20120831-31 Aug 12

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New workforce readiness initiative to move ahead

In an effort to improve workforce readiness in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, Aug. 29, to ask County Administrator Randall Reid to meet with the appropriate representatives of the Sarasota County School Board, the Bradenton-based organization CareerEdge and county economic development staff, among others, to bring back to the board a plan of action within 90 days. (Full story here)

What to do with BP oil spill fines?

Twenty-eight months after an explosion at a Gulf of Mexico oil rig led to the worst environmental disaster in American history, Sarasota County officials met to discuss how much money the area might receive from federal penalties imposed on BP, the company responsible for the spill. (Full story here)

Locals fail final cut for new Sarasota police chief

The original list of 98 applicants to become Sarasota’s next police chief was whittled to 13 this week. None of the five local candidates made it. A source close to the selection process, who asked not to be named, said that reflected a preference in the police force for an outside candidate. (Full story here)

Schools’ five-day enrollment count translating
into hiring of more staff

Although the five-day enrollment total for the Sarasota County Public Schools was 688 below the 41,962 estimate for the 2012-13 school year, district officials will be hiring more staff, Superintendent Lori White told The Sarasota News Leader Aug. 29. (Full story here)

County, school officials justify closings in
advance of Isaac

The Sarasota County Commission chairwoman and a Sarasota County School Board member this week defended the decision to close schools on Monday as a precaution with then-Tropical Storm Isaac’s path uncertain. (Full story here)

Q&A: Stand Up Sarasota guest speaker
Hudson Taylor

“Helping kids have a voice” — that’s what Hudson Taylor says his trip to Sarasota next week is all about. Taylor began speaking out about LGBT rights as a wrestler at the University of Maryland, challenging the common homophobia and transphobia in athletic culture. Last year, that experience led him to form Athlete Ally, a nonprofit that aims to foster respect for those of all sexual orientations, a message he’ll be carrying to four Sarasota County schools over the course of three days next week. (Full story here)

New food truck site proposed

Jonesing for some of that fast truck food, now that the lot at Ringling and Links is shut down for the summer? A second location is in the works, this time at Ringling and Pineapple. Chip Fendt filed his paperwork with the city earlier this month for the site at the southwestern corner of that intersection, across Pineapple from Nancy’s BBQ. “The property right now is an eyesore,” he said. (Full story here)

SCOPE faces decision time on data collaborative

SCOPE’s “Community Data Collaborative” approaches a decision point next month. The organization – Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence – must decide to move forward, switch partners on the initiative, wait or kill the project. After a year of work with the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., the organization debuted the product to a handful of participants on Wednesday, Aug. 29. (Full story here)

Cattlemen Road site focus of future county
emergency operations discussions

It was billed as a Sarasota County Commission discussion about the sale of surplus property. What it evolved into was an admonishment that staff not engage in another master facilities plan for the county that would include outside consultants and lots of taxpayer expense. (Full story here)

Siesta Beach plan details expected to be ready
for stakeholders’ review this week

The Sarasota County project manager responsible for the Siesta Public Beach Park improvements plan hopes to have clearly organized details of that plan available by the end of this week for Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Smith and other island stakeholders to review, Smith told The Sarasota News Leader mid-afternoon on Aug. 30. (Full story here)

Light duty for Barwin’s first city meeting

Most residents of the city will get their first glimpse of the new Sarasota city manager when they tune in for the City Commission meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Sept 4. Tom Barwin will take his seat for the first time at the dais. (Full story here)

Earlier schedule announced for construction
of Midnight Pass Road crosswalks

An earlier schedule for the construction of pedestrian crosswalks on Midnight Pass Road should ensure completion before Thanksgiving, the project consultant told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Full story here)

New Siesta Village maintenance contractor
expected to start work Sept. 10

Sarasota County staff is working on a purchase order that should allow the new Siesta Village maintenance contractor to start work on Sept. 10, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Full story here)

County officials told they should be proud of
high marks on 2012 citizen survey

In spite of the extra stress brought on by the Great Recession, the majority of residents continue to give high marks to the quality of life in Sarasota County, the county’s 2012 Citizen Opinion Survey shows. (Full story here)

A week of neighborhood meetings planned

In the next two weeks, Sarasota neighbors will be meeting, and perhaps you might join them. Whether your taste runs to understanding the foreclosure mess, violation of the Sarasota City Charter or a neighborhood potpourri at the Historical Society, September is the month for you. (Full story here)

FPL easement granted for stormwater
project on Siesta

With no comment, the Sarasota County Commission on Aug. 21 voted unanimously to grant a permanent utility easement to Florida Power and Light Co. for “the construction, operation, and maintenance” of underground and above-ground electrical utility facilities to accommodate the planned stormwater treatment system for Siesta Key Public Beach. (Full story here)




Terry Lewis aims again at retirement

One of the 12 labors of Hercules in Greek mythology was the cleaning of the Augean stables. There resided a herd of more than 1,000 immortal cattle. The stable hadn’t been cleaned in more than 30 years. Using wit instead of brawn, Hercules diverted two rivers to wash out the accumulated filth, and he was well paid for his efforts. (Full story here)



Ask Otus: ‘Catch of the Day’ and bobcats

Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Siesta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of nature’s secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. (Full story here)

A travel alternative

Attention, travel addicts, and you know who you are. Usually, you are those focused on either going somewhere now or planning to go somewhere in the future. Some of you might prefer choosing the deluxe route — be it on ship, via guided bus tour or just through a traditional five-star travel company that does all the planning and decision-making for  you. (Full story here)