20120817-17 Aug 12

Police seeking help in identifying fraud suspects

The Sarasota Police Department is requesting the public’s help in identifying a man and woman allegedly involved in organized fraud. Police detectives say the pair are using stolen credit cards from auto burglaries to immediately purchase high-dollar items. (Full story here)

Former homeowners association treasurer
charged with larceny

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Charles Nichols, 69, of 1817 Highland Road, Osprey, for allegedly taking thousands of dollars from the Osprey Homeowners Association. An investigation found that Nichols, who was the association treasurer between May 2007 and August 2011, issued himself 57 checks on the Osprey HOA checking account totaling $11,316.52, the Sheriff’s Office report says. (Full story here)

‘No swim’ advisory issued for Lido Casino Beach

A “no swim” advisory has been issued for the second time in two weeks for Lido Casino Beach, 400 Ben Franklin Drive on Lido Key, Sarasota County Government has announced. (Full story here)

Walmart puts its best faces forward for
public meeting

Roughly 50 people came to the Payne Park Auditorium Wednesday evening, Aug. 15, to talk with Walmart representatives about a proposed new “supercenter” at the old Ringling Shopping Center. (Full story here)

Wiser Gulf Coast heads roll in election

It was not coincidence that swept a half-century of experience out of office this week along Florida’s southwest coast. Professionals will scrutinize this election, because the results were sharp and compelling. Five county commissioners up for re-election lost their seats in Charlotte, Lee, Collier and Manatee counties. There were only two common threads among them – they were incumbents, and they are Republicans. (Full story here)

Casey Key residents threaten to block access to
road for watermain project

Three residents on Casey Key have indicated they will block access to the North Casey Key Road for a watermain project unless the contractor meets demands they have made, Sarasota County’s interim utilities program manager notified County Administrator Randall Reid today, Aug. 16. (Full story here)

SCOPE provides a peek at a new, powerful
research tool

The organization called SCOPE – Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence – has collected statistics for more than a decade. The numbers have been compiled into annual Community Report Cards. But the organization wants to do more with its massive data collection. A lot more. (Full story here)

Hines defeats tea party challenger McLendon

Attorney Charles Hines defeated tea party challenger Randy McLendon in Tuesday’s Republican County Commission primary, besting him with 59 percent of the vote. (Full story here)

Incumbent Dent crushes Thaxton

Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent handily defeated Republican challenger Jon Thaxton in Tuesday’s primary, winning 75 percent of the vote after a brief, but hotly debated campaign. (Full story here)

Crystal Classic to return to Siesta beach Nov. 8-12

Brian Wigelsworth saw it as an opportunity to show his fellow master sandsculptors that the Siesta Key beach was the best place in the world for a major competition. Siesta business people saw it as a big potential boost for the economy at a traditionally slow time of year for tourists. And all the planners saw it as a means of supporting Mote Marine’s efforts to protect and help sea turtles. Proceeds go to Mote’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program. (Full story here)

SKA seeks evaluation of Code Enforcement
Office’s staffing patterns

The Siesta Key Association Board of Directorshas asked the Sarasota County Commission to authorize an evaluation of staffing patterns in the county’s Code Enforcement Office before any decision is made about overtime hours for any employees in that office. (Full story here)

Siesta stakeholder groups will work together
to pare costs of beach improvements plan

Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce President Mark Smith has volunteered his expertise as an architect in an effort to keep the planned Siesta Public Beach improvements as a high priority for the Sarasota County Commission, he told members of the Siesta Key Association during their regular meeting on Aug. 2. (Full story here)

Osprey Avenue’s ‘boathouse’ to become B&B

A local icon is about to answer many dreams. The boat structure at 425 N. Osprey Ave. may soon be open for visitors to spend a night or two. Elwin Lissone came before the city’s Historic Preservation Board Tuesday, Aug. 14, to seek permission to add a stairway to the second floor of the boat building to create a bed and breakfast. (Full story here)

Partnership weighing participation in national
initiative to house the homeless

The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness is weighing whether to participate in a national program to provide housing for the most medically vulnerable homeless people in Sarasota and Manatee counties. (Full story here)

From retirement to fulfillment

All of Webster’s definitions for the word “retirement” sound extremely negative–for example, ‘to withdraw from action;’ ‘to move back;’ or ‘to conclude one’s professional career.’  These phrases are so ominous as to be somewhat frightening.  They are implying that life as we know it is basically over, the best was in the past and we might as well just hang around and wait to die. (Full story here)

From the cheap seats:
The fall of western civilization

It’s no longer just those central-casting fanatics with long beards and robes carrying signs proclaiming, “The end is near.” Many are casting a balefully wary eye toward the cascade of eschatological symptoms of our potential economic Armageddon. Which makes you wonder how things got so bad. (Full story here)

Post-vacation agenda a whopper for the
City Commission

Welcome back, city commissioners. There’s a big, meaty agenda waiting for you Monday, Aug. 20. Bring your No-Doz and your Dramamine. The meeting is set to start at 2:30 p.m. with the approval of five sets of minutes from a month of regular and special meetings and workshops. The commission then will consider 17 items on its consent agenda. (Full story here)

Tourist tax revenue up 18.6% for the county
through July

Tourist development tax revenue continues to be the shining light in Sarasota County’s finances so far this year, as evidenced again by the July report from the county’s Office of Financial Planning. (Full story here)

Administrator addresses state of the county at
Tiger Bay Club gathering

Sarasota County Administrator Randy Reid made his debut on the stage of the Sarasota Tiger Bay ClubThursday, Aug. 16, delivering an upbeat update about the state of Sarasota County and its government. (Full story here)

New SCAT manager set to start work Aug. 27

Glamarier Carter, the public transit manager of Collier County, has been named the new general manager of Sarasota County Area Transit, Sarasota County Government has announced. She will begin work Monday, Aug. 27, a news release says. (Full story here)

WSLR, ACLU to host ‘Championing
Democracy’ program

The Sarasota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will join WSLR Community Radio in sponsoring “Championing Democracy and Justice: An Evening with Heidi Boghosian” on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. at WSLR’s headquarters, 525 Kumquat Court. (Full story here)

Only one snowy plover chick apparently left
on Siesta

Sarasota Audubon members had high hopes last week that a few snowy plover chicks might survive the 2012 nesting season on Siesta Key. However, as of the middle of this week, it appeared only one chick still was roaming the beach. (Full story here)

County releases mowing schedule
through Aug. 24

With Sarasota County last week having awarded its final interim contract for roadside mowing and median maintenance, the county has released a schedule of areas where the public can expect to see mowing getting under way this week. (Full story here)

Dredging of Benderson Lake expected to be
completed in about three months

After Nathan Benderson Park held its first rowing regatta in March 2009, Paul Blackketter, executive director of planning for Benderson Development, started racking up frequent flyer miles. (Full story here)

Tides still bringing, removing seaweed from
county beaches

Sarasota County beaches are continuing to show the effects of tidal activity with accumulations of seaweed on beaches, a county news release reported Aug. 15. Subsequent tides are removing sizable portions of the seaweed, the release added. (Full story here)

Public reminded about safety with school
starting Aug. 20

With the Sarasota County Public Schools starting the 2012-13 school year on Monday, Aug. 20, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is reminding motorists to use extra caution and obey speed limits, particularly in school zones. (Full story here)