20160129-29 Jan 2016

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Image courtesy of Island Visitor Publishing, LLC

Sarasota News Leader to share content with Siesta Sand

The monthly Siesta Sand has entered into a content-sharing agreement with The Sarasota News Leader, which provides award-winning, in-depth coverage of local news in Sarasota County, including Siesta Key, Bob Stein of Island Visitor Publishing LLC and Robert Hackney of New Sheriff Publishing Inc. have announced. (Read more »)

Retail pet sales to end in county as a result of 3-2 vote

Sarasota-in-Defense-of-Animals-flyer-re-BCC-Jan.-27-2016-meeting-1Stores selling dogs and cats have until Jan. 27, 2017 to come into compliance with the new regulations; further discussion planned on exemptions for breeders of purebred animals

It was almost exactly 11 hours after Sarasota County Commission Chair Al Maio opened the Jan. 27 regular meeting that the board voted 3-2 to ban the sale of dogs and cats at retail stores in the county, the culmination of a process that speakers pointed out began about four years ago. (Read more »)

Builders’ group discussing legal challenge over new School Board impact fees approved this week

School Board impact fee history for BCC Jan. 26 2016Sarasota attorney says talks are under way over what type of action may be taken

With the Sarasota County Commission unanimously having approved new impact fees this week, as requested by the Sarasota County School Board, the attorney for the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association told The Sarasota News Leader his clients have not decided yet whether to bring legal action against the School Board. (Read more »)

‘Where we’ve been; where we are’: County reaching out to the city on homelessness issues

Paul Caragiulo BCC Sept. 22 2015 RBHCounty Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, a former city commissioner, will attend the Feb. 2 DID board session

The Sarasota County commissioners this week formally appointed their fellow board member, Paul Caragiulo, to attend the City of Sarasota’s Downtown Improvement District (DID) meeting on Feb. 2, where he is scheduled to talk about ongoing efforts to build a come-as-you-are shelter for chronically homeless individuals. (Read more »)

Whole Foods planning on new store opening in the summer of 2017

storefrontpicsJuly2013 019_0County Commission approves the project at Honore Avenue and University Parkway on a 4-1 vote

For a 4.5-acre area on University Parkway that Sarasota County staff has called a rare piece of wetlands, it came down to a matter of allowing infill, with mitigation about 6 miles away, or preservation, and infill won. (Read more »)

As City Commission vote nears, advocates crusade to save a right of way adjacent to Pineapple Park

Pineapple Park strip of land by State Street Garage Roger Jan. 26 2016Barbara Campo and Jude Levy want the City Commission to return Pineapple Park to its former glory

In her crusade to save a strip of city-owned property bordering Pineapple Park in downtown Sarasota, Barbara Campo has amassed stacks of documents and maps. According to one of those records, back on Jan. 13, 1972, the Seaboard Coastline Railroad Co., in a quitclaim action, “deeded it to the city to put it in trust for public benefit,” Campo said of the 30-foot-wide right of way. (Read more »)

Two Planning Commission members reappointed and a new member named

Planning Commission in session Jan. 21 2016 TVCounty Commission criticized by slow-growth advocate over ‘stacking’ that advisory board with developers and those in development-related fields

It took barely more than 100 seconds for the Sarasota County Commission this week to reappoint two current members of the Planning Commission and to name a third person to an open seat on that board. (Read more »)

Nonprofit Southwest Florida group working to promote ecotourism in Sarasota and Manatee counties

Jennifer Shafer Science and Environmental Council website Jan. 2016Proceeds from ‘concierge camping’ trips go toward environmental programs and research

Just last week, a group of people paddled down the Myakka River, spending three nights at campsites where their tents were set up before they arrived, and chefs were ready to prepare their dinners. It was the first trip offered by ecko, a project of the Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, the council’s executive director, Jennifer Shafer told members of the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council (TDC) at their Jan. 21 meeting in Sarasota. (Read more »)

County left empty-handed on North Washington Boulevard parcel it has attempted to sell

Parking lot at 20 N. Washington July 10 2013 Norm smallCommission votes unanimously to terminate second Invitation to Negotiate process on the site since 2013

Almost exactly two years after Sarasota County commissioners voiced worries about an agreement for a Kimpton Hotel on county-owned property at 20 N. Washington Blvd. in downtown Sarasota, the board this week formally terminated an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process for the 41,595-square-foot site. (Read more »)

Elected leaders urged to seek legislative help so technical colleges can offer more job certification programs

Todd Bowden North Port STC presentation to Convocation Jan. 15 2016 smallWith more employees retiring, concern has arisen in city and county offices over filling positions; partnership in Precision Machining Program seen as a model

As Sarasota County Government and the county’s municipalities deal with increasing employee retirements, the Sarasota County School Board chair has encouraged her fellow elected leaders to lobby legislators for measures that would allow the Suncoast Technical College (STC) to provide the necessary training to help fill some of the positions. (Read more »)

Number of visitors projected to rise 5 percent this year, with their spending up 3 percent, Visit Sarasota County says

Virgina Haley TDC Jan. 21 2016 TVTotal economic impact of tourism in the county was close to $2.7 billion in the 2015 fiscal year, data show

The number of visitors to Sarasota County in the current fiscal year — which began Oct. 1, 2015 — is projected to climb 5 percent, and visitor spending is expected to rise 3 percent, members of the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council (TDC) learned during their Jan. 21 meeting. (Read more »)

Osprey returns to roost that city staff made sure was carefully relocated

Osprey1 atop pole with relocated nest Jan. 2016 cityNest was on part of the Robert Taylor Community Complex grounds where a lighting project was planned

Just in time for nesting season, an osprey has returned to a roost that was carefully relocated by the City of Sarasota to avoid construction impacts. In August 2015, the City of Sarasota moved the osprey nest from a light pole on the site of a new multi-purpose field at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in north Sarasota. (Read more »)

Resolved: to live a ‘wild and precious life’

Fran Red Shouldered Hawk 2 Jan. 2016Studying nature can lead to profound effects

January is the time of year when we think about making changes. We can get instant gratification by throwing out leftover holiday cookies or packing a suitcase and walking out the door! But most changes are slow to be realized and staying on course can be arduous. (Read more »)

Absentee ballots to be mailed overseas to military personnel and civilians starting Jan. 29

Kathy-Dent-mugshot-from-2012-Veterans-Parade-Norm-477x720-2The Supervisor of Elections Office is reminding the public about ways to facilitate voting in the March 15 primary and the Nov. 8 General Election

The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office will begin mailing vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots for the March 15 Presidential Preference Primary to overseas military and civilian voters on Jan. 29, Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent announced this week. (Read more »)

Barrier wall to be installed on Bee Ridge Road from U.S. 41 to McIntosh Road

Bee Ridge and Sawyer Roads Google Jan. 25 2016Northbound lane to be closed on Sawyer Road at night beginning Jan. 27

As part of a two-year project, construction crews are shifting traffic to the north and installing a barrier wall on Bee Ridge Road from U.S. 41 to McIntosh Road, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has announced. The barrier wall installation, which will take place at night, will necessitate closure of an additional eastbound lane. (Read more »)

County to host ‘Community Conversation’ on future of library services in Venice

Sarabeth Kalajian Mayor John Holic Jan. 15 2016 Convocation smallEvent is set for Feb. 3 at Venice Elementary School

Residents are invited to join Sarasota County staff to discuss the future of library services in Venice at an upcoming “Community Conversation.” The session, which will include a question-and-answer period, will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at Venice Elementary School, located at 150 Miami Ave. E. in Venice, a county news release says. No registration is required. (Read more »)

Sunrise Beach Walks returning to Siesta and Nokomis beaches

Sunrise walks at Nokomis and Siesta via scgovEvents will start again on Feb. 3 and continue through March 30

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department’s popular Sunrise Beach Walks will begin again on Siesta Public Beach and Nokomis Beach on Feb. 3 and continue every Wednesday through March 30, the county has announced. (Read more »)

Gulf Coast Senior Games registration under way through Feb. 1

Senior Games 2016 via scgov copyEvent for persons ages 50 and older is qualifier for State Championships

Registration will continue through Feb. 1 for the 27th Annual Gulf Coast Senior Games, which will take place Feb. 13-21 at venues throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

Orioles team up with county schools to launch Health & Fitness Challenge

Orioles spring training thumbnailProgram designed to encourage healthful lifestyles among middle school students

The Baltimore Orioles and the Sarasota County Schools are collaborating on a new initiative to encourage healthful lifestyles among middle school-aged children in Sarasota County, the team and the school district have announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County announces hiring of new historical resources manager

Robert Bendus via scgovRobert Bendus previously worked as director of the state’s Division of Historical Resources

The Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department has hired Robert F. Bendus as the new historical resources manager, the county has announced. He is expected to start work in early March. (Read more »)

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