20160415-15 Apr 2016

County commissioner provides Sarasota merchants data showing most EMS calls involving homeless people still originate in the City of Sarasota

Downtown group’s chair says city staff has been invited to the next session to offer its view of the report

Sarasota County Commissioner Charles Hines has shared with Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association (SDMA) members the latest county data showing that the majority of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls involving homeless people continue to originate in the City of Sarasota, he reported to his colleagues during their regular meeting on April 12 in Venice. (Read more »)

Contractor to try to mitigate odors at Siesta Wastewater Treatment Plant

County staff faces residents angry about year-long delay in closing the facility; one couple has appealed the state consent order granting the extension

The manager of Sarasota County’s Water/Wastewater Division has taken full responsibility for not making sure Siesta Key residents were aware that the closing of the island’s wastewater treatment plant had been postponed another year, and he has vowed that county staff will provide consistent communication going forward. (Read more »)

Draft Consolidated Plan for the next five years includes assistance for homeless people and housing aid

Document will be advertised for 30 days, until May 20; it is scheduled to be submitted to the federal government in mid-August

With a 4-1 Sarasota City Commission vote on April 4 and a unanimous vote of the County Commission on April 12, the community’s draft updated Consolidated Plan for the allocation of federal housing funding — including assistance to the homeless population — will be advertised for public comments for 30 days, Don Hadsell, director of the Office of Housing and Community Development in Sarasota, told both boards during regular meetings. (Read more »)

Evening session sought for parents interested in helping plan the new Venice Public Library

County commissioner cites complaints about a special meeting having been scheduled at 4 p.m. May 12 for parents, students and Sarasota County school staff

A Sarasota County commissioner who lives in Venice has asked county staff to try to schedule an evening meeting for parents interested in the planning of a new public library in Venice, because many of them work and will be unable to attend a session set for 4 p.m. on May 12 in the Venice High School cafeteria. (Read more »)

City Commission splits 3-2 in denying city-issued building permit to Woman’s Exchange so the nonprofit could expand

Majority of board sides with neighborhood association in concerns about safety, but the vice mayor and the Woman’s Exchange CEO point to city staff’s findings that the permit showed the plan met city zoning guidelines

As the retired general manager of the City of Sarasota’s Neighborhood and Development Services Department put it on Monday, April 11, “It’s the growing intensity of the very successful Woman’s Exchange that’s being debated here.” (Read more »)

County abandonment of 360-foot segment of North Beach Road sought, along with a variance for new construction in the same area

Two public hearings are set for May 11 on petitions involving a segment of the road that has deteriorated as a result of repeated storm damage and lack of county repairs

On the morning of May 11, two public hearings have been scheduled back-to-back for the Sarasota County Commission to consider matters pertaining to a 360-foot section of North Beach Road on Siesta Key that has been impassable to traffic for years. During the first hearing, the board will consider whether the county should abandon that portion of the road; the second hearing will involve a petition for a Coastal Setback Variance for new construction between that part of the road and Avenida Veneccia. (Read more »)

Veterinarians raising concerns about ramifications of county law banning retail pet sales

More outreach by county staff to the public — including breeders — planned at County Commission’s behest

Not only are veterinarians concerned about violating the new Sarasota County ordinance banning the retail sales of dogs and cats, but more confusion also has arisen among breeders of purebred animals as a result of their receipt of a letter from county staff about the law, a county commissioner told her colleagues this week. (Read more »)

Siesta Village recycling will have to wait at least three more years

Work cannot be done under current maintenance contract, county staff says, and seeking a separate bid for recycling would not be economically feasible, the SKA president says

During the summer of 2013, Siesta Key Association President Michael Shay began serious discussions with members of the Siesta Key Village Association about the potential for recycling in Siesta Village — a subject near and dear to him, one might say, given his professional background in the recycling business. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Chamber’s July 4 fireworks show in jeopardy; Easter Egg Hunt worries alleviated; the Great American Cleanup is on April 16; Spring Break has not ended for some students; bicycle safety a new initiative for SKA; and Chamber’s new employee praised for ‘people skills’

Because of increasing expense to put on the annual July 4 fireworks show at Siesta Public Beach, this year’s pyrotechnical display could be the last one. That was the news Mark Smith, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce chairman, reported to the Siesta Key Association on April 7. (Read more »)

Free content:

Sarasota Ballet handles Ashton and Balanchine program with aplomb

Program includes diverse performances — from the subtleties of Enigma Variations to the rousing spirit of Stars and Stripes

I have not been a loyal viewing member of the Sarasota Ballet’s 25th Anniversary Season, but it was impossible to ignore a program that offered both Sir Frederick Ashton’s rarely seen Enigma Variations and George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, his rousing tribute to New York City and the United States. (Read more »)

‘Democracy Awakening’ rally planned April 15 in downtown Sarasota

Organizers encouraging the public to gather outside U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan’s office on South Orange Avenue

This weekend, thousands of people are expected to converge on Washington, D.C., as part of what is being called “an unprecedented movement to demand a democracy that works for all Americans, one in which everyone has an equal voice and elected officials are accountable to the people, not the wealthy,” organizers say in a news release. (Read more »)

Government jobs fair to be held at Suncoast Technical College

Event set for April 20 at Sarasota campus

Sarasota County will host a career expo/job fair on Wednesday, April 20, at Suncoast Technical College (STC), located at 4748 Beneva Road in Sarasota, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Supervisor of Elections Office seeking bilingual poll workers

Three orientation sessions offered this month

The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office is inviting registered voters who are able to read and speak Spanish and English fluently to become part of its Election Day team. (Read more »)

SCAT seeking community feedback during upcoming workshops

Comments sought on recommendations offered in department’s comprehensive operations analysis

Staff members of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will conduct workshops across the county this month to seek public comments on draft recommendations produced through SCAT’s comprehensive operations analysis, county staff has announced. (Read more »)

County Parks Department staff hosting Earth Day cleanup at Sperling Park

Event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 22

Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department staff is inviting area residents and visitors to celebrate Earth Day as it hosts a cleanup at Ted Sperling Nature Park on South Lido Key from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, April 22, the department has announced. (Read more »)

State grant to assist with improvements to Municipal Auditorium

$779,000 project expected to get underway this summer

The City of Sarasota has been awarded “a significant historic preservation grant” by the State of Florida for planned capital improvements to the Municipal Auditorium “to maintain the historic integrity of this community treasure,” the city announced this week. (Read more »)

Amateur sand sculptors welcome at 44th annual competition on Siesta Key

Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department hosting event on May 7

The 44th annual Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest will be held on Siesta Key Public Beach on Saturday, May 7, hosted by the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, the county has announced. (Read more »)

FSU, SMH Internal Medicine Residency Program receives initial accreditation

Graduating medical students may enroll in the program starting in the summer of 2017; new Newtown clinic to be part of training initiative

The Florida State University (FSU) College of Medicine and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (SMH) received the news on April 12 that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) approved their Internal Medicine Residency Program. (Read more »)