one guy or the other,” Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips told the crowd, but the 60 or so activists and volunteers who turned up at AFP’s Sarasota headquarters last Friday … Continue reading

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State rep candidates squabble over tax cuts, Citizens insurance, voter suppression

Exactly two months before election day, four incumbent Republican state representatives and two Democratic challengers met on the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club stage to debate taxes, insurance, growth management, voter suppression and more. The panel featured state Reps. Jim Boyd, … Continue reading

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News Briefs for Sept. 7

Access 5 parking lot to be closed Sept. 10 The Siesta Beach Access 5 parking lot, at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, during construction at … Continue reading

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FPL easement granted for stormwater project on Siesta

With no comment, the Sarasota County Commission on Aug. 21 voted unanimously to grant a permanent utility easement to Florida Power and Light Co. for “the construction, operation, and maintenance” of underground and above-ground electrical utility facilities to accommodate the … Continue reading

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What to do with BP oil spill fines?

Twenty-eight months after an explosion at a Gulf of Mexico oil rig led to the worst environmental disaster in American history, Sarasota County officials met to discuss how much money the area might receive from federal penalties imposed on BP, … Continue reading

Posted in Environmental News, Florida News, Local Government, Sarasota County, State Government, Tourism | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Ask Otus: The truth about tegus

Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Siesta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of nature’s secrets. … Continue reading

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County crews continuing their battle with seaweed

Sarasota County crews have removed more than 300 tons of seaweed from county beaches since July 1, county officials have announced. County staff and inmates from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Offender Work Program are continuing the effort to clean beaches … Continue reading

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County commissioners oppose stockpiling of fill material in plain sight of Beach Road

Material from stormwater project could save beach plan expenses Stockpiling material excavated at the Siesta Key Public Beach park for the stormwater drainage project on-site could save the county about $250,000 and prove less disruptive for Siesta Key residents, the … Continue reading

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County team to continue outreach to Casey Key homeowners

Effort under way to inform residents about watermain project Members of the project team involved in the replacement of the watermain between south Siesta Key and north Casey Key were able to find only eight of 43 homeowners when they … Continue reading

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‘No Swim’ advisory lifted at Lido Casino Beach

A “No Swim” advisory for Lido Casino Beach, 400 Ben Franklin Drive, Lido Key, was lifted this afternoon, Aug. 22. It had been in place since Thursday, Aug. 16. Sarasota County Health Department officials received testing results from samples taken Tuesday, Aug. … Continue reading

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Crews continuing seaweed removal from Siesta and Lido beaches

Sarasota County crews began seaweed cleanup operations on Siesta Public Beach today, Aug. 20, with the cleanup expected to last through Wednesday, Aug. 22, a county news release reports. A cleanup of Lido Beach, 400 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota, will begin Thursday, … Continue reading

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Tides still bringing, removing seaweed from county beaches

Sarasota County beaches are continuing to show the effects of tidal activity with accumulations of seaweed on beaches, a county news release reported Aug. 15. Subsequent tides are removing sizable portions of the seaweed, the release added. Sarasota County Parks … Continue reading

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Casey Key residents threaten to block access to road for watermain project

Three residents on Casey Key have indicated they will block access to the North Casey Key Road for a watermain project unless the contractor meets demands they have made, Sarasota County’s interim utilities program manager notified County Administrator Randall Reid … Continue reading

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‘No swim’ advisory issued for Lido Casino Beach

A “no swim” advisory has been issued for the second time in two weeks for Lido Casino Beach, 400 Ben Franklin Drive on Lido Key, Sarasota County Government has announced. Health Department officials received testing results from beach water samples … Continue reading

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Siesta seen: Thieves targeting Impalas

While the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is trying to crack down on vehicle burglaries at Siesta’s beaches, Code Enforcement officers are trying to crack down on illegal parking in residential areas on the island, Sgt. Scott Osborne told members of … Continue reading

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More snowy plover chicks anticipated to hatch on Siesta

After the devastation of Tropical Storm Debby and losses to natural predation earlier this summer, Siesta Key’s birdwatchers finally found two tiny rays of hope last week. Catherine Luckner, president of the Siesta Key Association and a Sarasota Audubon volunteer, … Continue reading

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McLendon candidacy a test of local tea party muscle

When Randy McLendon saw the list of donors supporting Republican County Commission candidate Charles Hines, he recognized more than a few names, many of whom, he says, supported Charlie Crist in Crist’s independent U.S. Senate bid instead of Republican Marco … Continue reading

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Beach water advisory lifted at Lido Casino Beach

A beach water advisory for Lido Casino Beach has been lifted, Sarasota County officials announced the evening of Aug. 4. Sarasota County Health Department officials said they received testing results from samples taken Friday, Aug. 3, that were at a … Continue reading

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Beach-water advisory issued for Lido Casino Beach

A beach-water advisory has been issued for the Lido Casino beach, Sarasota County health officials have announced. Health Department staff received testing results from beach-water samples taken on Wednesday, Aug. 1, that showed an elevated level of enterococci (enteric) bacteria, … Continue reading

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Volunteers sought for seagrass survey

Sarasota County is seeking volunteers for its seagrass survey program, which collects data on local seagrass, algae, water clarity and depth from locations throughout Sarasota’s bays. “Seagrass is vital to maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems, improving water quality, stabilizing shorelines and … Continue reading

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Plaintiffs contend county must remain a defendant in Midnight Pass suit

The Midnight Pass Society and its fellow plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit seeking the reopening of Midnight Pass say they have met their legal burden in alleging a case against Sarasota County. Therefore, in a motion filed July 3 in … Continue reading

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Seaweed to be cleaned up on Siesta Aug. 3

With seaweed continuing to wash up on Sarasota County beaches, county workers tackled Lido Beach on Thursday, Aug. 2, George Tatge, manager of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, notified the county commissioners this week. Cleanup will proceed on Siesta … Continue reading

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Seaweed cleanup on Venice Beach expected to start no later than Saturday

Equipment problems have hampered Sarasota County workers this afternoon in their effort to start cleaning up a mix of red drift algae and seaweed on South County beaches, George Tatge, a county parks and recreation manager, told The Sarasota News … Continue reading

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Wood stork a key character in stormwater drainage project’s delay at Siesta Public Beach

A type of stork not known to local birdwatchers as a regular resident of mangroves near Siesta Public Beach nonetheless is proving a key factor in holding up final permits needed for the stormwater drainage project at the beach, The … Continue reading

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Some Venice businesses without water this afternoon

Several businesses in the 1600 block of U.S. 41 Bypass in Venice have lost water service, Sarasota County has announced. Crews installing a tap in the watermain discovered a problem with the line, which has been shut down for repairs, … Continue reading

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Seaweed cleaned up on Siesta and Lido beaches

On Saturday, Sarasota County workers cleaned up seaweed that had come ashore on Siesta Key Public Beach starting Thursday, July 19, George Tatge, a county parks and recreation manager, told The Sarasota News Leader today, July 23. Workers probably would … Continue reading

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Siesta Seen: North bridge appears to be on schedule

Although she was responsible for plenty of damage in the county, at least Tropical Storm Debby appears not to have delayed the timeline for completing work on the north Siesta bridge. That was the word today, July 20, from Jennifer … Continue reading

Posted in Crime & Law Enforcement, Environmental News, Siesta Key, Siesta Seen, Tourism, Transportation, Wildlife | Comments Off

Residents warned not to swim at Lido, Turtle and North Jetty beaches

Beach water advisories have been issued for the Lido, Turtle and North Jetty beaches, Sarasota County Health Department officials announced late Thursday, July 19. Health Department officials received testing results from beach water samples taken Wednesday, July 18, that show … Continue reading

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Sarasota County, North Port commissions debate future of Warm Mineral Springs, but unknowns persist

The Sarasota County Commission and the North Port City Commission spent Monday morning, July 16, discussing the status and future of Warm Mineral Springs, the jointly owned, 87-degree “Fountain of Youth” that draws visitors who are curious about its reputation for … Continue reading

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Recipe for the perfect sunset

We year-round residents are spoiled. That’s because in summer we’re treated to pyrotechnic sunsets beyond the wildest imaginings of snowbirds who are back home in Indiana. They’re used to “red ball descends into blue Gulf” with a regularity we would … Continue reading

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County Commission authorizes first steps in TDR pilot program

Board splits over funding for land management Given the continuing fluctuations in the housing market, the Sarasota County commissioners agreed July 11 that it was too soon to put a price on any transfer of development rights from lands the … Continue reading

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Commissioners say they had no choice but to OK hog hunts

Although 10 county residents pleaded with them not to approve feral hog hunts they described as barbaric and inhumane, the majority of the Sarasota County commissioners on July 10 said they had no choice but to act to preserve environmentally … Continue reading

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Feral hog hunts approved on 4-1 vote

With Commissioner Jon Thaxton casting the solitary “No” vote, the Sarasota County Commission today, July 10, voted 4-1 to allow a pilot program for hunting feral hogs to proceed in December and March 2013 on environmentally sensitive land in South … Continue reading

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Emergency permit applications available to deal with post-Debby coastal damage

Homeowners with damage from Tropical Storm Debby that occurred seaward of the Gulf Beach Setback Line can apply for emergency permits from the state to help them deal with it, Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner reported during the organization’s … Continue reading

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After tweaks, EEZ program application approved

With the Sarasota County Economic Energy Zone Pilot Program having begun July 1, the County Commission on June 27 approved an application for firms to fill out so they can be considered for financial incentives to participate in the program. … Continue reading

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Will another environmentalist replace Thaxton?

A little less than a month ago, five County Commission candidates, along with other notables, gathered at the Sarasota Garden Club for one of the first public events of the local 2012 campaign season: a debate hosted by the Sarasota … Continue reading

Posted in Environmental News, Local Government, Neighborhoods, Political News, Sarasota County | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Storm impacts, Siesta Village issues on meeting agendas

During their monthly meetings this week, members of the Siesta Key Association are expected to hear an update on the damage Tropical Storm Debby inflicted on Sarasota County, while members of the Siesta Key Village Association are expected to hear … Continue reading

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Stormwater discussion leads to confusion, rebuke

County commissioners debate staff’s approach to basin analysis What was pegged as an update for the Sarasota County Commission this week on the county’s Stormwater Environmental Utility Program and new state water quality standards ended up with commissioners confused about … Continue reading

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Harbor Acres stormwater system contaminated

A diluted mix of wastewater and stormwater flowed into the stormwater system in the Harbor Acres neighborhood today, June 25, as a result of heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby, the City of Sarasota reported. That rainfall created localized street flooding … Continue reading

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Grant still secure for Siesta stormwater project

The $975,000 grant the Southwest Florida Water Management District awarded Sarasota County for the stormwater project planned at Siesta Public Beach “is fine at this time,” Sarasota County Project Manager Curtis R. Smith told The Sarasota News Leader today, June … Continue reading

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Celebrating the solstice at Curry Creek Preserve

Officially it’s the solstice, but summer has long since come to the pine flatwoods. By 10 a.m. it’s hot. I’m in Venice at Curry Creek Preserve to visit the longleaf pines, unusual in this area. They’re one of the southernmost … Continue reading

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Former staffer confirms existence of Urban Forestry Master Plan

Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta was right: The county does have an Urban Forestry Master Plan. Demetra McBride, who had served as the county’s manager of urban forestry before she left Sarasota in October 2010, emailed county staff June 11, … Continue reading

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Topsy-turvy

I was startled the other day when a catalog arrived with a swimsuit on the cover. Down here they’re on the sale rack! I can tell you the day of the week and the month. It’s Florida’s seasons that confuse … Continue reading

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Siesta Seen: This little bird proves a seasoned traveler

Editor’s note: Former readers of the Pelican Press who enjoyed Rachel Brown Hackney’s “Island Beat” column, which kept all apprised of goings-on on Siesta Key, will be pleased to know that her new column — “Siesta Seen” — will be … Continue reading

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County Commission directs staff to research earlier Urban Forestry Master Plan

Concerned about duplicating work already completed on a Sarasota County Urban Forestry Master Plan, the County Commission voted unanimously June 5 not to launch a new initiative until staff had researched the earlier undertaking. Commissioner Nora Patterson’s motion also directed … Continue reading

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