20160115-15 Jan 2016

Nixing latest shelter sites, county board to pursue outreach to Sarasota business owners

bucko's 2One business owner tells the News Leader of a new initiative a private group is working on to help ameliorate downtown problems with the chronically homeless

Given a difference of more than $420,000 between Sarasota County’s appraisal of the Bucko’s store site on Myrtle Street and an appraisal conducted by the owner, the Sarasota County Commission this week voted unanimously to end negotiations on that site for the location of a come-as-you-are homeless shelter. (Read more »)

University of West Florida seeking to acquire Little Salt Spring from University of Miami, county board learns

Little Salt Spring property BCC discussion Oct. 23 2013Sarasota County has been asked to step away from its attempts to obtain the property, with state Sen. Nancy Detert assisting in the new negotiations

The president of the Friends of Little Salt Spring was caught by surprise when he learned on Jan. 8 that Sarasota County no longer is in contention to acquire Little Salt Spring from the University of Miami (UM), he told The Sarasota News Leader. (Read more »)

Potential changes to Fruitville Road grab County Commission’s attention

6711 301Fruitville intersection by NormBoard asks staff to keep it apprised of City of Sarasota planning; county MPO transportation priorities approved

The subject for the Sarasota County Commission on Jan. 13 was supposed to be project priorities proposed for the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) board to adopt for inclusion in the development of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) 2016-21 work program, including those funded by the Federal Government. (Read more »)

Federal agency seeking state help to speed up timeline for completing Lido Renourishment Project application

Lido Key Beach with few people Norm Feb. 5 2014 smallCounty staff renews request for state and City of Sarasota responses to county’s peer review of the project plans

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) told The Sarasota News Leader this week that the federal agency still is working on its response to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s second request for information (RAI2) about the proposal by the City of Sarasota and the USACE to renourish Lido Key Beach. (Read more »)

Frustrations and philosophy become focal points in parks discussion

Carolyn Brown BCC Jan. 13 2016 TVCounty commissioners discuss history and future of their interlocal agreements with municipalities

The Jan. 13 agenda framed it as a discussion of the interlocal parks agreements between Sarasota County and its municipalities. But by the time the County Commission moved on to the next item, about 40 minutes later, it had proven to be an opportunity for board members to vent frustrations over what Commissioner Carolyn Mason characterized as the “us versus them” attitude county leaders have perceived in recent interactions with elected municipal officials. (Read more »)

Venice Public Library to mark its last day on Saturday, Jan. 30

Venice Public Library via scgov Jan. 13 2016Concerns about potential ill effects of mold exposure prompt County Commission to vote unanimously to allow planning for a new library to proceed

After debating whether to keep the Venice Public Library operating through season, the Sarasota County commissioners agreed on Jan. 12 that the potential for ill health in patrons, volunteers and staff exposed to mold in the facility made the closing a prudent act. (Read more »)

Siesta Beach Park improvements to be showcased with Feb. 20 grand opening

Siesta Beach improvements conceptual plan for SKA Jan. 7 2016County staff and construction manager win plaudits from Siesta Key Association members for $21.5 million project

On Dec. 7, 2011, faced with more than a decade-long process to upgrade the facilities at Siesta Public Beach, the Sarasota County Commission took what some observers called a bold step: It unanimously approved a $1.4 million contract for design and permitting services that would allow the construction to be completed 10 years earlier than originally planned. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Ann Frescura Siesta Chamber new Exec Nov. 3 2015Siesta Isles’ appeal over tree removal leads to proposed county ordinance and procedural changes; Maio to offer county issues update during Condo Council meeting; Siesta Beach project does not include security cameras; SKA membership drive seeks online renewals; and new Chamber director introduces herself

When the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously last month to side with the Siesta Isles Association in its appeal of a county stop-work order regarding its planting of new trees along the streets leading into its neighborhood, board members voiced vexation. (Read more »)

County expects to save $600,000 a year after privatizing paratransit services

Two SCAT buses stopped at Southgate March 2013Three-year contract goes to Missouri firm, which will lease SCAT equipment and retain current employees

About 17 months after the Sarasota County Commission gave staff the go-ahead to seek proposals for privatizing the paratransit service of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT), the board on Jan. 12 unanimously awarded an $18-million, three-year contract with Ride Right Transit LLC of Lake St. Louis, MO. (Read more »)

Gomez and Drouin welcome a baby girl

Elaenia Rose Drouin Jan. 11 2016Sarasota News Leader’s city editor has new family member

Elaenia Rose Drouin was born Jan. 11 at 5:06 p.m. at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and she was 18.5 inches long. Mom Rachel Gomez and dad News Leader City Editor Roger Drouin took her home Wednesday. (Read more »)

Sarasota march and rally to be held for Bernie Sanders on Jan. 23

bernie-sanders-portrait-01 from berniesanders.com smallEvent scheduled to begin downtown and conclude at Unconditional Surrender

Feel the Bern SRQ, a grassroots organization that supports and campaigns for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, will host a March and Rally for Bernie on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. in downtown Sarasota, the organization has announced. (Read more »)

King Community Celebration to include ‘Dream Big’ at Booker High Jan. 17

2016 MLK Stride Toward Freedom events flier Jan. 17 2016Interpretative dance performance, showing of documentary and mock civil rights appellate hearing on the program

As part of Stride Toward Freedom, the 2016 Sarasota Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration honoring the life and work of the civil rights leader, Booker High School will present Dream Big: Civil Rights and Social Justice from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17, in the school’s Visual and Performing Arts Theatre (VPA), the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

Training offered for volunteers to assist with census of homeless residents

Suncoast Partnership logo from websiteSessions scheduled this week in Sarasota; donations also sought to pay for items, such as food and socks, to be given to the homeless

The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness is seeking community volunteers “to reach out to our homeless citizens and find out what their needs and issues are,” the Partnership has announced. (Read more »)

Best-selling author to speak at Venice High’s 12th Annual Literacy Celebration

Author Ellen Hopkins via School board smallEllen Hopkins to sign books after her remarks

New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins will be the speaker when Venice High School presents its 12th Annual Literacy Celebration at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Venice Performing Arts Center (VPAC), the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

Annual Parkinson’s symposium to be held in Sarasota on Jan. 23

SMH_Institute for Advanced Medicine_Small_WebEvent scheduled at the Sarasota Memorial Institute for Advanced Medicine

On Jan. 23, two of Florida’s most respected neuroscience experts will be in Sarasota to share the latest research and findings on Parkinson’s disease and its treatment, the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System have announced. (Read more »)

Arbor Day celebration planned on Friday at County Administration Center

Rear of county Administration Center with trees Nov. 2013 smallEvent to feature free saplings for participants, as long as the supply lasts, and appearance by Smoky the Bear

The public is invited to celebrate 2016 Florida Arbor Day with a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, in the parking lot of the Sarasota County Administration Center, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Newest county fire station, near Benderson Park, celebrates opening

Fire Station 17 at Benderson Park via scgov Jan. 5 2016The facility, which shares space with the Sheriff’s Office, is expected to win LEED certification

Sarasota County celebrated the opening of Fire Station 17 near Nathan Benderson Park on Jan. 7, complete with the traditional “uncoupling of the hose” ceremony, the county has announced. The single-story structure, which is more than 12,000 square feet, features three truck bays, full-time staff and an advance life support ambulance. (Read more »)

Sarasota city administrative offices to close for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Sarasota-County-Govt.-seal2-320x296Trash and recycling collections will not be affected

City of Sarasota administrative offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 18, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Barefoot Beach Bazaar on 2016 Nokomis Beach calendar

Nokomis Beach Plaza via scgov smallEvents, offering handcrafted items, will be held once a month from January through April

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department’s Barefoot Beach Bazaar arts and crafts shows are returning to Nokomis Beach for the 2016 season, the county has announced. The bazaars are held on the third Saturday of the month, January through April, at the Nokomis Beach Plaza, located at 100 Casey Key Road in Nokomis. (Read more »)