20170421-21 Apr 2017

An important note to our Tinypass (paid) subscribers:

If you also subscribe to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, you have been notified by them that your Press+ account (which was bought by Piano Software, which also owns Tinypass) has been converted to a Tinypass account. This likely has caused some confusion when trying to sign into one publication when already signed into the other.
Our editors are having the same problem. We have contacted Piano support, and they do not yet have a good workaround. What we have found works best on a laptop/desktop is having two browsers (e.g.-Safari and Google Chrome or Internet Explorer and Firefox), with your SNL account signed in on one and your SHT account signed in on the other. You don’t have to sign out of either … you just switch between browsers.
If you use an iPad or iPhone (or other mobile device), the SHT is read on their Tecnavia app, while the SNL is read on your mobile device browser. Since two separate programs are used, you should not experience sign-in conflicts.
We apologize for the inadequacy of the Tinypass system to accommodate this overlap (something they should have anticipated, since they have a virtual monopoly on paywalls, and we can’t be the only two paid publications existing in the same market). We hope they develop a better way of handling this, and we will communicate that to you if they do.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience, and your support of The Sarasota News Leader!

Siesta Promenade residential unit reduction being analyzed by Benderson as FDOT considers potential roundabout on Stickney Point Road to deal with traffic

Avenue B and C intersection one focus of transportation studies

Benderson Development Co. is considering reducing the number of residential units in its proposed Siesta Promenade project from more than 500 to a level between 300 and 350, a Pine Shores Neighborhood Alliance representative has told The Sarasota News Leader. (Read more »)

Attorneys explain next steps — including efforts to collect attorney’s fees — in Sunshine Laws case involving City Commissioner Chapman

Question arises as to whether Citizens for Sunshine’s members could be forced to pay the fees

After the appeals process has ended in the Sunshine Laws case a nonprofit organization filed against City Commissioner Susan Chapman in 2013, the effort will begin in earnest to try to recoup attorney’s fees the city has paid for her defense, City Attorney Robert Fournier told the City Commission during its regular meeting on April 17. (Read more »)

More shelter beds and more housing for longer terms among the recommendations for improving how the City of Sarasota handles homelessness

City manager says the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness already is working on how it can help implement a consultant’s suggestions

Making more immediate-need beds and longer-term housing units available — including new structures — is one recommendation the Sarasota City Commission heard this week from a consultant hired to examine the community’s homelessness issues and provide recommendations on how best to resolve them. (Read more »)

Tourist Development Tax revenue continues to lag

Through March 31, total is down $211,920.24 compared to the same period in the 2016 fiscal year

Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue collections continued their year-over-year decline through February, according to the latest figures compiled by staff of the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office. Through Feb. 28, the total TDT collections for this fiscal year — which began Oct. 1, 2016 — are down $211,920.24 compared to the same period in the 2016 fiscal year, the figures show. (Read more »)

Kayak and paddleboard rental businesses concerned about $500-per-vessel fee Sarasota County proposes for new management program at Turtle Beach Park

After April 18 open house, county staff indicates the fee and the June 1 target date for starting the program have not been finalized

A new Sarasota County proposal to expand a management program for commercial non-motorized watercraft from Lido Key to Turtle Beach has raised alarm among some business owners, while other are taking a wait-and-see attitude as they await more details. (Read more »)

Siesta resident says judge’s ruling in North Beach Road case clears the way for his petition drive to overturn County Commission action

Nonetheless, property owners who sought partial summary judgment motion feel the order underscores the validity of the board’s May 2011 vote

A 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge’s ruling in favor of a couple who own property on North Beach Road actually will help the fight to overturn the Sarasota County Commission’s May 2016 decision to vacate a 357-foot-long segment of the road, Siesta Key resident Michael Cosentino told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Read more »)

Roundabout project at Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard expected to begin after July 4

City Commission approves agreement with FDOT for the construction expense

Construction of the City of Sarasota’s next roundabout — at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard — is scheduled to begin after July 4, thanks to a funding agreement the City Commission approved this week with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). (Read more »)

Siesta Key Association says City of Sarasota has been misleading in its legal arguments to try to stop the nonprofit’s efforts to prevent the dredging of Big Pass

Nonprofit also contends the city is wrong in asserting that the SKA’s recourse should only be an administrative law hearing, not a challenge in Circuit Court

The City of Sarasota has mischaracterized the Siesta Key Association’s effort to stop the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass through Circuit Court action, the nonprofit says its response to the City of Sarasota’s Motion to Dismiss the case. With the parties set to meet in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court for the first time on April 24, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) also contends that the city is misleading in its framing of one argument. (Read more »)

Number of homeless people in city of Sarasota dropped by more than 200 from 2016 to this year, but overall county total declined by only about half that much

Point-in-Time survey was conducted on Jan. 23

The total number of homeless people in the city of Sarasota fell by more than 200 from 2016 to 2017, while the number in the unincorporated parts of Sarasota County rose by 109, the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness has reported. (Read more »)

Sarasota City Commission approves measure to prevent third-party use of property or facilities that are the focus of Bayfront 20:20 planning

Resolution designed to give the planning organization ‘as much unfettered freedom’ as possible, city manager says

With a unanimous vote, the Sarasota City Commission this week made it clear that it will not entertain any requests for third-party use — beyond Jan. 1, 2019 — of any of the land or facilities that make up the city-owned bayfront area proposed as the site of a new cultural and public district. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Sheriff’s Siesta substation sergeant fields myriad questions from SKA members, including one about a specific group of ATV users; commissioners spoil the latest spoil island plan; county board approves another step in the process to decommission the wastewater treatment plant; Siesta Fiesta is on the horizon; and the CodeRed system gets a plug

During peak tourist season, the leader of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office substation on Siesta Key generally fields a lot more questions when he appears at a Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting. That proved to be the case on April 6, when Sgt. Jason Mruczek kept his opening remarks simple and then opened the floor for audience member queries. (Read more »)

35th annual Suncoast Boat Show scheduled for this weekend on the Sarasota bayfront

Event to be held Friday through Sunday, April 21-23, at Marina Jack

The 35th annual Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota will take place Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23, at Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota, organizers have announced. “This year’s show will be the largest in the event’s history in terms of overall exhibit space and the number of boats and exhibitors on display,” a news release points out. (Read more »)

Dolphins dazzle in paradise

Le Barge cruises rank high on this writer’s list of top county attractions

It is amazing to me how many long-time residents of Sarasota I have met who have never heard of Le Barge cruises or have never been on one. In my opinion, these wonderful outings belong near the top of our attractions list, right after Mote Marine and the Ringling Museum of Art. (Read more »)

March for Science nonpartisan event planned for Saturday in downtown Sarasota

Mission is to champion ‘robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity’

A March for Science has been planned from 10:30 a.m. to about 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, in downtown Sarasota, organizers have announced. The nonpartisan event will start at Five Points Park and end at J.D. Hamel Park. (Read more »)

City to host Earth Day Festival in Five Points Park

Event to offer information booths on a variety of topics, and light snacks made with local ingredients

The public is invited to enjoy a variety of activities as the City of Sarasota hosts an Earth Day Festival on Friday, April 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Selby Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota, the city has announced. (Read more »)

Earth Day 2017: the bad, the good and the beautiful

Hope flourishes, just as the wildflowers do

In the 1960s, when we had to navigate a mammoth snowstorm to get to work, we at the Washington Star joked that the “other paper” would never cover weather unless the world was coming to an end. Today, weather — and climate change — regularly makes the front page of The Washington Post. (Read more »)

County Arbor Day celebration planned for April 29 at Lemon Bay Park in Englewood

Worldwide expert on mangrove ecosystems to be featured speaker

Sarasota County’s 2017 Arbor Day celebration will feature the opportunity to learn “all about our community’s coastal trees,” the county has announced. (Read more »)

Dermatology of Coastal Sarasota to hold free skin cancer screenings for county school district employees

Events set for May 1 and May 26

During Melanoma Awareness Month, Dermatology of Coastal Sarasota (DOCS) will offer free skin cancer screenings to board-hired employees of the Sarasota County School District, the medical practice has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Schools superintendent names Roy Sprinkle new executive director of human resources

Sprinkle has been serving in a similar capacity since 2007

As part of the realignment of executive responsibilities in his administration, Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden has announced that Roy Sprinkle will serve as executive director of human resources and labor relations. (Read more »)