20170908-8 Sep 2017

Mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas of Sarasota County announced on Sept. 8

County’s emergency management chief says if Irma heads north after reaching Cuba, storm surge of 6 to 15 feet is possible, with hurricane force winds

UPDATE: Sarasota County Emergency Management staff issued a mandatory evacuation of all residents in the lowest-lying areas, including all barrier islands. Water will be shut off to barrier islands at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sep. 9. Please consult our Facebook page for updates.(Read more »)

County Commission to hold closed session next week to discuss strategies for Petland lawsuit

County also seeking court’s dismissal of three counts in the Petland complaint filed in 2016

Sarasota County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh has won approval of the County Commission to hold a closed meeting on Sept. 13 regarding litigation the owners of Petland Sarasota filed against the county last year over a law banning retail sales of dogs and cats. (Read more »)

City attorney cites need for more staff discussion before talking with commission about zoning code amendments to allow medical marijuana dispensaries

Robert Fournier explains recommendations in a Sept. 2 memo

In early July, as the Sarasota City Commission unanimously agreed to a two-month ban on medical marijuana dispensaries within the city limits, City Attorney Robert Fournier anticipated being able to report back to the board by Sept. 5 on recommendations for next steps. (Read more »)

City construction contract approved for Lift Station 87 building in Luke Wood Park

Mayor and Commissioner Brody question staff and consultants about the expense and alternatives

Although they ultimately joined their colleagues in unanimous approval of the construction agreement, two Sarasota city commissioners this week spent about 20 minutes questioning a staff member and consultants about the latest cost estimate of the Lift Station 87 building itself. (Read more »)

Sarasota man charged with using pellet gun to shoot a person in Siesta Village

Homeless people continuing to make themselves at home on routine basis in the gazebo, residents say

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Sarasota man with Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon in connection with the alleged Sept. 5 shooting of a person with a pellet gun in Siesta Village, the office has reported. The incident occurred in the 5200 block of Ocean Boulevard, at the intersection of Canal Road near the Village gazebo. (Read more »)

Commissioner Shaw reported to be all right following loss of consciousness during Sept. 5 meeting

Former mayor was transported to the hospital and kept overnight

Sarasota City Commissioner Willie Shaw spent the night of Sept. 5 at Sarasota Memorial Hospital after losing consciousness for between 30 and 60 seconds during the City Commission meeting that afternoon, city Communications Specialist Kate Flexter told The Sarasota News Leader on Sept. 6. (Read more »)

State House District 72 seat special primary to be held Dec. 5, followed by election on Feb. 13, 2018

Legislative session begins on Jan. 9 and ends on March 9

The special primary to replace state Rep. Alex Miller of Sarasota will be held on Dec. 5, with the special election for the Florida House District 72 seat set for Feb. 13, 2018, Ken Detzer, Florida’s secretary of state, has announced. (Read more »)

State conditionally approves $20 million for Atlanta Braves Spring Training complex in North Port

County Commission and North Port Commission to vote on final agreements Sept. 12

On Aug. 31, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity conditionally approved $20 million for the new Atlanta Braves spring training complex planned for the West Villages in North Port, Sarasota County announced. On Aug. 8, Martin Black, chair of the West Villages Improvement District, told The Sarasota News Leader that, based on an Aug. 4 phone conversation he had had with state officials, he anticipated receiving the preliminary certification letter approving the grant before the end of August. (Read more »)

97% of Sarasota County residents rate their quality of life ‘good’ or ‘excellent,’ 2017 Citizen Opinion Survey shows

Record high ratings go to county staff members for their responsiveness to the public

Although 97% of the 800 respondents to the 2017 Sarasota County Citizen Opinion Survey rated their quality of life “good” or “excellent,” the percentage citing the latter declined from 59% in 2016 to 47% this year, Susan A, MacManus, a Distinguished Professor at the University of South Florida (USF), reported to the County Commission on Aug. 29. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Coast Guard reducing number of daily openings on Siesta drawbridges; Siesta Chamber weighs in on paid parking at the beach; two Ocean Boulevard collisions reported; Shop Local Card to debut this month; decommissioning of Siesta Wastewater Treatment Plant continues on schedule; and volunteers sought for Crystal Classic

Early on the morning of Sept. 6, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that it will indeed be reducing the number of openings of the north Siesta Key drawbridge and the Stickney Point Road drawbridge from three times an hour to twice an hour. The change will go into effect on Oct. 5, the Coast Guard notice added, with the new rule to be in effect year-round. (Read more »)

International Association of Chiefs of Police conducting staffing study of Sarasota Police Department

Public urged to attend community forum set for Sept. 13 at Payne Park Auditorium

This month, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is conducting a staffing study of the Sarasota Police Department, with the cooperation of the City of Sarasota and the department, the department has announced. (Read more »)

CONA invites members of the public to discuss issues troubling them that need addressing by local leaders

Meeting set for Sept. 11 at Sarasota Garden Club

(Editor’s Note: At press time we had received no notice of the postponement or cancellation of this meeting. However, as Hurricane Irma approaches, that is a distinct possibility. Please check our Facebook page for updates.)

On Monday, Sept. 11, members of the public are welcome to join members of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) for an open discussion of topics bothering them. (Read more »)

Booker High named to list of top arts high schools

Visual and Performing Arts program cited as one key to the national recognition

Booker High School in Sarasota has been named one of the 80 best high schools for the arts in America by Niche.com, “a website that analyzes data and reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards and profiles for schools throughout the U.S.,” the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County schools to be closed on Friday, Sept. 8, and all extracurricular activities cancelled

Superintendent says district will keep everyone updated via social media, phone messages and the district website

Because of the possibility Hurricane Irma could affect Southwest Florida, Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden has announced that all schools will be closed on Friday, Sept. 8, and all after-school activities will be canceled that day, including after-school care. (Read more »)

Lifeguard hours shortened on Sarasota County beaches

Sept. 5 marks beginning of 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. schedule, seven days a week

Sarasota County’s beach lifeguard operation hours have changed as of Tuesday, Sept. 5, with Labor Day weekend having marked the end of summer, the county has announced. Lifeguards will be on duty from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily, seven days a week, on Sarasota County’s guarded beaches: Lido Beach, Siesta Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty Beach, Venice Beach and Manasota Beach. (Read more »)

Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul to wrap up 2017 Friday Fest series on Sept. 15 at the Van Wezel

Performing arts hall also will feature Yesterdayze and the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe for Sept. 30 special event as part of World Rowing Championships’ community activities

Reverend Barry & Funktastic Soul “Featuring The Hellacious Horns” are set to be the last band of this year’s Friday Fest series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, “but [they] won’t be slowing anything down!” a Van Wezel news release says. (Read more »)