20171201-1 Dec 2017

One ‘Quad’ parcel next to Celery Fields to be kept by county, with advocates for the bird-watching area invited to suggest uses for a second parcel

County Commission debates sales of surplus lands to raise new revenue in effort to preserve money in its ‘rainy day’ reserve fund

In response to advocacy by a new group concerned about the future of the land around the Celery Fields, the Sarasota County Commission this week voted unanimously not to sell one of its “Quads” parcels adjacent to the internationally known bird-watching area. (Read more »)

Come Jan. 31, 2018, County Commission will face discussions about cutting department budgets in effort to gain more solid financial footing

Splitting on votes, board members decline to pull revenue from economic incentives and Community Reinvestment Program accounts

They came close this week — on paper, at least — to rounding up $5.4 million they want to preserve in their Economic Uncertainty — or “rainy day reserve” fund. The much more difficult discussion, one of them indicated, lies ahead on Jan. 31, 2018. That is when the Sarasota County Commission plans to pore over what Chair Paul Caragiulo characterized on Nov. 28 as an “a la carte” approach to cutting county department budgets. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office wins County Commission approval for creation of Homeless Outreach Team

Sheriff Tom Knight and his staff to work with county administration to ensure personnel are hired in timely fashion to deal with new Quality of Life Ordinance

No formal vote was taken, but the Sarasota County commissioners agreed with Sheriff Tom Knight this week that his office should field a Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) similar to those the Sarasota Police Department has been using for the past several years. (Read more »)

World Rowing Championships breaks even, with overall expense of about $9.1 million, executive director tells the Sarasota County Commission

Audited financial report due to world governing body of rowing as well as Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court by February

As it was anticipated to do, the nine-day World Rowing Championships broke even, the event’s executive director assured the Sarasota County Commission this week. Its overall budget was about $9.1 million, Meredith Scerba told the board during her Nov. 28 presentation. (Read more »)

Task force to work on alternatives to jailing people arrested on low-level felony convictions, especially those suffering with addiction

County Commission calls for report within 90 days as key step in effort to prevent need for new jail

In his second appearance in seven weeks to discuss the issue with the Sarasota County Commission, Sheriff Tom Knight offered hope this week that the board would be able to “bring everybody to the table” in an effort to find alternatives to incarcerating low-level felony offenders, especially those suffering with drug addiction. (Read more »)

Hearing cancelled in North Beach Road case, with plaintiff’s attorneys seeking to depose a county employee before making arguments to the judge

County files motion to dismiss Michael Cosentino’s appeal to Second District Court of Appeal

A Nov. 21 court hearing on motions involving a Siesta Key resident’s challenge of the Sarasota County Commission’s 2016 vacation of a segment of North Beach Road was cancelled, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. No new date had been set as of early this week. (Read more »)

Seasonal residents and tourists marking a number of changes occurring in Siesta Village

New restaurants and improvements at Siesta Beach Resort in the works

Snowbirds who have returned to Siesta Key for the season — and the burgeoning number of visitors — are seeing a number of changes taking place in Siesta Village, as 2017 draws closer to an end. If all goes as planned, a new upscale steak and seafood restaurant will be open no later than early January 2018 in the Village, Island business owner Chris Brown told The Sarasota News Leader in a recent telephone interview. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

MCI fiber optic cable project leaves a wake of damage; streetlights still out after Irma; County Commission to address proposed changes regarding emergency use of sandbags; Condo Council announces details of Holiday Lighting Contest; and Siesta Key Chapel prepares for special holiday service

No explosions from pierced gas lines reverberated through Siesta Village the week before Thanksgiving, but the construction crew laying fiber optic cable for an MCI cell phone project did manage to strike a sewer pipeline beside the Terrace East condominium complex, The Sarasota News Leader learned. (Read more »)

Siesta Village welcomes Santa and the season

Throngs gather for the holiday parade

The dreary weather that dominated the Thanksgiving holiday cleared for Santa Claus and a parade of well-wishers as Siesta Village kicked off the holiday season on the evening of Nov. 25. (Read more »)

I am my own best friend

Solo excursions offer many rewards

As I write this, I am at Siesta Beach, by myself, thoroughly enjoying the perfect day — a confluence of our powdery white sand, the crystal clear water and, of course, that blazing November sun. (Read more »)

Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study to be focus of Dec. 5 public information workshop

Session to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Longboat Island Chapel

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 5, on the Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study, the state department has announced. The session will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Longboat Island Chapel, located at 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key. (Read more »)

Vote-by-mail ballots due in elections office by 7 p.m. Dec. 5, for Democratic Primary for House 72 Special Election

Ballots may be returned by mail or in person at three locations

Citizens who plan to vote by mail in the Dec. 5 Florida House District 72 Special Democratic Primary must return their ballots to the Supervisor of Elections Office no later than 7 p.m. on election night, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is reminding the public. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office launching holiday toy drive for children who have been victims of abuse and neglect

Toys and gift cards will be accepted through Dec. 15 at the office’s Cattleridge Boulevard headquarters in Sarasota

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a holiday toy drive that will benefit the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program, Sheriff Tom Knight has announced. More than 1,500 children from throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, a news release points out. Because of their situations, each has been appointed a Guardian ad Litem. (Read more »)

Free Dec. 6 workshop planned to help those preparing to start new businesses in Sarasota County

Event to be held at Jacaranda Library in Vence and live-streamed at Selby Library in Sarasota

Sarasota County and Manasota SCORE representatives are teaming up to present a workshop aimed at helping anyone interested in opening a business or making changes to an existing business, SCORE has announced. The free program, with the title Doing Business: Sarasota County, has been designed to provide an overview of services and information on business regulatory guidelines. (Read more »)

Ziegler elected to one-year term as School Board chair

Goodwin elected vice chair

By unanimous vote on Nov. 28, Bridget Ziegler was elected to a one-year term as chair of the Sarasota County School Board. Jane Goodwin was unanimously elected to serve as vice chair. The School Board elects a chair and vice chair annually from among its five members, a school district news release explains. (Read more »)

Street closures announced for Saturday in preparation for Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade

Vehicles to be towed if necessary, Police Department says

The annual Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., beginning at the intersection of Main Street and U.S. 301 in Sarasota, the Sarasota Police Department has announced. It will end at J.D. Hamel Park, located at the intersection of Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue. (Read more »)