20160617-17 Jun 2016

Sarasota County does not have enough hurricane shelters, the County Commission learns

Emergency Management staff continues to seek out potential locations, including private property

Sarasota County does not have a sufficient number of hurricane shelters to handle all the people who might have to evacuate their homes in advance of a storm strike, the County Commission has learned. The matter arose during the June 8 public hearing on the county’s revised Comprehensive Plan. (Read more »)

County staff working to avoid moving ‘critical’ utility lines for a Legacy Trail overpass in South County

Chief Engineer Isaac Brownman and County Administrator Tom Harmer hope to convince FDOT staff to redesign and delay the Laurel Road project

Yes, they want the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to complete an overpass of Laurel Road for The Legacy Trail as soon as possible, the Sarasota County commissioners have confirmed. But, no, the county should not be forced to relocate a 30-inch water line that serves 60 percent of its customers. (Read more »)

Siesta resident files suit against the county over abandonment of North Beach Road segment

Mike Consentino argues that the board violated the county’s Comprehensive Plan when it took the 4-1 vote on May 11

On the afternoon of May 24, Siesta Key resident and business owner Mike Consentino walked to the podium in the Sarasota County Commission Chambers in Sarasota during the Open to the Public period at the end of the board’s regular meeting. (Read more »)

Myrtle Street project holdup the focus of ongoing negotiations with Seminole Gulf Railway, city and county staff say

The railway’s attorney indicates the issues should not be difficult to resolve

Representatives of both the City and County of Sarasota say they have been unable to make progress in negotiations with Seminole Gulf Railway (SGR) regarding the need to acquire railroad right of way needed to complete improvements underway on Myrtle Street, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Traffic Advisory Council votes unanimously to deny restrictions on Beach Road parking spaces

Sunset Royale property owners had sought a range of options, including prohibiting use of the spaces from midnight to 6 a.m.

Property owners at the Sunset Royale condominium complex on Siesta Key voiced frustration and their eagerness for the County Commission to address the matter after the county’s Traffic Advisory Council (TAC) this week unanimously denied their request to eliminate 12 parking spaces parallel to Siesta Public Beach, limit the spaces to loading zone use only or prohibit parking in them between midnight and 6 a.m. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Key West Sandal Factory plans to take over former 7-Eleven space; Turtle Beach Park improvements should be underway; South Siesta Renourishment Project property assessments hearing postponed; Liberty Litter Cleanup volunteers sought; and more sewer infrastructure remediation planned on the Key

The new tenant of the former 7-Eleven store on Ocean Boulevard is expected to be the Key West Sandal Factory, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Extension of 45-mph zone on Clark Road to go into effect in a few weeks

FDOT cites citizen requests and its own traffic analysis in a letter to the County Commission

The speed limit on Clark Road from Interstate 75 to about 2,000 feet east of Proctor Road will be reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has notified Sarasota County staff. (Read more »)

County’s draft Parks Master Plan points to a focus on regional facilities and planning for slower population growth

County Commission will discuss the document on June 21

Given the expectation that Sarasota County’s population will grow more slowly over the next 20 years and remain relatively low in terms of density, the focus of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department should be less on small neighborhood parks and more on community and regional facilities and services, the county’s draft Parks, Preserves and Recreation Strategic Master Plan says. (Read more »)

Negotiations continuing with Atlanta Braves in regard to potential new South County Spring Training complex

The MLB team is proceeding on design work for a West Villages project

In what he called “a very positive step,” Martin Black, chairman of the West Villages Improvement District in South County, told the Sarasota County Commission on June 10 that, amid the Major League Baseball draft the previous evening, the Atlanta Braves had taken the time to let him know the team has “engaged local design and construction experts” to assist it in refining a proposal for a new Spring Training Complex in the West Villages. (Read more »)

Photo essay: Every flower has its day

Florida offers up a plethora of blooms

Despite the heat, I have been out botanizing most days, sometimes going far afield. I stop often to photograph blooms along roadsides and in ditches, which, this year, are still wet after our El Nino winter. (Read more »)

Call him the ‘car whisperer’

This Sarasota businessman knows how to make and keep very loyal customers

Everybody goes to Rick’s — or at least, the lucky people who have discovered him go to see him. In the 18 years since I have been going to Rick’s, I have seen movie stars, rock stars, real estate mavens and just regular people hanging out at his place. (Read more »)

Animal protection organization planning protest of proposed bear hunt

Sarasota in Defense of Animals to hold event at Bayfront Park on June 18

Sarasota in Defense of Animals, a nonprofit organization, is inviting everyone “appalled at the decision of the [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission] to proceed with plans for another bear hunt in 2016” to gather at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, at Sarasota’s Bayfront Park for a protest. (Read more »)

City seeking public comments on Arlington Park amenities

Meeting to be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the gym; emails welcome, too

The public is invited to discuss the future of Arlington Park during a workshop on Saturday, June 18, at 10 a.m. at the Arlington Park gymnasium, located at 2650 Waldemere St., the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office participating again in Operation Chill this summer

7-Eleven program provides treats for youngsters observed in positive community activities or doing good deeds

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has joined Operation Chill™ again this year, “the popular community service program sponsored by 7-Eleven® stores, the office has announced. (Read more »)

Knight Trail Park pistol, rifle range to close temporarily for baffle installation

Rest of the park will remain open while the project is underway

The public pistol and rifle range at Knight Trail Park in Nokomis will close Monday, June 27, for the installation of baffles, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota Memorial and Johns Hopkins All Children’s hospitals collaborate on North Port clinic

Facility expected to open in early 2017

On June 13, Sarasota Memorial Hospital announced plans to build a new pediatric specialty outpatient clinic on the campus of its Sarasota Emergency Room & Health Care Center on Toledo Blade Boulevard in North Port. (Read more »)

Sheriff donates surplus van to Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing

Nonprofit organization based at the Robert L. Taylor Complex

Earlier this month, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight handed over the keys to a 15-passenger van to Brothers and Sisters Doing the Right Thing, a Sarasota nonprofit group that provides tutorial services and summer camps for local children, the Sheriff’s Office has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota Opera’s Victor DeRenzi knighted by the Italian government in Miami ceremony

Honor recognizes Sarasota Opera’s 28-year-long Verdi Cycle

The Italian government has bestowed the title of Cavaliere dell’ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the order of the Star of Italy) on Victor DeRenzi, artistic director and principal conductor of Sarasota Opera, the Opera has announced. (Read more »)