August 17, 2018 Edition


TOP STORIES:

Opponents of Grand Lakes development file legal challenges in two venues

12th Judicial Circuit Court case begun, and petition submitted to Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, saying Sarasota County violated its policies in approving the plans

Even before the Sarasota County Commission voted 4-1 on July 11 to approve the petitions necessary for Neal Communities’ Grand Lakes development to be built, Pat Neal, chair of the company’s executive committee, indicated he was expecting a lawsuit. Indeed, not one but two legal initiatives have begun, in an effort to stop Grand Lakes from becoming a reality east of Interstate 75 and south of Clark Road. (Read more »)


Save Our Siesta Sand 2 formally requests that U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertake in-depth environmental analysis of Big Pass dredging plan

If federal agency refuses, nonprofit indicates it is prepared to file suit in federal court to stop project

Save Our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2) formally has requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “conduct a full analysis of the contemplated Lido Key beach renourishment project in the form of an Environmental Impact Statement (commonly referred to as an ‘EIS’),” the Siesta Key-based nonprofit announced on Aug. 14. (Read more »)


City and County of Sarasota follow governor’s lead in declaring States of Emergency as a result of red tide

Mote Marine and FWC dealing with growing numbers of dead dolphins, turtles and manatees

On Aug. 13 — three days after Sarasota County staff reported 61.28 tons of fish altogether had been cleared from county beaches and boat ramps — Gov. Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency over the persistent red tide bloom in the Gulf of Mexico. (Read more »)


Siesta Key business owners dealing with repercussions of lingering red tide bloom

At Chamber board member’s suggestion, Chamber to include link on its website to live beach web cam, so people can see for themselves what conditions are like

As Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce members this week aired frustrations about widespread negative publicity regarding red tide, Director Joye Argo had a suggestion. Perhaps Chamber Executive Director Ann Frescura could figure out a way to put a link on the Chamber’s homepage to the “beach cam” provided by EarthCam.com. (Read more »)


Mailer from political action committee employs smear tactics against Ramirez similar to those in 2014 County Commission campaign

Money contributed to the PAC has come from developers supporting her opponent in the Aug. 28 Republican Primary, Alan Maio

In the summer of 2014, Siesta Key resident Lourdes Ramirez and Nokomis resident Alan Maio were preparing to square off for the first time in a Republican primary for the District 4 seat on the County Commission. About a month before voters were to go to the polls, a right-wing blogger attempted to smear Ramirez. (Read more »)


Update on Request for Proposals for public-private partnership to operate SCAT to be on County Commission’s Aug. 22 agenda

Interim SCAT director says draft of the solicitation still on track to be completed by end of month

Over the past several years, the Sarasota County Commission has debated whether it should pursue privatization of its bus system. On July 11, in a unanimous vote, the board authorized Rob Lewis, the county’s governmental relations director and interim director of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT), to proceed with development of a Request for Proposals (RFP) on potential new management of the system. (Read more »)


County Commission candidates respond to questions posed by Siesta Key Condominium Council

Republican and Democratic primaries on the Aug. 28 ballot for District 4 seat; Republicans to square off for District 2 seat in primary, with Democrat facing the winner in November

The Siesta Key Condominium Council recently sent a questionnaire to the candidates for Sarasota County Commission in the 2018 election, seeking their views on four key issues in advance of the Aug. 28 Republican and Democratic primaries. The Condo Council shared the responses with The Sarasota News Leader, in an effort to assist registered voters in making their choices in those primaries. (Read more »)


Drainage repairs underway on American Course at Bobby Jones Golf Club

On Aug. 20, City Commission once again to discuss potential purchase of new golf carts

As drainage improvements are getting underway on the American Course at the City of Sarasota’s Bobby Jones Golf Club, division remains evident on the City Commission regarding the future of the facility. (Read more »)


Increasing number of illegal home rentals in neighborhoods sparks Siesta Key Association plea for residents to help county Code Enforcement officer

Director Joe Volpe details problems and offers advice about how people can assist with reducing violations

As the popularity of Siesta Key’s beaches has grown, so has the number of illegal rentals in neighborhoods zoned for single-family housing. With only one Sarasota County Code Enforcement officer working on the barrier island, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) is asking its members to provide their assistance in an effort to improve the situation. (Read more »)


Siesta Seen

Residents question some of City of Sarasota’s legal fee payments in Big Pass case; city attorney provides updated figure for outside counsel’s expenses; mediation the new focus in North Beach Road lawsuit; judge schedules Oct. 22 hearing on motion for fees in Ramirez’s civil case; SKA and Condo Council urge members to attend Siesta Promenade Neighborhood Workshop; and two Florida House candidates set out their positions on Big Pass dredging

A number of Siesta residents have questioned the fact that the City of Sarasota has paid some of the expenses of the Lido Key Residents Association (LKRA) as that organization has fought the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and Save Our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2) in their efforts to prevent the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass. (Read more »)


OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day


Editorial: A demagogic threat to American democracy


OTHER NEWS (free):

Photo essay: ‘P’ is for ‘paradise’


Early voting to begin Aug. 18 for primaries


Detectives seeking help from people who were at the 10th Street Boat Ramp on Aug. 10, when a female apparently drowned


Florida Waters Stewardship workshop series to launch in September under leadership of UF/IFAS