20170512-12 May 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!

With appellate court having denied motion for written opinion in Chapman Sunshine Law case, City Commission to decide on future meeting notice policy

Board also will be asked to consider whether to try to recover part or all of the city’s legal fees

Just as the Sarasota city attorney had predicted, the Second District Court of Appeal denied Citizens for Sunshine’s Motion for Issuance of a Written Opinion in the Sunshine Law case involving City Commissioner Susan Chapman. (Read more »)

County Commission splits 3-2 on Enzymedica agreement to repay economic incentive funds dating to 2012

Majority declines to modify stipulations to include more stringent suggestions offered by Commissioner Moran

On a split vote this week, the Sarasota County Commission approved a plan to try to recover $201,000 over 24 months from Enzymedica because the Venice firm created only five of the 72 jobs it promised when it received a financial incentive from the county in January 2012. (Read more »)

Brody carries all but two precincts in May 9 runoff

Jennifer Ahearn-Koch takes the other at-large seat

Hagen Brody outpolled both his opponents in the runoff this week for two at-large seats on the Sarasota City Commission. Unofficial returns showed him picking up 6,365 votes, for 43.72%. Jen Ahearn-Koch won the other at-large seat with 5,079 votes, or 34.89% of the total. (Read more »)

County commissioners call for faster implementation of ordinances and consultant’s recommendations for resolving issues relating to homelessness

Commissioner Charles Hines cites need to secure extra emergency beds at The Salvation Army and volunteers to help achieve countywide ‘buy-in’ on the new laws

Two Sarasota County commissioners this week agreed that efforts to implement a new set of laws to deal with issues related to homelessness in the community — such as panhandling — need to be on as fast a track as possible. One also called for a fast pace to ensure more emergency shelter beds are made available in the community, as a consultant has recommended. (Read more »)

Change in Tourist Development Tax revenue allocations approved to help fund Atlanta Braves stadium in the West Villages near North Port

Funding shifts will enable county to pay debt service on a bond and contribute to a maintenance and repairs fund for the new complex

The Sarasota County Commission this week notched another milestone on the path to building an Atlanta Braves stadium in the West Villages community near North Port. With a unanimous vote on May 9, the board voted to reallocate portions of its Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue to enable it to pay debt service on a $21.2-million bond for construction of the project, and to build up a capital maintenance and repairs (CapX) fund for the complex. (Read more »)

Three city employees demoted after ethics investigation related to Public Art Committee vote

City of Sarasota also making procedural changes to prevent future conflict-of-interest situations

Three City of Sarasota employees have been demoted and will have to undergo ethics training in the wake of an investigation into the proceedings of the April 12 Public Art Committee meeting, the City of Sarasota announced this week. (Read more »)

County’s Tourist Development Tax collections up slightly in March over number for same month in 2016

Overall revenue continues to lag behind, compared to the first six months of the previous fiscal year

After three months of declines, Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue was back in positive territory for the month of March — but barely. The figures the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office released this week show collections for March were higher this year by $1,245.59, compared to the March 2016 figure. (Read more »)

Technology seen as one key to fighting red tide, Mote Marine volunteer tells Siesta Key Association audience

Research continues on a number of fronts in the effort to end the negative effects of Karenia brevis

Technological advances — including the use of drones — are among the keys expected to unlock the continuing mysteries of red tide, a 26-year volunteer at Mote Marine of Sarasota told about 60 Siesta Key Association SKA members during their May 4 meeting. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Comprehensive Plan amendment regarding hotels on the Key still not submitted to county staff; MTV to put another spotlight on Siesta; the SKA adds two board members; SKA director offers a ‘visual reference’ regarding the plan to dredge Big Pass; Cosentino continues to seek special SKA meeting; new sewer infrastructure planned for Sanderling Club and Dolphin Bay basins; and county staff provides latest update on wastewater treatment plant project

More than five months after representatives of a Siesta Key chiropractor held a neighborhood workshop on the initiative, Sarasota County staff has yet to receive a proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment that would allow hotels on redeveloped land zoned Commercial General (CG) on the barrier islands. (Read more »)

Pittsburgh woman apparently drowns while snorkeling near Point of Rocks on Siesta Key

Sheriff’s Office says medical examiner will determine the cause of death

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was continuing to investigate an apparent drowning that occurred about 2 p.m. on May 10 near Point of Rocks on Siesta Key, the office announced on May 11. (Read more »)

Sarasota County job fair on Friday, May 12, to focus on public works, utilities and transportation positions

Event to be held at the county’s Operations Center on Sarasota Center Boulevard in Sarasota

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 12, Sarasota County’s Human Resources Department will hold a job fair focused on positions in the Public Works, Utilities and Transportation departments, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County staff asks residents to ‘Know Your Zone’ prior to start of hurricane season

State’s Division of Emergency Management recently updated its storm surges model, county’s emergency management chief points out

Residents and visitors are encouraged to “know your zone” by checking the updated 2017 evacuation zone map available online in preparation for the 2017 hurricane season, Sarasota County has announced. The Florida Division of Emergency Management recently provided Sarasota County with an updated Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model from the National Hurricane Center. (Read more »)

Brookside team places in World Robotics Competition

Middle school group finishes 25th

A team from Brookside Middle School in Sarasota placed 25th in the World VEX Robotics Competition in Louisville, Ky., on April 23, the Sarasota County School District has announced. One hundred sixty middle school teams and 1,200 high school teams from 44 countries participated in the event. (Read more »)

Public asked to take care to share Sarasota County’s beaches with nesting birds and turtles

County staffer offers recommendations for protecting wildlife

As summer approaches and trips to the beach become even more frequent, Sarasota County staff is reminding all visitors and residents to share the shore with native wildlife. Beach-goers are asked to be mindful of sea turtle nesting season, which began May 1, and of shorebirds such as snowy plovers and black skimmers, which use the open beach to lay their eggs, a news release points out. (Read more »)

Forty Carrots receives grants to provide free parenting education and mental health services

Designing Women and Manatee Community Foundation contribute to the nonprofit

Forty Carrots Family Center, a local nonprofit dedicated to strengthening families, will provide free parenting education and mental health services in Sarasota and Manatee counties, thanks to the support of two recent grants, it has announced. (Read more »)

Public encouraged to take part in Trails Master Plan update at upcoming public meetings

Staff undertaking first revision of the plan since 2006

Sarasota County staff members are inviting residents to become involved with the update of the county’s Trails Master Plan, the county has announced. The process will include conducting an inventory of the county’s existing trails and identifying future needs. (Read more »)