20151225-25 Dec 2015

SNL Xmas greeting

Cultural pass program planning under way to encourage children and parents to visit county’s cultural amenities

Larry Thompson via TwitterIdea resulted from community leaders’ trip to Louisville in September, where the president of Ringling College and a county commissioner learned about the success of such a program

You might call it an “Ah, ha” moment. Larry Thompson, president of the Ringling College of Art + Design, was seated next to Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson during the September Louisville Leadership Expedition to Accelerate Progress (LEAP) trip, when a presentation particularly grabbed their attention. (Read more »)

Tinypass Gift Subscription

Laurel Park Association’s appeal of Woman’s Exchange permit set for Jan. 20 Planning Board meeting

Woman's Exchange Google Street view by Kanya Dec. 3 2015The hearing decision is the latest event in a debate that has pitted one of downtown Sarasota’s most historic neighborhoods against the growing nonprofit

In October 2012, the Woman’s Exchange bought a parcel located at 526 Rawls Ave., just north of its existing historic structure in downtown Sarasota. “We purchased the property with the goal of using it as part of an expansion,” the nonprofit’s CEO, Karen Koblenz, told The Sarasota News Leader in a Dec. 21 interview. (Read more »)

Circus Arts Conservatory hoping to expand Sailor Circus Academy to accommodate waiting list

Sailor Circus Dec. 2013 Girl aerialist on chair Dec. 28 LOW REZOrganization representatives have asked the Sarasota County School Board to extend their lease of Bahia Vista Street property to 99 years to help them in seeking funding for the project

With almost 100 students on the waiting list to participate in the Sailor Circus Academy, the co-founder and CEO of the Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota and the organization’s managing director have asked the Sarasota County School Board to consider extending their lease of Bahia Vista Street property to 99 years, so they can plan — and raise money — for expansion of the complex that is home to the 65-year-old academy. (Read more »)

New North Port Library to be named in honor of Shannon Staub

Shannon StaubFormer county commissioner to be recognized for her service to the community, especially the libraries

One of former Sarasota County Commissioner Shannon Staub’s earliest memories revolves around a visit to a library. “My mother took me way before I probably knew more than 20 words,” she told The Sarasota News Leader in a recent telephone interview. She remembered being awed, Staub said, as she looked up at all the stacks. “It can be a bit overwhelming [to a child],” she added. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Siegel, CraigCraig Siegel seeking end to ‘community control’ in case involving battery on a Code Enforcement officer; battered Code Enforcement officer still trying to collect $300,000 civil judgment against Siegel; Sunset Royale begins effort to get parking restrictions imposed on Beach Road spaces; Condo Lighting Contest winners named; the SKA makes a holiday donation; plus a clarification

Regular readers of this column probably will recall Siesta resident Crag Siegel’s April 28, 2014 arrest for Criminal Mischief and Battery on a Code Inspector after he threw a bucket of urine on Sarasota County Code Enforcement Officer James S. Holderby. (Read more »)

Developer of planned hotel in Pinecraft hopes to have the facility completed in the summer of 2017

Der Dutchman dorned for holidays Dec. 22 2015 RBHThe tentative timeline for submitting the project application to Sarasota County is this winter, the Dutchman Hospitality Group general manager says

The general manager of Sarasota’s Der Dutchman Restaurant and retail complex told The Sarasota New Leader this week he still hopes a new hotel on the site will open in the summer of 2017, though he is not sure when the project application will be submitted to Sarasota County. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Commission takes another step toward next year’s Public Safety Referendum

Sheriffs Office new sign 1 on Ringling Oct. 2015Dec. 9 vote allocates $1 million for more detailed planning for the November 2016 ballot measure

Taking a pass on a presentation, as allowed under a new policy, the Sarasota County Commission recently spent only moments on a unanimous vote that formally allocated $1 million to detailed planning of the approximately $191 million Public Safety Referendum scheduled for next year. (Read more »)

The year in sunsets

October Sunset by Fran for Dec. 24 2015Palettes change with the seasons

For some it’s a ritual at the beach, but I have always loved to watch the sunset in a park. The sun sinking through pines lights up the landscape. A pastel backdrop frames moonrise in the east, while off to the west, there is a last hurrah of bright color. Every sunset is different. (Read more »)

Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre proves entrancing in The Ringling’s Joseph’s Coat Skyspace

Dusan Tyneck Dance Theatre at RinglingMovements stop and flow under the shifting light in the intimate setting created by James Turrell

Six dancers … in white. In your face … the intimate connection between the dancers in a defined square of a flat stage and the audience in seats and benches; the dancers in conversation with the ever-shifting colors of James Turrell’s Joseph’s Coat Skyspace at The Ringling in Sarasota. (Read more »)

New plan lays framework for observation and warning system for red tide events in Gulf of Mexico

Red Tide plan GCOOS report Sept. 2015 Figure 1Nonprofit organization outlines strategies to protect human health, wildlife and businesses

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) has released a new plan that, when fully implemented, “will help protect humans and marine life from the negative impacts caused by harmful algal blooms, or HABs,” the association has announced. (Read more »)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Barak to speak at community event

Ehud BarakPublic lecture to be held on Feb. 8 in Sarasota

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak will speak during a Sarasota community event in February titled An Evening With Ehud Barak, Howard Tevlowitz, executive director of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, has announced. The lecture will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, at the Hyatt Regency, located at 1000 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota. (Read more »)

FDOT to hold public meeting in January regarding improvements to Bee Ridge Road between Siesta and Dunn drives

Bee Ridge Road to Dunn Drive Google map Dec. 22 2015Jan. 5 session to be held at Trinity United Methodist Church on South Shade Avenue

The first week of January, District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting regarding planned improvements to State Road 758/Bee Ridge Road/Osprey Avenue from Siesta Drive east to Dunn Drive in Sarasota County, the department has announced. (Read more »)

Acting principals named for Wilkinson and Venice elementary schools

Ruth ThomasFormer Wilkinson principal asked to work full-time on task force researching elementary schools’ achievement gap

Acting principals will lead Wilkinson and Venice elementary schools from Jan. 4, when school resumes after winter break, through the end of the 2015-16 school year in June, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County’s popular Civics 101 program to continue next year

Civics-101-class-January-via-scgov-433x720Interested persons encouraged to apply soon for Thursday classes, as enrollment is limited to 25

In 2016, Sarasota County will continue offering a “backstage pass” to residents through its popular Civics 101 program, the county has announced. Act II: VIP Services will begin on Jan. 21 and continue on Thursday evenings (6 to 8:15 p.m.) through March 17. (Read more »)

Orchid expert Dalström and filmmaker Saffer to offer screening and program

Stig Dahlstrom via scgov Dec. 2015Jan. 6 event scheduled at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota

Sarasota County Extension Master Gardeners will host a special screening of The Wild Orchid Man in the Ghost Orchid Swamp on Wednesday, Jan. 6, at the Sarasota County Extension and Sustainability Office at Twin Lakes Park, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Police Department administrative offices closed for Christmas and New Year’s

Sarasota PD on Adams Lane May 15 2012 LOW REZNo patrol changes will be in effect, the department announces

The Sarasota Police Department’s administrative offices will be closed from Thursday, Dec. 24, through Sunday, Dec, 27, in observance of the Christmas holiday, the department has announced. (Read more »)

Award-winning astronomer to present program at North Port Library

Rings of Saturn from Hubble via NASA and WikimediaEvent will allow participants to look at the universe through a handcrafted telescope, weather permitting

Members of the public are invited to learn all about the universe and take a look at it as the North Port Public Library hosts Astronomy for Everyone: Size & Scale of the Universe from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)