20161209-9 Dec 2016

Opponents of a potential Siesta hotel project argue against a proposed county Comprehensive Plan amendment that would allow it

Representatives of Gary Kompothecras explain that only a ‘boutique’ hotel would be allowed, and only three island parcels have the necessary zoning

Although only a dozen members of the public showed up for a Dec. 7 neighborhood workshop on the subject, speakers were adamant that they do not want to see a hotel bring more density and intensity to Siesta Key. (Read more »)

Former interim city commissioner wins Planning Board seat

Eileen Normile touted as a neighborhood advocate who will not routinely support new development

It took several votes on Dec. 5, but three Sarasota city commissioners finally gave their support to former City Commissioner Eileen Normile as the newest member of the city’s Planning Board. (Read more »)

Judge upholds City Commission’s denial of building permit to Woman’s Exchange

Nonprofit’s CEO says it is ‘considering its options’

A 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge in Sarasota has upheld the Sarasota City Commission’s April 11 split vote to overturn city staff’s approval of a building permit for the Woman’s Exchange. The downtown Sarasota nonprofit organization had sought to expand into a new structure on Rawls Avenue. (Read more »)

‘Dr. Beach’ advocates for an intensive environmental study prior to any dredging of Big Pass

Stephen Leatherman tells SKA members that if the proposed Lido Renourishment Project could not be stopped, he would recommend an experiment be undertaken first with a small amount of sand

The environmental scientist from Miami known worldwide as “Dr. Beach” told about 110 people at the Dec. 1 Siesta Key Association meeting that South Lido Key residents “definitely need sand … but you can’t sacrifice what you’ve got for another area.” (Read more »)

Data shows benefits of summer learning programs for incoming kindergarten students, superintendent tells School Board

Anecdotal research supports other facets of children’s readiness for school besides a boost to academic abilities

Youngsters who attended at least 75% of the days that summer learning academies were held at four Sarasota County elementary schools this summer showed significant gains compared to their peers at those schools when they entered kindergarten in August, Superintendent Lori White told the Sarasota County School Board members this week. (Read more »)

Demolition of G.WIZ building deferred

City Commission declines, however, to tie its next step to the release of the Bayfront Planning Organization’s recommendations

The city-owned waterfront building that used to house the Gulf Coast Wonder and Imagination Zone (G.WIZ) has been spared demolition for the time being, thanks to a unanimous vote of the Sarasota City Commission on Dec. 5. (Read more »)

SKA and SOSS2 continue to press for a more intensive study of the Lido Renourishment Project

Army Corps of Engineers has asked for funding in the 2018 federal fiscal year budget, an agency spokeswoman says

Just days after world-renowned coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman advocated for the action, directors of the Siesta Key Association announced that they would try to meet with the Sarasota County commissioners to continue to press for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed dredging of Big Sarasota Pass to renourish Lido Key. (Read more »)

City Commission accepts Blanco sculpture for planned roundabout at Ringling and Orange

Commissioner Chapman votes, ‘No,’ saying the artwork will conflict with the architecture of the buildings on three corners of the intersection

With Commissioner Susan Chapman casting the only “No” vote, the Sarasota City Commission on Dec. 5 accepted its Public Art Committee’s recommendation to put a sculpture by city resident Jorge Blanco in the center of the planned roundabout at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Orange Avenue. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Tobacco use and litter on county beaches the focus of new initiatives; ‘Dr. Beach’ regales SKA audience with anecdotes about the value of sand; and a Key deputy reports mostly positive news

During the Dec. 1 meeting of the Siesta Key Association (SKA), it was only fitting that an issue near and dear to the heart of special guest Stephen Leatherman — aka Dr. Beach —also was on the agenda that evening. (Read more »)

New Siesta Beach Seafood & Music Festival wins a big fan

Two-day event offered an array of culinary and auditory delights

Everyone knows that if it is Saturday on Siesta Beach, something wonderful will be happening. Dec. 3 was no exception. With a magnificent, cloud-free azure sky and that blazing sun shining down, Siesta Key Beach was hosting its first Seafood & Music Festival. Whoever came up with this concept of combining two sensory favorites is a genius (I met him later on). He also designed the layout of the food, drinks and booths and put the stage together to face the audience. (Read more »)

Planning Commission to hold Dec. 15 public hearing on proposed I-75 overpass connector from Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to Cattlemen Road

Meeting set for 6:30 p.m. in downtown Sarasota

A public hearing has been scheduled before the Sarasota County Planning Commission on Dec. 15 regarding a proposed Interstate 75 overpass that would connect the future Lakewood Ranch Boulevard with Cattlemen Road, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Northern Legacy Trail extension wins $50,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Funds awarded through the Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land has received a $50,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to help extend The Legacy Trail into downtown Sarasota, the trust has announced. The money will be used to support appraisals, boundary surveys, environmental assessments and other expenses needed to advance the proposed acquisition of approximately 7.5 miles of rail corridor needed for the project. (Read more »)

Grants allow for expansion of Booker High School College & Career Center

Education Foundation receives $60,000 through partnership between Gulf Coast and Community foundations

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County has received $60,000 in grants made possible through a partnership between the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County that it will use to expand the College & Career Center at Booker High School, the Education Foundation has announced. (Read more »)

30-year-old arrested after allegedly overdosing on heroin in a convenience store with her child present

Amanda Riley charged with felony child neglect

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 30-year-old Sarasota woman on the night of Friday, Dec. 2, after she was found unconscious — allegedly from a heroin overdose — in a convenience store bathroom, with a 4-year-old child present, the office has announced. (Read more »)

Three area post offices offering expanded weekend hours

Postal Service providing extra time for holiday transactions

The U.S. Postal Service has announced extended retail hours at three of its area post offices, to help consumers during the holiday season. (Read more »)

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show to be reprised at Englewood Sports Complex

Hours for the free event on Dec. 10 will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Holiday Arts and Crafts Show will be held for the fifth time at the Englewood Sports Complex, Sarasota County staff has announced. The event is set for Saturday, Dec. 10. This show will be the largest to-date, a news release says. It will feature a sellout among vendors, with more than 110 tables offering unique creations such as handcrafted jewelry, holiday decorations, greeting cards, clothes and quilts. (Read more »)

County Commission awards nearly $40,000 in neighborhood initiative grant funds for variety of projects

Eight neighborhoods to benefit from support

The Sarasota County Commission has awarded nearly $40,000 in Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program funds to help partially pay for neighborhood-initiated improvements. (Read more »)