20171027-27 Oct 2017

Companies file preliminary applications with Sarasota County to open medical marijuana dispensaries

AltMed, based in Sarasota, and Trulieve have begun the months-long process to win county approval

Two companies have filed preliminary applications with Sarasota County to open medical marijuana dispensaries — one on Fruitville Road in Sarasota; the other, on Jacaranda Boulevard in Venice. Representatives of Trulieve Medical Dispensary and AltMed of Florida are seeking special exceptions to allow the operations, as provided for in a 2014 Sarasota County ordinance. (Read more »)

Judge denies request of parties in Lido Renourishment Project hearing for pretrial conference over concern about insufficient time for all witness testimony

Dispute also arises over order of presentations and burden of proof in the proceeding set for December

Concern has arisen that not enough time has been scheduled in December for the challenges of three nonprofit organizations seeking to prevent the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass to renourish about 1.6 miles of South Lido Key. On Oct. 23, the respondents in the case — the City of Sarasota, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and an intervenor, the Lido Key Residents Association (LKRA) — filed a joint motion, asking for a prehearing conference to address their concerns, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Property Tax Allocation Calculator a new Sarasota County tool to help property owners see exactly how their tax payments are divided up

County commissioners cite software’s value in educating the public about the spending they do and do not control

During the Sarasota County commissioners’ most recent discussion of financial issues, Chair Paul Caragiulo at one point interjected what journalists would call a “sidebar.” (Read more »)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month the focus of extra initiatives for the Sarasota County Clerk’s Office

Making variety of informational brochures available and offering assistance with filing for restraining orders among the ways staff seeks to help

Hundreds of thousands of people visit the offices of the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller every year. And while the staff assists them with a wide variety of requests, the staff will never know how many of those customers also find help for agonizing situations the customers never mention. (Read more »)

Various viewpoints emerge in Siesta Key Association’s survey results on paid beach parking issue

Siesta Key Condominium Council to ask its members’ opinions, too

As the Sarasota County Commission continues to grapple with the potential of charging people to park at Siesta Public Beach, the board members have made it clear they want to hear from the public, especially Siesta Key residents. (Read more »)

Casey Key Road property owners win Coastal Setback Variance for kitchen, pool and gazebos seaward of county’s Gulf Beach Setback Line

Commissioner Nancy Detert the only board member to oppose the petition

The kitchen was the sticking point for Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert. In the general context of a Casey Key Road couple’s request for a Coastal Setback Variance, however, her colleagues took a different view. They granted the variance on a 4-1 vote. (Read more »)

Although Sarasota County’s employee medical expenses have been trending below national averages, County Commission hopes to see them even go lower

In 10 years, costs have risen close to $15 million, Commissioner Moran points out

Although Sarasota County’s employee medical expenses have risen less in comparison with national trends, Commissioner Michael Moran has cautioned staff that “Sarasota, Fl., is very, very different from New York, California or [Los Angeles].” (Read more »)

Former FEMA administrator to lead Sarasota County’s after-action review regarding Irma

Craig Fugate’s services to be funded by two community foundations

The Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation will cover the expense of bringing the former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Sarasota County to help facilitate an after-action review of the community’s response to Hurricane Irma, Sarasota County staff has reported. (Read more »)

Supervisor of Elections Office has begun mailing vote-by-mail ballots for Dec. 5 House District 72 Special Primary

Democrats Good and Jouniari to face each other

The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office has begun sending out vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots for the Dec. 5 House District 72 Special Democratic Primary, Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner announced on Oct. 23. A total of 245 ballots were sent on Oct. 20 to absent military and overseas voters, including 137 by mail and 108 by email, Turner said in a news release. (Read more »)

Legacy Trail Laurel Road Pedestrian Overpass to be focus of FDOT public meeting

County has had to relocate four utility lines in advance of the start of construction

On Monday, Oct. 30, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting regarding construction of the Laurel Road Legacy Trail Pedestrian Overpass in Sarasota County, FDOT has announced. (Read more »)

Small companies present stimulating performances during the latest Ringling International Arts Festival

Event offers around-the-world taste of talent

The day after Dwight Currie, curator of the Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF), announces the events for this annual performing arts event, I buy my tickets and then wait for those few days in October when I can feel as though I am tip-toing around the world. I do know it will be an unusual festival, as Currie searches out new and unique artists and their performances. (Read more »)

Free Age-Friendly Festival to be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Sarasota County Fairgrounds

Event to be hosted by the Patterson Foundation

Sarasota’s first Age-Friendly Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, hosted by The Patterson Foundation. More than 125 interactive exhibitshands-on experiences and education sessions have been planned for the free event, a Patterson Foundation blog reports. (Read more »)

CONA to mark 56th anniversary with Nov. 6 fundraiser

Gerry Swormstedt, former director of the nonprofit, to be guest of honor

On Monday, Nov. 6, members of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will mark the nonprofit’s 56th anniversary with a party at Michael’s On East in Sarasota, CONA has announced. The guest of honor will be Gerry Swormstedt, a former director of CONA and the current chair of the Sierra Club. (Read more »)

Prescription medication disposal initiative set for Oct. 28 at Sarasota Police Department

Department partnering with DEA to enable the public to rid homes of unwanted pills; no questions asked

On Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Sarasota Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give members of the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs, the Police Department has announced. (Read more »)

Commercial property owners responsible for storm debris pickup in city of Sarasota

Federal government will provide reimbursements only for residential collection efforts

As crews complete the first pass through residential neighborhoods, collecting storm debris from Hurricane Irma, commercial property owners are being reminded that storm debris collection is the responsibility of the commercial property owner, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Fredd Atkins Park to be closed Oct. 23-27

Weather permitting, gazebo to be removed and seating areas to be created

Fredd Atkins Park will be closed Oct. 23-27, weather permitting, “as the much anticipated redesign of the park begins,” Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin announced in his Oct. 20 newsletter. “After extensive and thoughtful community input, the area located at [the intersection of] U.S. 301 and Dr. MLK [Martin Luther King] Jr. Way will be transformed into an open park setting,” Barwin explained. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota giving away trees at no cost through Community Canopy Project

Four species available, with total of 100 trees offered

As of Monday, Oct. 23, the City of Sarasota, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, has begun offering 100 trees to residents at no cost through the Community Canopy Project, the city has announced. The goal of the program is to help expand the tree canopies of cities across the United States, “which in turn improves air and water quality, conserves energy and lowers residents’ utility bills,” a news release explains. (Read more »)

Siesta Key Crystal Classic offering four-day, all-access music passes for November event

Tickets available online until Oct. 29

Live music is coming to Siesta Beach Nov. 10-13, courtesy of the 2017 Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Festival. Ten bands will perform under “a massive tent on the beach” during the family-friendly festival, a news release says. (Read more »)

Safe Treats on Siesta Key to include businesses on both ends of the island, Siesta Chamber says

Children invited to stop in for Halloween candy from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 31

For the first time, merchants on the southern part of Siesta Key will be joining those in Siesta Village to celebrate Safe Treats, the island’s annual Halloween event, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce has announced. (Read more »)