20160819-19 Aug 2016

Sarasota County School Board to seek revision of state law setting caps for new school construction

A coalition of 20 counties already plans to craft specific language for a revision that can be presented to legislators for the 2017 session

For years, the Sarasota County School District has been paying higher expenses for various aspects of new school construction in an effort to save money in the long term. Yet, a measure approved by the Florida Legislature this spring includes what Deputy Superintendent Scott Lempe calls “rather stiff” penalties for any district that exceeds new caps for construction costs that will take effect on July 1, 2017. (Read more »)

Family Field Trips program preliminary report indicates its success

Of 648 passes available to families with children to visit five area attractions, 615 were distributed at the county libraries

Early this summer, Sarasota resident Steve Wall learned about a pilot Family Field Trips program that would be operated through the Sarasota County libraries. Patterned after a similar initiative county leaders learned about last year in Louisville, Ky., it allowed families to visit local attractions for free as a means of encouraging children to keep learning during the summer. (Read more »)

City Commission approves $1 increase in solid waste fees starting in October; second vote required

Board members question facets of an interlocal agreement with the county making it necessary for the city to use the county landfill

On a first reading this week, the Sarasota City Commission unanimously approved a $1 increase in the monthly solid waste fee for household residents, as well as changes in commercial customers’ bills. But the vote followed a discussion of how much longer the city is obligated by an interlocal agreement to use the county’s landfill. (Read more »)

With split vote, City Commission calls for draft of new ordinance dealing with large-scale events

Board members ask that regulations regarding use of parks, as well as provisions for marathons and other races be included in it

On a 3-2 vote, the Sarasota City Commission this week directed City Attorney Robert Fournier to prepare draft ordinances regarding special events in downtown Sarasota that would necessitate closing more than five blocks to two-way traffic. (Read more »)

Supporters of keeping all of North Beach Road public property pursuing a petition drive to amend the Sarasota County Charter

Organizer Mike Cosentino hopes to gain enough signatures to get the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot and overturn a May 11 County Commission vote

Siesta Key resident Mike Cosentino is not relying on a legal challenge he filed against Sarasota County to overturn the County Commission’s abandonment of about 360 feet of North Beach Road. Working under the guidelines of the Sarasota County Charter, he is campaigning to reverse the board’s 4-1 decision on May 11 by amending the Charter. (Read more »)

49 candidates vie to succeed Lori White as superintendent of the Sarasota County School District

School Board members weigh contract details and choose to discuss them in more detail at a later time

With a flurry of last-minute applications making the Aug. 12 deadline, the Sarasota County School District has 49 people seeking to take the place of Superintendent Lori White when she retires on Feb. 28, 2017. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Work at house on Avenida Messina prompts complaints and increased county oversight; the Crystal Classic will have a new program for children; a polling place change affects Key residents; missing garbage can lids explained; and the Chamber deals with phone service problems

This summer, a flurry of emails called into question the legality — under Federal Emergency Management Agency and Sarasota County regulations — of new construction at 95 Avenida Messina in Siesta Village. (Read more »)

County wins approval of two partners to share in cost of appraisal for the North Extension of The Legacy Trail

New fact sheet about the Trail to be used to advocate for funding assistance for its completion

Less than a week after Sarasota County staff released a fact sheet on the Legacy Trail, The Sarasota News Leader learned that the Trust for Public Land and CSX have agreed to a three-way split of the cost of an appraisal of the property needed for the North Extension of the Trail. (Read more »)

Preliminary Tourist Development Tax revenue figure for June down about $41,500 compared to June 2015

President of the county’s tourism office cites a stronger dollar and the U.S. presidential election as factors

Preliminary data shows the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue Sarasota County collected for the month of June was down by $41,496.76 compared to the figure for June 2015. (Read more »)

‘Neptune’s daughter’ drawn to Nokomis Beach on a summer day

Humans join birds, turtles and other wildlife in an appreciation of time on the shore

On a summer day, it seems the whole neighborhood is on Nokomis Beach. The shorebirds are back. Once again sanderlings scurry back and forth, seemingly tethered to the waves. As the water recedes, these tiny sandpipers probe the sand for crustaceans. (Read more »)

Photos tell the story of the neighborhood’s ‘Daddy Engel’

From sports to the first day of school each year, the writer’s father kept a loving record of childhood activities

Everybody loved my dad. They even adopted him as their own. They called him “Daddy Engel” (my maiden name). I grew up in Boston, in an apartment complex consisting of 48 units of exactly the same layout. We had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, a foyer and a porch that overlooked our backyard, which was really our playing field. (Read more »)

Early voting for Aug. 30 primary will begin on Saturday, Aug. 20

Four locations will be open between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day

Early voting for the Aug. 30 primary will begin Saturday, Aug. 20, and continue through Saturday, Aug. 27, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent has announced. (Read more »)

16-year-old arrested for allegedly stabbing mother and younger brother on south Siesta Key

Massachusetts family was on vacation, Sheriff’s Office reports

A 16-year-old from Framingham, Mass., has been charged with stabbing his mother and 14-year-old brother while the family was vacationing on Siesta Key, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office reported on Aug. 18. (Read more »)

County to host Florida Neighborhoods Conference Oct. 13-15 in Venice

Event to be held at Venice Community Center

Sarasota County will host the 20th annual Florida Neighborhoods Conference Oct. 13-15 at the Venice Community Center, located at 326 Nokomis Ave S. in Venice, the county has announced. (Read more »)

SunCoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning to offer sampling of classes on Sept. 16

Event to be held at Suncoast Technical College

The SunCoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning (SCALL), a non-profit entity committed to promoting and enhancing the region’s lifelong learning opportunities, will present its premiere event, the Lifelong Learning Showcase, on Friday, Sept. 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Suncoast Technical College, SCALL has announced. (Read more »)

Opiate dependency treatment to begin inside county’s Detention Center

Sheriff’s Office partnering with Drug Court to identify candidates for help

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the 12th Judicial Circuit’s Drug Court, Armor Correctional Health Services and Centerstone, is preparing to launch an opiate addiction treatment program in the Sarasota County Jail, Sheriff Tom Knight has announced. (Read more »)

Eluned & Edward Russell Foundation grants $7,500 to Children First

Funds will be used to equip new classroom for infants and toddlers in Newtown

Children First has received a $7,500 grant from the Eluned & Edward Russell Charitable Foundation to equip a new classroom for infants and toddlers at the agency’s Helen R. Payne Center, located on 33rd Street in Sarasota, Children First has announced. (Read more »)

SCOPE’s ‘Sustainability Road Show’ to stop in North Port next week

Session will be held at the library on Aug. 23

The SCOPE 2016 Sustainability Road Show will continue its county tour next week with a stop at the North Port Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 23, the organization has announced. (Read more »)

Brandon Johnson named principal of North Port High School

Retired Tatum Ridge principal to take over at Lamarque Elementary on interim basis

Brandon Johnson, the principal of Lamarque Elementary School in North Port, has been appointed the new principal of North Port High School, Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White has announced. (Read more »)

Newtown Community Cleanup planned for Saturday, Aug. 27

Residents invited to get rid of household items and yard waste

Newtown residents eager to get rid of items they no longer want and those working to beautify their yards will be welcome to participate in the Community Cleanup in their neighborhood, which has been scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 27, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)