20120622-22 Jun 12

Section of Beach Road closed because of flooding

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies are stopping drivers from accessing about a 100-yard section of Beach Road on Siesta Key because of flooding, Sgt. Scott Osborne told The Sarasota News Leader this afternoon, June 25. Read more….

County residents urged to reduce water usage

Sarasota County utility officials are urging residents and businesses to limit their use of toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and any other appliances that could result in additional wastewater being sent to the wastewater collection system. Read more….

Grant still secure for Siesta stormwater project

The $975,000 grant the Southwest Florida Water Management District awarded Sarasota County for the stormwater project planned at Siesta Public Beach “is fine at this time,” Sarasota County Project Manager Curtis R. Smith told The Sarasota News Leader today, June 22. Read more….

Siesta Seen: Potential maintenance contractors
check out Siesta Village

The group of about 25 people making its way through Siesta Village under threatening skies shortly after 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 21, seemed to spark little curiosity from passersby, but someone out of that group more than likely will be taking over the Village maintenance in coming weeks. Read more….

The charter crisis

For two years, the City of Sarasota has not had a bona fide city clerk and auditor. The charter is explicit: “The city manager, the city auditor and clerk … and the finance director shall each give bond with authorized corporate sureties, conditioned upon their faithful performance of duty.” Read more….

Suspect in Siesta runner’s death released on bond

The 23-year-old Bradenton man charged in connection with the January death of a Siesta Key runner was released from the Sarasota County Jail on Wednesday, June 20, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. Read more….

Brace for city water and sewer rate hikes

June 19 was the date for the annual “State of the Utilities” workshop for the City of Sarasota. To prevent long-term debt from increasing, the city commissioners tentatively agreed to a 4% rate increase in water and sewer rates in 2013 and 2014. They will come on top of 4% increases in 2011 and 2012. Read more….

New pain management ordinance to be targeted
at methadone clinics

Sheriff’s Office warns about abuse of
addiction-treatment drug
A year after winning plaudits for passing landmark ordinances regulating pain management clinics, the Sarasota County Commission has asked for a new measure to crack down on methadone clinics. Read more….

And then there were four

Lipscomb drops out of contention
One of the five finalists for Sarasota city manager has dropped out to take a similar job at another city.
Barbara Lipscomb, the only woman in the group, was city manager of Casselberry. From 2004 to 2007, she was assistant city manager of Gainesville. Read more….

Judge refuses to dismiss Brown’s third lawsuit
against the county

At the conclusion of a 20-minute hearing on June 18, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Lee Haworth refused to grant a motion by Sarasota County to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit Siesta Village property owner Chris Brown filed against Sarasota County in October 2011. Read more….

Public art big and small gets boost at
City Commission meeting

The Sarasota City commissioners agreed to accept the donation of a gigantic piece of sculpture at their Monday evening session, June 18. “Complexus” by John Henry (a different kind of steel-drivin’ man) is on its way to becoming part of the city’s public art collection. Read more….

National Register listing expected any day for
Sarasota High buildings

Sarasota County and state preservationists could find out as early as this week whether the Paul Rudolph addition to Sarasota High School will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
Read more….

FDOT turns down request for safety measures
in Midnight Pass Road curve

The Florida Department of Transportation has turned down a Sarasota County Commission request for a reduction in the speed limit and installation of reflective pavement markers along a Midnight Pass Road curve that residents say has been the site of numerous accidents. Read more….

Walmart to hold neighborhood meeting
on Ringling Center plan

Sarasota’s Development Review Committee met Wednesday, June 20, on a preliminary review of Walmart’s plans to build a 98,000-square-foot Supercenter on Charles Ringling Boulevard. The company would raze the existing Ringling Plaza Shopping Center, said Joshua Bryant, an engineer retained by Walmart to supervise the project. Read more….

Big Water Fish Market celebrates a grand opening

On Saturday, June 16, owner Scott Dolan cut the ceremonial “Grand Opening” ribbon at Big Water Fish Market. General Manager Brian Brainerd and Mark Smith, chairman of the board of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, looked on. Read more….

School district staff explains middle-school
math changes

Through a concept called “differentiated teaching,” middle school students in the Sarasota County Public Schools will be able to get the specific type of instruction they need in math, but fewer teachers will be necessary to provide that instruction, administrative staff explained to the School Board during the board’s June 19 workshop. Read more….

Polling places will change in August

Blame the writers of the U.S. Constitution. They wanted a census every 10 years, and before anybody knew it, the results were used to draw up electoral boundaries. Sometimes the drawings were more creative than representational. Read more….

Procurement director criticized by commission
before resignation

After less than 10 months on the job, Sarasota County Procurement Director Mark Thiele turned in his resignation June 19.
County Administrator Randall Reid said the action “emphasizes the county’s commitment to additional integrity and transparency in the procurement operation, along with the need to institute, enforce and follow the new professional procurement process being implemented by the county,” a county news release said. Read more….

Celebrating the solstice at Curry Creek Preserve

Officially it’s the solstice, but summer has long since come to the pine flatwoods.
By 10 a.m. it’s hot. I’m in Venice at Curry Creek Preserve to visit the longleaf pines, unusual in this area. They’re one of the southernmost remnants of the once grand pine forest, which blanketed 150,000 square miles in the Southeast before European settlement. In Florida, longleaf pine merges with south Florida slash pine and is known for its large cones and long needles in bundles of three. Slash pine cones are half the size; their needles come in bundles of two or three. Read more….

Former staffer confirms existence of
Urban Forestry Master Plan

Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta was right: The county does have an Urban Forestry Master Plan.
Demetra McBride, who had served as the county’s manager of urban forestry before she left Sarasota in October 2010, emailed county staff June 11, confirming comments Barbetta had made during the commission’s June 5 meeting. Read more….

Southwest Florida less colorful today

One of Southwest Florida’s most colorful characters died Monday night.
The word’s getting around that Stan Gober is dead.
He came to Goodland, near Marco Island, to open a bar and restaurant in the tiny fishing village 30 years ago. The business went through several name changes, but one thing was constant: It was always Stan’s “Something,” and it was unique. Read more….

I Survived the Outback

I know: You’re probably thinking I took three airplanes and spent two days in the air to eventually land on the Australian coast, most likely in magnificent Sydney. And, from there, I took an in-country plane to the Outback, located in the hot, dry, desolate central region of Australia. Read more….

Kids Summer Beach Runs begin again this week

Sarasota County Parks and Recreation’s popular Kids Summer Beach Runs are returning to Siesta Public Beach and Venice Beach this week, the county has announced.
The 1-mile beach runs are offered Tuesdays at Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key, and Wednesdays at the Venice Fishing Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice, through Aug. 15. The runs are presented by Sarasota County Parks and Recreation and New Balance Sarasota. Read more….

Gulf Coast League play under way at
Ed Smith Stadium

The Orioles Gulf Coast League team begins its 2012 season at the Ed Smith Stadium complex today, June 18, at noon versus the Twins.
The GCL, which includes 14 teams in Florida, gives recently drafted or signed players their first experience in professional baseball, a Baltimore Orioles news release points out. Read more….