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SiestaKeyFitness.com NOVEMBER 2023| 941.312.0665 | 27TH STATE MEDIA LLC | www.SiestaSand.us | COMPLIMENTARY
End of an era: Davidson’s doors close in Siesta Village
Maria ‘Mia’ Leone Aug. 22, 1961 — Sept. 6, 2023
By John Morton
For the first time in 65 years, there will not be a Davidson-run drugstore in the Siesta Key Village. On Oct. 28, the venerable Davidson Drugs business located at 5124 Ocean Blvd. in the plaza that bears its name closed its doors. “Sad news, indeed,” Mark Smith, the Sarasota County commissioner who previously was a board member of the Siesta Key Village Association, said of the news.
“Davidson Drugs has been an institution in Siesta Village since I grew up here. It will be terribly missed.” The Davidson Drugs in Siesta Key’s Southbridge Mall at 6595 Midnight Pass Rd. will continue to operate, but only as a general store. Its hours will not change, it will feature the same merchandise mix, and it will keep its longstanding U.S. Post Office. However, the company’s pharmacy
operations -- the backbone of its humble beginnings -- have been eliminated altogether. On Oct. 18, all pharmacy files and prescriptions became property of Walgreens via a transaction between the two businesses, according to Richard Davidson, president of Davidson Drugs. Customers of the Davidson’s store in Davidson Plaza in the Village will
Farewell to a dear friend
Continued on page 23
By Jane Bartnett
Crystal Classic 2023
Visitors to the Siesta Key Visitor Center had a good chance of being greeted by Maria “Mia” Leone, who served for more than eight years as the center’s manager and coordinator of its volunteers. Talk about a good first impression. “We lost a dear friend and colleague,” said Ann Frescura, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce where the Visitor Center is located, regarding Leone’s recent passing. “Mia was a joy to work with and called everybody friend. She was a key part of our team and the visitor experience.” Leone’s untimely death at the age of 62, following a brief and sudden illness, brought tremendous sadness to everyone at the chamber and the many people whose lives she touched in the Siesta Key community. “We are absolutely heartbroken to share that Mia Leone passed away
‘We are absolutely ... entertainers’ Brian Wigelsworth and Matt Long are a creative force By Hannah Wallace
f all the world-class artists competing in this month’s Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival, none knows our famed quartz sand better than Brian Wigelsworth. And as much as anyone, he recognizes this sand’s potential for mind-blowing entertainment. A professional master sculptor in his own right, Wigelsworth founded the Crystal Classic in 2010 and ran it for a decade before handing the reins to his business partner, Andy Daily, in 2021. Since then, Wigelsworth has
Festival facts, page 24 gotten to participate. He will once again be competing this year in the doubles class with teammate and close friend Matt Long. Their team has finished second each of the last two Crystal Classics. But wherever they place, their primary aim is to put on a show. “A lot of these [sand] artists are fine artists. They do incredible Continued on page 24
Brian Wigelsworth (left) and Matt Long with their tribute to John Lennon. (submitted photo)
Continued on page 22
Something for our sheepish readers
Researcher told to leave Siesta waters
Midnight Pass studies will begin
Promenade gets another approval
IN OUR SECOND SECTION:
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Greetings from the Gulf During this time of thanks we thank The King, cummerbund and all By John Morton
ive years ago, when Mark Smith allowed this very newspaper to photograph his beach wedding, he must not have had aspirations to run for public office. Or, he simply didn’t count on a monster like me coming down the pike. Either way, here we are in 2023, he’s a powerful Sarasota County commissioner, and I’m running a picture of him in his fuchsia cummerbund. Good thing Smith is a smart fella, well aware that in slander and defamation cases a public figure has a higher burden of proof because they are assumed to have voluntarily exposed themselves to public scrutiny. So, here we go. Fuchsia? Yes, I know he was playing it smart by matching his lovely wife Esther’s dress, yet I think I’d go with a colorful bow tie instead. Smith’s a thin guy, so it wasn’t like he had something to hold in place. And this advice comes from a man who wore flipflops to his job interview. Hey, this thing is called Siesta SAND, right? By the way, for those of you who fear I’m burning a bridge, may I remind you that we have two. But how do I know Smith will be a good sport on this? Because I already felt him out. There I was at the podium for the 2023 Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, our version of the Academy Awards, presenting the Shining Star Award, our version of Best Picture. It was there I brought down the house by declaring that the only thing worse than being slapped by Will Smith is being slapped by Mark Smith. And it was then and there that I cemented my lofty status as Island Dork. Smith took the high road, only responding with something clever like “That can be arranged!” He never actually
slapped me. At least not yet. Anyway, for that I thank him. Which brings me to my point of all this -- when asked what I, during this season of gratitude, am most thankful for as far as Siesta Key is concerned, I immediately thought of Mark Smith. We haven’t had a Siesta resident on the commission since Nora Patterson, and she has a park named after her. By the time Mark is done, I hope we can find something more valuable to bear his name than merely a park. Like a parking spot! And remember, he narrowly won by fewer than 400 votes. If you attend our commissioner meetings, or watch them online, you’ll know how Smith has been the ultimate steward for all things Siesta. I highly doubt we’d be seeing that had his challenger won. And also remember, Smith took a big chance in potentially losing local votes when, as a county commissioner candidate at a Save Siesta Key town hall meeting, he spoke his mind about his concern over an endeavor that would likely lead to tax increases. To me, that showed his true colors -- and fuchsia doesn’t come to mind. In my opinion, he has a black and white sense of what is best for our island with no gray area in between. This month marks one year in office for Smith. I asked him by email what had been his biggest challenge, top accomplishment, and largest surprise. His response was a bit uncharacteristically slow in coming, but his one-word answer of “time” on the biggest challenge explained a lot. As for the others, he said: “I believe my biggest accomplishment has been advocating for Siesta Key issues before the other commissioners and county staff. “We have several issues, like adopting a traffic model for Siesta Key that would be developed taking into account the traffic
patterns around having the No. 1 beach in the country, our numerous crosswalks, the array of modes of transportation on Siesta Key, and the seasonal increase in traffic that we all enjoy. “This traffic model would be used to determine the intensity of new development on Siesta Key that requires a special exception to confirm that it would not violate the comprehensive plan. “My biggest surprise is how welcoming all the neighborhoods, civic associations, and groups of people that I have met with that tell me I’m the first county commissioner they have had at their meetings in years. This all reinforces the fact that we are all in this together and we need to continue to work together for the betterment of our community and county.” Indeed, Smith has earned our trust and respect. Which means, in year No. 2, he should honor the tried-and-true politician privilege of abusing it! A lesser man would go with a superhero cape in the commissioner chambers, but that’s been done to death. How about a triumphant return of the fuchsia cummerbund? Can we embroider a big SK on it? If Mike Cosentino can wear a sport coat to meetings with RBR (Reopen Beach Road) on
the lapels, then why not? And not only would Esther appreciate it, but I’d like to think it would get her to stand by her man at the dais. Did you know Esther is quite the singer? I’ve heard her belt out the national anthem at a variety of public gatherings, and she can really bring it. So, speaking of Smith earning our respect, a little reinforcement wouldn’t hurt with Esther unloading some Aretha before her husband speaks. After his comments, a little Tina could be in order. “(Simply) the Best” comes to mind. Hey, had she performed an impassioned version of “Heartbreak Hotel” for commissioners back in October of 2021, maybe we wouldn’t be in all this mess. Anyway, I’m on to something here. Let’s face it -- when you think of Mark Smith, you think of Elvis. And yes, rhinestones can be installed on a cummerbund. Finally, it is beyond anticlimactic when commission chairman Ron Cutsinger simply says “This meeting is adjourned.” What we really need to know, announced loudly by Esther, is that “MARK SMITH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING.” Only then will we leave. (John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)
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Comp plan amendments likely to roll in Second hotel-related lawsuit, meanwhile, remains unresolved with Nov. 13 trial unlikely but still on the schedule By John Morton When it comes to suggestions to alter Sarasota County’s comp plan, the race is on. And the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce wants to be first in line. On the heels of an Aug. 21 summary judgment (nontrial) ruling that the county commissioners exceeded their authority in granting unlimited density in relation to three hotels it would approve, several entities are expected to propose what are known as text amendments in the quest to get what they want on the books. Judge Hunter Carroll’s recent ruling shot down the county’s interpretation of development rules, putting at least for now a halt to the plans proposed by the new hotels. He decided that a March 1989
ordinance is what governs Siesta Key development. That language limited height at 35 feet and the number of rooms to be 26 per acre – a number Carroll recalculated at 36 per acre. A few months prior to the county’s controversial decision in October of 2021, the chamber submitted its recommendation. In general, it asked that hotels be “boutique” in nature and match the island’s character. The number of rooms should be limited to 52 per care and not exceed 75 in total, the chamber said, and height should conform with neighbors – no more than 35 feet in residential areas and 45 feet if in commercial areas. The chamber’s suggestion was never acted upon, and soon after
An artist’s rendering of the hotel proposed for Calle Miramar near the Siesta Key Village. (submitted image)
the unlimited density decision the county approved in late 2021 an eight-story, 170-room hotel on 0.96 acres on Calle Miramar near the Village; a seven-story, 120-room hotel on 1.17 acres on Old Stickney Point Road near the south bridge; and in late 2022 a 112-room on 2.15 acres at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd. in
the mid-island area. Dave Balot is the potential hotelier behind that third proposal, and in late September he submitted, upon invitation by county staff, his suggestion for an amendment. In a nutshell, it mirrors his hotel’s current plans with a maximum number of rooms
at 52 per acre. Also, it calls for a requirement of at least 1 acre of land for any project. His submission is the first, but it doesn’t mean it will be the first to be considered. District 2 Commissioner Mark Smith, a Siesta Key resident and former Siesta Key chamber board member who was the group’s incoming chairman (he dropped the role when elected to his county seat), told his county colleagues at a Sept. 26 meeting that the hopes the Siesta chamber proposal would get the first look. He reminded them that hotel-related lawsuits against the county put the chamber’s views on the back burner after it first submitted them in March of 2021. Continued on page 30
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Deputies thwart beach party The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office recently issued a news release detailing its ability to prevent a large, planned party on Siesta Key that would have involved alcohol and guns. According to the report, Smith posted Sept. 20 on its Facebook page, deputies were made aware of the Sept. 16 event and subsequently conducted high-visibility enforcement in the area. As a result, they witnessed a group of individuals (two juveniles and two 18-year-olds) standing on a public beach easement smoking marijuana and holding alcohol. A probable cause search was conducted on Herbert Fields (DOB 6/1/2005) and yielded two firearms, one of which was confirmed stolen. Deputies charged Fields with grand theft of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of marijuana, and possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. Ultimately, all four were arrested for various charges, including possession of alcohol under 21 years of age, obstruction, and resisting with violence. Sgt. Dan Smith, who runs the county’s substation at Siesta Beach, said that authorities in Manatee County notified Sarasota County of a planned party that was posted on social media. It was supposed to involved more than 100 people. “Someone saw something and said something,” said Smith at the Oct. 5 meeting of the Siesta Key Association civic group, noting it was a good example of people reporting anything that appears concerning or suspicious. He urged those in attendance to always feel free to contact law enforcement in such situations. “Great work by our SCSO deputies -- always doing their best to keep Siesta Beach safe for the community and our visitors!” the Sheriff’s Office said at the end of its Facebook post. -- John Morton
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Midnight Pass sees first steps taken Sarasota County commissioners approve start-from-scratch feasibility study in quest to restore gulf-to-bay tidal flow By ChrisAnn Allen
A look at how Midnight Pass looked prior to the early 1980s (right), and how it looks today (below) since the area was filled-in by Sarasota County. (submitted photos)
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Sarasota County commissioners on Oct. 10 unanimously approved the initiation of a feasibility study for reopening Midnight Pass, which historically ran between Siesta Key and Casey Key to connect the Gulf of Mexico with Little Sarasota Bay. “This was my No. 1 goal when elected,” District 4 Commissioner Joe Neunder wrote the Siesta Sand following the decision to commence with the study to possibly reopen the pass, which was filled-in in 1983 by two property owners concerned with erosion. Spencer Anderson, the county’s public works director, gave a presentation to the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners regarding the options for Midnight Pass as part of an update on Little Sarasota Bay with reopening the pass as a consideration for improved water quality. He said there was a consultant putting together a scope of work for the Little Sarasota Bay Watershed Master Plan, which will be brought to the board for approval, including “an evaluation of what water quality benefits could occur if there was a gulf-to-bay tidal connection in that area.” Of three options Anderson presented, including resuming a previous plan for a 300-squaremeter inlet, or taking no action at all, the board went with option “B” which includes a new, internally initiated engineering feasibility study at a cost of $250,00 to $500,000. “That will allow us to evaluate that more thoroughly, obtain updated information, and most importantly to develop a relationship with the regulators that are in place today in association with the political support we have at the state and federal levels,” Anderson said, reiterating, “so this will allow us, I think most importantly, to get the regulatory agencies on board and be partners in this effort.” District 3 Commissioner Neil Rainford supported the option. “I think that it behooves us to coordinate with our state and federal partners, because obviously it’s going to be a big funding issue in the future -- but with that being said, I also want to make sure we are moving forward with this as fast as possible to address this,” he said. According to the presentation, the design/permitting costs for the project will be about $2 million, followed by $25 to $40 million for initial construction and mitigation. Due to the efforts of the county and Midnight Pass Society II — the 501(c)(3) nonprofit group that two years ago resurrected the pursuit of a remedy for the pass — the Florida Legislature this spring granted $1 million for the project. However, this funding was vetoed in June when it reached Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. Additionally, there was previous discussion regarding the $201 million federal grant which Sarasota County will receive via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funds will be awarded as part of its Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program to assist with Hurricane
Ian recovery and mitigation efforts, which led to the creation of the Resilient SRQ program for restoration of infrastructure and mitigation. The program was considered as a possible funding source, but the project does not meet federal guidelines, according to an Oct. 11 email from Neunder to the Siesta Sand. So, the commission concurred the best course of action was to move forward with a renewed feasibility study to garner state and federal support. “This is a situation where we want to measure twice and cut once,” Neunder said during the Oct. 10 meeting. “I think if we can start the internal process of doing some of the engineering studies and then show our state and federal legislators that we have some buy-in to this project, the fund allocation or process of getting fund allocation to support this process, I believe, would be easier.” He added that U.S. Rep. Greg Steube of the 17th Congressional District that includes Sarasota County supports the project, along with some state legislators, because the project would be beneficial to water quality. District 5 Commissioner Ron Cutsinger said a pre-application meeting for feedback from regulatory authorities, such as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, would be important before commencing. It might help determine the specifics on what method of allowing a tidal flow is best – ideas have included dredging to re-create what was once a navigable waterway, or installation of a pipe, or the building of a culvert. “Do we have to look at a complete opening or if they’re not going to approve that, are we looking at some structure to allow flushing or something,” Cutsinger said. “Just so we go in with our eyes open.” Rainford asked Anderson for a timeframe, to which he responded “conservatively, about a year,” but he would know more when they have a better understanding of what the project will entail. County Administrator Jonathan Lewis added that Anderson and staff would have to define the scope, create a capital improvement plan, and bring this back before the commission. Neunder asked Lewis if approving the feasibility study to move forward with the project would show the state and federal agencies proof of the county’s investment in the project, to which Lewis responded it would help. “I’m completely on board,” Neunder said. “In fact, I’m hoping that does send a message to our colleagues in Tallahassee and in Washington that we’re certainly trying our darndest here to get this ball moving.”
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Siesta Promenade approved, parallel parking and all Some Siesta Key leaders voice opposition, bring local lawsuits to the table during commission vote By ChrisAnn Allen
Although it was shot down by the Sarasota County Planning Commission in July, parallel parking was back on the table for the Siesta Promenade project when it went before the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners on Sept. 27 for a final vote. And, like it did back in 2018 when the mixed-use development first went before commissioners, it once again met with their approval. District 2 Commissioner Mark Smith, a Siesta Key architect, cast the only vote against the plans for the revised project, his decision hinging on negative public testimony. Several Siesta Key residents were among those who spoke in opposition of the project, citing safety concerns with increased traffic due to its location at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road near one of only two bridges – and the busiest of the two -- providing access to the mainland. During the meeting, commissioners approved by a 4-1 vote a set of motions for the development based on a redesign to incorporate two additional parcels totaling 0.78 acres – the final two holdout properties in the development’s footprint. The additional land adds to a project
An artist’s rendering of the Siesta Promenade project at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road. (submitted image)
that is expected to boast 414 apartments/condos, a 130-room hotel, 133,000 square feet of retail space, and 7,000 square feet of office space. In total, it will all be contained in about 24 acres. Planning commissioners on July
20 approved amendments to the plans excluding parallel parking spaces on Glencoe and Crestwood avenues in the neighboring Pine Shores Estates neighborhood, and recommended them as such to the county commission.
However, when project developer Benderson Development brought the matter before the county commission it led with the inclusion of parallel parking spots as part of an alternate set of motions, separate from
the planning commission’s recommendation. Following the county staff presentation of the proposed changes to the plan, Todd Mathes, director of development for Benderson, said the parallel spots were the only difference to the planning commission recommendations, stating “there is no change to required building setbacks, landscape buffers, to building and block types, to maximum heights -- all that is unchanged … the only difference is the parallel parking spaces.” Christopher Hatton, traffic engineer with Kimley-Horn, the engineering consultant company contracted by Benderson, said it was “important to point out a few of the items that we believe were misunderstood at the planning commission hearing, in regards specifically to on-street parking.” Hatton said the 20-foot landscape buffer between the development and on-street parking would increase pedestrian safety by increasing “side-friction to traffic flow,” as well as providing more parking open to public use, not just for the development, which could prevent visitors to the surrounding neighborhood and delivery vehicles from parking in the street, Continued on page 25
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Research pod removed after court battle By Ned Steele
Eco-entrepeneur Todd Kleperis, who battled with Sarasota County over the vegetable-growing, solar powered, water-desalinating “pod” he anchored in Siesta Key waters, is weighing his next moves after a standoff in court. “Small-minded people have a focus on what is in their backyard and not what is better for the planet,” Kleperis fumed in the aftermath of what amounted to a judge’s split decision. The pod was a pilot test for what Kleperis hopes to grow into a multinational aquaculture venture that cleans ocean water and is self-sustainable. But the 3-by-5-foot, ungainly-looking experimental pod attracted the ire of local residents near its location off Siesta Key Circle. They called it an eyesore, and the county issued a violation that could have netted a fine of up to $500 a day. The court upheld the violation last month, but sided with Kleperis and his company, Tekmara, on a key point of contention. At any rate they escaped penalty because by then they had voluntarily removed the pod. Kleperis lashed out at his opponents: “Look, Sarasota County has lots of pressing issues like the homeless population, it’s just the environment and specifically the ocean is not one of them. They would rather listen to the wealthy folks who kept calling and hammering them to stop what we were doing,” he said. “We are here to help the ocean and our planet. For those that oppose us – it’s on you. Not us.”
Sarasota County officials declined to comment on those remarks. Kleperis said he may move the scale-up of his business to the Bahamas – although he might also test the pod further in Sarasota County waters. “I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing,” he vowed. “We validated our business model. We desalinated water. We produced food.” He is also Kleperis looking at projects for robotic replanting of seagrass in the area, and for combatting red tide. But for now, the pod that sparked the skirmish is on dry land, disassembled in a warehouse in Parrish, where its parts are being used to prepare for rampedup future production of many more pods. Tekmara is seeking $2 million in capital to fund the venture’s next round. The court battle between the county and Kleperis gave both sides room to declare victory. After a four-hour hearing on Aug. 25, special magistrate Bryan Kessler began composing what would become a painstakingly detailed legal analysis and eightpage decision. The ruling would side with Tekmara’s key assertion: that the pod was, under established case law, a maritime vessel – not, as the county maintained, a structure subject to county regulations.
The Tekmara pod when it was stationed off Siesta Key Circle in Roberts Bay. (file photo)
But, Kessler determined, Tekmara still couldn’t put it in the waters along Siesta Key Circle without a permit – which it didn’t
have. The magistrate crafted an order directing Tekmara to remove the pod. But before he signed and entered
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the order – on Sept. 5 – Hurricane Idalia struck. Like countless other vessel owners, Kleperis hauled his pod out of the water to protect it from storm waters – not yet knowing how the court would rule. After Idalia subsided, the county sent an inspector to the site who confirmed that the pod was gone. The county certified the site in compliance with the court order, and the case was closed. But not the debate. Kleperis’ work has been watched and admired by local environmental activist Jean Cannon, who said in the wake of the court action “There needs for an ability for this type of idea to be supported, promoted and eventually used to educate and teach the next generation for our future. It would be beneficial to our community.” At press time, Kleperis was hoping to meet with county officials to continue airing his grievances. Saying the case has cost Tekmara “tens of thousands” of dollars in legal fee, he was hoping for “an apology and a way forward on our costs.” And so the saga continues. For now, Kleperis is hedging on his next step: “The new pods may be tested on the same spot in the future but our bet is that the Bahamas is faster to adopt new technology over Sarasota County,” he said. Sarasota County declined to comment on how it would respond if Kleperis inserts another pod into Siesta Key waters to continue his testing.
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Crescent Club drops request for later live music Gilligan’s, meanwhile, awaits results of sound study requested by Sarasota County staff By ChrisAnn Allen Two Siesta Key nightspots were looking for later live music hours, but now only one remains in the running. Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill, 5253 Ocean Blvd. in the Siesta Key Village, is continuing its push for live music past its current 10 p.m. limit, while the Crescent Club, located at 6519 Midnight Pass Rd., withdrew its request for the same. In both cases, a special exception would need to be approved by the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners for any extended live-music hours. Crescent Club owner Gary Kompothecras said his business is no longer trying to work with the county to approve a request for live music until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday. “The neighbors were saying a lot of terrible things that were not true, so we decided not to pursue it,” Kompothecras said, referring to a June 19 neighborhood workshop
held via Zoom during which about a dozen people living within earshot of the establishment spoke against the later hours for live entertainment. “The people that come really like it, and you live in a resort town, so what do you expect?” he said. “But we just decided it wasn’t worth it.” However, Gilligan’s was still negotiating with the county toward its goal to possibly provide live music until 2 a.m. Casey Colburn, attorney for Gilligan’s, said his client completed a sound study requested by county staff as part of the process but was waiting to hear back from the sound engineer, Keane Acoustics of Oldsmar, with results. The sound study included measuring ambient sound levels when live music is not playing and when live music is playing, spanning up to 18 hours of sound measuring, then comparing the data against the county noise ordinance and mitigation
House of the Sun is one of the many residences across the street in close proximity of the Crescent Club. (photo by John Morton)
recommendations, if needed. Colburn said the next mediation session with the county was scheduled for Oct. 31, which could mean the request would not go before the county commission until 2024. However, if the results of the study clearly show there would be no violations of the sound
ordinance, the request could be brought to the commission without the need for another mediation session, he said. The sound limit for Gilligan’s is 75 decibels for mid-range frequencies. “We are playing by the rules,” Colburn said. “We have always been in compliance and are
doing everything we can to move forward with the request within the county’s framework.” Commissioners first denied a similar request from Gilligan’s in January by a 4-1 vote. The establishment then requested, in the summer, mediation involving a special magistrate.
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Project will restore wetland area
Causing concern for Commissioner Smith, approval of major work permit also opens door to swimming pool at Sea Plume Way home By ChrisAnn Allen It’s a 50/50 deal. In a 4-1 vote, Sarasota County commissioners on Sept. 27 approved a major work permit that allows a homeowner to fill-in a portion of mangrove swamp with a lawn and swimming pool, and also enhance an equivalent section of a deteriorated wetland area with 20 new mangroves and a hydration pipe. The work will be done at the connected properties near the Intracoastal Waterway owned by Geoffrey and Jill Raker. They are located at 1245 Sea Plume Way and 6841 Peacock Rd. The area in question is adjacent to the property owners’ house and is split in half by a boardwalk. Additionally, the application calls for about 307 linear feet of vinyl seawall. District 2 Commissioner Mark Smith, also a Siesta Key architect, voted in opposition. He cited an inconsistency with the county’s comprehensive plan, which states “mangrove swamps shall be preserved or enhanced,”
The area at 1245 Sea Plume Way that will see the planting of 20 mangroves and the installation of a hydration pipe. (image courtesy of Sarasota County)
and “dredging and filling of mangrove swamps shall be strictly prohibited.” The county staff report on the matter noted the board might take issue with the measure as it would reduce the current mangrove swamp habitat on the subject properties by more than 50%.
However, the report also noted the area was “impacted and degraded” by actions of the previous owners, including a shell berm between the back yard and the bay, which prohibited the tidal flow and growth of the wetland area, resulting in dying mangroves with stagnant water and algae.
John McKenna, an environmental consultant with Florida Permitting of Palmetto, contracted for the project, said the area to be cleared has not shown any significant growth since he has been monitoring the site, as the system is isolated from the bay. He said, as a marine biologist, he typically avoids projects that harm mangroves, but with the planting of new mangroves and increased water flow the project would “enhance the function of this area.” During discussion, District 5 Commissioner Ron Cutsinger asked McKenna if a swale might be more effective than a pipe for hydrating the remaining wetland area. McKenna said the option was considered, but a pipe would allow minimal impact to the existing mangrove forest. He said an open swale would create erosion. Smith said he was not in favor of the motion because he is concerned about “rewarding bad behavior.” He pointed out the former owners put in the shell dam, but this action dried up the wetland, which
allowed the current owners to move forward with the fill. “It sets a dangerous precedent for folks that perhaps want to extend their backyard for a pool,” Smith said. District 1 Commissioner Mike Moran said he understood Smith’s concerns, but he sees the approval as “just common sense,” adding it has been a stagnant area that will benefit from the enhancements. “It will probably be beautiful when it is done,” Moran said. “You’re still doing a sufficient job, in my opinion, of mitigating it and it will still be beautiful and surrounded by mangroves.” Cutsinger agreed. “Unfortunately, it was bad behavior but we are not going to punish this owner for someone’s long-ago bad behavior,” he said. “And I don’t think we’re giving up anything. That area is obviously very poor, and perhaps we’ll get better results when that area is replanted with 20 new mangroves and hopefully the hydration will work.”
Sheriff’s Report Sept. 8 Battery A deputy responded to a Village store in reference to a disturbance. Upon arriving at the scene, the deputy recognized the suspect from an earlier interaction where the deputy had educated the suspect on not riding his scooter on the sidewalk. Victim indicated he was standing outside a restaurant and the suspect rapidly approached him on a scooter. The victim told the suspect to not drive the scooter on the sidewalk. The two got into a verbal altercation upon which the suspect struck the victim in his face. The victim’s recollection of events was corroborated with security video. Sept. 16 Alcohol/drug possession, firearm violations Sheriff deputies were patrolling the beach on an ATV when they observed a group of younger males and females standing on the roadway. As they approached, they observed a Patron Tequilla bottle sitting on a mailbox
where the group was standing. They also could smell the distinct odor of marijuana. Upon the deputies approaching the group one of the members of the group started walking away. A deputy gave numerous orders for the suspect to stop walking to which such person refused to do so. Deputies ultimately apprehended the suspect and discovered a firearm in his possession, which was later identified as a stolen firearm. An altercation with a separate member of the group subsequently occurred. Various members of the group were charged with possession of alcohol by persons under 21, possession of marijuana, carrying a concealed firearm, and resisting arrest.
caregiver in the house. Sheriff’s deputy made contact with the caregiver who advised that she had both iPads and would return them. Complainant did not wish to press charges but wished to report the theft due to the caregiver’s position in home health care.
Sept. 21 Theft Sheriff’s deputy responded to a complaint at a house where the victim alleged that two iPads were missing. She was able to log in to find my iPhone and was able to determine that the iPads were linked to a former
Oct. 2 Theft A group of four women went to watch the sunset on the beach. They parked their four-door hatchback in the Beach access 7 parking lot at approximately 7:03 p.m. When they returned to the car at approximately
Sept. 29 Fraud Sheriff was dispatched to a condo complex located off of Midnight Pass Road. The victim indicated that she had booked a vacation for a week of Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 at the condo complex and indicated that she never received a refund for her bookings. Sheriff deputy attempted to contact the front desk or find an employee on the property but was not able to locate any.
7:40 p.m. they realized their purses had been stolen from inside of the car. A sheriff’s deputy dusted for prints and canvassed the area for footage.
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Silver City, Siesta Key’s Jewelry Wonderland Celebrating 18 Years
Silver City, Siesta Key’s landmark jewelry store, is celebrating 18 years of bringing the finest silver jewelry, custom designs and trademarked Watercolor Gemstone and Tide Away jewelry to Siesta Key visitors and residents alike. Named by Trip Advisor as Sarasota’s #1 shopping destination, with over 350 reviews and more than 5,000 likes on Facebook, Silver City welcomes thousands of visitors to their Midnight Pass store each year. Looking ahead to many more years of bringing beautiful coastal jewelry to their customers, jewelers Monica Galfre and Jorge Rysko are proud of Silver City’s success. “Silver City designs pay tribute to the natural beauty that makes Siesta Key so special,” said Monica. “We celebrate the wonders of the soft white sand beach, the wildlife that calls this place home and the blue-green waters of the Gulf.” Their son Sebastian, who works with his parents at the Silver City store and at their new fine jewelry store, Diamond Bay Jewelers in Osprey, spoke of Silver City’s success. “It’s been a wonderful 18 years,” he said. “We’re very grateful to our loyal clientele and the fun times my family has shared with them. They, along with our Silver City staff, including Arlene, Deborah, Graciela, Suzanne, and Tesa, have become a part of our family.” Silver City’s jewelers bring their exceptional training and talent to all that they do. Monica first fell in love with the jewelry business during the holiday season at her first job in the celebrated Alberta, Canada, jewelry store Henri Birks & Son. Now known as Maison Birks, it is Canada’s leading fine jewelry retailer. Jorge, a Swiss trained watchmaker, was raised in a family of watch experts. He is regarded as the Sarasota area’s finest watchmaker. After re-locating from western Canada to Sarasota with their young family, the couple fell in
love with Siesta Key. In 2005, they founded their Silver City store. Visitors were drawn to Silver City's extensive collection of beautiful silver jewelry and Jorge soon became known as the finest watchmaker in the Sarasota area. When Silver City’s trademarked blue-green Siesta Key Watercolor Gemstone designs, set in gold and silver made their debut, customers were captivated. “The Watercolor Gemstones capture the colors of the Gulf,” said Sebastian. People tell us that wearing and giving the Watercolor Gemstone rings, bracelets, and necklaces as gifts, brings back happy memories of their time on Siesta Key.” They are sold only at Silver City. In support of MOTE Marine Laboratory’s scientific research into the impact of Red Tide in Florida, Silver City created their trademarked Tide Away designs. Silver City donates 25% of each sale of these key chains, bracelets, pendants, earrings as well as a colorful bead and tote bag, to Mote Marine. In January 2023, Monica and Jorge opened Diamond Bay Jewelers, in Osprey, FL. A fine jewelry store, offering an extensive collection of gold and diamond jewelry, brilliant gems, pearls, watches, as well as expert watchmaking services, Diamond Bay Jewelers has become Southern Sarasota’s most trusted fine jeweler. Visit Diamond Bay Jewelers in the Bay Street Village and Town Center, just off Tamiami Trail, at 3976 Destination Drive, #5, Osprey, FL. diamondbayjewelers.com. Phone: 941-786-1013. Visit Silver City on Siesta Key at the Southbridge Mall, 6539 Midnight Pass Road and say happy birthday! silvercitysarasota.com. Call 941-349-5030
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Can you make charitable giving less ‘taxing’? Sarasota Local Brings Experience & Trust to Siesta Key Once again, it’s the season of generosity. In addition to considering gifts for your loved ones, you might want to think about charitable gifts as well. But what should you know before making gifts to charities? And what impact might these gifts have on your financial and tax situation? First, you may want to create a gift budget by deciding just how much you will give to charitable organizations over the rest of the year. Next, look closely at the groups to whom you wish to contribute. You can find many reputable charities, but some others may be less worthy of your support. One of the red flags of a questionable organization is the amount of money it spends on administrative costs versus the amount that goes to its stated purpose. You can check on the spending patterns of charitable groups, and find other valuable information about them, on the well-regarded Charity Navigator website (charitynavigator.org). Once you’ve established a gift
budget and are comfortable with the groups you choose to support, you might turn your thoughts to another key issue connected with charitable giving: tax benefits. A few years ago, changes in the tax laws resulted in a large increase in the standard deduction, which meant that many taxpayers found it more favorable not to itemize — and lost the ability to take charitable deductions. But if you still do itemize, your charitable gifts or contributions to tax-exempt
groups — those that qualify as 501(c)(3) organizations — can generally be deducted, up to 60% of your adjusted gross income, although lower limits may apply, depending on the nature of your gift and the organization to which you’re contributing. Other, more long-term avenues also exist that combine charitable giving with potential tax benefits. One such possibility is a donoradvised fund, which allows you to make an irrevocable charitable contribution and receive an immediate tax deduction. You can give cash, but if you donate appreciated assets, such as stocks, your tax deduction would be the fair market value of the assets, up to 30% of your adjusted gross income. Plus, you would not incur the capital gains tax that would otherwise be due upon the sale of these assets. Once you establish a donor-advised fund, you have the flexibility to make charitable gifts over time, and you can contribute to the fund as often as you like. Another possible tax benefit from making charitable
contributions could arrive when you start taking required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from some of your retirement accounts, such as your traditional IRA and 401(k). These RMDs could be sizable — and distributions are counted as taxable income. But by taking what’s called a qualified charitable distribution (QCD), you can move money from a traditional or Roth IRA to a qualified charitable organization, possibly satisfying your RMD, which then may be excluded from your taxable income. You must start taking RMDs at 73 but you can begin making QCDs of up to $100,000 per year as early as age 70½. (This amount will be indexed for inflation after 2023.) Establishing a donor-advised fund and making qualified charitable distributions are significant moves, so you’ll need to consult with your tax advisor first. But if they’re appropriate for your situation, they may help you expand your ability to support the charitable groups whose work you admire.
Joe St. Onge, ChFC® Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments 5011 Ocean Blvd., suite 205 Siesta Key, FL 34242 (941)-346-0560 phone (941)-320-4030 mobile Joe.StOnge@edwardjones.com This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.
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Pickleball courts make debut at public beach
Six new dedicated pickleball courts are now operating at the Siesta Key public beach. They sit alongside two existing tennis courts that will serve as tennis-only courts. The pickleball courts were made a reality by converting two other existing tennis courts, including the installation of new markings designed for pickleball play. All the courts were also repaired and resurfaced. Work began Sept. 18 and was completed Oct. 10. The project, conducted by Sarasota County, also included the installation of new fencing and additional gates. Court repairs and resurfacing cost $42,368 and the fencing and additional gates cost $21,802, the county reported. “They feel worthy of being located close to the No. 1 beach,” Jann Webster, a Siesta Key resident who advocated for the new pickleball courts, said. “It’s great for Siesta Key pickleballers to stay on the Key instead of traveling off the Key to play – so, an added benefit is reducing traffic congestion on the bridges.” Webster thanked fellow Siesta Key resident Ken Scoggins for leading a grassroots effort in working with the county. “We all thank him for his determination on and off the court,” Webster said of Scoggins, who is also an administrator for a Facebook page entitled Siesta Key Pickleball that discusses life on the new courts.
-- John Morton
Pickleball action on the new courts at Siesta Beach. Six of them are now in place alongside two tennis courts. (photo courtesy of Sarasota County)
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Kevin and Betsy McPherson relax on the back porch at their Oakmont Place home. (photo by John Morton)
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oing from 20 acres to less than one should not have been easy for folks like the McPhersons. But Siesta Key has a way of making transitions quite smooth. “I would have never envisioned living on an island – to me, it felt like life on a postage stamp,” Kevin McPherson said. “But it took me only two weeks.” Two weeks for what? “For me to say, ‘You’re right,’” he said in the direction of his wife, Betsy, who nodded in agreement. “This is where we should be. I have no regrets whatsoever.” After 10 years of the couple operating a Romney sheep farm, of all things, on rolling land in Montpelier, Virginia (40 miles northwest of Richmond), it was Betsy in particular who was ready for a change. Her late mother, in 1989, had built a contemporary-yetcharming house on Oakmont Place on the northern part of Siesta Key, providing Betsy for many years a fun place to frolic on vacation during visits. All the while, it was calling her name in some way. “It was always a special place for me,” she said. “A magical place.” Today, it’s a place she finally calls home. But that took some time. As for the sheep farm, affectionately and adorably called Love Ewe Farm, it first started mostly as a hobby for Betsy after she retired from a career in nursing. And the rural bliss was a good fit for Kevin, offsetting his demanding career as a supply chain consultant for the pharmaceutical industry. After all, he was raised in the Future Farmers of America
By John Morton program in western Pennsylvania. “It’s something we had always wanted to do,” said Kevin of the farm life. “It was the perfect setting.” But next thing they knew the five sheep they started with, just for a little farm flavor more than anything else, had grown to 25. A bunch of lambs would be born, and subsequently a business would be born. It became successful with both the sale of wool that Betsy spun and the sale of the sheep themselves. But with all that, the workload became immense. “We’d usually have 20 to 30 lambs per year. Once, we had as many as 40,” Betsy said. And they needed lots of TLC.
“We had to feed them every eight hours for six weeks,” said Betsy, who with Kevin eventually came up with a bottle-holding wooden gizmo to accommodate the mass feedings. “We called them our bottle babies.” As for the wool, an individual sheep could produce as much as 110 pounds of it at as much as 6 inches in length. It would need to be cleaned before Betsy would begin to work her magic, spinning it into wool. Then there was the need to control the flock and keep it on the move. “I was a sheep shepherd – a sheep shepherd with two artificial hips,” she said with a laugh. Another outlet for Betsy was the life of an author. The sheep-themed children’s books she wrote on the side became part of the fabric of the community, prompting her to make appearances at libraries and schools with her serving as a story-time narrator. “That meant a lot to me,” she said of the books that spoke of life lessons with the lambs as characters. It’s not surprising that Betsy gave her animals human-like identities, seeing as each skein of yarn she created bore the name of the sheep that provided it. “I treated them like they were my own children,” she said of her wooly wonders. “I sure miss their little faces.” In time, however, the farm-life stress outweighed the splendor. “It became work. It stopped being fun,” Besty said. “And, we would hear about people our age dying. We had reached that point, and that was tough. We wanted something else in life.” Continued on page 28
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Here’s one gem of an operation Looking posh at a reasonable price -- that’s the plan at Created Gems in the Siesta Key Village By Jane Bartnett
“Big bling for little ching.” That’s the slogan and the promise that Mark and Barbie Edwards make to their customers at Created Gems jewelry shop in the heart of Siesta Key Village. A well-known landmark destination for the past 21 years, the Edwards’ shop is often filled with groups of visitors who enjoy discovering the well-priced and affordable jewelry items, many of which capture the tropical wonders of the gulf-coast waters. “We offer nautical and high fashion trend jewelry styles that are quite affordable,” said Mark. “Customers are drawn to our nautical jewelry. We help them to bring a part of their vacation home with them.” Both Mark and Barbie genuinely enjoy interacting with their customers and those who leave with their treasures depart with a smile. “It’s fun,” said Mark, explaining that he enjoys meeting visitors to the Key and discussing the hundreds of jewelry items in the store designed in silver and gold. There are earrings, charms, pendants, rings, watches, bracelets and necklaces for men and women. Many are adorned with opals, amethysts, marcasite, and the Edwards’ laboratory-created Spektralyte diamonds that are recognized by the American Gem Society. A third-generation jeweler from Detroit, Mark began his career at his grandfather’s jewelry store in the Motor City. He went on to own and operate his own fine jewelry store in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills. It was there that he met his wife Barbie, a television host at WXYZ-TV, the ABC Detroit affiliate station. Barbie was also the editor and owner of Main Street Magazine, a Detroit-area small business publication. In 1991 the couple married and she joined her husband in the Farmington Hills store. In
From left and clockwise, Barbie Edwards interacts with a customer, she and Mark Edwards discuss their products, a nauticalthemed necklace with plenty of sparkle. (photos by Jane Bartnett)
1995, Mark sold his Michigan business and the couple moved to the Phoenix region where their daughter was attending college. Barbie became a local radio talk show host on KXAM Radio in Scottsdale and Mark began working with chemists and engineers to develop the trademarked Spektralyte-created diamonds that are sold exclusively in the Created Gems store on Siesta Key. His goal was to create affordable gems.
“They’re manufactured under laboratory conditions and then cut like a Tiffany diamond with 58 facets. They duplicate the visual properties of your finest quality and natural diamonds,” Mark said. “The gems are also permanent and D flawless in color and sold with a lifetime guarantee.” On a trip to Sarasota in late 2001, they fell Continued on page 26
Spa Experience Siesta Key
Maintain that Youthful Look with Microcurrent Treatments Microcurrent Facials are a powerful anti-aging treatment that tightens and tones facial muscles and stimulates and neck, restoring suppleness and a youthful glow while tightening the facial muscles. This machine based treatment sends electrical impulses of very low voltage but high frequency through the skin resulting in a more youthful appearance. Crow’s feet begin to disappear, eyebrows lift, and cheekbones are more defined. Clients normally fall asleep during the facial as it is extremely relaxing and painless. There is no downtime and clients may go outside with no concerns after treatments. Spa Director, Connie Lewis has been performing micro-current facials since 2005 after learning the technology during her studies at Fashion Focus Academy where she earned by the results I personally experienced on my own face I immediately acquired the machine right out of school,” says Lewis. Results of the treatments are cumulative and the best visible results are after a series of 5- 10 treatments then monthly or weekly treatments are recommended depending on skin condition and desired result. The system is completely safe and treatment is non-invasive. The current is extremely low, less than the output of a pacemaker. The system operates on a per-programmed setting and contains calibrated internal data monitoring and resistance meters. This allows full comfort to the client as well as optimal performance and results for the operator.
Microcurrent treatments are usually performed within 45-60 minutes, and are usually prescribed in a series of 6 to 12 treatments over a course of 60 days with one to two treatments a week recommended for maximum results. The number of sessions in a series is complete, a monthly “booster” treatment is required to maintain results. Our non-invasive treatment usually offers noticeable results even after just one session and effectively gives you Like exercise for the other parts of the body, the facial muscles need a regular workout to achieve good muscle tone. Muscle reeducation by microcurrent is often referred to as “sculpting” and “lifting.” The lifting and strengthening action have an accumulative effect on the face with each systematic series of treatments, increasing the holding action of the muscles. Through repeated sessions, facial muscles will hold their tone. Just like the stomach muscles will “re-tone” after repeated sessions of sit-ups. During the initial program, we recommend one to two visits a week with the total number depending on the individual needs. A typical course of treatment will range from six to twelve sessions. And after that a visit once a month is usually all that is required to maintain good facial muscle tone and youthful appearance. When you stop exercising the body, over a period of time the muscle will lose their increased tone and the face. It will not suddenly “fall,” but overtime will begin to resume its normal aging process. Most individuals will see immediate changes in ADVERTORIAL
specialist can lift half of your face to show you the difference compared to the other side. But the improvement is increasingly obvious over a period of time with the series of sessions. Results depend What can microcurrent do for you? Originally developed for treating facial palsy, microcurrent in the esthetic realm can: • Re-educate muscles • Increase blood and lymph circulation • Enhance the penetration of the active ingredients of skin care formulations • Increase the production of collagen and elastin • Increase protein synthesis, gluconeogenesis and cell membrane transport. Additionally, research has shown that microcurrent may help with anti-aging at an even deeper level. In 1982, researcher Ngok Cheng led a study that provided hard evidence of microcurrent’s role in cellular vitality by proving that microcurrent increased levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in lab-rat skin cells by 500 percent. ATP is the fuel a cell needs to function. Actually, ATP is a really big deal as it is the energy that fuels all biochemical functions in the body. It boosts protein synthesis, necessary for tissue repair. If you are interested in seeing the results on yourself, you can book an appointment online at spaexperiencesiestakey.com or by calling 941-349-4833. Spa Experience, Siesta Key is conveniently located at 5700 Midnight Pass Road, Suite 4B, Siesta key (next door to the fire station). Go to spaexperiencesiestakey.com to book your appointment or call 941-349-4833.
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Your Favorite Italian Dishes Prepared Fresh Daily! 941-366-8988
FAMILY FEAST (2) 1-TOPPING 16” PIZZAS, (6) GARLIC KNOTS, AND A LARGE GARDEN SALAD
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PLUS TAX. Valid at Sarasota location only with this Local Trend offer. One coupon per visit. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. Restrictions apply. EXPIRES 4/10/23.SRQ041 SRQ033 EXPIRES 12/10/23.
4 LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU Bay Road • St. Armands Circle • Sarasota • Tamiami Trail / Airport
1902 BAY ROAD • SARASOTA • CORNER OF BEE RIDGE & US 41
Health, beauty make perfect teammates
Gulf Gate’s Natural Apothecary Shoppe provides holistic-based expertise in both By Em Becker
nner health and external beauty are distinct concepts that can encompass varying priorities. However, the Natural Apothecary Shoppe was born from the idea that health and beauty are intertwined. The business values health and strives to positively influence how people feel about themselves. Laurie Lombardi, the owner, describes the roots of the business as the “concept of internal and external beauty coming together.” Lombardi has always had a vested interest in this philosophy. She maintains a successful career that started at NBC Studios in New York City in the 1980s. There, she served as a makeup artist for a vast array of shows, films, and programs. In 2001 and 2002, she won an Emmy Award for her work on Late Night with David Letterman. From the start of her makeup career, she understood that beauty always starts with what is going on inside the body. “I took note of which people ate well and who was hydrated in the ’80s”, said Lombardi. Because of this mindset, she developed a great interest in nutrition. She earned a degree in clinical nutrition and certification for paramedical skincare. In 1999, using her holistic knowledge, she created her own natural cosmetic line called Ladybird Cosmetics. Ladybird was sold in stores throughout New York City including Henri Bendel, the acclaimed department store chain. In 2010, she compounded organic skincare in the New York City area. There, she met Eric Sauer, a naturopathic consultant and licensed pharmacist. He owned the Natural Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy in Ocean Township, New Jersey. Sauer is also highly skilled at homeotropic,
Laurie Lombardi (far left) works with a client at the Natural Apothecary Shoppe in Gulf Gate. (submitted photo)
an alternative medicine practice that is founded on a like-for-like principle. Lombardi’s and Sauer’s unique skillsets make the perfect combination to approach beauty with a prioritization on internal health. Lombardi created the Natural Apothecary Shoppe, a business in Gulf Gate which has been open for 18 months. There, Sauer is a part-time holistic pharmacist. “Customers come in and are surprised that it’s a one-stop shop”, said Lombardi. The business offers information and products relating to hormones, deficiencies, vitamins, and skincare. At the shop, customers can set up a
consultation with Sauer. Recently he has spearheaded immune support consultations that are individualized to customers who are trying to restrengthen their immune system after COVID-19. Sauer also specializes in the impacts of various drugs on the body. He shares his knowledge of unknown side effects with customers who are experiencing issues, and oftentimes refers customers to doctors to get hormones tested. Sauer helps to break down the results of these tests and provide tailored recommendations of organic strategies to balance deficiencies. Sauer’s supplement
recommendations and homeopathic remedies are popular with customers. While Sauer tackles the natural pharmaceutical side, Lombardi continues to compound her own organic skincare on site by hand. She is the expert on the array of skincare and cosmetic products the business offers and is always willing to share her expertise with customers. Some of the Natural Apothecary Shoppe’s bestsellers include Vitamin C, which is a refrigerated product that includes probiotics and has no chemicals. Another fan favorite is the organic face oil. “It’s nutrition for the skin”, Lombardi said. She specifically chose to utilize plant serum in the oil because it prevents the greasy feeling that other face oils can cause. The shop carries products with clean ingredients from all over the world; a popular sunblock is shipped in from Africa. Lombardi said she chooses to sell products created by small businesses and strives to support them. Next month will be an exciting time for the business, as its Fill Me Up Kits will be launching in-store. “These kits have magnets inside of six pallets,” Lombardi explained. She designed the kits with magnets to provide customers with the autonomy to choose the type of product and specific shade they want. They can build their own makeup routine in a kit completely customized to their liking. Customers will have the opportunity to mix and match between a variety of Laurie Lombardisignature concealer, lip, and cheek products. Hours for the business, located at 6608 Gateway Ave., are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Serving the Florida Gulf Coast Since 1975 Welcome to Seascape Aquarium & Pet Center. We have:
• 10,000 feet of showrooms • 25,000 gallons of freshwater, salt water and coral.
OF THE MONTH Bearded Dragon Pogona vitticeps
Our store has many bearded dragons available in all sizes and age. Perhaps the most popular pet lizard, bearded dragons are originally from the deserts of central Australia. "Bearded" refers to the extendable flap of skin under their chin that turns black when they are stressed, displaying dominance or being territorial. They are usually even-tempered, docile, easy to tame, bond closely with their caretakers and are generally hardy when cared for properly. Typical bearded dragon appearance & behavior • Tolerates handling and interaction with humans • In nature, their skin is tan-colored, but they have been bred for a variety of different colors and patterns • Communicate with each other through gestures such as “arm waving,” in which they lift a front leg and wave it back and forth in submission to another lizard. • They also bob their head as part of their mating ritual or to display dominance • Will spend their day in a hiding spot, basking and climbing.
Located in Gulf Gate 2162 Gulf Gate Drive Store hours: Monday-Friday 10 AM - 6 PM Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM Sunday 12 - 4 PM 941-922-0914 firstname.lastname@example.org
27th State Media LLC
OPEN 10–5 DAILY 10–9 SATURDAY
Crystal Classic international sandsculpting festival
NOVEMBER 10—13, 2023 • SIESTA BEACH • Food, Drink & Retail Vendors • Party Tent • Master Sculpting Competition • Quick Sand Speed Sculpting • 16 brilliant sand masterpieces
LIVE MUSIC EVERY DAY!
Fun Activities for Kids & Adults!
SAVE MONEY AND TIME BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE NOW!
Amateur Competition Sand Sculpting Demos & Lessons
Philharmonic Band, Kettle of Fish, Ten 76 Band, From the Edge Band, Smudgekitten, John Patti Project, Tropical Ave, Hydramatic, Out of the Blue
(Ticket price higher at gate)
A portion of the proceeds will go towards the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Scholarship Fund for Ringling College of Art + Design
SiestaKeyCrystalClassic.com PLATINUM PLUS SPONSORS
Dress Like You Are On Vacation
Clothing, Gifts and More! 6625 Midnight Pass Rd. | South Siesta Key | 941-349-6625
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6635 Midnight Pass Rd. 941.346.0226
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Sept. 6 ... Mia was beloved by all and a tremendous asset to our community and chamber family. We are grateful to have known and worked with Mia and will always remember her bright smile, infectious laugh, kindness and fun-loving personality,” wrote Frescura and Mike Gatz, the chamber’s board of directors chairman, in a letter to the community. It was Leone who oversaw the important work of the many loyal volunteers, some of whom have been volunteering for more than 20 years. These individuals staff the Visitor Center’s front desk and support other chamber events that take place throughout the year. “She was always optimistic and happy -- a positive, loving, caring person both to people and Mia’s beloved doggies.,” said Sharon Rivera, a longtime volunteer, of Leone. “I feel that Mia was the No. 1 ambassador of Siesta Key and an amazing member of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce’s world-class staff. “We will always rember you for your smile and your hard hugs.” And it was Leone who the volunteers turned to when they needed help to answer a visitor’s question. Training, supervising and scheduling them was Leone’s mission. Frescura noted that Leone also made sure that her volunteers were “quick on their feet,” and able to address a broad range of topics. In the days and weeks before her passing, Leone devoted a great amount of time and effort to planning ahead and laying the groundwork for the hundreds of volunteers who will staff this month’s annual four-day Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival. The Crystal Classic, taking place Nov. 10-13 on Siesta Beach, was Leone’s largest and most cherished project. It draws thousands of visitors from around the world. “Each year, Mia recruited and managed over 300 volunteers,” said Frescura. “She was the point person for all the volunteers.” A native of Grove City, Pennsylvania, Leone joined the chamber staff on June 13, 2015.
Speaking of Leone’s unique role, Frescura explained the dual objectives of the office. “We’re unique in that we’re a chamber but the active visitor center makes us a hybrid since we’re an award-winning tourist destination. Our volunteers are an integral part of the organization,” she said. “All the volunteers loved and respected Mia,” added Frescura. “We all bring something to the table, but we all worked well together as a team. Mia was a key part of our team.” Leone also attended and took part in all chamber events, both large and small. “Regardless of our needs, Mia was always there to reach out to her volunteers and to find staffing when we needed their help,” Frescura said. At this year’s Crystal Classic event, the memory of Leone and the impact that she made will be on the minds and hearts of all of her co-workers, Siesta Key chamber members, her friends and family, and the many volunteers. A photo display before a large sandcastle to honor her is planned for the event. “The committee decided to accept donations on her behalf that will be donated to the Humane Society of Sarasota. Mia loved animals and especially her dogs, Lily and Norman,” said Frescura. And Frescura made it a point to reference something meaningful at Leone’s work station. “Mia had a poem at her desk called ‘Why Be a Volunteer,’ said Frescura. “It speaks volumes. She believed in what volunteerism is.” It reads: Why be a Volunteer? It’s not for the money, it’s not for the fame And it’s not for any personal gain It’s just for the love of fellow man It’s just to lend a helping hand It’s just to give a tithe of self That’s something you can’t buy with wealth It’s that reward down in your heart It’s feeling that you’ve been a part Of helping others far and near. That’s what makes you a volunteer
27th State Media LLC
From John and Rita Davidson:
“ When John Davidson opened his first pharmacy in 1958, a classic soda fountain was part of the scene. (submitted photos)
Davidson Drugs now have their needs met at the Walgreens at Bee Ridge Road and U.S. 41. The customers at the Davidson’s in Southbridge Mall will be using the Walgreens at Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41. “We’ve done Siesta Key a great service and it’s terrible that we’re leaving (the Village),” Davidson said. “My father was adamant that a pharmacy remained on Siesta Key, and we thought we had found someone, but they couldn’t make the numbers work. “We were offering our two vacant units (nearby on Avenida Madera, where the Davidsons serve as landlords) and were even willing to subsidize the rent.” That father, John Davidson, was the man who brought the island its first pharmacy when in 1958 he set up shop with what he called the Siesta Key Pharmacy in the location that’s now home to Beach Bazaar across the street. Later, he’d help build Siesta Village Plaza and his pharmacy became the anchor. Eventually, the complex would become Davidson Plaza. “Obviously, he’s saddened,” Richard Davidson said of his
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father, who’s now 92 and still involved in the business but in a limited role due to health issues. “He’s a pharmacist by education. When he was an owner/operator, he was the one filling the pills.” Why the closing? “It’s a business decision – it boiled down to that,” Richard Davidson said. “The pharmacy was pulling down the store. It probably should have been done a couple of years ago.” Davidson pointed to ongoing challenges with changes in prescription reimbursement, mostly related to Medicare Part D, as the largest factor. “It was always bad, and now it’s really bad,” he said of the control on reimbursements and how they’ve deteriorated as the result of pharmacy benefits managers who he likened to “a fox who watches the henhouse.” “It’s all regulated,” Davidson continued. “You can’t make your own fair retail price like the old days.” He said today’s system “put the nail in the coffin for independent pharmacies like us.”
Furthermore, Davidson said the need to support the hiring of pharmacists and technicians was also a strain, as were the cost of operations. “We also had two vans and provided free delivery. There are a lot of expenses,” Davidson said. My-Huong Ta, operator of Siesta Village Dentistry which is one of Davidson Plaza’s tenants, was among those who relied on the pharmacy. “It’s a shock for many of us,” she said of the news of the closing, “especially because we call in prescriptions for our patients to the Davidson’s drug store often. My patients are very surprised and some of their workers were in distress because they will be out of a job.” Ta abruptly found out about the pharmacy’s closure through a typical transaction. “When I called in a prescription for a patient (on Oct. 17) the pharmacist staff told me that in 10 minutes -- at 6 p.m. -- it will be turned over to Walgreens and it will be shut down completely,” she said, noting that her next call
I want to thank the generations of loyal customers and patients who have supported Davidson’s over the last 65 years. I deeply appreciate all the employees who have worked to make Davidson’s a unique and friendly place to shop since 1958. Thousands of patients have trusted our pharmacists for their prescription needs and professional advice. “All six of our children, as well as several grandchildren, have been employees since the early years, making this a true family business. As children, they might sweep the floors or straighten the shelves. Eventually, they were able to work the cash register. I am very proud of my sons Richard (president of Davidson Drugs) and Bob, who have devoted many years to the success of one of the longest-running businesses in Sarasota. “But times change, and now is the right time to move on. It may be the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one.” John Davidson
John has often reminisced about the early years on Siesta Key. The Village was a place where everyone knew everyone, charming boutiques carried high-end merchandise, one could buy the best preppy clothes at Conrad Egan, Anna herself was in her deli making sandwiches, John MacDonald could regularly be spotted having lunch, girls from Out-of-Door Academy occasionally tied up their horses to shop at the drugstore, Dr. Freeman Epes made house calls, and the best sundaes were to be had at the Davidson’s soda fountain. “There are too many stories to begin to recall, but suffice it to say that John Davidson has always been in the center of the action, always working to improve the community, for 65 years.” Rita Davidson the following day went directly to Walgreens. “Needless to say, I’m sorry to see the drugstore closed,” Ta added. “I hope the workers can get jobs elsewhere soon, and that the Davidsons are doing well.” Speaking of employees, of which
The drugstore and pharmacy operation in modern times. (submitted photos)
Happiness Is…Friends and Family In this season of thanksgiving, is there anything better to be thankful for than family and great friends? Jerry Williams, owner of Abel’s Ice Cream, has much to be thankful for. “In recent months, members of our family have moved to the area. In addition, we have built incredible friendships here. Never been more grateful to be in this community.” Many of those friendships were born from Jerry’s proactive
lifestyle as an integral member of the Sarasota community. With two businesses, Abel’s and Simon’s Coffee House, Jerry brings his smiling face to the best ice cream and the best breakfast and lunch location in the area. Looking for a fantastic vegan Thanksgiving meal? Pre-order it today from Simon’s. And Abel’s is celebrating the season of Thanksgiving, with featured flavors Carrot Cake (Carrot cake ice cream with fresh walnuts and thick ribbon of cream cheese frosting.) and Stellar Coffee
(Rich coffee ice cream with delicious fudge and mini dark chocolate coffee cups.) Come and celebrate the spirit of joy with us. Abel’s Ice Cream is located at 1886 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota in the South Bridge Plaza. Open Sunday through Thursday from Noon-9:30 pm, and Friday and Saturday from Noon-10 pm. Learn more online at www.abelsicecream.com or connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.
the store had about 15, Davidson said he often had trouble finding and keeping them in recent years. “Sarasota is getting too expensive to live in, so we were having to hire people who live further away in places like Bradenton. And they’d tell us the drive was too much,” he said. One of the endeavors in which the Davidsons will continue be involved is the management of its vast amount of commercial real estate – a collection to which the Village drugstore has now been added as available. Davidson said it’s already being marketed. “It’s pretty valuable space,” he said of the 8,500 square feet. When asked what he prefers to see occupy it, he said “All I can say is that it can’t be another drugstore. That’s part of our agreement with Walgreens.”
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941.312.0665 Brian Wigelsworth (left) and Matt Long with one of their sand creations. (submitted photo
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work,” said Wigelsworth this October from South Carolina, where he now runs the northern branch of his and Daily’s Sandventure Crew company. “I come from a commercial background. Fine artists create their art from their heart. A commercial artist creates their art for their client, to entertain or impress. That’s our client — the people who come through the event. I think of what they want to see. I’m creating art for the people.” While some sand sculptors listen to their headphones while they work, Long and Wigelsworth embrace their showmanship from the moment they start carving. They love to chat with the crowds, even as they’re also pushing the sand to the limits of detail and gravity. “We like to show off that way,” said Wigelsworth. Added Long, “The truth is, we are absolutely, as a group, entertainers.” The two first met in 2007 at a sand sculpting competition in Fort Myers. Long was competing in the professional division and Wigelsworth, then still an amateur, was on the cusp of gaining master sand sculptor status. They had instant chemistry. “The stories just flowed,” Wigelsworth said. That chemistry is important for sculpting partnerships, both on and off the sandpile. Professional sand sculptors make the bulk of their income traveling around the country — and the world — to carve pieces for events like corporate getaways, destination weddings, and theme park celebrations. In recent years, Long
and Wigelsworth have teamed up for a number of such gigs, hitting the road together to do sculptures in as many as eight different malls in a stretch. “Brian is a fabulously talented artist with a lot of art training. I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Long, who spoke to us while preparing to travel to Antigua for a solo gig. “You get lucky in this life. You just connect with some people. He’s like a brother.” When it comes to their sculptures, Long and Wigelsworth turn heads with their complementary styles. “He is more of a hard-line artist, and I’m more of a soft,” said Wigelsworth, who is especially adept at human faces that truly resemble their subject. “We’ve taken advantage of his ability to create these likenesses,” said Long. “It’s an advantage over other sculptors. Especially with the People’s Choice [category]. We pick topical things that the masses like.” In one contest, they created a stunning tribute to John Lennon. Wigelsworth carved the Beatle’s head, complete with Lennon’s signature teashade glasses, while Long handled the accompanying guitar, sunburst, doves, and peace sign. Wigelsworth maintains that their second-place finish was due only to the scheming of one unscrupulous judge, whose lone low vote brought their average down enough to lose the crown. That judge’s name just happened to be Mark Chapman and, when Wigelsworth and Long checked into his last name out of curiosity, it was David. That’s right,
Festival facts Friday, Nov. 10 through Monday, Nov. 13, Siesta Beach Advance-purchase tickets: • Adult: $12 per day • Child: (Ages 5 - 17): $6 per day, must be accompanied by a paying adult • Military Discount: $10 per day - Active and Retired Military Personnel (Identification required.) • Senior Discount: (age 65 and up): $10 per day • 4-Day Value Pass: $40 per adult (available in advance and online only) and $20 for children (ages 5 - 17 if accompanied by a paying adult.) • Children under 5 are free, must be accompanied by a paying adult. -- PLEASE PRINT YOUR TICKETS FOR ENTRY -• 4-Day Value Pass ticket holders need to check in at the check-in kiosk to receive their wristband good for entry all four days of the event. • Single-day ticket holders will receive a hand stamp for the day they purchased. Reserved Parking Passes: $55 (online only; while supplies last) Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 10, Nov. 12 and Nov. 13; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 11 (featuring lighted sculptures) Amateur Sand Sculpting Competition: Nov. 11 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (winners announced at 4 p.m.) Quick Sand Competition: Nov. 10 12:30 and 4:30 p.m.; Nov. 11 12:30 and 4:30 p.m.; Nov. 12 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sand sculpting demos and lessons: Nov. 10 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ; Nov. 11 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; Nov. 12 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; Awards ceremony: Nov. 12 at 3 p.m. Music schedule: • Nov. 10: Philharmonic Band 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Kettle of Fish 2 to 5 p.m. • Nov. 11: Ten 76 Band 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; From the Edge Band 2 to 5 p.m.; Smudgekitten 6 to 8:30 p.m. • Nov. 12: John Patti Project10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tropical Ave 2 to 5 p.m. • Nov. 13: Hyrdamatic 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Out of the Blue 2 to 5 p.m. Website: SIESTAKEYCRYSTALCLASSIC.COM
Mark David Chapman — the exact same name as Lennon’s assassin. “Matt was furious,” Wigelsworth remembered. “I said, ‘You’ve just gotta relax. We got a great story. Mark Chapman just killed Lennon again.’” Since Wigelsworth first created it, the Crystal Classic has been enticing some of the best sculptors from around the world to come to Sarasota. COVID-19 hampered international travel in recent years, but this year’s contest marks a return to pre-pandemic standards, with sand artists from the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Ukraine, Japan, Lithuania and
Latvia, plus individuals and teams from the U.S. (They do still face a scheduling conflict with the start of the ice sculpting season in Europe. Many of these artists work and compete in both media.) Wigelsworth and Long are both unabashed fans of many of the other attendees this year. They’re quick to describe the stunning pieces they’ve seen other artists carve from sand — alligators, castles, pirates, even a giant head encased in a knitted mask, giant sand hands clasped to the cheeks. “I’ll probably never be that good. But that’s OK,” said Wigelsworth. “I do what I do and I entertain the
people. The [Sarasota] community benefits. I’m really happy I created an event that brings in $9 million locally. I’d feel guilty if I came in first place. I’m already a winner.” Their admiration for their peers, as well as their love of the limelight, makes the Crystal Classic atmosphere alone the best reason for participating. “When a contest is over, so often I will look at the 10 or 12 sculptures around me, and I tear up,” said Long. “It’s just magnificent. I spend my life telling people, you can look at pictures, but you have no conception of what it looks like unless you see it live.”
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Siesta Promenade which is currently not striped, but does allow for on-street parking. He said the benefits of on-street parking are nationally recognized for traffic calming by leading professional organizations in the industry, including the United States Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and the Florida Department of Transportation. “When you have on-street parking, drivers must be extra cautious to watch for vehicles that are parallel parking, as well as the drivers accessing their vehicles,” he said. “This slows vehicles down and makes the street less inviting for potential cut-through traffic, and it also helps to align with the goal of a safer and slower street. Slower streets are safer streets.” Smith asked Hatton about other, less controversial methods for calming traffic, to which Hatton responded that the on-street parking was just one component of a mix of “tools in a toolbox,” which includes feedback signs, speed cushions, a raised crosswalk, and a mini-roundabout at Glencoe Avenue -- a combination that “keeps you guessing” and would “be an enhancement in reducing speeds.” Smith said he understands Hatton sees it as an enhancement, but stated “The neighborhood doesn’t.” Mathes said, when approached for feedback regarding traffic calming measures, there was not enough community participation to require Benderson to install “any traffic calming improvements at all.” “We could have gone home with that,” Mathes said, but the people who spoke up clearly wanted the improvements, “so we volunteered to do it right.” The residents speak up Sura Kochman, a resident of Pine Shores and president of the neighborhood alliance, said “This is a classic baitand-switch,” pointing out the plan was approved for recommendation by the planning commission only after the parallel parking was removed, “and now, at the last minute, we hear this has risen again from Kochman the ashes.” She said Mathes’ statement regarding community participation was incorrect; the initial survey that was sent out by the county included more than 50% absentee owners, such as Airbnb rentals. So, following her discussion with county staff, another survey was disseminated to a smaller subset of owners, and in that instance there was a significant response.
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“And that is why there is traffic calming elements in this application, and not out of the goodness of the heart of the applicant, but because it is a requirement of the applicant,” Kochman said. Pat Norton, a Glencoe Avenue homeowner, said the streets are too narrow for on-street parallel parking, as “it barely holds two cars passing each other.” “We all have to back out of our driveway,” she said. “And what did we find if you back out of those driveways? You hit a car. Your car cannot make a turn out of our driveway in order to go out, up Glencoe.” Harry Kochman, also a resident of Pine Shores, pointed out the parking is on the other side of the landscape buffer, and said “The landscape buffer which was to protect the existing residential neighborhood is now on the project side of the parallel parking, thus negating the intent of the buffer, and is an affront to the intention of the BCC’s previous approval and to the neighborhood.” Meanwhile, references to state rulings in lawsuits filed against the county regarding the project were the focus of some Siesta Key residents. Robert Luckner of the Siesta Key Association said the development is inconsistent with the county’s comprehensive plan, citing traffic on Stickney Point Road when the development was approved in 2018. Luckner said the approval was contingent upon a traffic light (at Avenue B & C along Stickney Point Road), which was erected but not yet activated, and now “circumstances have changed” due to rulings by Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings and Sarasota County’s 12th Judicial Circuit Court, which stated that Siesta Key and its primary roads are protected by the county comprehensive plan from “any increase in intensity; traffic.” Those rulings were related to lawsuits against the county for approval of a highdensity hotel. Another hotel-related lawsuit has yet to receive a ruling. Added Luckner, “And therefore, I feel like the planning commission and the commission have not been properly briefed on the implications of both the DOAH decision and the implications of the 12th Circuit, which found you cannot increase the intensity on Stickney Point Road, at least out to (U.S.) 41.” Luckner asked that the project be “remanded back” to both commissions for further consideration before approval. Neil Schleifer, vice president of the Siesta Key Condominium Council representing more than 90 associations with more than 7,000 residents, shared similar concerns about traffic in an Aug. 22 letter from his group. “As Siesta Key stakeholders, we are very
An artist’s rendering of the development’s entrance. (submitted image)
concerned about the additional traffic Siesta Promenade will bring to the Key, resulting in gridlock on Stickney Point Road and impeding emergency ingress and egress,” the letter stated. Schleifer went on to say there should be a traffic study before changes to the project are approved and said, in light of the state and circuit court rulings, the critical-area plan must be reconfigured to consider this main evacuation route from Siesta Key. He said it is the only four-lane road leaving the Key and, as seen recently with Hurricane Idalia, it was the only viable way to evacuate as the north bridge was impassable due to flooding. County staff, commissioners, Benderson rep respond Mathes said claims regarding the DOAH and circuit court rulings were not relevant to Siesta Promenade, and noted that other disputes filed by Siesta Key resident Jim Wallace against FDOT in opposition to the traffic lights were resolved in favor of the project. Wallace, who was once also a plaintiff in that second, unsettled hotel-related lawsuit before dropping out, issued a Siesta Promenade opposition letter to the county commissioners on Aug. 1 and also had his attorney speak at the Sept. 27 commission meeting. Said Mathes of any reference to the other court rulings, “I think those issues are totally erroneous.” Mathes also pointed out that parking already is permitted along Glencoe Avenue. Additionally, he said that the planning commission does not have final say -- it is a recommending board, so the applicant chose to not follow the recommendation and bring it back before the county commission with parallel parking included. “The point is, instead of a car parked on a street which someone might rear-end, a car will be safely parked on a street in a parallel parking space, which another car doesn’t want to hit,” Mathes said. “They want to
slow down. So, hopefully, what this results in is slower traffic, calm traffic … So, we’re putting it forward, we’re willing to do it if you want us to do it. It’s as simple as that, commissioners.” Smith asked Joshua Moye, the county attorney, if Mathes was correct in stating the recent legal rulings had no bearing on the current hearing for Siesta Promenade. Moyes said he does not see how they relate to this hearing, specifically, but if approved the project could be on the receiving end of legal challenges. “Could we get challenges on this? Of course we could,” Moyes said. “But I don’t think these are right on point to say, ‘Hey, there’s something to be super concerned about of these having any kind of precedent over what’s happening today.’” During discussion Smith said, as a Siesta Key resident, he drives Stickney Point Road regularly and understands the traffic concerns voiced by the residents. He said the two court cases regarding – in part -- the road have been “pivotal” and cited a difference of opinion between the county and the residents that deal with access to the Key. “Do we listen to the attorneys that won those cases? The county is 0-and-2, looking at going 0-and-3, and as we like to say, it is the taxpayers’ money,” Smith said. “I believe this will be challenged. I hate to see us waste more money.” Before the final vote, District 5 Commissioner Ron Cutsinger commented that he thinks there has been confusion regarding the project, as it is already entitled, so traffic should be off the table. “There’s no additional density proposed here,” he said. “We’re just simply adding these two properties in … And I think we’re going to be moving cars that would be parking -- and believe me, they would be parking along that road. We’re going to move them off to a safe space … So, it seems like ultimately that’s a much better overall solution here.”
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Continued from page 18
love with the area. Strolling through Siesta Key Village, they spotted a vacancy sign on a storefront at 5212 Ocean Blvd. and decided to take the space. Several months later they left Arizona, moved to Sarasota, and in early 2002 Created Gems opened its doors. Since then, thousands of customers have visited the busy and welcoming jewelry shop. Walking through the small boutique, many visitors are drawn to the glittering sterling silver Siesta Key palm tree necklace. Made with the Spektralyte-created diamonds, it sells for $19.95. Other coastalinspired items, such as a sterling silver “wave” pendant that glitters with opals and Spektralyte diamonds, retail for $29.95. In addition to their own designs, Created Gems also features silver and gold Alamea Hawaiian jewelry inspired by the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. The store’s back cases are reserved for the truly red carpet-worthy collection of Spektralyte diamond rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets set in 14K gold that retail in the hundreds of dollars. “Many of our customers attend formal events and travel extensively,” said Barbie. “These are people who want to safely wear beautiful jewelry that reflects the newest
fashion.” Standing behind the case filled with Spektralyte jewelry, Barbie pointed out several designs of shimmering rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. A dazzling ring that could rival Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary engagement ring from Richard Burton was also among the Created Gems collection. “We follow all the high-end trends. Many of our longtime Created Gems customers live in the Sarasota area and have been shopping here for years,” Barbie said. “Others first discovered Created Gems while visiting the Key and Sarasota from other parts of the U.S., Canada, England and Germany.” She noted that when the producers of The Real Housewives of Dallas became aware of the Spektralyte creations, they purchased pieces for the popular Bravo reality show. Mark stated that in order to distinguish a Spektralyte diamond from a natural diamond, a carbon test is required. “We mount our jewelry in either 14K gold or platinum sterling silver and the result is a beautiful and extremely affordable piece. For a $20K-range look, our higher-end rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings retail in the hundreds of dollars.”
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The Highs and Lows of Properties Sold on Siesta Key
27th State Media LLC
Provided by William Raveis Real Estate / www.raveis.com
The following are properties sold on Siesta Key in the last 60 days, providing a snapshot of home values on the Key for both single-family homes and condominiums. HIGHEST-PRICED SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE 100 PIERSON LN. $2.83 MILLION Magnificent estate home showcasing an incredible indoor/ outdoor lifestyle with multiple entertaining space. Entering the estate, you are welcomed by a grand foyer with incredibly crafted inlaid marble flooring. Natural light streams into this home with multiple skylights, sliding doors, and French doors leading to the multitude of outdoor living spaces. Host magnificent dinner parties in the formal indoor dining room. With multiple large bedrooms - complete with ensuite bathrooms. On the lower level you will find a large primary bedroom LOWEST-PRICED SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE 925 CONTENTO CR. $2.625 MILLION Completely remodeled and fully furnished three-bedroom/ two-bath pool home on the Grand Canal basin. As you enter the home, you will immediately appreciate the amazing light filled open floor plan design. The kitchen has been arranged to allow for interacting with the family and guests while preparing great meals on the large waterfall island.
An oversized great room with a full wall of pocket sliders allows for bird, fish and manatee watching. The master bedroom has pocket sliders that open directly out to the covered lanai. The views continue out the rear of the home to a beautiful saltwater pool and large deck also offering a covered lanai with motorized screens. Wander down to the dock which features a IMM 16,000-pound boat lift with water and electric service. Courtesy of Willian Raveis Real Estate
HIGHEST-PRICED CONDO 84 AVENIDA VENECCIA, #201 $4.569 MILLION Unit 203 at 89 Beach is a two-story, nearly 3,100-square-foot masterpiece with walls of glass, two terraces, and forever beach views. 89 Beach is Siesta Key’s newest building and will offer six beautiful boutique residences set on one of the best beaches in the world. The setting is iconic Sunset Point -- located just a stone’s throw from Siesta Village offering panoramic, awe-inspiring sunsets nightly. Designed by renowned architecture firm DSDG, this condominium offers a reimagined take on the traditional beach house. Featuring LOWEST-PRICED CONDO 9393 MIDNIGHT PASS RD., UNIT P3 $545,000 Spectacular views of the gulf and bay from this rarely available one-bedroom, one-bath penthouse on Siesta Key. Renovated condo unit with newer custom high-quality kitchen cabinets, quartz counters, and newer appliances. Enjoy your cup of coffee with a
option equipped with a slate tiled fireplace and covered lanai overlooking the pool. Or on the other end of the main level the king room with multiple sets of French doors leading to the quiet and secluded north yard sitting area. There is also a queen bedroom/office on the main with a Jack-n-Jill bath. The upper king room has a lanai overlooking the pool and lush grounds, ensuite bath, tiled third fireplace and large walk-in closet. Upper queen room has a balcony and a terrace, ensuite bath and large closet. Very large pool surrounded by luxurious travertine tiles and extended walkways from the home, around the pool and to the boat dock. Your private dock will lead you to a 13,000-pound boat lift. Courtesy of Keller Williams
floor-to-ceiling hurricane glass sliders and windows, a private unobstructed terrace for sunset viewing, tons of windows for natural light, and an open concept floorplan that allows for casual yet refined living. Unit is well equipped with gourmet kitchen, designer quartz counters, porcelain floors, smart home integration, and some of the finest finishes now on the market. Set behind a gated entry, 89 Beach will feature private cabanas for each owner, two-car garages, storage, a private, elevated pool with a Gulf view, resident’s gas firepit, and much more.
view of the gulf from the kitchen and breakfast bar. The bright and light living area has been extended to include the lanai with all glass sliding doors giving you serene views of the bay. Main bedroom with two large closets and connecting bath. Enjoy watching the boats, birds, and kayaks directly from your unit, or bring your kayak to this tropical paradise and venture out to the bay. Courtesy of Michael Saunders
Courtesy of Michael Saunders
The McPherson home on Siesta Key. (photo by John Morton)
Continued from page 16
Meanwhile, back in 2007 after Betsy’s mother died, the Siesta Key house was inherited by Betsy and her brother. It was in limbo, waiting for a new chapter to be written. So, the McPhersons bought out Betsy’s brother, aiming for more getaway trips to Florida. But for the next 15 years the house sat mostly vacant – never once rented out -- as life on the farm and the frantic pace of raising their own children limited the McPhersons to about
$829,000 1129 LAKE HOUSE Circle #C-113 SARASOTA, FL 34242-1800 2 bd | 2 ba (full)
three visits per year. They were putting on hold that “something else in life.” Finally, Kevin and Betsy sold the farm and moved into the house a year ago. And they have never looked back. “Had it been my choice at the time, I would have sold the house five times over,” Kevin said. “I’m glad that didn’t happen.” That’s because they have fallen in love with island life and
its offerings. Betsy religiously participates in water aerobics in the gulf. Kevin, who still works remotely, often hits the tennis courts. Together, they kayak all over the place. “Now these are the things on which we should be spending our time,” Betsy said. “Had we waited 10 more years, we couldn’t enjoy them as much. What we did is we traded our land for the ocean. And we love it.” Vacant land next door is also part of the property, offering up some breathing room. The McPhersons recently cleared it and plan to plant some avocado and lemon trees, with bigger things to come. “Realtors ask us to sell them that lot, or to tear the house down,” Kevin said. “No way. We like both, and eventually we’re going to use the land to build an addition.” That land, by the way, was bought in 1988 for less than $50,000. Today, the house and property are valued at about $1.4 million, according to a variety of online real estate sites. As for her sheep in Virginia, Betsy keeps connected to them by continuing to sell online both her yarn, of which she still has bags of it in her home, and her books, entitled Daisy and the Shepherd and The Shepherd and the Bottle Babies. Contact her at loveewefarm@ gmail.com if interested. She’d also like to continue reading her books and explaining the process of turning wool into yarn. Contact her at the email address if you’d like such a service. “There are probably many youngsters here who have never seen a farm. I think they’d love to learn about a different world, a different way of life,” she said.
27th State Media LLC
Keeping it Real By Natalie Gutwein
There’s so much to know about condos
rying to find a vacation home or an investment property can be quite a monumental task. While some people know immediately where they want to be, others spend months or even years visiting different locales before they find heaven on earth -- or what we commonly refer to as Siesta Key. That’s only step one of the battle. Once you’ve narrowed down the location, now you have to decide if you want a single-family home or a multi-family arrangement -and within that category, there are several options. Here on Siesta Key, we have condominiums, condotels, villas, townhouses, duplexes, and cooperatives. Many times, people start with a condominium. It’s an easier transition than purchasing a home. The expenses for the property are shared between the common property owners. The yard is mowed, the hedges are trimmed, the grounds are cleaned. If something needs repaired, the management company is responsible for the onsite maintenance or finding a vendor, and the homeowner isn’t the one making sure the pool company shows up every week. That is in stark contrast to a single-family home where the homeowner (in most cases) is
responsible for all interior and exterior maintenance, the yard, the pool, the roof -- the entire house. However, we do have at least one community of single-family homes on the island that is maintenancefree: the Banyan Club. The pool, tennis courts, yard maintenance, and irrigation are provided by the homeowners association. There are several other factors to consider before choosing which condo is the best fit. One of the conveniences of modern-day living that gets sacrificed in some condominiums is a washer and dryer. When you are out looking at condos, don’t just ask if there is a washer and dryer in the unit. The question you really need to ask is if the association allows for individual units to have their own washer and dryer. Some buildings provide the washer and dryer and don’t allow them to be installed in each condo. What type of parking is being transferred with the unit? Is there a carport, and how far away is it from the unit? Is there parking under the building? How many spaces? Is there a garage? Is the garage space deeded to the condominium you are purchasing? If not, are there garage spaces available for purchase? Where is the visitor parking? Are there any age restrictions? Both Whispering Sands and Siesta Harbor are age-restricted communities. This has both
Natalie’s Numbers Siesta Key / Sept. 2023 Active listings Days on market Closing price to original price ratio Avg. sale price New listings Number of sales Mos. of inventory Sold price by sq ft
84 124 91.7% $2,033,571 12 7 12 $738
advantages and disadvantages. Your rentals are restricted to people 55 and older, and both have rather strict guidelines regarding the age of people staying in the unit if the homeowner isn’t there. However, some people prefer a community that caters to a retiring population. Whispering Sands has designated quiet times at the pool so homeowners can relax without screaming kids in the background. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you are someone who prefers peace and quiet perhaps you should look into a community that has similar protections for their residents. One of the biggest considerations for many buyers is the rental minimum guidelines for the community. The rental restrictions were established when the community was formed, and that very much sets the stage for the atmosphere at the property. Communities have changed
their rental minimums through the years, but that can only be accomplished through the process outlined in their condominium documents that are filed with the state. A rental minimum is the minimum number of nights a homeowner can rent out their unit at a time. For example, if a complex has a seven-night minimum, owners are not allowed to rent their units for less than seven nights for each rental. Frequently I am asked, “Why are the associations so strict about the rental policies here?” Each one of these condominium complexes was designed quite specifically to be exactly what they are. Gulf & Bay Bayside has a seven-night rental minimum, but Gulf & Bay on the gulf side has a very strict 30-day rental minimum (and no, they are not part of the same association). The developers, and now the residents, of each of these communities have carefully thought out what they want the atmosphere to be at their chosen development. A community with a seven-day minimum is going to have a much more transient population and appeal more to investors and vacationers. A condo with a 30-night rental minimum or more is looking for a longer-term renter, and a more communitybased complex. There are several variations for rental minimums. There are a few that have nightly rentals and
three-night minimums, while others are one week, two weeks, one month, three months, yearly, and some that vary the length of stay based on time of the year. The associations must abide by the zoning laws based on the area of the Key they are located but can choose their rental minimums themselves within those laws. And don’t forget your furry friends. Pets are considered part of the family for many of us. I could never buy a condo that wouldn’t allow my Rufus, whereas some people don’t want to be around dogs at all. Some complexes don’t allow pets at all, some only allow them for the homeowner, and most have breed and size restrictions even if they do allow them. Make sure the pet policy suits your needs. In a nutshell, when you’re condo shopping, it’s not just about the unit itself. It’s about the whole package -- rules, amenities, and the kind of community you want to be a part of. So, do your homework and find the Siesta Key condo that’s perfect for you! Stay sunny, Siesta! (Natalie Gutwein, a Siesta Key resident, is a licensed Realtor with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Judie Berger Team and a member of the board of directors of the Siesta Key Association.) (Data accurate as of Oct. 9, 2023 from Stellar MLS.)
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1280 HIDDEN HARBOR WAY | $7M 778 SIESTA DR | $6M 3731 INDIAN BEACH PL | $6M 4034 ROBERTS POINT RD | $5.6M 521 CASEY KEY RD | $5M 5315 HIDDEN HARBOR RD | $4.15M 1035 SEASIDE DR #501 | $3.95M 326 ISLAND CIR | $3.9M 3423 LA PALOMA AVE | $3.55M 7340 PINE NEEDLE RD | $3.5M | RECORD SALE 7323 PINE NEEDLE RD | $3.375M 642 WATERSIDE WAY | $3.2M 713 TREASURE BOAT WAY | $3.1M 5382 SHADOW LAWN DR | $3M | RECORD SALE 746 SIESTA DR | $2.75M 8008 MIDNIGHT PASS RD | $2.675M 657 SIESTA DR | $2.5M 497 ISLAND CIR | $2.45M | RECORD SALE 4904 HIGEL AVE | $2.355M
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Continued from page 4
No vote was taken by commissioners on his suggestion. Nonetheless, the Siesta Key chamber is currently finetuning what will be a new proposal, and current chairman Mike Gatz said it would be similar to the original. “They’ll be the same numbers as 2021. There’s no reason to change anything,” Gatz said. “Again, we want to see measured growth that fits the style of Siesta Key.” Gatz also suspects that those behind the other two hotels will be filing their own comp plan Gatz amendments, like Balot did. “Everyone denied a hotel is going to get their expensive lawyers involved and file one,” Gatz said. “If ours is first and gets approved, I’d think it’s unlikely the comp plan would be changed again for people who are asking for more and more.” Changes to the county’s comprehensive plan require a supermajority vote – as in four out of five commissioners. Gatz also noted an amendment of any sort may not be best for the island when all is said and done. “There’s a movement afoot for a traffic study here,” Gatz said. “Maybe that will show that no growth is a good idea.” Indeed, such a request was made by Smith earlier this year involving county staff and Siesta Key residents Jim Wallace, who has participated in studies in opposition to the Siesta Promenade project, and Bill Oliver, whose career was related to traffic issues.
Other hotel-related matters Meanwhile, regarding Carroll’s ruling, winning plaintiff Lourdes Ramirez, Sarasota County, and attorneys for Robert Anderson (Calle Miramar hotel) and Gary Kompothecras (Old Stickney Point Road hotel) all asked for a final judgment which was issued by Carroll on Oct. 9. It’s required for any type of appeal, of which none of the parties have yet officially filed, and eliminates the need for a Nov. 13 trial that would address a few minor matters that Carroll was unable to rule upon in August. However, a second hotel-related lawsuit against the county, that was combined with the Ramirez lawsuit, remains unsettled. The plaintiffs are the 222 Beach Road condominium complex (across the street from the Anderson hotel) along with resident Robert Sax and Marina Del Sol condominium complex (across the street from the Kompthecras hotel). Those plaintiffs are likely to ask Hunter for a summary judgment as well, with a similar outcome appearing likely, thus avoiding the trial. That second lawsuit is similar to the Ramirez case, the biggest exception being that the plaintiffs included an additional claim that the county commission members exceeded their authority when they approved the ordinance change which eliminated the density limits in the Unified Development Code. Otherwise, like Ramirez, the plaintiffs claim the Anderson and Kompthecras projects exceed the density limits outlined in policy 2.9.1 of the comprehensive plan that governs barrier islands. Ramirez’s ruling only involved the Calle Miramar hotel. However, Carroll’s ruling applies to any proposed development.
An artist’s rendering of proposed hotels at the corner of Old Stickney Point Road and Peacock Road (left) and 5810 Midnight Pass Road (below). (submitted images)
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Things to do on and around Siesta Key
N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 3 | S I E S TA S A N D . U S | 9 4 1 . 3 1 2 . 0 6 6 5
Holiday Parade 2023
They light up our lives
Mike and Donna Nix deliver not only one beautiful boat of a float, but Santa Claus himself! By Ned Steele
kip the sleigh, Santa. This is Siesta Key; we’ve got a boat for you. And Rudolph? You won’t need him to guide the way either. Because when you cap off the annual Light-Up the Village Holiday Parade this Nov. 25, we’ve got Mike and Donna Nix for you. This local couple will personally escort you, aboard their charter boat-turned-parade float, right into
the Village to distribute toys – just as they have every parade since 2017. Of course, it won’t be any ordinary boat-converted-intolandbound parade float. As in years past, Mike and Donna will transform it into a magical, snowblowing conveyance so dazzlingly lit that Rudolph and his buddies will be jealous.
Donna and Mike Nix (left) with their first-place award from last year’s holiday parade. The Siesta Key residents deck the boat with boughs of holly and lights galore each year, providing Santa and his presents with a sweet ride into the Village. (submitted photos)
Continued on page 14V
A welcome sight Beach ambassador program provides a smile, puts visitors in the know By Jane Bartnett
A beach ambassador welcomes newcomers to the public beach. Manning the information table in the pavilion is among their duties. (photo courtesy of Sarasota County)
“Siesta Beach ambassadors are the gateway to the area and the first impression that visitors have,” proclaimed Jonathan Poyner, Siesta and South Lido beach coordinator with Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. “The volunteers who staff the information booth at the main entrance to Siesta Beach are our best recruiters for the entire region,” Poyner added. “They’re
an integral part of what we do -- they keep us relevant, viable and keep us as the No. 11 tourist destination.” On any given day, visitors who stop at the brightly colored booth to ask about Siesta Beach and things to do on and near the Key benefit from meeting these friendly and informative volunteers. The program that began in 2004 will celebrate its 20th anniversary
next year. As the season begins, Poyner hopes to welcome many more new ambassadors. “We’re always recruiting and looking for adults with a heart for people who care about the environment and want our economy to grow,” Poyner said. “Becoming a beach ambassador is a great way for people who have
This month’s blooming beauty
A great guide to Siesta’s shells
Who’s on stage? Here’s your answer
An egret that is really, really great
Continued on page 11V
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Arts on the Horizon By Rodger Skidmore You say tomato, I say potato
Emilio Pucci was “the” Italian designer of the ‘60s in New York, Paris, London, and Rome. If a vibrant woman wished to appear vibrant in one of those cities, she covered herself in the psychedelic sweeping colors of Pucci in the evenings and slept under Pucci’s pastel sheets at night. The opposite of Pucci’s psychedelic vibrancy might be the natural realism, or verismo, of an earlier Italian, Giacomo Puccini. Both were tops in their field – one in fashion and the other in fashionable music. In opposition to the way that colors flowed on the silks of Pucci’s dresses, Puccini’s music soaked the pages of his 12 operas with overwhelming passion and emotion. The 10th and 12th of the month are the days that tunes from 10 or 12 of Puccini’s operas will be wafting through the halls of the Sarasota Opera House. What are the odds that “O Mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi, “Sè, mi chiamano Mimì” from La Bohème, and “Manon Lescaut’s Donna non vidi mai” will be sung during those performances? Highly likely. Will “Nel Villaggio d’Edgar” from the opera with the same name (Edgar) make the cut? Hard to tell with this lush music from a not often performed lesser work. Soloists from the Sarasota Opera will weave their notes around those produced by the members of the Sarasota Orchestra (conducted by Victor DeRenzi) in this coupling of musical talents. Info at Sarasotaopera.org.
Art is in the eye of the beholder?
Maybe so, but truisms aren’t always true. That is to say, sometimes there are things a bit beyond, that need to be considered. Yes, the eye can see, but you can also feel things in your bones. There can be bewilderment and there can be acceptance, and sometimes of the same thing at the same time. Weaving Wind and Water is an acrylic on canvas, a painting done by Syd Solomon in 1987. Solomon owned beachfront property just north of Midnight Pass, down on Siesta Key, and watched as the shoreline in front of his house slowly approached the outer limits of his home. He and a neighbor attempted remedial action but the re-action of the wind and water was extremely negative, with Midnight Pass finally closing in 1984. Does one’s eye, without pre-knowledge of the subject matter, know that these are painting of water, sand, and wind? Does the un-tuned eye know that these elements were not just seen by the artist, but felt by him? Over time? Most probably not. But can one, without such knowledge, still feel the motion and movement that the artist did – down to the very being of one’s self? The artist hoped so because that is exactly what he, as an artist, was all about. The masked expression of unmasked emotion. This painting along with Island Memory and many others, are in a show, Fluid Impressions: The Paintings of Syd Solomon, on display at Ringling College’s Stulberg Gallery from Nov. 6 through March 25. During World War II Solomon’s job was to design camouflage for US military equipment. Basically, taking something real and, with
the blending of diverse elements, make it meaningfully invisible. In his painting he did the reverse. He took diverse elements and, while they appeared random, made them be visibly real – at least deep within one’s being. Settling with his wife Annie, in Sarasota, he created the Institute of Fine Art at New College. This, along with other artistic endeavors, generated the influx of art and culture which drew so many of Sarasota’s current residents to this area and made Sarasota what it is today. More info at Ringlingcollege.gallery.
Art is often two-faced
Janus was the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology and, for the month of January, the transition from one year to the next. The three performances on Nov. 17 and 18 by the Sarasota Ballet are showing that many things can be two-faced, or maybe even more, including the interplay between art and war. If one is putting the calamities of the world in chronological order, the beginnings of World War II are at the earliest edge of our living memory. That war, for many in England, started in late 1939, and in 1940 the darkening cloud on the horizon had quickly become a raging storm. While the Sadler Welles Dance company was trying to, with stiff upper lip, continue business as usual, their choreographer, Frederick Ashton, would have none of that. He produced a work titled Dante Sonata, named after Dante’s Inferno, written hundreds of years and many wars earlier. It was a violent ballet, both dark and relentless, with the melancholia
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that was pervading his country. The ballet, linked by Ashton to Dante’s ever deepening circles of hell, is danced to the music of Franz Liszt, who himself was, to some, manic on the keyboard. In fact, the artistic link goes further, as the Liszt piece chosen for the dance – Après une lecture du Dante – was based on a poem of the same name by Victor Hugo. In other words, to quote General William Tecumseh Sherman, “War is hell.” On the same program, at the Sarasota Opera House, is Paul Taylor’s ballet Company B showing the lighter(?) side of war. Perhaps this is in keeping with the logo of Janus Films, which shows this god with its twofaced image depicting both tragedy and comedy. While Taylor choreographed his piece in 1991, the music to which it is danced was written for, and sung by, the Andrews Sisters in 1941, just one year after Ashton described war’s tragic face. The comic face, evidenced by these songs which appeared in Abbot and Costello’s film Buck Privates, was beamed across America in an attempt to keep spirits up. Sort of a laugh to keep from crying effect. The choreographer Edwaard Liang wrote his piece, The Art of War, after reading Sun Tzu’s fifth century B.C. book of the same name, on the tactics and strategy of warfare. BUT, while its title mentions war, this ballet is not referring to our usual combatants, those who are followers of a particular political persuasion, religion, or ethnic group. Rather, Liang is referring to the fight between the elements of calligraphy: the ink spread upright, curved, upstroked and downstroked; the traditional black or red ink and the white palate. All of these elements are at war with each other as the Sarasota corps de ballet, in their red, black, and white clothes, mimic the words of some magic spell, under which you may be under. Info at Sarasotaballet.org.
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Florida Fish of Siesta Key
Red Snapper Florida Puffer Yellowtail Florida Puffer Sailfish Sailfish Spanish Mackerel Dohlpin “Mahi-Mahi”
Mangrove Snapper Scoolmaster Lane Snapper Scamp Black Mullet Snook Red Drum “Redfish”
Florida Pompano Jack Crevalle
Spotted Sea Trout
King King Mackerel Mackerel
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ishing should turn on this month. Schools of reds will begin to break up and scatter on shallow flats. There should also be good action with snook and big trout in shallow water. Snook will gorge themselves at night around lighted docks in the Intracoastal Waterway. There should also be good action in the coastal gulf with Spanish mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), tripletail and cobia. You might also still find tarpon anywhere from upper Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay to along the beaches. Spotted sea trout fishing should also be good this month. Regulations have changed with a three-fish-per-person bag limit and a six-fish boat limit. Trout must be from 15 to 19 inches with one allowed per vessel larger than 19 inches. In my opinion it’s important to protect larger trout, which are usually female breeders. Full regulations and details on trout and other species can be viewed at myfwc.com. Snook will move from passes and the surf as water temperature cools and days get shorter. They will stage around docks and bridges in the Intracoastal Waterway and along sand bars, potholes and along mangrove shorelines. They may blow up on top water plugs or fly poppers in shallow water early or late in the day. CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms or DOA Shrimp should work well around docks and bridges and on shallow flats. The 4-inch CAL shad tail should work very well on the flats since larger baits will be prevalent there. I like larger flies, like Lefty’s Deceiver and my Grassett Flats Bunny, for snook on the flats for the same reason. Fly anglers should also score with small white flies or Gurglers around lighted docks and bridge fenders. Fish peak tidal flows for the best action. Tarpon will still be an option this month. I find them in upper Charlotte Harbor this time of year. Look for them feeding in ladyfish schools or rolling in deep water to find them. DOA Baitbusters and Swimming Mullet are my top producing lures for large tarpon. Fly anglers should score with many of the same flies that work for sight casting to them along the beaches. I use 12-weight fly tackle with a floating or clear intermediate sink tip line for large tarpon. You’ll also find juvenile tarpon from 10 to 30 pounds in many creeks and canals. Spin anglers should score with DOA Shrimp or TerrorEyz on snook tackle. Fly anglers can handle the smaller fish on 8- or 9-weight fly rods with sink tip fly lines and a scaled down version of any fly that large tarpon will eat. I’ve also found tarpon feeding in the coastal gulf this time of year. They are usually scattered over a broad area, feeding in bait schools. This “reverse migration” may only last for a short while but it can be really good! Big schools of reds that are more common in August and September will break up into smaller schools, singles and doubles by the end of the month. As water cools and baitfish school up, reds will feed in shallow water. I like to pole my flats skiff to hunt for reds in shallow water. Focus on baitfish or mullet schools to find reds. CAL jigs with shad tails, including the 4-inch CAL shad tail and DOA Baitbusters are some of my favorite lures to locate reds with. If the tide
Ken Babineau from Sarasota with a tripletail. (submitted image)
is very low, weedless-rigged CAL shad tails or DOA Shrimp rigged backwards will work well in the thick turtle grass. Once I’ve located fish, wading is often the best way to approach them when fly fishing. I like a long leader (12 feet) on a floating fly line with a lightly weighted fly with a weed guard, like my Grassett Flats Minnow. When you have good sunlight, you may be able to sight fish them on light colored bottom, like sandbars or potholes. You’ll also find big trout in many of the same areas in shallow water. I would approach locating big trout the same way as reds. Focus on baitfish or mullet schools to find them and use the same lures and flies to catch them. Some of the best action that I’ve experienced with big trout was at first light with big trout feeding in baitfish schools in very shallow water. You’ll find trout of all sizes on deep grass flats. Wherever there are small trout, there may be a few “gators” around since big trout will eat small ones. Mixed with trout
there should also be blues, Spanish mackerel or pompano. In addition to focusing on bait and birds, I like to drift and cast ahead of the drift with CAL jigs and shad tails or DOA Deadly Combos or a lightly weighted fly on a sink tip fly line to find fish. When toothy fish are around add 6 inches of heavy fluorocarbon (60-pound) or wire to prevent cut offs. You may find tripletail or cobia around buoys, crab trap floats or channel markers in inside waters or the coastal gulf. A DOA Shrimp or CAL jig with a shad tail will work well for tripletail. Fly anglers should score with lightly weighted flies with a weed guard. A DOA Baitbuster or 4” CAL shad on 20- to 30-pound class spinning tackle or a wide profile tarpon fly on a minimum of 9-weight fly tackle will get the job done with cobia. Look for Spanish and king mackerel or false albacore in the coastal gulf. I look for diving terns or “breaking” fish to find them. Once you’ve located feeding fish, a CAL jig with a shad tail or
jerk worm or a size specific top water plug will work well for spin anglers. Fly anglers should score with small olive, chartreuse or white flies, poppers and Crease flies. You’ll need wire or heavy fluorocarbon when mackerel are in the mix. You may also find a few kings around the edges of feeding frenzies. I don’t usually target kings, but I will catch a few when fishing breaking mackerel or albies. You can also look for tripletail or cobia around crab trap floats, buoys or channel markers while searching for mackerel or albies in the coastal gulf. November is one of my favorite months. It’s nice to do something different, so I like to fish the coastal gulf for mackerel, false albacore, tripletail and cobia when conditions are good. There should also be good action on shallow flats with reds, trout and snook or tarpon of all sizes in upper Charlotte Harbor. Night snook fishing in the Intracoastal Waterway heats up as the water cools down.
NOVEMBER 2023 TIDE CHART www.USHarbors.com
Sarasota, FL - Oct 2023 High
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Harvest Moon Cocktail November is the month to give thanks and the Harvest Moon Cocktail is the perfect drink for a Thanksgiving toast to family and friends. Your guests will enjoy this delicious concoction that blends Siesta Key Spiced Rum, apple cider, strawberry, and lemon, bringing together the wondrous flavors of sweet and spice. Allow the magical taste of Siesta Key Spiced Rum to mix with the flavor of apples and think of beautiful red and yellow fall leaves. Take another sip and imagine the soft white sands of Siesta Key as you enjoy the sweet taste of strawberry and lemonade. Give thanks for this celebratory day!
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Ingredients 4 ounces of Siesta Key Spiced Rum 8 ounces of apple cider 2.5 ounces of strawberry puree ice cream topping -- Siesta Key Rum recommends the Blackberry Patch brand 2 ounces of lemonade (or mix 1 ounce of lemon juice and 1 ounce of Simple Syrup) Mix all ingredients and serve chilled over ice. Garnish your Harvest Moon Cocktail with a cinnamon stick, apple, strawberry or lemon. Happy Thanksgiving to all from Siesta Key Rum!
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4948 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231 *Receive one (1) $50 promotion card for every three (3) gift cards purchased in the amount of $75 each (“Offer”). Offer available from October 30, 2023 - January 7, 2024, at participating Retreats only. Limit of two (2) promotional card purchases and redemptions per member. Offer cannot be purchased using service credits or combined with other discounts or promotional offers. Offer not available online. Promotion cards are redeemable through March 31, 2024, only at the location where the promotion card was issued. Unless prohibited by law, gift cards do not expire and are not refundable or redeemable for cash. Gift card and promotion card must be presented at time of service and may be used only for services or retail products. Massage Heights is not responsible for lost or stolen gift cards or promotion cards. Rates and services may vary by location. Additional local taxes and fees may apply. Service times include up to 10 minutes of prep time. See Retreat for details. Each Massage Heights Retreat is independently owned and operated. Franchise opportunities are available. ©️2023 SWG IP, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Great egret (Ardea alba) The great egret, a year-round Siesta Key resident, is an elegant heron adorned in magnificent white plumage. While approaching the size of the great blue heron, the egret is slimmer with a more-slender bill and a much longer neck that often kinks into a familiar “S” shape. Did you know the great egret serves as the “spokesbird” for the Audubon Society’s emblem and mission? It was the first critically endangered bird whose nearly tragic end in the 1800s was prevented by Audubon’s conservation efforts through legislation. Today, we are able to witness the
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breathtaking cascade of the egret’s airy feathers that were, at one time, more likely to be seen in haute couture than in the wild! A familiar sight wading in the shallows, the egret slowly and methodically stalks its next meal. A sharp bill akin to chop sticks grabs and stabs any aquatic animal that will fit down its serpentine gullet. As you plan your Thanksgiving repast, be sure to set an extra place for this leggy marvel if sushi will be on the menu. All of the Siesta Sand’s Tweet Life birds extend their warmest holiday wishes from their nest to yours! Jan Baumgartner’s handmade notecards are available at Sunshine & Sand Hidden Treasures, 6635 Midnight Pass Rd., in Crescent Plaza.
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Safe Treats for Kids is Oct. 31
Breakfast & Lunch
Serving breakfast all day Hours of operation 7:30am-1:30pm VOTED BEST
Breakfast, Outdoor Dining and Bacon!
Sun Garden Cafe 210 Avenida Madera Siesta Key 941.346.7170 sungardencafe.com
The annual Siesta Key Safe Treats for Kids event is from 3 to 6 p.m. on Halloween, Oct. 31, at establishments in both the north and south business districts. Festive balloons displayed outside a business will indicate it is a participant. The event is open to the public and is free.
Sassy Hair and Med Spa is new business, sort of
Two Siesta Key businesses with the same owner are combining services and moving to a new
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Island Chatter location in the Village and will be called Sassy Hair and Med Spa. Sassy Hair, located at 209 Beach Rd., and Sassy ... the Little Day Spa, located at 5138 Ocean Blvd. in Davidson’s Plaza, will soon reside at 219 Avenida Madera in two neighboring storefronts owned by the Davidson family. The location previously held tenants The Seafood Joint and Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream. “An opportunity presented itself where we could operate both businesses under one roof, and we couldn’t help but take advantage,” said a business spokesperson. The business will feature a new service offered by RN Tiffany Tompkins. “We are excited Tompkins to announce
Gilligan’s event to support SRQ Vets organization
that with the new one-stop shop ... we are able to bring in a nurse practitioner to join our spa team – she is certified to give injectables, which we will be adding to the long list of services we already offer,” the spokesperson said.
Sandy Claws Beach Run is Dec. 9, registration now open Fly fishing school is Nov. 18
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, 1249 Stickney Point Rd., will hold an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing school from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov 18. The instructor is Capt. Rick Grassett. Call (941) 349-4400 or email email@example.com to make reservations.
Sign up now for the 47th annual Sandy Claws Beach Run, set for Dec. 9 on Siesta Beach. Register by Nov. 17 for the best price and snag a long-sleeve performance event shirt and some runner swag. To secure your spot, visit loom.ly/yMCX-90. Proceeds benefit the Summer in the Parks Adopt-A-Camper scholarship fund.
Chamber of commerce award nominations sought
Nominations are now being accepted through Dec. 14 for various awards presented by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. To learn about the categories and to submit a nomination form, visit siestakeychamber.com/siesta-keychamber/awards/. Awards will be presented at the chamber’s annual Awards Dinner on Jan. 31 at Marina Jack.
Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill, 5253 Ocean Blvd., will celebrate the annual Marine Corps birthday from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 10 with a special event. Raffles, auctions and music will be part of the evening. The event supports SRQ Vets. Visit: eventbrite.com/e/ gilligans-marine-corps-birthdaycelebration-2023-tickets737320634867?aff=erelexpmlt.
Veterans camping is Nov. 10-12
Turtle Beach Campground is having its annual Veterans Day Camping Weekend on Nov. 10-12. The weekend will include giveaways and a dinner on Nov. 11 provided at no cost to the veteran. If you are a veteran or would like to donate a site for a veteran, please call the campground office at (941) 861-2267.
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COFFEE SHOPS Bean Coffeehouse............................Map-D #62 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company........ Map-B #31 DRUGSTORE Davidson Drugs...............................Map-D #65
GAS STATION Circle K Store........................................Map-E #6 GIFTS & SOUVENIRS Beach Bazaar..................................... Map-C #28 Gilligan’s Gift Store...........................Map-B #32 Island Trader...................................... Map-C #51 Sea Pleasures & Treasures............... Map-C #29 Siesta Key Outfitters........................Map-D #13 HEALTH & FITNESS Indep. Lifestyle Solutions ............... Map-D #10 Siesta Healing...................................... Map-D #9 Siesta Key Fitness............................ Map-B #73 Studio Yooga ................................... Map-B #51
Live Music Every Day and Night
ICE CREAM/SWEETS Big Olaf Creamery............................ Map-C #52 Curly Cream Ice Cream...................... Map-D #9 Local Chill Ice Cream......................Map-D #60 Made in Rome Organic Gelato........ Map-C #53 Meany’s Mini Donuts....................... Map-C #24 Stefano Versace Gelato..................... Map-C #50 SubZero Ice Cream/Yogurt............. Map-D #16 The Fudge Factory............................ Map-A #36 INTERNET / WiFi SERVICES Davidson Drugs...............................Map-D #65 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company........ Map-B #31 JEWELRY Created Gems.................................... Map-C #51 Mount -N- Repair Jewelers................ Map-D #9
Daily Drink Specials
LIQUOR STORES / FINE WINES Gabbiano’s Wine Club....................Map-D #70 Gilligan’s........................................... Map-B #33 Siesta Key Wine Bar........................ Map-C #61 Siesta Village Liquors..................... Map-C #26 The Beach Club.................................. Map-D #22
MARKETS/FOOD STORES Circle K Store........................................Map-E #6 Morton’s Siesta Market................... Map-C #25 MASSAGE Hands of Light Massage...................Map-B #35 The Spa at Calle Minorga..................Map-E #74 Sassy ... the Little Day Spa.............Map-D #62 MEDICAL - DENTAL Siesta Village Dentistry.................... Map-D #63 Siesta Dental........................................Map-B #49 Siesta Key Physical Therapy............ Map-D #20 MISCELLANEOUS Chamber of Commerce...................Map-D #67 Prime Audio Video..............................Map-E #1 Roberti Enterprises........................... Map-A #39 Village Arcade................................... Map-C #53 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Attorney Fleming.................................Map-E #1 Edward Jones Investments.............Map-D #68 Smith Architects................................... Map-E 74 REAL ESTATE / RENTAL SERVICES Amy Robinson RE................................Map-E #1 Beach Palms................................................... B-74 Coldwell Banker Realty.................... Map-D #20 EXP Realty............................................Map-E #4 Judith Guzzi & Assoc........................Map-E #74 Keller Williams Real Estate.............. Map-D #11 Michael Saunders Realty.................Map-E #72 ReMax Alliance Group................... Map-C #29 RentSiestaKey.com.............................. Map-D #9 Robasota Rentals & Real Estate....... Map-A #39 Siesta Key Rental Prop..................... Map-D #10 The Ringling Beach House Rentals......Map-D #9 Tropical Sands Accommodations....... Map-D #67 RESTAURANTS / CAFÉS Another Broken Egg................ Map-C #54 & 55 Blase Café..........................................Map-A #38 Bonjour French Cafe......................... Map-C #47 Café Gabbiano................................... Map-D #71 Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar.............. Map-B #42-43 Flavio’s Brick Oven & Bar.................Map-B #29 Flavio’s Italiano Ristorante...............Map-B #30 Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill......... Map-B #33 Island House Bar & Grill................Map-D #69 Lobster Pot......................................... Map-C #23 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company........ Map-B #31 Old Salty Dog Rest. & Pub..................Map-E #2 PI Pizza & Craft Beer.........................Map-A #3 Ripfire Pizza........................................Map-B #47 Siesta Key Oyster Bar...................... Map-B #45 IL PANCIFICO.................................Map-D #15 Summer House.................................. Map-C #57 Sun Garden Café............................... Map-D #19 The Cottage........................................ Map-C #58 The Hub - Baja Grill.......................... Map-C #59 The Seafood Joint.............................Map-D #15 The Star Thai Sushi.................. Map-D #17 & 18 Village Café.......................................Map-D #14 SPAS - HAIR & BEAUTY Sassy Hair Salon...............................Map-A #40 Sassy ... the Little Day Spa.............Map-D #62 Siesta Key Nails & Spa.....................Map-D #9 Shaman Sanctuary Salon.................... Map-D #9 SPORTS INTEREST/RENTALS CaliFlorida.......................................... Map-C #29 Robin Hood Rentals........................ Map-B #34
é Ca s a l
Siesta Key Oyster Bar, or “SKOB” as the locals call it, is the hangout with the laid-back, beachy atmosphere that will get you right into the Island Spirit. One of the things that set SKOB apart from the other restaurants in Siesta Key Village is that we have some of the best food on the Key.
FASHION & ACCESSORIES Beach Bazaar’s & Swin Shack........ Map-C #28 Blvd. Beachwear.................................Map-B #30 Casa Smeralda Fashion’Style............. D #12-11 Comfort Shoes-Birki & More........Map-D #64 Foxy Lady Fashions.........................Map-A #40 Gidget’s Coastal Provisions........... Map-B #44 Island Boutique..................................Map-B #50 Island Style......................................... Map-C #53 Lilly Pulitzer.....................................Map-D #66 Sea Shanty.......................................... Map-C #24 Siesta T’s..............................................Map-B #30 The Sandal Factory............................Map-B #46
MAILING - SHIPPING US Post Office.................................... Map-D #65
Big G’s Oyster Happy Hour from 3-6 Every day 1/2 Priced House Oysters
ACCOMMODATIONS Beach Palms ........................................................ B-#74 Siesta Key Beach Resort & Spa............. Map-A #38A ATM / BANKS PNC ATM........................................... Map-C #61 Sun Trust Bank & ATM.......................Map-E #4 BARS & NIGHTCLUBS Blase Café..........................................Map-A #38 Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar.............. Map-B #42-43 Gilligan’s........................................... Map-B #33 My Village Pub............................ Map-C #53/54 Siesta Key Oyster Bar...................... Map-B #45 The Beach Club.................................. Map-D #22 The Cottage........................................ Map-C #58 The Hub-Baja Grill............................ Map-D #59
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Awesome pizza, wings & bartenders!
TWO GREAT ONELOCATION! LOCATION! TWO GREATPLACES PLACES ONE 5263 SiestaKey Key 5263Ocean Ocean Blvd. || Siesta
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS Capt. Curt’s Backroom Saloon................B-3 #7 Crescent Club.......................................... C-3 #13 Sniki Tiki....................................................B-3 #8 COFFEE SHOPS Coffee Garden................................... B-3 #8 DELIS / BAKERIES Anna’s Deli & Sandwiches.................. C-3 #14 Nutritious You......................................... C-3 #14 DRUG STORES Davidson Drugs..................................... C-3 #14 FASHION & ACCESSORIES Fin Island Co.............................................. A-3 #2 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters........................ A-3 #4 Coconuts Resort Wear...............................B-3 #1 Green Turtle Swimwear......................... C-3 #14 Key Casual Fashions.............................. D-3 #17 Things You Like...................................... C-3 #14
CRESCENT BEACH SHOP INDEX
GIFTS & SOUVENIRS Capt. Curt’s Souvenirs.............................B-3 #8 Green Turtle Shells & Gifts................. C-3 #14 Sunshine Sand Hidden Treasures...... D-3 #17 Silver City Jewelry................................. C-3 #14
HEALTH & BEAUTY Eye Style Optical ....................................C-3 #17 Sanctuary Siesta Key............................... A-5 #12 Siesta Key Salon & Spa........................... D-3 #17 The Key Spa & Salon.............................. A-5 #12 ICE CREAM & TREATS Orange Octopus ........................................B-3 #8 Siesta Creamery....................................... C-3 #14 INTERNET / WiFi SERVICES Davidson Drugs..................................... C-3 #14 Mail Pack Center..................................... C-3 #14
LIQUOR STORES Crescent Club...........................................B-3 #13 Siesta Spirits............................................. C-3 #17 MAILING & SHIPPING Mail Pack Center..................................... C-3 #14 US Post Office Sub Station..................... C-3 #14 MARKETS 7-11 Store.................................................. C-3 #16 Big Water Fish Market.......................... C-3 #17 REAL ESTATE / RENTALS Beckmann Properties.............................. C-2 #15 Homes & Condo Rentals........................ D-3 #17 Re/Max Tropical Sands............................B-3 #1 Siesta 4-Rent............................................ C-3 #14 Waterside Realty.................................... C-3 #17 RESTAURANTS / CAFES
Capt. Curts Crab & Oyster Bar.................B-3 #7 Clayton’s Siesta Grille.............................B-3 #9 Daiquiri Deck.................................................A-3 #2 Pizza ‘N Brew Siesta Key...................... D-3 #17 Spear Fish Grill..............................................A-4 #5 Toasted Mango Cafe....................................C-3 #17 Miguel’s Restaurant................................ C-3 #17
WATER SPORTS - FISHING - RENTALS A to Z Beach & Bike Rentals.................. A-5 #12 FIN Island Co. ........................................... A-3 #2 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters........................ A-3 #4 Parasail Siesta........................................... A-3 #2 Siesta Key Bike & Kayak ........................B-3 #8 Siesta Key Marina.................................... A-4 #5 Siesta Key Jetski ........................................ A-3 #2 Siesta Sports Rentals............................. C-3 #14 Waves Boat & Social Club...................... A-5 #12
Big Water Fish Market................................C-3 #17 Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill...............A-5 #12
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Crescent Beach Market 1211 Old Stickney Pt. Rd.
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Toasted Mango Cafe 6621 Midnight Pass Rd.
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Anna’s Deli 6535 Midnight Pass Rd.
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Big Water Fish Market 6641 Midnight Pass Road
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters 1249 Stickney Point Rd.
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Davidson Drugs 6595 Midnight Pass Rd.
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Beach ambassadors just moved here to meet people and make a difference.” A commitment of 2 1/2 hours a month is all that’s required to be a beach ambassador. The booth is staffed seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and filled with useful brochures, fact sheets, and local newspapers. “Our ambassadors are primarily retirees,” Poyner said, “but we also welcome older high school and college students, ages 17 and up. Seasonal residents are also welcome. We schedule three shifts a day, seven days a week, and like to have two ambassadors together at the booth.” Each year, beach ambassadors log more than 2,500 combined hours of service and during the past 19 years that amount of time has yielded $1.3 million in value to the county, Poyner reported. Many ambassadors have been with the program for a long time, and there are currently more than 50 of them. Siesta Key resident Ron Varilek is one of the program’s longest-serving ambassadors. “Ron is an original,” said Poyner with pride. “He’s been with us from the start, and he has logged more than 2,500 hours (on his own).” A retired civil engineer, Varilek joined the program in 2004 a year after he and his wife retired here from Illinois. He enjoys meeting the many different people who come to the beach. “Families that come here love this beach,” he said. “It’s just a great place to be. Parking is free, there’s a playground for the kids, there’s volleyball and all kinds of things to do.” A South Dakota native, Varilek served in the Navy and then went on to study civil engineering and graduate from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Although his career took him to many places, it was Siesta Key that won his heart. One of the things that he enjoys the most
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about his beach ambassador job is meeting people from around the world. He also likes to stay up to date on the latest trends and happenings on the Key and in the area. “Restaurants and food are the No. 11 question that people ask about,” he said. “Then, they want to know about things for the kids including where to play golf, gyms and sports. “And I get a lot of questions about real estate. They want to know if this is a good place to live. I tell them, ‘Yes, it is!’” Over the years while serving in his beach ambassador position, Varilek has observed many changes on the Key and off. “We talk to a lot more Northeast people than before. They tend to go to the east coast of Florida and then come over here to see us,” he said. “They like it here better,” he added with a laugh. The Siesta Beach sand is another topic that Varilek and his fellow ambassadors are asked about all the time. “‘Where did the sand come from?’ is a popular question,” he said. “I tell them that our sand is very old, very unusual and that it got here a long time before I was even born.” Said Poyner, “People like Ron Varilek have good hearts and they really care about the people that they meet and the whole area.” Operated in partnership with Visit Sarasota County (the official tourism marketing entity for the county) and the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the program accepts applications from volunteers all year long. New ambassadors receive an hour-long education session and then shadow a veteran ambassador while working at the booth. To learn more about becoming an ambassador, drop by the booth across from the concession stand in the pavilion and talk to an ambassador directly. Or, visit scgov.net/government/human-resources/ volunteer.
Beach ambassadors in action are (from left and clockwise) Ron Varilek, Ivan and Iris Pressman, and Anne and Anthony Aiello. (photo on left by Jane Bartnett and other photos courtesy of Sarasota County)
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6616 Gateway Ave • Sarasota
DISCOVER GULF GATE’S SHOPPING VILLAGE With our map on the next page you’ll be able to navigate your way to our featured shops with ease. The Shop SRQ (G-2) offers flat-tops, fades, tapers, blowouts, razor cuts, and straight razor shaves. Owners, Erick and Dawn use a back to basics approach to grooming with a precise attention to personal detail. Their commitment to excellence has provided them with many loyal customers. They welcome the opportunity to earn your trust. Hours: Tues. – Fri. 8:30am – 6pm, Sat., 8:30am – 3pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Gulf Gate Barber Shop (G-7) has been an institution in the community for years, owned by Kyle Flannery. The super-clean barbershop’s clientele is comprised of primarily men, but the shop services children as well. Scott Reich, formerly of the Siesta Key Village Barber Shop has relocated to this location. West End Pub (G-49) Where else can you watch your favorite game with a great selection of beers, wines and liquors served by a friendly staff AND where you’re allowed to bring your own restaurant or deli food? Right here. 6500 Gateway Ave. 941-554-8905. Tony’s Chicago Beef Company (S-16) is owned and operated by true Chicagoans. Dedicated to deliver Chicago’s best food - Chicago style Hot Dogs wit’ the works...dragged through the garden on poppy seed buns with fresh cut fries, Italian Beef Sandwiches anyway you like, dipped or dry, sweet or hot. All served in true Authentic Chicago Style. Solórzano’s Late Night Pizzeria (S-34): At every Solórzano’s, they offer an experience familiar to those who understand the importance of family and dedication. Their recipes and techniques have been perfected through three long generations based on the
www.ilovetheskinnydip.com • 941-923-6680
traditional simplicity of the methods used by their Italian ancestors. Dine inside, outside, pick up, or DELIVERY anywhere on Siesta Key, or in Sarasota until 3:30 a.m. 6574 Superior Ave., 941924-5800. Gulf Gate Food + Beer (S-51): Sarasota’s late-night hot spot for the service industry, night owls, and midnight snackers. It’s not your typical sports bar, offering unique menu selections for carnivores and vegetarians. Be sure to check out their menu online at: eatfooddrinkbeer.com. Hours: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Sun. - Thurs.) open until 2 a.m. (Fri & Sat.). Roberts Realty, Inc. (M-5) John Garner, Broker Assoc. & Diane Shane, Broker Assoc. have a combined 40 years’ experience in Sarasota of making dreams come true for our clients. For buyers, we have had great success in finding the right property for our clients because we listen closely to their wants and needs and matching that as close as possible. For sellers, over the years we have successfully listed and sold many, many properties throughout Sarasota County. Our philosophy is to have fun, enjoy the experience, achieve great results, make friends and receive referrals. We’re with you every step of the way! Call 941-924-2330 or drop by our office. Only Eyes Optical (S-24) brings a new, exotic, eclectic, eccentric, unique collection of vintage, hipster, contemporary eyeglasses and sunglasses to the community. Licensed and experienced optician available to fill your prescriptions. Only Eyes Optical has a large assortment of free frames with the purchase of new lenses. Call 941-444-7984 to set up an appointment with their licensed optician. Zuzu’s & Moondoggy’s (GG26, GG25) Ready for an evening out?
Choose from Zuzu’s -- an exotic Polynesian top shelf cocktail lounge where you can dress to impress and enjoy cocktails with friends, or Moondoggy’s -- a fun surfing-theme atmosphere where you can chill and have fun. Located at 2234-2236 Gulf Gate Drive, Zuzu’s & Moondoggy’s has 13 big screen TV’S, MLB Package, ACC, BIG10, SEC, NFL Package, pool table, SUPER CHEXX BUBBLE HOCKEY and a punching bag! Zuzu’s is open 12:00 PM – 2:30 AM daily. Moondoggy’s is open 7AM – 2:30AM daily. Scandinavian Gifts Baked Goods and Grocery (GG-37) A fixture in Sarasota for 32 years, Scandinavian Gifts offers an assortment of linens, glassware, cookbooks, jewelry, candles, food items, and Christmas collectibles. Located at 2166 Gulf Gate Drive, the store is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Skinny Dip (G-26) Established in 2020. The Sarasota Skinny Dip location is a family-owned business, with husband-and-wife Alex and Sorelly, and their kiddos, Sophie and Noah. The business specializes in letting you make your frozen yogurt the way you want it! We specialize in Skinny8 Froyos, which are only 8 calories per once! Also available vegan and low-fat options so that all Dippers can, well, dip! Apothecary Shoppe (S-6) Eric and Laurie’s knowledge of pharmaceuticals and natural/holistic remedies enables the safe integration of traditional and natural therapies. Their organic skincare line is compounded on site by Laurie who started her career as a make-up artist for the Today Show, Saturday Night Live, and so many more. Eric is a pharmacist and also certified in naturopathy, wanting the best natural options for his clients. Open M-F 10-5 pm, Sat 10-3 pm.
Blooming this month: Tree morning glory
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The tree morning glory (Ipomoea arborescens) is a plant coming from the family Convolvulaceae. It grows fast and produces semi-succulent stems. You see lovely pink or lavender blooms in late autumn and the winter months. This 8-foot to 10-foot beautiful small tree needs full sun and is drought resistant. If you have the room, this small tree is a nice addition to your garden.
An added bonus is that pollinators butterflies and bees are attached to this tree. It’s currently in bloom in the Butterfly Garden at the Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Boulevard of the Arts, in Sarasota. Don’t forget our Painting in the Gardens event Nov. 7. Visit SarasotaGardenClub.org. Kay Weber, Botanical Gardens Chair
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Continued from page 1V
Mike and Donna are two heroes of the By mid-afternoon, about 15 friends and annual Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce family will show up in the driveway to start parade, which ushers in the holiday season stringing the lights, prepping the snowon Thanksgiving weekend. blowing gun, and, well, just maybe, party a “They are outstanding people,” said Ann bit along the way. Frescura, executive By nightfall, director of the they’ll have decked chamber. “They do the All is Swell with everything 100%.” a thousand feet of Doing it 100%, festive multicolor Nix style, starts LED lights – on the day before enough to cover Thanksgiving. the float from bow That’s when they to stern 25 times. haul their 26There will be two foot SouthWind wire mesh reindeer SportDeck (some years it’s a sightseeing boat, pair of dolphins) named “All is atop the Ram 1500 Swell,” out of the pickup that hauls water and declare the rig. A row of a holiday for their blue fringe lights Turtle Beach-based will line the vessel’s business, Key Life bottom from end to Charters. end, making it look The snow gun on the Nix boat/float delivers plenty of They’ll tow the like it’s riding the action as it sets the holiday mood. (submitted photo) vessel to their waves. driveway and get on with the immediate “We basically cover the whole boat in business: preparing and enjoying their lights,” Mike said. It’s all enough for them to Thanksgiving feast. have won last year’s prize for best decorated But then comes Friday. “It’s Decorating and lighted float. Day,” said Mike, “That’s when the fun Early Saturday morning, they’ll line up really starts.” the float at the staging ground, load Santa’s
Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 p.m., Siesta Village Parade route: It will begin at Avenida Del Mare and Beach Road and travel north onto Ocean Boulevard and into Siesta Village. Santa’s spot: He will arrive at Siesta Center parking lot, 5053 Ocean Blvd. Immediately after the parade, kids may take photos with Santa free of charge. Gift bags will be handed out to the first 250 kids. To participate in the parade: Register at siestakeychamber.chambermaster.com/ eventregistration/register/1733. Deadline is Nov. 17.
toys onto the bow, and position Santa up front. Two elves (Donna and the couple’s daughter) will hop on, and their future sonin-law will man the snow gun. Hopefully all will go without a hitch – they’ve had a few of them in past years and worked them out by now. “We’ve had to duck low-hanging trees to get to the starting point,” Mike said. “One year the battery went down and the boat went dark. We’ve switched from incandescent to LED bulbs to prevent that.” Another year, an extension cord came undone briefly. Once, the snow gun overheated. “We think we have it all covered now,” Mike said. For Mike and Donna, the work is worth it all when they reach the Village and it’s time for Santa to give out toys:
“We love seeing the look on the kids’ faces. They are so excited to see Santa Claus,” Mike said. That’s how it’s gone every year since their involvement began. The couple moved to Siesta Key from St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, after having vacationed on the Key many times. Each gave up their jobs – Mike was in insurance, Donna in real estate – and started Key Life Charters the same week. Soon they joined the chamber of commerce. That’s where they met Frescura, who sized them up immediately as just the right pair to escort Santa into town. “We were more than happy to do it,” Mike said. “It’s such a good slice of Americana that we wanted to be part of it. “We were on board from the moment Ann asked us. We plan on doing it for a long as we can.”
27th State Media LLC
Storm was harmful to late-season chicks, but overall count is solid By Kylie Wilson, shorebird coordinator, Audubon Florida
hope everyone fared OK with Hurricane Idalia earlier this year. Sadly, the lateseason chicks were not observed after the storm passed. Its surge, coupled with king high tides, resulted in the beach being washed over and I fear the surge was too much for the stillflightless chicks. Late-season nests are typically re-nests, where the pair tries to nest again after a disturbance or predation event caused the first nest to fail. These late-season chicks started to hatch around the first week of August, meaning these nests would have been laid after the Fourth of July. Meanwhile, Independence Day weekend commonly results in disturbances to nesting shorebirds and seabirds nationwide. The consequence: pairs re-nest in July, with chicks hatching in August and still flightless as we enter storm season. Recently, hurricanes are happening unseasonably early and are more intense. Late-season nesting is risky, and sadly our last chicks
didn’t make it. Still, we had a pretty great year, all things considered, with more than 315 fledged chicks from our colony. Although nesting is over, it is still important to be mindful of the birds on the beach. The gulf coast beaches act as stopover sites for migrating birds. Many birds are stopping at our beaches to rest and refuel, especially after going through a storm. So, throughout the year remember there are ways to help shorebirds and seabirds: They include: • Walk around feeding and resting flocks – these birds are possibly making transcontinental journeys and need to conserve their energy, so please walk around them. • Only take pets to designated parks – dogs, especially off leash, can be a major disturbance to shorebird. • Spread awareness – If you see someone disturbing the birds, kindly explain why this is problematic and ask them to change their behavior. This is stewardship in a nutshell and being an informed member of the community, you have the knowledge to help educate others.
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941-554-8101 11 AM- 9 PM Daily