20160122-22 Jan 2016

SNL Gift Subscriptions

Proponents of retail pet sales ban marshaling forces for Jan. 27 County Commission meeting

Sarasota-in-Defense-of-Animals-flyer-re-BCC-Jan.-27-2016-meeting-1Petland Sarasota is preparing a strong showing, too, in defense of its business, a spokeswoman tells the News Leader

More than three years ago, in November 2012, Russell Matthes — whose mother, Elise, founded Sarasota in Defense of Animals — stood before the Sarasota County Commission to make the case for an ordinance banning pet sales at retail stores. (Read more »)

Residents to vote on whether to move city elections to November

Suzanne Atwell BCC SCC Nov. 6 2015Commissioners voted 3-2, on a first reading, to schedule a referendum, with hope of boosting low voter turnout in the future

The debate resurfaces nearly every two years, after low turnout in the biennial local elections: Does the City of Sarasota need to change the time of year when its residents vote on local issues and City Commission candidates. On Tuesday evening, Jan. 19, in a 3-2 vote, the City Commission moved ahead with plans that would let voters decide the answer. (Read more »)

School district enrollment not projected to climb as fast as consultant predicted

Al Weidner Kathie Ebaugh School Board Jan. 19 2016 smallSchool Board members express frustration over approving new impact fees in light of latest data

Almost exactly two months after they voted 3-2 to impose impact fees once again, Sarasota County School Board members this week voiced frustration that the growth management report they commissioned last year seems to have missed the mark on enrollment projections. (Read more »)

Planning Board denies appeal, upholding city building permit for Woman’s Exchange

Woman's Exchange Google Street view by Kanya Dec. 3 2015But the conflict between one of downtown Sarasota’s most historic neighborhoods and the growing nonprofit may not be ending anytime soon

In a 4-0 vote on Jan. 20, the Sarasota Planning Board denied an appeal of the city’s issuance of a building permit to the Woman’s Exchange for a loading zone on Rawls Avenue. The Laurel Park Neighborhood Association and three property owners filed the appeal on Nov. 24, 2015. (Read more »)

National Weather Service records show Sunday’s tornado on Siesta to be the first at least since the 1970s

Excelsior gulfside debris Jan. 19 2016Residents dealing with about $12 million in damage, with Excelsior Gulf-side staff trying to find accommodations for displaced renters

Based on records going back at least to the 1970s, Siesta Key had not experienced a tornado until Sunday, Jan. 17, National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Andrew McKaughan told The Sarasota News Leader this week. He recalled waterspouts, but as far as a tornado: “I don’t see anything,” he said on Jan. 20. (Read more »)

School district working with Sarasota County on more public access to school recreational facilities

Kathie Ebaugh Convocation Jan. 15 2016 smallStaffs collaborating on a new interlocal agreement and hoping for a joint venture as the School Board rebuilds Venice Middle School

With the Sarasota County School Board chair and the immediate past chair of the Sarasota County Commission voicing full support — and no one dissenting — county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department staff and the planning director of the Sarasota County Schools will continue working on a new interlocal agreement designed to make it easier for the public to utilize school recreational facilities, including playgrounds, when students are not on campuses. (Read more »)

School Board members make it clear that impact fee decision is theirs

Lori White Shirley Brown Convocation Jan. 15 2016 smallVenice Council member criticizes Oct. 20, 2015 vote during Convocation of Governments

Since 2005, when the Sarasota County School Board began hosting the other elected local government leaders in Sarasota County for an annual Convocation of Governments, the unwritten agenda has called for collegiality and collaboration. (Read more »)

Lido Beach and Benderson Development projects focus of numerous questions

benderson remnantsCounty Commission Chair Al Maio provides updates on numerous issues during the Siesta Key Condo Council meeting

The topics ranged from the Lido Beach Renourishment Project to Benderson Development’s plans for the property it owns at the northwest intersection of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41 as Sarasota County Commission Chair Al Maio addressed about 70 members of the Siesta Key Condominium Council on Jan. 19 at Siesta Key Chapel. (Read more »)

One Book One Community to kick off MacDonald celebration on Jan. 22

One Book One community logo scgovWell-known contemporary authors to be special guests during festivities at Selby Library in Sarasota

As the One Book One Community program kicks off its celebration of the works of the late, well-known Sarasota author John D. MacDonald on the anniversary of his 100th birthday, the public is invited to join Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department staff at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 22, at the Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

FDOT’s Bee Ridge Road project necessitating lane closures

Bee Ridge Road project area with Siesta and Dunn Drives Jan. 2016 FDOTTwo-year construction contract includes pedestrian refuge islands and drainage improvements

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will be reducing Bee Ridge Road from six to four lanes as it works to improve drainage in a four-mile project from Siesta Drive east to Dunn Drive, an FDOT spokesman informed the Sarasota County Commission and county staff this week. (Read more »)

Draft of updated Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan released

County Seal new photo Aug2012Members of the public invited to reserve one-on-one time with staff to discuss the document

Sarasota County has released the draft of its revised Comprehensive Plan and is inviting the public to “Deep Dives” to learn more about the document, the county has announced. The draft is available on the county website in two volumes. An executive summary also may be found on that site. (Read more »)

FDOT cautioning drivers about Ridgewood Avenue detours, which will start on Jan. 25 in Venice

Ridgewood Avenue and Venice Bypass google Jan. 21 2016Crews working on widening of U.S. 41 from four to six lanes

Intermittent closures of Ridgewood Avenue at the intersection of the U.S. 41/Venice By-Pass will begin on Monday, Jan. 25, as crews work on utility and storm drain construction, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has announced. A temporary detour for local traffic will be in place during the road closure periods, using East Venice Avenue and Bay Indies Boulevard. (Read more »)

Booker High to host ‘Trending Now’ on Jan. 30 to raise funds for contest

Passionella Revealed-2School hopes to send students to Southeastern Theatre Conference Festival in Greensboro, N.C., in March

The Booker High School Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Theatre Department will host a gala benefit performance to raise funds to send students to Greensboro, N.C., in March to compete in the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) Festival, the school has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota Police Department collecting donations for Teens for Jeans

Police LogoDrive for homeless youth will continue through Jan. 25

For the third year in a row, the Sarasota Police Department is collecting jeans for the Teens for Jeans campaign, the department has announced. The initiative is part of a national campaign in collaboration with Aeropostale stores and www.DoSomething.org. (Read more »)

Public invited to Fire Fest at Carlton Memorial Reserve in South County

Fire Fest at Carlton Reserve via scgov copyFamily activities planned for Jan. 30 event

Sarasota County staff is inviting the public to attend the 2016 Fire Fest on Saturday, Jan. 30, at T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve, “where attendees will have a chance to see firsthand how prescribed burns protect our communities from wildfire and maintain Florida’s natural ecosystems,” the county has announced. (Read more »)

Ed Smith Stadium named Field of the Year by sports turf managers group

Orioles spring training thumbnailOrioles’ head groundskeeper to accept the award

The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) has announced that Ed Smith Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota, has won the Field of the Year Award for professional baseball. Dan Thomas, the head groundskeeper of Florida operations for the Orioles, was scheduled to accept the award this week at the 27th annual STMA Conference & Exhibition in San Diego, Calif., an Orioles news release says. (Read more »)

Alta Vista Elementary gets reading grant from author James Patterson

james-Patterson-from-jamespatterson.com-Jan.-2016School was among 28,000 applicants from across the country

James Patterson, best-selling author of adult novels featuring psychologist and crime-solver Alex Cross, as well as humorous books for young readers, has donated $2,500 to Alta Vista Elementary School’s media center, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)