AN OBSERVER NEWSPAPER THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2011 Your Local Computer Store! Intel Computers, only the best quality for 23 years. Always lifetime FREE teaching and FREE LOCAL support! 6524 S. Tamiami Tr. 925-2215 67627 Pelican Press Discount Computers, Inc. S I E S TA K EY S A RA S OTA how low? By Rachel Brown Hackney | Managing Editor WE SALUTE OUR VETERANS Sarasota County Commission to backtrack on height vote Commissioners will pursue a remedy after voting Oct. 12 on a zoning change that could allow Miami Beach-style skyscrapers on the county’s barrier islands. INSIDE Beginning Nov. 15, the Sarasota County Commission will start discussing the reversal of an Oct. 12 vote that has alarmed Key residents. Although commissioners say they thought they were voting on a zoning matter that affected Nokomis only, they learned later their approval of a change to the ordinance governing any critical area plan affected every part of Sarasota County, including the barrier islands. That change would allow owners of commercial, office, industrial and residential multi-family parcels to ignore maximum building COMPETITION heights that were established in 2003. “The No. 1 concern is that CAP plans really shouldn’t apply to the barrier islands,” Commission Chairwoman Nora Patterson said. “If there’s ever an area where you should be pretty strict, (it is one such as Siesta Key). By Rachel Hackney | Managing Editor Crystal Classic CRYSTAL CLASSIC From far lands, master sandsculptors will vie for $18,000 in prize money. We have all the event details for you. NEIGHBORHOOD WELCOME BACK Key was a 1B The much busier place than usual from May through October. Find out what you may have missed. 4 CELEBRATING YEARS 1971-2011 INDEX Business directory........ 12B Classifieds.................. 12B Community Calendar....... 9B Cops Corner..................14A Crossword.................... 11B Opinion..........................6A Real Estate.................. 10B Vol. 41, No. 16 | Four sections YourObserver.com returns to Siesta Key From its Nov. 10 tribute to veterans to its Nov. 14 conclusion, the master sandsculpting competition could draw up to 100,000 people. The Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition “was wildly successful in its first year (2010),” Virginia Haley, president of the Sarasota Visitors and Convention Bureau, said Monday. And even though it drew tens of thousands of residents to the island, organizers had no expectation how quickly the Crystal Classic would attain major international status. The event’s selection as host of the World Championships of Sand Sculpting Doubles competition in only its second year shocked organizers. “(It) was one of those things you hoped to have four or five years down the road,” Haley said. “It’s going to be amazing,” Haley said. This year’s participation of three of the sculptors from The Travel Chan- nel’s “Sand Masters” show, Haley said, also is bringing to the event “a whole new league of fans.” Thanks to “Sand Masters,” Haley said, more and more people have realized that master sandsculpting competitions are not just about sandcastles. “These are professional-level (creations),” she added. Siesta’s own master sandsculptor, Brian Wigelsworth, came up with the idea of the event on the Key after traveling all over the United States and overseas to participate in competitions. “I’m expecting 80,000 to 100,000 people this year,” he said of the Crystal Classic. The 2010 event brought drew 60,000 people, Haley said, agreeing with Wigelsworth SEE CLASSIC / PAGE 8A “I can tell you the County Commission was not aware (the Oct. 12 amendment) was as sweeping as it was,” Patterson said. “I can guarantee you that the public was not aware (either).” Lourdes Ramirez, past long- SEE HEIGHT / PAGE 2A Tribute At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, the 2011 Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sandsculpting Competition will kick off on Siesta Public Beach with a military color guard, the singing of the national anthem by opera star and Temple Beth Sholom cantor Jeffrey Weber and remarks by County Commission Chairwoman Nora Patterson; Danny Bilyeu, field representative for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key; and retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. “Top” Harrison. The ceremony will include the unveiling of a sand replica of the national Marine Corps monument in Arlington, Va. The Crystal Classic will remain open until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10. The event will run through Nov. 14. Tickets are $5 per day, or $10 for a three-day pass. Proceeds go to Mote Marine Lab’s Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital. For more details, see the special publication inside this issue of the Pelican Press, or visit www.crystalsand.org.