20170428-28 Apr 2017

An important note to SNL Tinypass (paid) subscribers:

If, in addition to your Sarasota News Leader Tinypass subscription, you also subscribe to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, you have been notified by the SHT that your Press+ account (which was bought by Piano Software, which also owns Tinypass) has been converted to a Tinypass account. This likely has caused some confusion when trying to sign into one publication when already signed into the other.
Our editors are having the same problem. We have contacted Piano support, and they do not yet have a good workaround. What we have found works best on a laptop/desktop is having two browsers (e.g.-Safari and Google Chrome or Internet Explorer and Firefox), with your SNL account signed in on one and your SHT account signed in on the other. You don’t have to sign out of either … you just switch between browsers.
If you use an iPad or iPhone (or other mobile device), the SHT is read on their Tecnavia app, while the SNL is read on your mobile device browser. Since two separate programs are used, you should not experience sign-in conflicts.
We apologize for the inadequacy of the Tinypass system to accommodate this overlap (something they should have anticipated, since they have a virtual monopoly on paywalls, and we can’t be the only two paid publications existing in the same market). We hope they develop a better way of handling this, and we will communicate that to you if they do.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience, and your support of The Sarasota News Leader!

Circuit Court judge delays Siesta Key Association challenge of City of Sarasota’s Lido Renourishment Project until after state administrative hearing process has reached its conclusion

City’s outside counsel says city may withdraw as co-applicant with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the state permit for the project

A 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge ruled this week that it was premature for the Siesta Key Association (SKA) to seek a court remedy for what it alleges is a City of Sarasota violation of Sarasota County’s Comprehensive Plan related to the city’s proposal to dredge Big Sarasota Pass to renourish South Lido Key Beach. (Read more »)

City and County commissions agree on timeline calling for another joint meeting in 75 days in an effort to settle the CRA payment dispute

Each board to hold a discussion on its own first, with subsequent meetings of administrative staff members to discuss the resulting proposals

They continued to disagree about the focal point of their meeting, but the Sarasota City and County commissions did concur this week that they should work together on initiatives to benefit the community — and their constituents. To that end, both boards on April 26 unanimously approved motions calling for their administrators to schedule agenda items within the next 30 days so each commission can discuss how it wants to move forward on the issue of a disputed final county payment to the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)

Sarasota County revenue accounts up 4.8% at mid-year

If current trends continue, Commissioner Alan Maio points out, the county could end with about $9 million left over

At the midpoint of the 2017 fiscal year, the total of the funds in Sarasota County’s major revenue accounts are 4.8% above budget projections, and the General Fund has 5.1% more money than predicted, the County Commission learned this week. (Read more »)

Switch to more in-house mowing of county park sites expected to save about $20,095 a year

County commissioners approve hiring of three new full-time employees and purchase of equipment, citing problems with vendor contracts

Having dealt with the issue many times in regard to rights of way, the Sarasota County Commission took little time this week to approve the mid-year hiring of three new full-time employees to handle mowing of county park sites. (Read more »)

Affordable housing and workforce development among top issues for 74 companies surveyed about the Sarasota County business climate

Economic Development Corp. staff conducted one-on-one interviews with top executives of firms in 2016

Workforce development, housing availability and affordable housing were the biggest concerns expressed in a 2016 survey of the top officers at 74 companies in Sarasota County, the vice president for business development at the Economic Development Corp. (EDC) of Sarasota County told the County Commission on April 25. (Read more »)

Tree Advisory Council to continue efforts to educate the public about over-pruning and ‘butchering’ of trees

Immediate past chairman presents annual report to County Commission

Members of the Sarasota County Tree Advisory Council (STAC) will remain focused on “opportunities to increase tree plantings in Sarasota County” and efforts to educate the public about appropriate tree pruning, immediate past Chair Kevin Greene told the county commissioners this week. (Read more »)

Sarasota Crew application for new docks and boat slips on Little Sarasota Bay receives county approval

Structures to replace dilapidated dock and boathouse at Osprey site the youth rowing organization purchased in 2014

It took only about 10 minutes on April 26 for the Sarasota County Commission to approve a Sarasota Crew request for the construction of two new docks — which will have six boat slips — at 120 Bayview Lane in Osprey. Commissioner Charles Hines made the motion, saying he was “just glad to see this is moving forward.” Given the commercial activity to the north of the property and parkland to the south, he added, “providing public access and use in that area seems to be very appropriate.” (Read more »)

County staff to work on funding for 30 more emergency shelter beds for the homeless at The Salvation Army

County commissioners endorse recommendations in a consultant’s report prepared under contract to the City of Sarasota

Reserving 30 more emergency shelter beds for the homeless at The Salvation Army in Sarasota is dependent upon the means to pay for them, Wayne Applebee, Sarasota County’s director of homelessness services told The Sarasota News Leader this week. At the County Commission’s direction on April 25, the effort to pull together those financial resources will be a primary focus of Applebee and his staff in the coming weeks. (Read more »)

Annual Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest to be held on May 6 on Siesta Public Beach

People of all ages — and amateur skill levels — invited to participate; cash prizes to be awarded

People of all ages are being invited to “Have some fun in the sun” and show off their sand-sculpting skills as the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department hosts the 45th annual Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest on Siesta Beach on Saturday, May 6. (Read more »)

Public swimming opportunity provided by Miracle Swimming for Adults while Arlington Park pools closed for a resurfacing project

Miracle Swimming’s facility on McIntosh Road available on a schedule at a cost of $6 per drop-in swim session

In the absence of lap swimming hours at Arlington Park — while the pools are being resurfaced — Miracle Swimming for Adults has opened its McIntosh Road pool for lap swimming at specific hours, the nonprofit has announced. (Read more »)

Early voting begins May 1 for the May 9 North Port and Sarasota elections

Registered voters in those cities may cast ballots at the elections offices in downtown Sarasota and at Biscayne Plaza in North Port

Early voting for the May 9 municipal elections begins on Monday, May 1, and will continue through Saturday, May 6, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner has announced. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota to observe Arbor Day with April 28 event at historic Bidwell House

City also to give away a limited number of trees for new canopy program

The City of Sarasota will continue its longstanding tradition of celebrating Arbor Day with a tree-planting ceremony, it has announced. This year, the event will be held on Friday, April 28, at 9 a.m. at the historic Bidwell House, which is located at 1260 12th Street. (Read more »)

Public invited to drop off unused or expired medication at Sarasota Police Department on April 29

Other locations around the county also accept pills for disposal

On Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Sarasota Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) “will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs,” the Police Department has announced. (Read more »)

On Saturday, April 29, Sarasota County will host its third annual Seagrass Survey

Variety of free activities to be featured from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron

Sarasota County, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and local partners invite the public to attend the third annual Seagrass Survey on Saturday, April 29, at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron next to Ken Thompson Park. “This fun, family-friendly, hands-on event provides the public with an opportunity to learn about seagrass habitat up-close,” a news release explains. (Read more »)

Sarasota County fire chief issues countywide recreational burn ban effective immediately

Only exception is cooking fires on grills, Chief Michael Regnier says

Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier has issued a countywide recreational burn ban effective immediately because of the dry weather conditions and an increased chance of wildfires, the county announced on Friday afternoon, April 21. (Read more »)

North Port Library selected for new PBS ‘Library Corner’

April 20 ceremony held to mark the designation and recognition of childhood literacy advocate Phyllis L. Ensign

North Port Library has been selected to feature the WEDU PBS Phyllis L. Ensign Library Corner, “a multi-media exhibit offering a robust collection of children’s books, movies, music and educational materials,” Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

Booker High Principal Rachel Shelley honored by district as state Principal of the Year finalist

Winner to be named on June 21

Booker High School Principal Rachel Shelley has been named one of three finalists for the 2017 Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership, better known as the state Principal of the Year Award, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)