Siesta Sand - July 2022

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SMITH IS THIRD SIESTA KEY RESIDENT TO JOIN COUNTY COMMISSION RACE page

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COME TO THE COOLEST BAR IN TOWN! page

OPEN MIDNIGHT PASS EFFORT GAINING GROUND, ORGANIZERS REPORT

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page

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NEW MEMBERS WELCOME

Why the world comes to Sarasota

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SiestaKeyFitness.com JULY 2022 | 941.312.0665 | 27TH STATE MEDIA LLC | www.SiestaSand.us | COMPLIMENTARY

Siesta strikes are serious danger

Beach violence stuns Siesta

Shooting, battery incidents shake a community now seeking solutions By John Morton Two violent acts on Memorial Day on Siesta Key near and in the highly populated Village have both stunned and outraged residents here. The area that day saw large packs of teens in close proximity, estimated in the hundreds, where fighting led to severe outcomes including multiple gunshots. “It’s unfortunate, but also 100% preventable. The community is very upset about this,” said Chris Brown, owner of several properties along Avenida Messina near where the shootings were reported to

have occurred. “It’s another example of the overuse and abuse of Siesta Key,” Brown said, noting that a subsequent discussion he with a local member of law enforcement had the official admit the scene was “a powder keg ready to blow.” As a result of the attacks, the Siesta Key Association civic group voted June 2 to send a letter to Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman to Continued on page 36

Hotel gets another look More than 100 citizens attend workshop to inquire about project By Phil Colpas

The summer storm season is in full swing, and this May 31 lightning strike on Siesta Key behind the lifeguard stations is an example of the intense danger here. Sadly, a teen was struck in July of 2020 at the public beach and paralyzed from the waist down. To learn of how his recovery is progressing, see our update story on Jacob Brewer on page 12. (photo by Dylan Cox)

More than 100 concerned citizens packed St. Boniface Church on June 14 to attend a neighborhood workshop on a proposed hotel on Siesta Key — the third of four hotels proposed for Siesta Key in less than a year. Property owner Dave Balot wants to build a 112-room hotel on a 2.15-acre parcel at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd., site of a former bank in between Gulf & Bay and Jamaica Royale condominiums. Balot said he purchased the property about a year ago, and described the project as “The Hotel Siesta,” a courtyard-style hotel with a restaurant/bar, lounge, and large pool. Balot plans on including a 150-seat

An artist’s rendering of the front of the 112-room hotel and restaurant proposed at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd. (submitted image)

Continued on page 46

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Plenty going on with arts scene

Meet a great greeter of guests

Beachcomber is the bomb

• Village Map/business listings PAGES 24, 25 • Crescent Beach Map/ business listings PAGE 32 • Gulf Gate Shops PAGE 39 • Music Calendar PAGE 40 • Accommodations Map PAGE 47

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Greetings from the Gulf

Word on the beach

By John Morton

What would you like to see go into the former site of Crescent Beach Grocery?

They’re peddling our pedals!

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n a recent Sheriff’s Report, all but one of the entries described the theft of a bicycle. Clearly, there is a rash of this going on around the Key, and most often they don’t involve the cutting of a lock. No, they are the result of people simply not locking them at all. Leaving them unsecured and unattended for mere seconds is asking for it. And it’s not only happening at Siesta Beach. Condo complexes, residential neighborhoods, businesses. You name it. One recent case stood out: An electric bike, and its cart, were locked together but to nothing else! Hello? How convenient for the thief. And here the creep thought he was going to have to make two trips. I would almost be too embarrassed to call the cops – but it is important that you do. I’ll explain in a moment. As always, someone on Facebook provided a post of perfect perspective that gave me a laugh. But there’s nothing funny about this problem. Regular bikes are getting more and more expensive, and the popularity of the electric bike takes it to another level. It’s no surprise this is happening. Where do most of them end up? At pawn shops. While that makes sense from the crook’s point of view, it’s an outrage from the other side. I mean, who brings a legitimate bike into a pawn shop? Have you ever heard of a family doing this? Handed down, offered to a neighbor,

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donated to an organization. Unless it held Lance Armstrong as he crossed the finish line at the Tour de France, or maybe a dog named Toto in the front basket as a twister approached, we don’t see bikes wheeled on in during episodes of Pawn Stars, do we? So, when one arrives at the pawn shop door, no doubt it is stolen property, Duh. It’s pathetic that they are even accepted. But then again, these are pawn people. And that’s why you should record your bike’s serial number -- it’s

usually located under the bottom of where the two pedal cranks meet -- and photograph other distinguishing characteristics. A Siesta Sand article from 2015 shows the importance of this. It details a case where vacationers had three brand-new Trek hybrid bikes -- rented from Siesta Sports Rentals -- stolen from an unlocked garage. Because the serial numbers were on file, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office tracked them down at two different pawn shops when their data bases were examined. The pawn shop that is nearest to

Siesta Key, on Clark Road near Gulf Gate, was one of the stores involved in this case. A local man was eventually arrested for the thefts, but that’s rare. I called our local pawn shop to see if it still purchased bikes. It does. But get this: In Florida, pawnshops owners have the right to charge for the return of the items to whomever wants them back, despite being stolen property. Yes, Florida Statute 539 protects the pawn-shop owners, absolving them of the responsibility of vetting goods they purchase. No wonder they wheel and deal in black-market bikes. Now, there is an exception to this if a judge orders the property returned, likely through small claims court, but that’s one heck of a rigamarole for the average victim. Unfortunately, Sarasota County does not have a bicycle registration program. It should! After all, the city has one. Could this finally be good reason for annexation into the city? A winwin, Schwinn-Schwinn! Probably not. Meanwhile, as we work to encourage more bikes and fewer cars, the county needs to invest in as many bike racks as possible. Smart business owners should do the same on their properties. As for the rest of us, lock ‘em up people. It’s a bummer we can’t have trust in something as basic as bicycles, but that’s life on a beach where strangers come in droves. Let’s stop them from so-often taking us for a ride. (John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)

Anna Plymouth, Michigan “A large, full-service coffee shop like Starbucks. There’s only one coffee shop on this end of the Key and it’s limited. We need another option. We need a better option. Andy Siesta Key “We definitely need a nice grocery store. It should have a deli and meat counter, just like before, but be more upscale. It would fit in well with the burgeoning neighborhood.” Joe Troy, New York “A nice restaurant with a winery and tasting room. There’s nothing quite like that near there.” Laura WinstonSalem, N.C. “Definitely groceries. It’s such easy access there for all the beach-goers.”

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BOAT RENTALS Ramirez adds to legal team Brings expert into fold in battle against Siesta Key hotel approval By John Morton

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Looking for some expertise with an issue that’s similar in what she’s fighting, Siesta Key resident Lourdes Ramirez has brought Richard Grosso to her legal team in her fight against Sarasota County. Ramirez sued the county late last year, alleging it went against its own comprehensive plan when it approved an eight-story, 170-room hotel on a bit less than an acre of land between Calle Miramar and Beach Road on the edge of the Village. The trial is set for next spring. Grosso, an attorney and professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, served as Ramirez’s legal representative in mid-June during depositions regarding the case. He’ll join Tampa attorneys Martha Collins and Pamela Hartley on behalf of Ramirez. Grosso won a landmark land-use case in 2001 in Martin County, claiming the county commission

violated its comprehensive plan by allowing the construction of the Villas at Pinecrest Lakes. Neighbors of the project were in litigation against Grosso the county when the developer nonetheless built part of the $3.3 million apartment complex before the case was settled. The ruling against the county, which Grosso litigated, forced the developer to tear it down a year later. “It was his landmark case (Pinecrest Lakes Inc. vs. Shidel) that caught my attention years ago,” Ramirez said of Grosso. “I reached out to him last year, but he had a huge caseload. I was happy when he decided to join my legal team recently. “His extensive experience on land use-issues and the landmark

case are invaluable to my case. I’m grateful he is on my team fulltime.” Grosso in 2021 was honored by Audubon Florida with its Everglades Champion Award for his precedent-setting cases in areas including land use, the environment, and property rights. Regarding her case against the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners, Ramirez contends that its vote of approval was illegal because it included the elimination of limits on density. Previously, the number of rooms allowed was 26 per acre of property on the barrier islands. That hotel was one of two approved for Siesta Key in 2021, the other being a seven-story, 120-room project near the south bridge. That hotel is also involved in a lawsuit likely to go before a judge next year. Proposals for two additional new hotels have yet to go before the commissioners for a vote.


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Island Chatter

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The number of passengers going through Sarasota Bradenton International Airport continues to be staggering. In April, 386,013 passengers were reported, according to Fred Piccolo, CEO of the airport, who shared the numbers with Sarasota County’s Tourism Development Council on June 9. That’s a 31% increase of passengers served in April of 2021. For the first four months of 2022, 1,471,513 passengers have traveled through the airport, marking a whopping 71.85% increase over the same timeframe last year (858,231). What’s further remarkable is that 2021 was a record year for the airport, bringing in 3,163,543 travelers.

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Chamber establishes survey regarding public bathrooms

According to the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the No. 1 question it gets from visitors is whether or not the Village has a public bathroom. Its employees and volunteers tell them it doesn’t, and that the nearest public bathrooms are at the public beach, about a mile away. As a result, the chamber has established a survey asking residents and guests if they’d like to see public restrooms created in the Village. The results, which were not available by press time for this issue, will be sent to the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners in hopes of convincing them to potentially finance such a project. The chamber’s Visitor Center reports it welcomed 5,223 walk-in visits in 2021, with 2,089 inquires about bathrooms -- representing about 40% and about eight bathroom inquires per day.

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Community Spotlight Making a great first impression

Sharon Rivera appreciates her role at the Visitor Center and her Siesta Key history

Q

Sharon, you’ve been serving as a volunteer in the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Center for four years. Why has that been important to you? I greet people and answer the phones there and I really appreciate the interest people have in our community and love being an ambassador for it. I like being that first line of defense. I get people who return after their first visit and remember my name, asking for Sharon Rivera. That’s when I know I’ve made an impression, made a difference.

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Speaking of the name Rivera, it’s one you share with a famous brother who played a role in your family having a history with Siesta Key. Tell us about that. My parents had been living for 10 years in a motorhome, traveling around the country. In the early ‘80s my brother Geraldo discovered Siesta Key and bought a unit for them on the seventh floor of Whispering Sands. I enjoyed visiting for years and in 2006, when my mother fell and broke her hip, I came to help for what was supposed to be three weeks but never left. I lived there for 12 years before I ended up moving downtown three years ago. That’s part of why I’ve continued at the Visitor’s Center. I love Siesta Key and want to stay connected with it.

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You said you truly enjoy the Siesta Sand and appreciate community journalism, having enjoyed a career of your own in it. Share your history with it. In the early 2000s, Geraldo bought the small weekly newspaper in Red Bank, New Jersey. At the time, the town had 50 empty storefronts and was known as “Dead Bank.” I pounded the pavement, selling advertising, and the paper’s success helped resurrect the community. I felt like I was queen of the town, going door-to-door

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pulling a buggy with the newspaper’s sign on it. I was also a member of the chamber of commerce there, and that’s part of what attracts me to the same on Siesta Key. I can relate to the importance of the business community. It makes me a perfect fit for the Visitor Center. Today, all the storefronts in Red Bank are full again. It’s been a complete turnaround. And many famous and influential people have since lived there. Geraldo is one, along with Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Maury Povich, and Connie Chung.

Q A

Red Bank is near Manhattan, and you were dangerously close to the tragedy of 9/11, right? I was between the Statue of Liberty and the towers when I saw the planes hit. Some of the photo images I took that day were published. It took eight hours to get back to New Jersey by water. I knew several people who died that day, mostly working for Cantor Fitzgerald on the top floors of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Above, Sharon Rivera (right) with brother Geraldo and their mother Lillian. Left, Rivera at the island’s Visitor Center in the Village where she volunteers. (submitted photos)

Q A

July is a favorite month on Siesta Key for your family, and especially Geraldo. Why? His birthday is July 4 and he loves watching the fireworks here. We once gave him was a two-hour sand-sculpting session with Andy Daily of the Sandventure Crew that he enjoyed with his daughter Sol and his wife, Erica. Dining at Ophelia’s and Turtles are favorites because he can get there by motorboat or sailboat. He also loves to sit out on Roberts Bay, watching the boats go by, watching the clouds go by. It’s heavenly for him. -- John Morton

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Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. Property information herein is derived from various sources including, but not limited to, county records and multiple listing services, and may include approximations. All information is deemed accurate.

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Efforts to open Midnight Pass getting traction Non-profit group now has the ear of state politicians in attempt to reverse controversial measure taken in the early 1980s By Phil Colpas The Facebook group Open Midnight Pass, representing the 401(c)3 corporation Midnight Pass Society 2 Inc., reports that it is making strides toward reopening Midnight Pass, the naturally occurring waterway channel that separated Siesta Key from Casey Key until it was manually closed in 1983. Proponents of reopening Midnight Pass point to the death and destruction of species and habitats, including marine life, sea birds and their respective ecosystems, that has occurred due to lack of aeration and circulation in the water since the pass was filled in. Historical charts show that Midnight Pass naturally shifted both north and south throughout the 19th century. A hurricane in the 1920s caused a storm surge that stabilized the pass for about 60 years. But then, in 1983, Midnight Pass drifted far enough north that it began encroaching on homes built on south Siesta Key. Two of the southernmost homes on the key were owned by well-known artist Syd Solomon and his neighbor Pasco Carter. Midnight Pass had migrated so close to Carter’s property that it destroyed his pool foundation. Solomon and Carter sought the permission of the county and state government in order to “relocate” the pass farther south. This seemed ludicrous to many, who questioned why they were allowed to build

Midnight Pass, the natural waterway between Siesta and Casey keys, as seen in the 1970s before sand was filled in and altered the natural flow of water. (submitted photos)

homes there in the first place. Nonetheless, in December of 1983, with emergency permits granted by the government, the existing pass was filled with sand. Since it was deemed an emergency, no studies were done to determine how the waters could best be controlled. Engineers dredged a new pass farther away

from the properties, but the natural flow of the water quickly filled the created channel with sand. While multiple dredging attempts were attempted -- eight in all -- the results were always the same: Mother Nature filled them in. Efforts to reopen Midnight Pass have been ongoing since it was closed nearly 40 years ago.

Longtime residents may remember the “Open Midnight Pass Now!” bumper stickers especially popular in the 1980s. Organizers of this latest iteration feel that the time is right for reopening. Midnight Pass Society 2 Inc. is the brainchild of realtor Scott Lewis; local restaurateur Mike Evanoff is a founding board

member. The group shared its progress at a community workshop held at The Point in Osprey on May 22. Evanoff said his group is working with engineers and environmentalists to properly plan to get Midnight Pass open. Continued on page 22


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International travel to Sarasota County begins rebound By John Morton The result of most travel restrictions abroad being lifted in November, Sarasota County’s international tourist numbers are slowly beginning to rebound. “Our international numbers have crept up each month since than ban was lifted, but not back on pace by any means,” said Virginia Haley, president of the Visit Sarasota County organization that serves as the region’s tourism marketing arm. “Still, Canada is No. 1 followed by the UK (United Kingdom) and Germany.” Haley reports these numbers for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1: In quarter one (October through December of 2021), Canada had 9,980 visits to the county, representing 3.2% of total visitors. The UK had 3,830 (1.2%) and Central Europe 4,320 (1.4%). In total, 6.7% of the visitors were international. In quarter two (January through March of 2022), Canada had 12,550 visits to the county, representing 3.2% of total visitors. The UK had 3,920 (1%) and Central Europe 4,140 (1.1%). In total, 8.3% of the visitors were international. Continued efforts to draw international tourists will be bolstered by Visit Sarasota County’s reconnection with marketing firms in the UK and Europe beginning again in February. Budget cuts in 2020 had temporarily

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severed those ties. Kelly Defebo, director of sales with Visit Sarasota County, recently attended the annual IPW international inbound travel trade show in Orlando. It’s where the U.S Travel Association’s members interact with travel buyers and media from more than 70 countries to showcase their vacation destinations. “It’s the largest trade show where the U.S. sells itself to the world,” Haley said. Defebo reported to Sarasota County’s Tourism Development Council on June 9 that she not only met with UK and German representatives, but also had 65 meetings with other representatives while at the event. Invited by Defebo to make presentations to the Tourism Development Council, a member of an international travel-related firm from both the UK and Germany reported a steady increase in travel to Florida from their respective regions – thanks in part by improving economic conditions. For example, Muna Abanour and Dru Bryan of the UK trade Firm GOSHPR reported that the UK general economy is forecasted to grow by 3.5% this year, which is more than twice the pre-pandemic trend rate. Furthermore, more than 157,000 Britons visited Florida in the first three months of 2022.

A view far above the northern part of Siesta Key upon an airliner. (submitted image)

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Blase Cafe has new ownership

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Former operator stresses that iconic Village gathering spot will keep its same vibe By John Morton The iconic Blasé Café & Martini Bar has changed hands, but its former owner is certain it will retain the same vibe that has made it a favorite in the Village since 1997. “It’s like the White House – the name of the president changes, but the place stays the same,” said Kevin Skiest, who sold the establishment, which includes the attached 3.14 Pi Craft Beer & Spirits pizza operation, on May 1. The business is located at 5263 Ocean Blvd. He announced the sale to his patrons the evening of April 29 during the live music. Skiest joined Blasé as a partner in 2016, assisting founder Cindy Breslin. Sadly, she died last summer at 65 at Skiest’s home on the south end of Siesta Key after a battle with cancer. The new owners are the operators of Cask Ale and Kitchen, located on Main Street in downtown Sarasota, as well as other businesses. “They’ve been in the city for years and have run some successful businesses. And Cindy knew them and liked them,” Skiest said of the new owners. “They understand the lease and appreciate the fact that Blasé is an institution here on Siesta Key.” Not only is the name not expected to change, Skiest said, but the employees will be retained. As for Skiest, he said he’ll be on board for a few weeks to assist with the transition. “Nothing is changing,” he said. “They’ll be running it as if they were me.” Regarding the lease, it played a role in Skiest’s decision to sell. It has always been offered in only two-year increments, he said, with the current lease expiring at the end of 2023. His offer to buy the building was rejected and, coupled with the short-term leases Skiest saw no point in putting large

The Blase Cafe and 3.14 Pi businees in the Village is under new ownership. The sale took place May 1. (photos by John Morton)

sums into the building. “There have been no improvements. It’s not in the greatest shape,” Skiest said. Siesta Corner LLC of New York City is listed as the owner. Skiest said the group owns other nearby properties, adding up to what he called a “significant footprint” and said he suspected the owners could have bigger plans in the future. Meanwhile, a changing customer base and a bit of burnout also played roles in Skiest’s decision. “It’s just the same for me,” he said. “Many of our longtime local customers who are friends can’t afford to live on the island

anymore, or are struggling with the traffic and crowds. The tourists are taking over. “I got involved to help her (Breslin) get it more operational, to get more functionality, to make money. Well, we got that done. After that, I wanted to get it to its 25-year anniversary, which I did in January. In the restaurant business, 25 years is quite an accomplishment. It was a hell of a ride.” Skiest, who has a career as a real estate investor, said it’s time to focus on his main profession and leave the stress and chaos of running a restaurant and bar behind. “I need to get my life back together again,” he said.


Continued on page 46

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Plenty of progress, plenty of promise 2 years later, Siesta Key lightning-strike victim Jacob Brewer keeps on with the tough journey toward recovery By Jane Bartnett

Jacob Brewer, a 16-year-old Texas teenager, is preparing to start his junior year in high school. But instead of taking classes at his school, he’ll be fighting to regain his ability to walk. The future, for the young man who was struck by lightning on Siesta Beach two years ago, looks promising. On July 16, 2020, as Jacob and his family members were enjoying their Siesta Key vacation, his young life was changed forever. On that day, the Florida sky suddenly turned an ominous shade of dark, menacing gray. As the family began to leave the beach, a bolt of lightning came from the sky. All four members of the family were hit. They found themselves on the sand. When his mother Barbara opened her eyes, she saw that 14-year-old Jacob was foaming from the mouth. “I had no idea what had happened,” she said. Pleading to God to save her son, she yelled out “Please, please don’t take Jacob!” The lightning had struck the boy in his chest. After traveling through his body, the lightning exited through his big toe on his right foot. The family would later discover that his spinal cord was severely damaged and all of the blood vessels had been affected. That day, despite dangerous flashes of lightning, rain and thunder, and the fact that it was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a pre-med student ran to Jacob and began to perform CPR. Within minutes, Sarasota County Sheriff’s officer Mark Eve answered the emergency call. When Eve checked for vital signs and found none, he began chest compressions and rescue breaths through CPR. Paramedics arrived quickly and once

Lightning-strike victim Jacob Brewer, now 16, goes through rehabilitation exercises with helpers as he attempts to regain the ability to walk. He was hit in the chest by a bolt in July of 2020 on Siesta Beach. (submitted image)

on the scene, they took the boy to their ambulance and then to Children’s Hospital in Tampa. Paralyzed from the waist down, Jacob spent two weeks in intensive care and then another three months in the hospital. The family began reaching out to doctors around the world searching desperately for help. His parents discovered that lightning

injuries are so rare that most physicians are not trained in treating lightning victims. Months after the accident, they learned of a breakthrough treatment. It came in the form of a wearable robotic leg that works by stimulating the nerves. Biofeedback travels to the brain, “Telling the brain that it can use the leg,”

Barbara Brewer explained. While Jacob had some muscle loss in his quads and hamstrings, the robotic leg helped him to make great progress. Another ray of hope came last summer when Jacob entered the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville. Doctors at Brooks, the second-largest state-of-the-art rehabilitation hospital in the nation, began to treat the boy with the Cyberdyne Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) machine. In the United States, the HAL machine is only found at Brooks. There are only four such machines in the world. A wearable device, the HAL sensors read when Jacob tries to move his legs and alerts the brain to act. The manufacturer reports that the HAL machine can improve and regenerate the patient’s damaged functions. For Jacob, the HAL machine has given him a part of his life and his hope back. The Siesta Sand last July chronicled Brewer’s story as he was about to enter the Jacksonville facility. In March of this year, Barbara Brewer posted a Facebook update on her son’s progress. “He has been in a harness for physical therapy since September 2020,” she wrote. “Some days are really hard -- it’s been rough seeing all of his friends moving through major teenage milestones.” But, she said, “He went harness-free this week and we don’t plan on going back. He’s still fighting and he told me that he wants to keep doing the treatments.” The treatments that she referred to meant a return to Jacksonville and the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital for treatments on the HAL machine. Continued on page 28

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exercising in a secure harness while attached to a bungee cord completely rewrites traditional floor exercising. Unlike many other traditional gym sessions, a good amount of laughing and good-will mixed in with sweating and hard work was on display at a recent class as 10 women went through their paces. The brainchild of a 20-year-old fitness guru and entrepreneur Mariana “Coach Mari” Lynn,

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Body by Bungee opened its doors on Valentine’s Day. The concept of bungee fitness, she explained, started in Thailand about five years ago. It is now spreading across the U.S. Gazing around her new 4,200-square-feet state-of-the art fitness center, decorated with brilliant white wings painted by local artist West Evans that convey the studio’s inspirational “flying your way to fit” mantra, the Niagara Falls native smiled. “Sarasota has been wonderful. I really love it here,” she said. Speaking of her passion for bungee and overall physical fitness, Lynn explained that bungee fitness is cardio-based. “It’s low impact, high intensity and easy on the joints,” she said. “It also builds strength in the legs. When a student is wearing a harness attached to a bungee cord, it reduces the load by 50 to 70% -- and that makes exercising easier and a lot more fun.” Shown to provide greater mobility, increased endurance and lymphatic flow, students report greater overall body strength, weight loss and flexibility. “You don’t have to be in great shape to join in and start bungee fitness,” Lynn said, noting that her students range in age from 12 to 80-plus. “We have a no-meangirls philosophy here. Everyone is welcome.” Each class has a maximum of 10 students. Once they step into one of the 10 secured bungee harnesses that hang from the ceiling’s steel beams, the fun begins. “We have a 90-pound minimum and 240-pound maximum weight requirement to use the bungee,” Lynn said. Classes are taught by Lynn and her mother, Christine Lynn, whom she trained. While Christine teaches and helps her daughter in the studio, it is Mari who owns and runs the business and directs the training. Looking back on her journey to fitness and to becoming a certified fitness coach, Lynn said that it all began in her early high school days. “I was overweight and selfconscious. I was clueless in the gym,” said the young entrepreneur. “I started to educate myself by watching fitness videos and after I got fit, I wanted to help other people to feel good about themselves, too.” She earned her certification in fitness and nutrition from the International Sports Sciences Association and four years ago Continued on page 45


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Market decline offers buying opportunities Sarasota Local Brings Experience & Trust to Siesta Key

The financial markets have gotten off to a rocky start this year. What’s caused this volatility? And does it present opportunities for patient investors? First of all, several factors are behind the market volatility, including the war in Ukraine, higher inflation, rising interest rates and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while these factors may be specific to the recent market decline, volatility itself is a common feature of the investment environment. In fact, history shows that corrections of 10% or more happen about every year, and declines of 15% or more have happened every other year, on average. Furthermore, while 2022 has thus far been challenging for investors, it was preceded by a long period of strong markets, with the S&P 500 averaging more than a 20% return over the past three years. Knowing the typical frequency of market volatility and reviewing the results of the past few years may make the current situation

seem less shocking. But you don’t have to simply “ride out” the downturn – because a down market may give you the opportunity to buy more investment shares at good prices. Specifically, you can expand your holdings in companies that have good growth prospects due to strong management and products or services that provide sustainable competitive advantages. And this type of opportunity is important, because one of the keys to building wealth is to increase the number of shares you own in your various investments and hold them for

the long term. While the market will always fluctuate, the longterm trend has been positive, particularly for well-diversified portfolios built with quality investments. Of course, while it is a good idea to boost your share ownership at favorable prices, you still want to be strategic about it, rather than just buying whatever seems to be the biggest bargain. In reviewing your existing portfolio, can you identify any gaps that could be filled with new investments? Are there opportunities to further diversify your holdings? By owning different types of stocks, bonds, government securities and other investments, you can help reduce the impact of volatility on your portfolio. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t guarantee profits or prevent losses in declining markets.) Or, if your portfolio has become “unbalanced” in some way, you could also use this time to rebalance it back to its original long-term targets. You might also consider setting up

a systematic investing program in which you invest the same amounts in the same investments on a regular basis, such as monthly. When prices go down, you’ll automatically buy more shares, and when prices rise, you’ll buy fewer shares. (However, systematic investing does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss and you’ll need to be willing to keep investing when share prices are declining.) Before this year, average annual returns have been solid for about a decade, which makes it somewhat easy to forget about normal market volatility and may have led to overly optimistic performance expectations. So, it would not be surprising if your initial reaction to the current downturn is one of concern. But by viewing the current investment environment as a chance to add quality investments at attractive prices, you can help yourself develop a behavior that can serve you well throughout your life as an investor.

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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Smith throws hat in the ring for county race Longtime Siesta Key resident hopes to capture District 2 seat; incumbent Ziegler not running for re-election By Phil Colpas

Longtime Siesta Key resident Mark Smith has declared his candidacy for the Sarasota County Commission’s District 2 seat, which represents the northern half of Siesta Key. He will face fellow Republican Lourdes Ramirez in an Aug. 23 primary. Out of the race is Republican incumbent Christian Ziegler, who is not seeking re-election. Smith has been an architect for 39 years and is currently president of Smith Architects, P.A., located in Siesta Key Village. “With Christian not running, I decided to run,” Smith said. “I’m a Florida-registered architect who has owned and operated my

business and lived on Siesta Key for 28 years. My professional experience of design, land use, construction and construction costs, permitting, Smith building and zoning codes, etc., makes me uniquely qualified to be a county commissioner. It is my expertise that will be of great value to the BCC.” Smith moved to Sarasota as a child when his family relocated from Detroit in 1963. He graduated from Riverview High School in 1973, and received both his

Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Smith and his family moved back to Sarasota in 1990. He and his wife Esther have four grown children: Liz, 35; Jackie, 32; John, 31; and Ashley, 29. “My nearly three decades of living and working on Siesta Key, volunteering on the Siesta Key Village Association, Siesta Key Association, and Siesta Key Chamber Board of Directors over the last 22 years, demonstrates to the Siesta Key voters my commitment to and love for Siesta Key,” Smith said. “We need strong, effective leadership on the Board of County Commissioners

that represent the will and desire of Siesta Key to maintain and protect its character and beauty.” Smith has long been active in his professional association and in his community. He served as president of the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects in 2007, and received the 2009 AIA Florida Silver Medal in recognition of his years of leadership and service deemed to have been a direct benefit to the profession and the community. He was president of the Siesta Key Village Association from 2004 to 2009, leading the organization through the design and construction of the Siesta Key Village Beautification Project.

Smith is a past board member of the Siesta Key Association. He currently serves on the Siesta Key Presidents Council, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Advisory Board, and as chair-elect of the Siesta Key Continued on page 41

Happiness is...Celebrating the Red, White, and Blue Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate with the traditional bang of fireworks and the best summer tradition of all – Ice Cream! The folks at Abel’s Ice Cream are ready to celebrate our nation’s independence with you by serving up the best of the red, white, and blue. Stop by for a cup or cone of Strawberry - a perennial winner (Creamy strawberry ice cream with chunks of real strawberries and a strawberry swirl), an all-time classic

Vanilla (Our award winning smooth & creamy vanilla ice cream), or Birthday Cake (Rich Cake Ice Cream with pieces of yellow cake, blue cotton candy flavored icing and rainbow sprinkles) which is sure to become a new fan favorite. Or better yet, combine these red, white, and blue flavors into the perfect sundae. Getting your ice cream fix at Abel’s is practically an American institution. It just wouldn’t be summer without it! 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 their website, www.abelsicecream.com or connect with them on Facebook and Instagram. Awarded their Certificate of Excellence for SIX years straight!

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Mind Body Soul: Whole Wellness By Dolores Day “If you want to find the secrets of the universe (and your health), think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” -- Nikola Tesla

T

his is one of my favorite quotes of all times. First, because it is an absolute truth that has now been scientifically proven and quantified. Second, because this truth changed my entire way of thinking which in turn reflected a beautiful change in my entire life! When one begins to open the doors of curiosity and gain insight to these three words, their meaning, and how they apply to one’s life, get ready because the impact on one’s health is almost a guarantee. All life is made up of energy. Every living and non-living thing has energy in it. These energy molecules move (vibrate) at a specific and measurable speed (frequency, measured in hertz). Einstein declared “everything in life is vibration.” This was spoken at a time when there was no developed scientific technology available to test those very words. Yet, being the reflective, curious, and outside the box thinker that he was, he was able to ascertain that everything in life moved at a rate that could not be seen with the physical eye, but nonetheless moved. E=MC2. Because the field of quantum physics is now a highly studied and investigated field, there is scientific quantifiable evidence that ALL things do indeed vibrate (move). The Heart Math Institute in California for example can now measure the strong effects of someone else’s brain waves they emit and the vibrational changes that is has on another’s heart. Please note, our energy field can directly affect another’s. Our brain waves created from our thoughts, and our heart waves created by

our emotions, combined create our personal energy field (PEF). This field is different, unique and ever changing for each individual. Interesting point: The heart is one of the strongest electrical machines there is and can emit the strongest of vibrations. Love is the like the holy grail of living measured at 528 hertz. I’ll just leave this truth right here for one to ruminate over all the possibilities. Why is this knowledge so important and useful? Because how we connect these truths and apply them can have drastic effects on our daily life and health. Our lives can absolutely improve with the knowledge and integration of these universal truths of energy. And, here’s how. The study of energy has also taught us that things of a higher vibrational frequency pull things of a lower frequency up. This means if you begin to engage in activities, thoughts, or be in an environment that energetically is high on the vertical scale of frequency, then you have the capacity to affect your energy positively just by participating in it. Your personal frequency will climb the scale by beginning to choose thoughts that hold a higher value of frequency. And this makes sense, right? When you are thinking thoughts about anger, frustration or envy

you will notice that your emotions go down and your body begins to feel bad (your vibrational energy is decreasing). On the contrary, if you start thinking about thoughts of love, compassion, or gratitude your body will immediately begin to start feeling good and even joyful. This is a sign that your PEF is improving and going up and commensurately so is your overall health and wellness. We must take 100% responsibility for our health and the choices we make. And, we must begin to consciously start asking ourselves important questions. For example, “Will this improve my energy? Does this substance have a high energy or low energy frequency? Does this person make me feel bad when I’m around them? If I participate in this activity or take-in this substance will it improve my energy or drain it?” When we do this, we open ourselves up to saying “YES” to more of the things that will increase our energy. You see, the sum of the choices we make on a daily basis -- whether it be foods, medicines, thoughts, activities or even being in the presence of others -- directly affect our health because it directly affects our energy field. The higher your energy field the better you feel. Once you understand that you are directly responsible and have the choice to participate and live a high-vibration life, you won’t want to settle for less. And, as a plus, you will begin to attract like things that move at that same frequency level too, for like attracts like, but that’s the next chapter of truth. If you would like to learn more about how to align and heal your mind, body and soul, check out my website at de-day.com. May you have good vibrations everywhere you go!

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Fish farm off Siesta Key coast is back in business

Less than five weeks after halting the permit process for a proposed fish farm in the Gulf of Mexico 45 miles off the Siesta Key coast, the Environmental Protection Agency on June 10 reissued a required National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit to the farm’s creators.

This, according to Fish Site -- an online publication devoted to the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry. Any discharge of a pollutant from a point source to surface waters must obtain such a permit. Now, if it lands a second required permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Hawaii-based

Ocean Era can begin to install its fish farm called Velella Epsilon. It would be a net-pen made of copper alloy that is 17 meters in diameter and 7 meters in height. It would sit at a depth of 130 feet. The facility would produce about 20,000 fish reared for 12 months, averaging 4.4 pounds in weight.

The project is anticipated to be the first time that cultured fish are grown through to harvest size in Gulf waters. Neil Anthony Sims, Ocean Era’s CEO, told Fish Site “This is an opportunity for the U.S. to truly lead. There is increasing recognition among academics and environmentalists that we

need to be growing more of our own seafood here, in U.S. waters, where we have more control of environmental standards and food safety oversight. “Offshore fish farming is one of the least impactful means of producing the animal protein that we need, to feed our planet, while Continued on page 40

Did you know that Siesta Key has a Gemstone? Looking into the water at Siesta Key Beach is an incredible, captivating feeling - hues of blue and green dancing in light waves on top of crystal white sand with sunlight reflecting on it. Undeniably, the “Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM” has captured the colors of this experience. It’s no secret that the sand on Siesta Key Beach is composed of 99% pure quartz. The crystalline white sand of Siesta Key is luxurious, soft, white and cool to the touch 365 days a year. This is why our beloved beach has been revered as one of the most beautiful in the world. Wanting to capture the experience and essence of Siesta Key beach was the goal of the proprietor of Silver City, Monica. “Tourists always wish they can somehow take their vacation memories with them,” so with this in mind, Silver City designed the Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM. They were able to capture the colors of Siesta Key’s blue/green water and put it into a quartz gemstone. This quartz gemstone is a fusion of the tropical colors that surround us. Just looking into the clear, beautiful gemstone will transport you back to our island paradise representing the Sea, Sky and beautiful sand of Siesta Key Beach. Silver City has now become a “Must Stop” destination for tourists (Currently named #1 shopping destination on TRIP ADVISOR on Siesta Key). Shining brightly among the cases of this uniquely mirrored store lies the much raved about Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM. Every jewelry piece is designed and made by Silver City Sarasota. The staff of Silver City Sarasota is very proud of their unique collection and variety of designs in Sterling Silver and in 14K gold.

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We detect something mighty nice happening here Bob Marks uses his beachcombing device to sometimes save the day in a cell-phone way By John Morton

B

ob Marks doesn’t mind the funny looks he sometimes gets as he sways his metal detector back and forth along the area’s beaches. “Yes, I know there’s a stigma with it,” the recently retired plumber from Osprey said of his hobby. “People will occasionally come up to me and ask, ‘What exactly are you looking for?’” Then there are those who are elated to see him come along with his beachcombing equipment. “I’ve gotten requests from people for help. They’ll say something like, ‘I lost my keys somewhere around here. Can You help me?’” Marks said. “Lost wedding rings are another one.” Kay Van Wagner is among those who dare not scoff at Marks’ beach hunts. Most of us admit that our cell phones are our lifeline, so it explains why Van Wagner was over the moon when Marks found her lost phone on Memorial Day buried in 4 feet of water and 2 more feet of sand on Turtle Beach. “She was beyond excited. She just couldn’t believe it,” Marks said of her reaction when she learned of his find. “Hey, I understand. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost mine.” Van Wagner, who with her husband spends four to five months each year in a condo across from Turtle Beach, was about to give up hope. The iPhone 12 had been missing for two days since her beach visit. “I called it a few times after realizing it was gone but it went straight to voice mail, so I was sure

Above, Kay Van Wagner reacts in disbelief upon the retrieval of her cell phone, thanks to Bob Marks. Right, the two share a moment at Siesta Key’s Turtle Beach. (submitted photos)

it was lost forever,” she said. Upon finding it, Marks and his wife, Denise, noticed it was down to about 30 seconds of life. Quickly they hit the emergency contact app and noticed it had a name and number listed – a crucial piece to the puzzle of finding the owner of a cell phone, Marks noted -- and a call to her brother was made. Van Wagner went to the beach to retrieve her phone and meet the couple. To thank them for being good Samaritans, Van Wagner and her husband treated the Marks and

his wife to dinner at Ophelia’s on the Bay. “How lucky we are to have these great neighbors in our community,” Van Wagner said. It’s not the first time Marks has been a cellphone hero. Before recently taking a cruise off Fort Lauderdale, his detector on that beach found a lost cell phone that was dead. He charged it, but no emergency contact info was listed, and he couldn’t access the locked phone without a log-in code. So, as he and Denise took their weeklong

cruise, they monitored the phone’s quick notification previews that popped up temporarily on the screen. “We kept seeing alerts for things like discounts at Dunkin’ Donuts,” Marks said with a laugh. “Finally, we saw one from someone asking about getting together for lunch that had a return email attached to it. We contacted the person, who turned about to be the kid’s mother. “A week had gone by, but the phone was returned when we got back on land.”

Then there was the time that Denise, who usually walks along Marks’ side with a litter pick-up tool and trash bag, found an iWatch on Turtle Beach. It too had contact info, and they found the family of the person who lost it the day before at their Turtle Beach campsite. “They called him up in Jacksonville to share the good news. He had yet to even realize he had lost it,” Marks said. Beyond the satisfaction of helping others with their lost property, Marks does say his hobby is somewhat lucrative – mostly as the result of consistently finding cash. In the one year he has been using his detector, he has covered the cost of his $1,000 investment. As for the jewelry he finds, he said he’s never pawned anything. “Mostly, I just like the exercise and enjoy the curiosity of what I’ll find next,” Marks said. “I kind of just like looking at what I find. I recently found a sterling silver necklace, and I’ll keep it in case I can find the owner – not to sell it.” The only find he has sold, he said, was a stainless-steel anchor that was worth $500. Among his most interesting discoveries, Marks said, are the bullets that finally wash ashore as the result of fighter-plane training out over the Gulf from the old Venice Army Airfield that was active during World War II. “If I see someone sitting on the beach with a military hat, I’ll share with them what I’ve found,” Marks said.

A Destination Day Spa Catering to your Personal Wellness, Easing Body Mind and Spirit Specializing In Anti-Aging Facials and Intuitive Therapeutic Massage Services offered:

• Facial treatments • Massage • Reiki • Spa Treatments • Gift Certificates

Spoil yourself with a hot stone massage or a couples massage!

To book your appointment: Call 941-349-4833 or go to spaexperiencesiestakey.com 5700 Midnight Pass Road, Suite 4B • Siesta Key, FL 34242 MA017596 & MM 40045


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Open Midnight Pass “We’ve talked to (Congressman) Vern Buchanan, (Rep.) James Buchanan and (Gov.) Ron DeSantis about this so we’re actually pushing forward pretty quickly,” Evanoff said. “The key to this is for you guys to spread the word. Keep spreading the word to people. Go look at the water … and you can see how bad the quality is. The goal is water quality.” If Midnight Pass is reopened, Scott Lewis explained, “The pass would create a sand block, or sand stop, providing the beaches to be renourished. Prior to the pass closing, the beaches on south Siesta Key, from Sanderling Club south, had never been renourished. Now they’ve been renourished twice, at a cost of $25 to $30 million, and now they want to do it again for the third time.” According to Lewis, opening up the pass will facilitate beach renourishment. “They actually have a 50-year plan of renourishment at these beaches without ever even opening up the pass,” he said. “The plan that we have creates what Mother Nature had, and that’s creating a northern channel and a southern channel. And that’s what worked for a hundred years previously.” Longtime Siesta Key resident Dr. Gary Kompothecras is a proponent of opening Midnight Pass. He said a survey is being conducted to determine exactly where people stand on the issue. “Everybody wants this and it’s the right thing to do,” Kompothecras said. “I think they’ll find about 90%” of Siesta Key residents support reopening the pass.” According to Kompothecras, two of the main opponents against reopening the pass have gone away. One, famed author Stephen King who owns property on northern Casey Key, now supports reopening, allegedly because he was bothered by bicyclists on his property. And another Casey Key

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property owner who fought reopening has passed away. “Vern Buchanan is 100% behind the project,” Kompothecras said. “And DeSantis seems good, but wants more information. We met with the Army Corp of Engineers, and they are for it.” Local architects, lawyers and engineers are donating their time to the cause, Kompothecras said. “The more awareness we can generate, the better,” Kompothecras said. “Sponsors are raising money to do studies. It’s all about water quality. Reduction of red tide. And you won’t have to burn all that gas to get to the Gulf. It’s a win-win for everybody.” Fundraisers, fishing tournaments and public meetings will follow the poll, Kompothecras said. Since officially receiving non-profit status in December, more than $30,000 in donations have been collected by the group. Those involved in trying to reopen Midnight Pass remain cautiously optimistic. “I say we’re between 60 to 70% possibility of opening,” Lewis said. “Some days are better than others. It depends on the news coming down from the county.” Midnight Pass 2 board member Dominic Marino urged concerned citizens to take up the cause. “Together, we’re stronger,” he said. “The county commission works for us. The state works for us. Our concern is for the state, and the natural habitats and ecosystems of Florida. So please tune in and follow Midnight Pass on Facebook, follow SotaSupply on Instagram, follow the Oyster Boys on Tik Tok and Twitter. Please join the fight.” For more information, visit www. openmidnightpass.org.

Above, a comparison showing how Midnight Pass once looked, and how it’s now gone. Below, stagnant water in Little Sarasota Bay, the result of a lack of water flow. Right, owners of the home formerly owned by Pasco Carter -- one of the residents who requested that the pass be altered in the early 1980s-- show support of today’s Open Midnight Pass effort. (submitted images)

CONVENIENCE YOU NEED, ATTENTION YOU DESERVE Have you ever wished your primary care practitioner could spend more than a few minutes with you? Or, better yet, that they could come to you? Now, that’s possible! NP On The Key gives you a direct connection to a Nurse Practitioner, in your home or online. Get the personal attention you need from a provider who takes a whole-person approach to health and wellness. You can pay a la carte for home visits and telehealth appointments, or you can join our concierge practice for ongoing care on Siesta Key or in the Sarasota region. Tiffany Tompkins is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner who brings over 15 years of medical experience and a compassionate, attentive bedside manner right to your door. She specializes in family and integrative medicine, and is committed to treating her patients as people, not numbers, with outstanding, personalized attention. Tiffany graduated with honors from both Simmons University (Boston, MA) with a Master of Science in Nursing degree, and Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Prior to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner, Tiffany worked as a registered nurse in med-surg, critical care, neuro/stroke and pre-/post-operative units, both in hospital and ambulatory settings.

A PARTNER IN YOUR CARE Tiffany takes great care to partner with her patients on their medical journey from a holistic point of view. She looks at the whole person – mind, body and spirit – so she can treat and serve each person with shared decision-making and a level of health care delivery that’s hard to achieve in the typical clinical setting. Her mantra is to treat others as she would like to be treated and as if her family member is the patient sitting in front of her, whether in person or virtually. Tiffany loves living in Siesta Key, Florida, where she and her family are avid paddle-boarders, pickle ballers, boaters and golfers. Tiffany is also passionately involved in her community through her work at a nationally recognized charitable organization that serves Sarasota County.

NP on the Key, LLC Tiffany Tompkins

APRN, FNP-BC, MSN, Owner

941-444-5656 Tiffany@nponthekey.com www.nponthekey.com


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LIVE MUSIC, page 40

VILLAGE MAP, pages 24 & 25

ACCOMMODATIONS, page 47

CRESCENT BEACH MAP, page 32 GULF GATE SHOPS, page 39

941.312.0665

Let the dolphins lead the way Sunup to sundown, Fun Boats tours visit the marine beauty up and down the back waters of Siesta Key

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By Jane Bartnett

visit to Siesta Key just isn’t complete without spending some time out on the waters that surround this special place. Catching sight of a frolicking dolphin or even a whole pod of dolphins, jumping and playing in the water, is the stuff of which memories are made. Josh Pickett, co-owner of Siesta Key’s only tour boat company, appropriately called Fun Boats, knows a thing or two about helping visitors to the Key enjoy some time on the water to see dolphins and the magnificent wildlife that call these waters and shorelines home. The company launched in 2016 with sandbar trips and today it offers dolphinthemed and private tours on Siesta Key, as well as Anna Maria Island. Fun Boats makes its Siesta Key headquarters in an old silver Airstream trailer at 1265 Old Stickney Point Rd. After hopping on one of the 38-foot skiff-style tour boats, the Fun Boat experience begins. Captained by seasoned U.S. Coast Guard master captains and trained mates, the boats head out daily for a morning, afternoon or sunset cruise to see dolphins and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Each boat is equipped with a bathroom and features shaded seating for the ride. “We start the morning with our Dolphins and Donuts tour,” said Pickett. “It’s all about fun and helping our visitors to have a great time on their vacations.” Those excursions depart every day from the dock at the Siesta Key Marina at 9:30 a.m. and return two hours later. Traveling south on the Intracoastal Waterway toward Midnight Pass, guests are treated to locally made tasty donuts and coffee. Soon, an endless array of wildlife begins

Several dolphins accompany a Fun Boats outing. (submitted photo)

to make its appearance on mangrove islands that are often filled with pelicans, herons, osprey, ibis and spoonbills who rest and nest there. Bald eagles make their nests there in high trees and travelers often spot them flying gracefully through the air. Out on the water, it’s easy to forget that land is not that far away. Once in Sarasota Bay to the north, dolphin-spotting begins. “Our captains know where the dolphins are,” said Pickett. “Sometimes we see them in Big Pass, sometimes they’re traveling in pods, and sometimes there are only two or three at a time.” He added, “We’ve seen a lot of baby dolphins this spring and early summer.” There’s a good reason for that. According to the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, based at Mote Marine, the waters off Siesta

Key have been the site of a true dolphin baby boom. Researchers documented 22 new bottlenose baby dolphins that came into the world. For many generations, bottlenose dolphins have made the waters off the coastline of Siesta Key their home. “We see a lot of the same dolphins,” noted Pickett. “We get to know them.” He estimated that in the Siesta Key waters, the dolphin population stands at about 200. “A lot of people who take our trips have never seen the Gulf, or the Atlantic Ocean. Getting a chance to see these beautiful dolphins and the birds that we have here is pretty special,” Pickett said. At certain times of the year, manatees also make a guest appearance. Each day at 12:30 p.m., which is Fun Boat’s second trip of the day, the Dolphins and Drinks tour sets off. Complimentary beer and wine, as well as soda and water, are served on board. The boat travels north on a twohour afternoon excursion through the Intracoastal Waterway to Roberts Bay and around the mangrove islands. A stop at the rookery gives everyone a chance to see the many pelicans, cormorants, anhinga, herons, ibis, osprey, and other aquatic birds that spend some time there. At 3:30 p.m., Fun Boat’s Eco/Dolphin tour departs for a third two-hour trip. Visitors on board have a chance to learn about the unique ecology of the area and the local dolphins. The separate cost for all three daytime cruises is $47.50 per adult and $27.50 per child, 10 and under. The last Fun Boats excursion of the day is a time to enjoy Continued on page 41

Your Go-To Store on the Island Morton’s Siesta Market is your one-stop shop for easy island living. We offer a large selection of staple groceries, beer and wine, as well as fresh produce, meats and seafood. In keeping with our Morton’s tradition, we also carry a delicious array of prepared foods, perfect for take-out, picnics, parties and more.

Please stop in and say hello!

205 Canal Road, Siesta Key • 941-349-1474 • MortonsMarket.com

VISIT OUR SIESTA VILLAGE LIQUORS JUST NEXT DOOR!


Siesta Sand

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Island Chatter

5250 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34242

SOUTH SIESTA

1250 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242 NI CE ND O F VE IS LA

ST ARMANDS CIRCLE

325 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236

ISLAND OF VENICE

300 W. Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

Anna Maria Island

107 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL. 34217

Bird walk set for July 9

A beach walk with an emphasis on bird watching will be held at 8:30 a.m. July 9. It is hosted by Kylie Wilson, shorebird coordinator with Audubon Florida. The walk begins at Siesta Beach near the volleyball courts and heads north along the beach. Participants will see and learn how to identify some of the protected bird species on Siesta Key. All ages are welcome, and no registration is required. For more information, email Wilson at kyliewilson@audubon.org.

The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce is accepting sponsorships for the annual Fourth of July fireworks show on Siesta Beach. Sponsorships includes parking, seating, beverages and light snacks. Here is what is available: $5,000 level: 10 parking passes, 40 reserved seats, logo on individual banner, poster and social media promotion. $2,500 level: five parking passes, 20 reserved seats, logo on group banner and social media promotion. $1,500 level: three parking passes, 12 reserved seats, logo on group banner. $1,000 level: two parking passes, eight reserved seats, logo on group banner. $500 level: one parking pass,

www.siestasand.us

Pedestrian killed at Stickney and U.S. 41 intersection

A 63-year-old Bradenton man was killed when he was struck by a pickup while crossing on foot the intersection of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41 on May 27, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The driver of the truck was a 21-year-old Sarasota woman. The incident took place at 8:38 p.m. The pedestrian was attempting to cross Stickney Point Road when struck in the middle lane by frontright portion of the east-bound vehicle as it approached a green light at the intersection.

Robust hurricane season is predicted for the region

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting an “above normal” season. Are you ready? To learn more

Continued on next page

5131 Ocean Blvd. Siesta Key Village 941-349-3490

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

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

Bringing you quality and comfort for more than 40 years!

Birkenstock & More 5128 Ocean Blvd. Siesta Village

941-346-7425 Gift Certificates Available

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

48 47 46

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 Subway Sandwiches..........................Map-B #30 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

MARKET & GRILL

217 AVENIDA MADERA SIESTA KEY

941-552-8826

www.THESEAFOODJOINT.com

CATERING AVAILABLE

éC las a

Daily Drink Specials

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Attorney Fleming.................................Map-E #1 Edward Jones Investments.............Map-D #68 Smith Architects................................... Map-E 74

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

JEWELRY Created Gems.................................... Map-C #51 Mount -N- Repair Jewelers................ Map-D #9

Bogg Bags in Stock!

MASSAGE Hands of Light Massage...................Map-B #35 The Spa at Calle Minorga..................Map-E #74 Sassy ... the Little Day Spa.............Map-D #62

GAS STATION Circle K Store........................................Map-E #6

INTERNET / WiFi SERVICES Davidson Drugs...............................Map-D #65 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company........ Map-B #31

Arizona Habana

Mayari Licorice

MARKETS/FOOD STORES Circle K Store........................................Map-E #6 Morton’s Siesta Market................... Map-C #25

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 Ganja Mon Vibes................................. Map-D #9 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

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

Arizona Tobacco Brown

MAILING - SHIPPING US Post Office.................................... Map-D #65

DRUGSTORE Davidson Drugs...............................Map-D #65

Live Music Every Day and Night

Granada Habana

Gizeh Pearl White

941-554-4242

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

HEALTH & FITNESS Indep. Lifestyle Solutions ............... Map-D #10 Siesta Healing...................................... Map-D #9 Siesta Key Fitness............................ Map-B #73 Studio Yooga ................................... Map-B #51

Hey Dude & Birkenstocks Back in Stock!

5255 Ocean Blvd • Siesta Key Village www.robinhoodrentals.net

COFFEE SHOPS Bean Coffeehouse............................Map-D #62 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company........ Map-B #31

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.

about hurricane preparedness, visit noaa.gov/hurricane-prep. Siesta Key has never seen a direct hurricane hit in recorded annals, but the area remains at high risk each and every year. Hurricane Charley in 2004 was the last hurricane to deliver a direct hit in our region, landing at Punta Gorda.

The annual Kids Summer Beach Run series continues through July on each Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. along Crescent Beach. On-site registration is held at Siesta Beach, which is the starting and finishing line for the 1-mile run. It’s for youngsters 18 and under (adults can join little ones) and participants receive a ribbon each week Those who run four times receive an event-themed T-shirt. Coupons from the New Balance shoes store will also be provided.

• SEGWAY RENTALS • PADDLEBOARDS • SCOOTER CARS • GOLF CARTS • BIKES • SCOOTERS • BEACH GEAR

T-SHIRTS • SWEATSHIRTS • SOUVENIRS

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Continued from previous page

Kids Summer Beach Run continues through July

LET US CUSTOMIZE SHIRTS FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT!

Big G’s Oyster Happy Hour from 3-6 Every day 1/2 Priced House Oysters

JULY 2022

four reserved seats, name on one banner sign. For more information call (941) 349-3800 or email Ann Frescura at executivedirector@ siestakeychamber.com.

CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN SHIRT FROM HUNDREDS OF DESIGNS DAIQUIRIDECK.COM

941.312.0665

Island Chatter

Continued from page 5

Fireworks sponsorships available from chamber

SIESTA KEY

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HAPPY HOUR 5-6 PM Daily

& Martini Bar

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Awesome pizza, wings & bartenders!

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TWO GREAT ONELOCATION! LOCATION! TWO GREATPLACES PLACES ONE 5263 SiestaKey Key 5263Ocean Ocean Blvd. Blvd. || Siesta


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* Authentic Italian food from Italian chefs

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* Fresh housemade pasta

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This purchase he award $250,000 lped in and scholarships grants during our 2021-2022 Fisc al year.

White ibis Eudocimus albus The ibis is one of the many longlegged wading birds you will see around Siesta Key’s tidal pools, mangroves, and wetland areas. With its decurved bill and mixed brown and white plumage, could this specimen be the product of an ibis—limpkin moonlit tryst? Not at all! As this juvenile ibis matures, dazzling white plumage will emerge along with jet-black wingtips that are typically visible only in flight. During breeding season, the adult ibis sports vibrant reddish pink legs and bill to

attract a mate. Ibises are content to stroll through wetlands, in chatty groups, with a certain nonchalance. The long bill is ideal for probing the mud and snatching hidden worms, crayfish, and crabs. The ibis is both a sociable and a territorial creature. Community foraging, flying, and nesting habits contradict the fierce, even violent, rivalry among ibis males who protect their nest, their mate, and their honor. Jan Baumgartner’s handmade notecards are available at BLVD Beachwear, 5239 Ocean Blvd., and Shelly’s Gift and Christmas Boutique, 4420 S. Tamiami Trail.

Blooming this month: Wild coffee

DONATE SHOP CONSIGN VOLUNTEER

539 S. ORANGE | 941-955-7859 | OPEN MON-FRI 9-4 & SAT 10-4 | www.sarasotawex.com

Wild coffee is a native shrub that makes a versatile addition to your landscape in southern Florida. This lovely, graceful shrub that produces’ red berries similar to coffee beans. That will attract lots of birds in your garden. As a member of the family Rubiacea, the shiny evergreen leaves have very deeply impressed veins. The tiny white blooms resemble little white stars that will soon

HAPPY HOUR 4pm-6:30pm Happy Hour Food & Cocktails MONDAY PRIX-FIXE MENU 3 Course Menu for $25 — Every Monday

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-- Kay Weber, Botanical Gardens chair

Sea turtle nest count (through June 18)

OPA WEDNESDAY! Saganaki Opa! Appetizer $7 WINE THURSDAY 1/2 Off Bottles of Wine

attract butterflies. This is a plant that can take full sun and is drought resistant. Currently in bloom in the Butterfly & Falling Waters gardens located at the Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Boulevard of the Arts. Visit sarasotagardenclub.org for more information.

UNIVERSITY PARK

8235 Cooper Creek Blvd, University Park, FL 941-359-4816

SARASOTA LANDINGS

4956 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 941-927-2270

www.ApolloniaGrill.com

Siesta Key: Turtle nests 319 , false crawls 303. Lido Key: Turtle nests 95, false crawls 109. Longboat Key: Turtle nests 651, false crawls 690. Casey Key: Turtle nests 1,062, false crawls 939. Venice: Turtle nests 272, false crawls 364. Information gathered by Mote Marine.


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★★★★★ via TripAdvisor (April 2022) BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT IN THE SARASOTA AREA BY FAR! FRESH, FLAVORFUL, PERFECTLY PREPARED FOOD. BE BACK NEXT YEAR!

From the Grill...

Fresh fish your way: Grilled or Blackened & topped with Lemon Butter, Pico or Salsa, Soups, Sandwiches, Steam pots & more!

From the Market...

Large selection of fresh seafood. Special Orders Welcome!

Have a Happy and Safe 4TH OF JULY!

“This is a small family run restaurant and the owners are onsite there. The owners and staff are friendly and welcoming. The service is great, but the food is phenomenal ! We had the blackened grouper, crab cakes and fish stew. It was seasoned and prepared perfectly ! We found it because we were looking a place to eat after a movie, and if we hadn’t looked for reviews on TripAdvisor we would never have found it. It’s in a small plaza in the back corner and does not stand out. It was 45 minutes from where we were staying but it was so good we had to go back again. Each of the last 3 years we have stayed for 2 months on longboat key and this was the best seafood restaurant we’ve been to, hands down! It was nice to meet the owner who it turns out was from the town next to us in Connecticut. You must try it, but I would recommend reservations at dinner time as it’s a small place.”

7119 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota Just off the Key, 1/4 mile south of Stickney Point Road 11 AM - 8 PM Monday-Saturday • Full menu available for takeout

941-413-7133 | www.FreshCatchFishMarketandGrill.com


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Siesta Sand

JULY 2022

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www.siestasand.us

Let's Bring You Home Specializing in short-term and long-term investment properties on and off Siesta Key BRANDI FURLAN - The Furlan Group Keller Williams Classic Group 941.894.9888 www.TheFurlanGroup.com

A collage of photos shows the variety of rehabilitative procedures and some day-in-the-life moments for Jacob Brewer. (submitted images)

Jacob Continued from page 12

,

.,t� ~ 7(/uee, ~ g'ee,r LUNCH & DINNER -SERVED 11 AM -9 PM Live Music Thursday-Saturday 5-9 pm on the patio deck

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886 Midni ht Pass Road www.TurtleBeachGrill.com

This summer, Brewer will begin intensive treatments there. “It will be about a six-month stay,” said his mother, noting that her husband, Jeremiah, will stay with their son in Jacksonville. She will remain in Keller, Texas with their daughter. “Our family is pretty strong,” she said. “I have faith that Jacob’s nerves will grow back.” A GoFundMe page with a video that chronicles Brewer’s progress can be seen at gofundme.com/f/ jacob-brewer. In addition to supporting her son and her family, Barbara Brewer has made it her mission to tell everyone about the dangers of lighting. “I want to make sure that everyone knows what lighting can do,” she said. Looking ahead to a year a little more than from now when, in the fall of 2023, Jacob will enter his senior year of high school. His mother believes that he will return to school in person. “He will be back to school with his friends,” Barbara Brewer said , with confidence. “Jacob will walk again.”

CAPTAIN CURT’S VILLAGE

Siesta Key’s “Old Florida” Shopping Village In The Heart of Crescent Beach

BEST SHOPPING, DINING AND FUN ON SIESTA KEY

Enjoy specialty coffees and craft beers

SIESTA KEY’S OLDEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

941-349-3885 CAPTAIN CURT’S CAPTAIn

WORLD FAMOUS CLAM CHOWDER

FUN RENTALS OF ALL KINDS 941-346-0891

Island Apparel, Souvenirs, & Chowder Kits 941-349-3885

Ice Cream and more! 941-346-8080

Outdoor Dining / Food until 2am LIVE MUSIC

1200 Old Stickney Point Rd, Siesta Key FL, 34242


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941.312.0665

Getting Your Phil

I

JULY 2022

27th State Media LLC

29

By Phil Colpas

Having a blast doing a little fireworks research

t’s that time of the year again! The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce invites all to attend the 31st Annual Community Fourth of July Fireworks, which will be held at the Siesta Key public beach from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4. The fireworks will begin at dusk and are free to view. They are launched from near the volleyball courts at Siesta Public Beach. Fireworks may be viewed from the public beach south to Crescent Beach. So why do we shoot off fireworks, anyway? Did you ever wonder why we celebrate our Independence Day

by shooting off fireworks? The Farmers’ Almanac has the answer, naturally. According to the Almanac: The modern displays that we know today originally came from China about 2,000 years ago, when people would heat bamboo stalks until they blackened and exploded under the pressure of heated air inside them — the original firecrackers, if you will. Gunpowder-fueled explosives didn’t turn up until sometime between 600 A.D. and 900 A.D., when alchemists in China started filling stalks of bamboo with gunpowder. The first “rockets” were originally Chinese military weapons in the 12th century, but they were unpredictable and dangerous to use. Alchemists

began adding steel dust and iron shavings to the mix in order to give fireworks their unique sparkle. Fireworks come to Europe Gunpowder and fireworks were brought to Europe in the 13th century via the Silk Road, which allowed trade between Europe and the East. During the Renaissance, Europeans used them at various celebrations, including Anne Boleyn’s coronation as Queen of England in 1533. Peter the Great and King Louis XIV were big fans of fireworks, noted for using them in a variety of celebrations. Fireworks as an American tradition There are deep roots in American history for our current fascination with Fourth of July

fireworks. Even before the final version of the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams envisioned great Independence Day celebrations. He said that the festivities should include: “Pomp and parade, with ‘shews,’ (“Horseshoes,” perhaps?), games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forever more.” And just what were those “illuminations” to which Adams referred? Yes, indeed: fireworks! The first fireworks display Although July 4, 1776 didn’t see any fireworks, in 1777 the first Fourth of July fireworks were lit over Philadelphia’s night sky. Boston also held a display in 1777, and from there the tradition

The Inside Scoop on Made In Rome Organic Gelato Made In Rome would like to thank all of our customers for supporting us all these years and our new customers for appreciating our homemade organic gelato that is made daily in our shop! Owner Diane Theron-Cuna invites you to watch the process as she creates a batch of her sinfully delicious gelato from scratch every 15 minutes. “We are very proud and happy each day. to be here on Siesta Key,” says Theron-Cuna. “My husband’s family recipes used to create our gelato comes directly from Rome, Italy and only certified USDA organic ingredients are ever used.” There are 48 flavors to choose from and the staff at Made In Rome Organic Gelato generously provide samples of their made-from-scratch, in-house gelato. No hydrogenated fats or colorants, or preservatives are ever used so you can really taste the difference. Sugar-free, gluten-free, and vegan options are also made fresh each day. Besides their gelato, the shop also carries Italian coffee, cakes, and focaccia sandwiches. If you’re lucky enough to catch Theron-Cuna at the shop, she will happily entertain you with stories of her earlier days as a circus performer. She comes from three generations of circus entertainers and has traveled around the world performing with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The family earned their own “Star of Fame” at St. Armands Circle - The Theron Cycling Troupe.

Above: Sage, Nora, and Anna (Made In Rome staff) invite you to try our organic, made from scratch gelato. Right: One of the 48 delicious flavors available at Made In Rome Gelato, pistachio from Bronte, Sicily.

Made In Rome Organic Gelato is located at 5204 Ocean Blvd, in the Siesta Key Village. Their hours are Mon. Thurs: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Fri. - Sun. Their holiday hours are 11:00 a.m. -11:00 p.m. (941) 960-5344. ADVERTORIAL

took off. By 1783, the public could purchase all kinds of fireworks for their own Fourth of July celebrations. In the years following these early celebrations, fireworks have evolved into spectacular displays of pyrotechnics. Today, the American Pyrotechnics Association estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays glitter in America’s night skies on Independence Day. Even though fireworks originated in China 2,000 years ago, they have been an integral part of American culture since our nation was founded. As technology advances and pyrotechnics technicians work hard to create bigger and better displays every year, this is something we can always enjoy as Americans. Happy Fourth of July!


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How to Keep Your Pup Secure During the Summer Months and Beyond

Paw Pals

Kyle Baker, Senior Pet Food Nutritionist at DOGPerfect Did you know that July 5 is typically the busiest day of the year for animal shelters? From Independence Day celebrations to the increased frequency of major thunderstorms, the sounds of summer tend to be less loved by dogs than they are by their owners. While we enjoy the excitement of big booms and flashing lights, canines can’t grasp that the chaos happening around them isn’t a threat. And, if they’re not secured, sometimes they run off to find safety. But even outside the summer months, dogs can still get lost if they’re not properly cared for. Fortunately, there are several steps a diligent pet parent can take to keep their pup safe and secure year round. Dog Security Tools and Tactics Dog security starts with a reliable collar. But keep in mind, sometimes a good one still needs to be replaced. Even the best collars can become too loose if your dog loses weight or become less effective due to normal wear and tear. Also, many breeds are cunning escape artists, often finding clever ways to slip out of standard collars. For these Houdinis we strongly recommend introducing a Martingale style collar that tightens when the leash is pulled while still remaining comfortable for your pup. Speaking of, be sure to always keep your dog on a leash when outside your home in open areas. If out for a walk, they might take an interest in another dog or wild animal, and once the chase is on you have far less control of the situation. Additionally, loud noises can happen suddenly when in public, sending your pup on the run for safety without warning. In the event any of these influences

causes a lost dog incident, proper identification can help prevent disaster. At minimum, your dog’s collar should carry an ID tag with their name, your name, and your primary phone number. For added security, you can leverage modern technology by microchipping your pup as well. Should they get loose and somehow end up without a collar or ID tag, a vet or shelter can still scan them to identify their owner. As always, proper training can also come in handy. We’ve said it before: every dog should be able to respond to simple commands, the most important being “come.” With

or a cozy crate — can really take the edge off. Additionally, there are a number of products designed to calm your dog and help them overcome traumatic circumstances. Visit your local independent pet retailer to learn about helping tools like CBD soft chews, pheromone sprays or diffusers, and the popular Thunder Shirt to aid your anxious pup. Unsurprisingly, some of the best tools for keeping your dog secure are the simplest ones. But because we’re all very busy, a reminder and a little extra help never hurts. After all, it’s the safety, security, and wellbeing of your best friend, right? Enjoy the summer!

Meet Deesayl

Deesayl is a 5-month-old saint berdoodle -- a cross between a Saint Bernard and a poodle. At full size, he’ll be about 150 pounds and 30 inches in height. He came from Doodle Country in McAlpin (near Lake City), where five different breeds of doodles are offered. Says his owner Robin, “He loves to give hugs and play. He’s a gentle giant.” Deesayl’s fur is hypoallergenic, which is a relief to Robin and her allergies.

training, you’ve got an extra tool available should your dog get loose. Even when you and your dog are home, it’s always a good idea to ensure your living quarters and yard are secure spaces. A fence with added protection such as rocks or chicken wire to prevent digging is a great place to start. And be aware of the status of your exit routes — especially if you have kids. You never know when a door, window or gate left ajar could end up being the opening your dog is looking for to run for safety or find adventure. Summer Security Refresher With those topline tools in place, let’s get back to a few reminders about securing your dog during the summer. Even with training and preparation, extreme situations like fireworks and thunderstorms can be challenging for dogs and pet parents alike. During these events, keeping your dog indoors is the best way to prevent an untimely exit. Closed windows and curtains can deaden the impact of sound and light, and secure and comfortable spaces and items — like favorite rooms, toys, blankets,

www.siestasand.us

(Submit your Paw Pal to the Siesta Sand at info@27statemedia.com.)

Kyle Baker, senior pet food nutritionist at DOGPerfect, has a passion for educating pet parents on the power of nutrition and how it can improve their pet’s lives with proper food, supplements and treats. DOGPerfect is a locally owned and operated pet supply store with locations in The Landings, University Park, and Lakewood Ranch. Visit www.DOGPerfect.com for more information and to sign-up for a free oneon-one nutrition consult with Kyle.

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Sandwich Construction Specialists

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Siesta Sand

JULY 2022

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

941.312.0665

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

www.siestasand.us

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

BREAKFAST and LUNCH

SERVED ALL DAY Full

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MSN Food and Drink Jan. 2015

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Beer, Wine

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941-552-6485 Open 7 Days A Week ~ 7 AM - 3 PM

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Home of the Orange Squeeze HAND MADE:

941.346.0202

• Ice Cream • Sundaes • Shakes

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OPEN DAILY 11AM - 10PM

1220 Old Stickney Point Road

“A Tropical Department Store“

THE GREEN TURTLE SHELL & GIFT CITY

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Siesta Key’s Most Friendly & Unique Shopping Spot! SOUTHBRIDGE MALL

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SIESTA KEY

Siesta Key’s Largest Seashell & Coral Selection!

GIFTS & SOUVENIRS BEACH FASHIONS BEACH SUPPLIES BEACH COVER-UPS LADIES & JUNIORS FASHIONS SUPER MEN'S LINE In South Bridge Mall

6525 Midnight Pass Road

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Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill 1500 Stickney Point Rd.

MAP A-5 #12

Coconuts Fashion MAP 1215 Old Stickney Point Rd. B-3 #1&8

Crescent Beach Grocery 1211 Old Stickney Pt. Rd.

MAP B-3 #1

Siesta 4-Rent 6555 Midnight Pass Rd.

Toasted Mango Cafe 6621 Midnight Pass Rd.

MAP C-3 #17

Anna’s Deli 6535 Midnight Pass Rd.

MAP C-3 #14

Big Water Fish Market 6641 Midnight Pass Road

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters 1249 Stickney Point Rd.

MAP A-3 #4

Davidson Drugs 6595 Midnight Pass Rd.

MAP C-3 #14

MAP C-4 #17

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Siesta Snapshots

JULY 2022

27th State Media LLC

33

Photos by Trebor Britt

“Siesta Scoop” -- Hunter, 5, of Sarasota is about to lick his hand-dipped single scoop of Siesta sand. His mom related that Hunter is a little engineer who enjoys talking and is fond of watching the Share Family on YouTube.

“Beach Dollar” -- First-time visitor Sofia, 7, of Illinois displays a rare sand dollar she discovered on the shoreline. She was busy collecting shells to decorate her sand castle. She loves art and her favorite movie is Frozen 2.

“Siesta Generations “ -- Baylee and Traci of Canton, Ohio relax on the shoreline. The daughter was on her phone and mom was with a book. Influenced by two aunts and her mom, Baylee is studying nursing at Kent State

“SRQ Sunset” -- Members of the “New Journey SRQ” group enjoy a Siesta Beach sunset. This is a safe, meaningful group for those recovering from the death of a spouse, the break-up of a relationship, or for those just looking for a refresh of their single life. It is not a dating club. For info, contact Debbie at (941) 549-2342.

“Serving Siesta” -- Marine veteran Shawn of Philadelphia is always ready with a friendly greeting at Siesta Spirits on Siesta Key, just south of the Stickney Point bridge. Shawn honorably served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002 to 2014. After leaving the military, he coached youth baseball in Tennessee.

“Lifeguard for shore” -- Florida native Nate Bruneau overlooks the Gulf of Mexico on a normal but busy beach day. A lifeguard with four years of experience, Nate splits time on Siesta and Lido beaches. In that time, he’s assisted with several rip-current rescues and a couple tragic drownings that were related to a medical issue and a boat accident. He spends his spare time sailing.

“Cool Down” -- Sara of Italy strolls back to the beach after a dip in the gulf. On her first time visiting her aunt, who lives in Sarasota, she said: “I love Siesta Beach, it’s amazing. Better than the beaches in Italy.” She just graduated from college with a focus on fashion design and is inspired by Gucci.

“Siesta Rinse” -- Life couldn’t be better for twin sisters Avayah and Izabella while enjoying a cool rinse-off after several hours on the beach. They spent the day before celebrating their fifth birthday with their family and friends.

“Siesta Hatter” -- Gabriella, 11, of Wellington is all smiles wearing her new straw beach hat. She has a real passion for animals. Her favorite animal is the shrimp-eating flamingo and her favorite movie is Fast and Furious.

“Jersey to Siesta” -- Nancy and Chris of New Jersey are taking in their second visit to Siesta Beach. They visited for the first time around Thanksgiving last year after learning it is was one of the top beaches in the world. They couldn’t stop remarking about the spectacular sand and water. Chris is reading through the Jack Reacher book series and Nancy enjoys self-improvement, motivational books.


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JULY 2022

Siesta Sand

941.312.0665

Notes from the Island Fishmonger

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Forecast

Florida Fish of Siesta Key

Red Snapper

www.siestasand.us

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters (941) 923-7799

Gumbo love, it’s driving me mad ...

Florida Puffer Yellowtail Florida Puffer

Left, chef “Rasta Sammy” with some great gumbo. Below, the delight that is summer seafood gazpacho. (submitted images)

Sailfish Sailfish Spanish Mackerel Dohlpin “Mahi-Mahi”

Angler Jeb Mulock lands a tarpon with a fly. (submitted photo)

T

Mangrove Snapper Scoolmaster Lane Snapper Scamp Black Mullet Snook Red Drum “Redfish”

Tarpon

Baracuda

Gulf Flounder

Florida Pompano Jack Crevalle

AmberJack

Spotted Sea Trout

Cobia

arpon should be plentiful in the coastal gulf this month as big schools of fish migrate along our beaches. Also look for cobia, tripletail and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. Catch-andrelease snook fishing should also be good in and around passes and in the surf. Fishing for a variety of species should also be good on deep grass flats. Tarpon fishing should be good during June and July as schools of fish increase in size and numbers. They will head off shore to spawn, close to new and full moons. I’ve done well with Lefty’s Deceiver and my Grassett Flats Bunny fly patterns fished on floating fly lines. Stake out or anchor in travel lanes to get shots at them. Tarpon are creatures of habit and will travel on the same edges and depth contours. The shallower the water, the easier it is to get you fly in front of a tarpon when fly fishing. Since fish may be moving both north and south, setting up within several hundred yards of another angler may negatively affect their fishing. Fly fishing for tarpon is very dependent on conditions and there are a lot of variables that need to come together to be successful. You should find snook in the surf, in passes and around docks and bridges in the Intracoastal Waterway near passes. You can walk the beach and sight fish them in the surf with fly tackle. Small baitfish fly patterns, like Gibby’s DT Special or my Grassett Snook Minnow, should work well. Many of the same flies that work in the surf will also work well at night. Snook will congregate in passes around the new and full moons to spawn, so docks and bridges close to passes will usually hold more fish this time of year. Fishing for reds should also be good in June. Look for them over shallow grass, along mangrove shorelines or around oyster bars when the tide is high. You’ll find them in potholes or edges of flats when the tide is low. Fly anglers should score with baitfish fly patterns like my Grassett Flats Minnow or Gurglers. You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, bluefish or pompano on deep grass flats this month. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with Ultra Hair Clouser flies tied on long shank hooks on an intermediate sink tip fly line. You’ll need to add a few inches of heavy (40- or 50-pound) fluorocarbon when toothy fish are in the mix. Look for deep grass flats with a mix of grass and sand and a good tidal flow for the best action. In addition to tarpon look for Spanish mackerel, false albacore, cobia and tripletail in the coastal gulf this month. Although none of them may be thick, I’ve encountered all of them before in June. Keep your eyes open for bird activity or “breaking” fish to find albies and mackerel. Cobia and tripletail may be found around crab trap floats; however, I’ve seen cobia swimming with tarpon schools before. An 8or 9-weight fly rod with a floating or clear sink tip fly line is adequate to catch everything except a big cobia, in which case your 12-weight tarpon fly tackle will work well. There are lots of options in inshore waters or the coastal gulf this month. If pulling on a 100-pound tarpon isn’t for you, fishing pressure is usually light inshore this month so reds, snook, trout and more will also be good options.

an, do I enjoy soup and stews. Especially seafood-style. Clam chowder, lobster bisque, cream of corn and crab, and gumbo are some mainstays that you can find in seafood restaurants. I have noticed that there are not enough people making gumbo consistently on Siesta Key but I’m going to make an attempt to change that by putting a great gumbo on the Big Water Fish menu. We presently are known for our tomato-based, vegetable and fish Jack’s Fish Stew. Loaded with fresh local veggies and several chunks and types of local fish, it is a favorite at the restaurant and easy to make at home. Also look for chef Rasta Sammy’s shrimp gazpacho all summer long. But this column emphasizes gumbo. Many of you have had my gumbo and love it, while some of you laugh and say “That’s not gumbo, that’s stew with okra.” Well, it is true that my gumbo is unconventional but I never claimed it to be New Orleans-style, because It’s not. True story: I once was sent to NOLA for a gumbo cooking

class by a renowned chef at the restaurant. When he learned that I don’t make a roux and I use potatoes instead to thicken the Gumbo, the chef was so upset he kicked me out of class and he banned me from his restaurant for life. Good thing there are plenty of good places to eat in NOLA. Since then, I have renamed my masterpiece Irish gumbo because not only do I add potatoes but sausage. Supposedly it’s a sin to mix meat and seafood together in gumbo. Not if you’re Irish, I say. Well, my new chefs will be introducing a new true New Orleans seafood gumbo recipe in the month of July. Led by chefs “Rasta Sammy” and “Dean the Gumbo Machine,” we will be making a batch every Wednesday and will serve it as a special through the weekend, or until it’s gone. Come check it out. Anyone who wants a special pot of Irish gumbo, you can still request it made by Scott as a special order. -- Scott Dolan BigWaterFishMarket.com 6641 Midnight Pass Rd.

JULY 2022 TIDE CHART

Kid Catch of the Month!

Black Drum

M

www.USHarbors.com

Sarasota, FL - Jul 2022

Catfish

King King Mackerel Mackerel

Blue Marlin

Black Grouper

Sheesphead

Hunter Naeve pulls in a 184-pound tarpon while fishing with his father. If you’d like to submit a picture and caption involving a child’s fishing moment, send an email to: info@27statemedia. com. (submitted photo)

High

Date 1 2

Low

AM

ft

PM

ft

AM

ft

PM

ft

Rise

Set

Fri

4:53

1.3

1:34

2.4

7:08

1.3

10:26

-0.2

6:37

8:30

Sat

5:05

1.3

2:17

2.4

8:11

1.2

11:00

-0.1

6:38

8:30

3

Sun

5:23

1.4

3:04

2.2

9:19

1.2

11:35

0.0

6:38

8:30

4

Mon

5:45

1.4

3:57

2.1

10:34

1.2

6:38

8:30

5

Tue

6:12

1.6

4:59

1.8

12:11

0.1

11:54A

1.1

6:39

8:30

6

Wed

6:41

1.7

6:16

1.6

12:47

0.3

1:18

0.9

6:39

8:30

7

Thu

7:13

1.9

7:51

1.4

1:24

0.5

2:40

0.7

6:40

8:30

8

Fri

7:48

2.0

9:41

1.3

2:01

0.8

3:56

0.4

6:40

8:30

11:34

1.3

2:36

1.0

5:04

0.1

6:41

8:29

3:09

1.2

6:07

-0.2

6:41

8:29

3:36

1.3

7:06

-0.4

6:42

8:29

9

Sat

8:27

2.2

10

Sun

9:11

2.4

11

Mon

1:19

1.3

12

Tue

10:52

2.7

8:01

-0.5

6:42

8:29

13

Wed

11:46

2.8

8:53

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address the growing problem of large groups of teens gathering and often fighting at various beach accesses. Catherine Luckner, the association’s president, called the incident a “seminal event” for the island. The ugly details The two unrelated but simultaneous events took place at about 4 p.m. between Beach Access 2 and Beach Access 3, one leading to a shooting in the Village that resulted a non-threatening injury to a female. That suspect remains at large. Authorities have told news outlets that the shooting suspect is described as an African-American teenager who is 6-feet, 2-inches tall with braided hair and wearing a white shirt and blue shorts. One teenager arrested at the scene is not believed to have been the shooter but had a warrant. The second incident involved a pistol-whipping assault during a fight that resulted in the arrest of an 18-year-old Palmetto man. After his attack, he threw his .22-caliber handgun in some bushes in the Village, where deputies retrieved it after a witness pointed it out. As for the shooting, it involved several rounds being fired at possibly two different locations. Here’s what authorities said in a May 30 evening press release: “The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating a shooting incident that occurred near Avenida Messina and Avenida Navarra on Siesta Key. “Deputies responded just after 4 p.m. Monday for a report of a fight that began near Beach Access

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3 involving possibly 10 or more juveniles. Several gunshots were heard, and one female victim was located and transported to the hospital with non-lifethreatening injuries. Additional possible gunshots were heard a short time later near Avenida Messina and Ocean Boulevard. However, no victims were located at the secondary location. The investigation is ongoing. However, deputies believe this incident is isolated and there is no danger to the public. “Detectives are on scene following up on active leads and information to identify all subjects involved. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact our Criminal Investigations Section at (941) 861-4900 or provide an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at (941) 366-TIPS.” The second incident involved a call to police at about 4:30 p.m. to Beach Access 3 where a group reported a fight where a juvenile was pistol-whipped an adult who

tried to intervene and wrestleaway the gun was punched in the head. Aaron Payton, who fled on foot down Avenida Messina, was later arrested when the juvenile victim contacted police to reveal the suspect’s identity. He’s been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and carrying a Payton concealed weapon. A terrifying scene Kasey Gamble was alone at work at the Siesta Key Wine Bar in Davidson Plaza when she received a call from her brother who works’ nearby at Gilligan’s, warning her of the shots he had heard. “I heard nothing, and all seemed calm when I looked outside,” Gamble said. “Then, all of sudden I saw people running everywhere, hiding behind cars in our parking

lot, and then I saw people running down the street with police chasing them. “It was terrifying. You never know – was it a mass shooting taking place? That’s how it felt with all the chaos.” Gamble said employees at other nearby establishments told her they had customers diving under tables at first and were then escorted into kitchens and even coolers. The Hub closed its hurricane shutters, as did other businesses, she said. Melanie Dodge, owner of Siesta Key Wine Bar, decided to close her business for the night. “I got over 50 calls from friends and Kasey right when it was happening,” Dodge said. “I told Kasey to turn off the lights and turn off the open sign, lock the door and head to the kitchen. I was OK with closing because I needed my staff to be safe, bottom line. “Our friend from The Cottage came to check on us and make sure we were OK. We had a customer nearby and he came to the bar and

escorted Kasey to her car. She was too scared to come back so I just told her to close-up for the night.” When Gamble got home, she had what she described as a sleepless night. “It took me a long time to calm down,” she said. “I couldn’t believe this happened in our little Village. This is a bad sign.” Said Dodge, “I honestly think it’s being underplayed because we are a tourist spot. It’s too bad that this happened but I think there were just too many kids at the beach and not enough police presence on a holiday weekend.” Added Luckner, “Many say it’s a ‘one-off’ incident, meaning unique, atypical for Siesta Key. “However, it was an egregious departure from our holiday mindset.” Part of an escalating cultural problem? The violence occurred near Patriot’s Pier, home to a tribute on a day when war veterans are honored. Resident Mike Cosentino, who owns property at 10 Beach Rd. and facilitates the ceremonies, sees the large gatherings on a consistent basis, both near his property and elsewhere. “It’s a roaming flash mob of kids,” he said. “They were gathering and fighting on Lido, at the (Siesta) public beach, Turtle Beach, and most of the accesses between the pier and the public beach. They’re constantly moving from place to place to avoid the deputies that are following them and attempting to get them to disperse. “Like always it’s mostly good Continued on next page

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Memorial Day violence kids, but the larger the crowds the more likely there’s going to be a few bad apples among them.” The large gatherings are a common theme of concern for island residents, and Siesta Key Association members said it hoped to potentially make the matter fall under code enforcement. They noted at their meeting that large gatherings on the beach typically require a permit. Even if nothing illegal is taking place, a code enforcement officer could intervene. Cosentino also feels a crackdown on underage drinking, or possibly an alcohol ban on the beach, may be in order. He also feels what he believes is a growing party culture on the Key is taking a toll. “In neighboring Manatee County, alcohol is prohibited on beaches. The ban is well-publicized and strictly enforced, especially with underage drinking. Sarasota allows alcohol on its beaches. While I have no problem with that, our beaches have become the place for teenagers to go. Mixing alcohol with large crowds of young people from rival high schools predictably leads to fights. That the fighting can lead to gun violence is disconcerting, but inevitable. “Sheriff’s Office records reveal many such happenings on Siesta Key. Many agree that the problem is being exacerbated by the Siesta Key TV show ... and the general morphing of our once quaint village into Bourbon Street.” Cosentino, who is running for the Sarasota County Commission, also feels reversing the trend will be no easy task -- especially with more tourist-based development on the way.

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“Our deputies do a heck of a good job, but it’s going to be very difficult to get the toothpaste back into this particular tube,” he said. “Add the hotels and rooftop bars, and we’re going to really see things go to hell. God help us -- the county commission certainly won’t.” Brown agreed that the county leaders are turning a blind eye to the increasing stress on Siesta Key. “It starts at the top and goes on down,” he said. “They continue to neglect their crown jewel. When will they learn? The Village is neglected, the beaches are neglected.” As for the underage drinking on the beach, Brown said the teenagers “flaunt it in the face of deputies.” He said law enforcement has little chance to make a dent in the problem with ID checks and subsequent arrests when they face huge, hostile crowds. “I think the deputies on the beach that day were wise to not push it,” Brown said. “They were so outnumbered. I don’t blame them at all for what happened.” Brown also said his source reported that deputies on site requested back-up prior to the outbreak of violence but were denied. Douglas Johnson, director of public relations with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, disputes that. “We show no record of any such request being made,” he said. “We have an entire unit dedicated to Siesta Key, consisting of a sergeant and six deputies. In addition, our Patrol Bureau staffs the key with a deputy on all three shifts -- days, evenings, and nights.

“As Memorial Day is one of the busiest days of the year on the key, we increased our staffing to 19 deputies. When the incident in the village occurred, we had 27 total personnel on the Key.” Time to act Tim Hensey, chairman of the Save Siesta Key group that is seeking incorporation due to what it considers poor decisions and neglect from county leaders, said the violent events on Memorial Day further point to why Siesta Key should become its own town. “First of all, our Sheriff’s Office is to be commended,” Hensey said. “Notwithstanding, bad people with bad intentions have the advantage. In discussion with

Sheriff Hoffman, his office also plans to have an increased patrols over the upcoming July 4th holiday. “Not taking anything away from what I believe is an outstanding response from our sheriff’s department, if we are successful in incorporation efforts we will have the opportunity to have discussions with the sheriff about additional law enforcement strategies including, but not limited to, additional officers and security cameras that would be separately funded by the Town of Siesta Key.” Rick Munroe, who owns a restaurant in the Village, also believes the violence should be a wake-up call in many ways. “Siesta Key is the crown jewel of

our region -- there is no intelligent argument against that,” he said. “I would hope this incident will be a catalyst for county leadership to prioritize Siesta Key for once. Between the land-use issues; supporting the deputies with code enforcement; improving the roads, bike lanes and sidewalks; and simply prioritizing the Key in the county’s long-range planning and budgeting process. “It’s time we get the ball rolling to preserve the identity of Siesta Key and prepare for the continued increase of visitors.” Munroe also said it’s time to zero-in on those causing problems, saying “99.9% of the time, the kids who enjoy the beach are wellbehaved and considerate. We have great kids in this community. We need to focus on the culprits here, the thugs who mob a peaceful setting and create a bad situation “We know who they are, where they live, and how they get here. Let’s find ways to disrupt their intent.” In the meantime, Luckner hopes some long-term measures can be the result, and calls on the community to play a role. “Our goal, in conjunction with many Siesta Key groups, is to collaborate for prevention and intervention of any future incidents such as this one,” she said. “We ask our governmental staff, elected officials, law enforcement, and all who serve the public to help us generate methods, means and opportunity to evaluate the past Memorial Day incident and apply those understandings to our next holiday period. “As citizens, we are ready to partner in this important work.”

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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 flattops, 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. Sarasota Brewing Co. (G-4) Sarasota’s first micro brew pub always has something new to offer. From over 20 seasonal beers that rotate throughout the year, the Brewing Company always has at least five unique brews online as well as several favorites from around the world. Established in 1989, their menu has been a winner in the Reader’s Choice Awards of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune featuring their mouthwatering burgers, Chicago style pizzas, and Chicago beef sandwiches. With dozens of televisions, it’s a great place to catch a game with friends and family. Gulf Gate Barber Shop (G-11): 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. 941554-8905. 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 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., 941-924-5800. 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

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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 941-4447984 to set up an appointment with their licensed optician. Butter Curated Thrift (S6) offers handpicked sustainable thrift: eclectic, creative, and inspired. For you and your home & work space. Ever-changing curated inventory: bar ware, kitchen ware, art, furniture, clothing, vintage, retro, reclaim, reuse, and reduce. Located at 6625 Superior Ave, store hours are Tuesday – Thursday 10AM – 5PM and Saturday 9:30AM-5PM. Zuzu’s & Moondoggy’s (G26, G25) 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.


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Arts on the Horizon By Rodger Skidmore Welcome to the Metaverse

To some the Metaverse is scary and to others it is a bright new tomorrow. Of course, “tomorrow” is the key word as most of its features, and how it is to be delivered, are still under development. If you’ve read about virtual reality, you know that you wear a helmet or goggles that project a totally different reality around you. Everything that you see is projected on the screen just in front of your eyes. So, if you see a wolf charging at you and you jump to your left to get out of the way, you may bump into a chair or a wall, or step on your dog’s tail. The augmented reality of the Metaverse is different. What you see around you is intermixed with actual reality. If the wolf is charging you, you can step around the chair and the wolf will run through the chair. But don’t worry, if it seems to bite you, its teeth will pass right through you without tearing any flesh. Great, right? It seems that Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, may one day be offering a meta-home that you will be able to buy (or more likely lease with unending payments). That way, while you huddle in your cramped studio apartment, you can look around and envision yourself in one room of a 15-room McMansion, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean from one window and the Pacific Ocean from another. Yes, for only $$$$/month you may be able to have glorious sunrises and sunsets -- or at least think you have. Thunderstorms in the distance and a yacht tied up to your imaginary dock would be extra. So, how to tell, now, how much fun the Metaverse will be? Simple, take a trip to Selby Gardens’ Spanish Point campus between now and August. And, to make it more fun, take along some children. The children can be 40 or 50 years old, or 5 or 10. The age doesn’t matter -- what matters is how much fun seeing all this will be for you and for them -- and how to keep up with them as they dash about all the other gorgeous attractions that are there. And, what will you see? That depends: Seeing the Invisible, the exhibition at Spanish Point, is also at 11 other botanical gardens

New plays, new insights

around the world, so each one is different. In each exhibition, including this one, you might see a tent made of red colored aluminum tiles floating in the air -- under which a small child may run. Or, see a large vase full of flowers outside the butterfly pavilion (yes, there is a butterfly garden at Spanish Point). Anything special about the beautiful bouquet of flowers? Yes, watch it for 15 seconds or so and it will explode into butterflies flying in all directions. Before you arrive at Spanish Point, download the Seeing the Invisible app onto your smart phone or tablet (they can help you at the welcome pavilion). Taking a photo or doing a screen grab of a water monster slithering near your grandchild will make a great keepsake. Ask the helpful staff how to do it. Whoops -- news flash. The exhibition, Seeing the Invisible, which was to end this August, has just been extended to August of 2023. This does not mean that you have over a full year to see it. It means that you should see Seeing the Invisible now so that you have time to see it again with other friends and family. More info at Selby.org.

It can be enjoyable to watch new versions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Hamlet, but perhaps even more enjoyable is seeing new playwrights’ takes on things more current. Athena, now on stage at the Urbanite Theatre, provides us with views from two perspectives that are not normally shown. The first is a view of the lives of teenagers, which is not often presented on stage. This story of two girls in their late teens is performed with the seemingly truly spoken words of the teens themselves, as they parry and thrust in more ways than one. Practicing for the National Fencing Championship, they become frenemies. They need to train together so they may compete against others and then against each other. This can certainly bring out one’s best and worst, confronting oneself while confronting another. The second perspective, a now somewhat more frequently shown viewpoint, is that of a playwright who is not a white male. Gracie Gardner is the author of, at last count, nine plays, none of which has been performed here in Sarasota but which have won at least, at last count, six grants and awards. Info at Urbanite.org. For this production at the Urbanite and the one at Florida Studio Theatre discussed next, the viewpoint of a male playwright would certainly be valued, but only as much as that of a female’s (or other’s) viewpoint, as the world is made up of so many diverse peoples. Perhaps seeing the world through someone else’s eyes helps us to understand how the world really is. If you look at something with one eye closed, everything is flat and has less meaning. Open both eyes are there is greater depth. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Audrey Cefaly ‘s play, Maytag Virgin, is just opening (June 29) at FST’s Keating Theatre. The backstory is that two small-town high school teachers are neighbors and both have lost their partners. And, no spoiler alert necessary, there

is friction between them. This play, while having a good comedic bent, also provides deep insights into the depths of human emotion. Voted “best comedy” in Atlanta and called “unflinchingly honest” in Washington, D.C. (finding anything unflinchingly honest in D.C. is quite something) a balance is created that keeps dark areas light enough for most comfort zones. Kate Alexander’s deft directorial touch keeps everything moving nicely. Info at FloridaStudioTheatre.Org.

When does the world end?

Based on observable evidence, probably the evening of July 30. The question is, which world will end? It will be the world of advanced ballet students. The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School’s Summer Intensive ends with a performance at the Sarasota Opera House on that day. Another question: What is an intensive -- summer or otherwise? It is when some of the best young up-and-coming ballet artists gather together in Sarasota, to cram as much practice, technique, and knowledge into their minds and bodies as they can, so that their aim of living the ballet-dream can come true. On this day, their world of being Summer Intensive students will end and they will show the greater world around them how much they have learned. You may become part of their new world by attending that Saturday evening’s performance of On Stage 2022. And, if you love ballet (classical, contemporary, or modern), perhaps be blown away by how much these burgeoning pre-professional dancers can do. Spurring them on will be guest artists from the London Royal Ballet -- Francisco Serrano and Charlotte Tonkinson -- in excerpts from Le Corsaire. More info at SRQCubanBallet.Org and Tickets.SarasotaOpera.Org/5970/5971.


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Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He also served as past president of the Board of Directors of All Faiths Food Bank, and as a past board member of the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. “My professional background and personal history of volunteering in the community make me the right candidate for commissioner,” Smith said. “I have a history of working with everyone on issues and finding solutions, not just complaining about problems.” Smith previously ran an unsuccessful 2010 campaign against then-incumbent Nora Patterson in the Republican primary for County Commission District 4. Also competing for the Sarasota County Commission District 2 seat from the Democrat side are former Sarasota mayor Fredd Atkins, Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody, and Siesta Key activist Mike Cosentino. With Smith joining Cosentino and Ramirez, Siesta Key now has three of its residents in the District 2 race. Primary winners face off in the Nov. 8 general election.

Dolphins Continued from page 23

Siesta Key’s celebrated sunset. Departing one-half hour before sunset, the crew sets the stage for the evening by playing some great tunes as the boat heads out. For those who dare, it’s also karaoke time! As the boat makes its way through the Intracoastal Waterway, the mangrove islands of Roberts Bay pass by. “Our captains say that this is a good spot to see dolphins,” said Pickett. At Siesta Key’s northern tip, the Sarasota shoreline comes into view. Winding its way into Bird Key, a location that dolphins seem to enjoy, the boat moves onto Lido Key as the sun begins to set. Daily sunset cruises adults for are $57.50 each. Children under 10 are $32.50 apiece. Check with the company for exact times of departures. Book online at funboattours.com or by phone (941) 229-7842.

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The Highs and Lows of Properties Sold on Siesta Key

www.siestasand.us

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 241 CEDAR CIRCLE $9.175 MILLION TQuintessential Siesta Key – situated on 0.64 acres of lushly landscaped property, in a premier enclave of 15 homes, this exquisitely designed island-style home is the perfect Siesta Key residence. As one enters the gated motor court paved with Chicago brick, the substance and grace of the 6,838-square-foot residence are immediately apparent. Open the mahogany front doors, and the two-story light-filled foyer welcomes you into a home that quietly lets you know that you are in a well-designed home of substance. The quality of the moldings, built-ins and appointments confirm that no detail has been overlooked, a testament to the opencheckbook collaboration between highly regarded Nutter Custom Construction and respected architect Clifford Shultz who undertook the nearly complete redesign and

LOWEST-PRICED SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE 727 BIRDSONG LANE $1.005 MILLION Located approximately 1 mile to the beach, this quiet, friendly, cul de sac-neighborhood home is waiting for you to come in and make your own. Relax on your back

rebuild of the residence in 2015 and 2016. With most rooms enjoying tranquil views of Cocoanut Bayou, the high ceilings, custom trim and crown moldings, chef’s kitchen, indoor and outdoor living and dining rooms and summer kitchen strike the right balance between informality and sophistication in a special waterfront location. All four bedrooms in the main house are ensuite and the detached guest quarters are self-contained. Relax in privacy by the pool and spa while enjoying views of the bayou or venture out from your Ipe wood dock with two lifts to Sarasota Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re in the mood to enjoy the beach or a fabulous sunset, take a short stroll to the private/gated Cocoanut Bayou Association beach. Homes of this quality, condition and location rarely become available. Courtesy of Premier Sotheby’s

porch and enjoy the lush backyard and tropical lifestyle Siesta Key offers. This 3-bedroom, 2-bath split-plan ranch-style home creates a great full-time residence or home away from home. Courtesy of ReMax Tropical Sands HIGHEST-PRICED CONDO 1310 OLD STICKNEY POINT RD., UNIT EP1 $3.5 MILLION This beautiful 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath condo was originally constructed in 2002 and contains 3,524 square feet of living space with a one-car garage. Courtesy of Waterside Realty

LOWEST-PRICED CONDO 5855 MIDNIGHT PASS RD., #412 $415,000 You’ll enjoy the split floor plan of this 2-bedroom, 2-bath with 1,056 square feet. There is ample storage and open living area leading to city and water views. On site you’ll enjoy a heated pool and brick deck and BBQ area complete with shaded tables, tennis, social room

with catering kitchen, boating access, secured entry and assigned parking. Walk across the street and sink your toes in the sand, watch the sunset, bike to Siesta Key Village or head to Sarasota for a night downtown. Unit does not have washer nor dryer set up; however, there are coin/appoperated machines near elevators. Courtesy of Coldwell Banker

21 YEARS OF BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS FOR LIFE Lin and Maurice personify professionalism and integrity. Their philosophy of exceptional client service and “Relationships for Life” assures each relationship lasts far beyond the transaction process. #1 TEAM FOR THE SIESTA KEY OFFICE $1.12 BILLION IN SALES VOLUME 2021 RECIPIENT OF THE FOUNDERS AWARD SECOND-TIME RECIPIENT OF THE JOHN MCMAHON AWARD FIVE STAR REAL ESTATE AGENT AWARD RECIPIENTS FOR 13 CONSECUTIVE YEARS PERSONALIZED CLIENT SERVICES TARGETED & SUCCESSFUL MARKETING PASSIONATE MARKET KNOWLEDGE KEEN INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE REFINED NEGOTIATING SKILLS

Maurice Menager REALTOR ®

941.238.8119

Lin Dunn

REALTOR ®, SRES, LSS, LSE

941.809.2154

TeamDunn.michaelsaunders.com

Receive a free home valuation to begin your real estate journey with us.

5100 Ocean Blvd | Sarasota, FL 34242 | 941.349.3444


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HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! We’re Here For You, For All Of Your Real Estate Needs!

Bob & Sheri Ruiz

Your Resident Siesta Key Specialists

Bob: 941-544-3299 Sheri: 941-400-4186 www.SiestaKeyNow.com robertruizrr@aol.com | sherilasley@aol.com 6021 M IDN I GH T PA S S ROA D, SIE STA KEY FL , 34 24 2


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Fish farm

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www.siestasand.us

Continued from page 20

minimizing the impacts of the global climate crisis. It is the environmentally responsible way forward; this is just one small, first step.” The Velella Epsilon project builds on the previous successes with the Velella Beta test and the Velella Gamma test, in Kona, Hawaii, Fish Site reports. The Velella Beta test is the world’s first-ever unanchored “drifter” net-pen, and was recognized by TIME magazine as one of the 25 Best Inventions of the Year, in 2012.

The first EPA permit was issued in 2020, but pulled May 6 when the Environmental Appeals Board ruled that the fish farm’s operation potentially violated the Clean Water Act, asking for more clarification. Less than a month later, the board concluded that concerns that the facility could harm aquatic ecosystems and species in the Gulf of Mexico were not strong enough to deny the permit. The Center for Food Safety and other agencies were among those who requested

the appeal. Florida non-profit water-protection groups were also part of the appeal process. Locally, the Siesta Key Association also voiced concern regarding potential discharges. Said association member Jean Cannon, “In my opinion, the fish farm operation will add a concentration for food and waste to our Gulf waters -- a negative discharge -- that could add to our red tide problem.”

An image of Velella Epsilon, the fish farm being proposed off the coast of Siesta Key. (file photo)

A dazzling show of support

Online Ordering for Take out and Delivery Rachel Grace Wenk, 7, was all decked out in the spirit of Memorial Day on Siesta Key. (submitted photo)

The Original Fun Tiki Cruises, Sandbars, and Sunsets!

Also offering Private Charters and Special Events

Book online at cruisintikissarasota.com 941-253-5404


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Classifieds / Here’s My Card

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HOME WATCH CONT.

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Continued from page 14

began coaching both men and women. Watching her students progress brings her great joy, she said. Sarah Hennessy is one Body by Bungee student who can’t say enough about Lynn and the bungee fitness experience. When Hennessy heard about the studio’s opening, she decided to give it a try. That was three months ago. She is now a regular. “I love it so much,” Hennessy said. “I’ve lost inches and gained so much flexibility. The atmosphere that Mari has created makes you want to be your best. There’s no judgment.” While women have embraced the classes, Lynn says that men enjoy bungee fitness, too. “We’re planning a ‘Guy’s Night’ bungee fitness session, just for them at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evenings,” she said. The new Guy’s Night will join the lineup of “Glow Bungee” nights, held with blue-light glow sticks and blackout curtains, along with Hawaiian-themed nights, and Foodie Fridays featuring treats from local businesses before and after class. Classes are held Tuesdays through Saturday. A lightweights class as well as a low-impact Bungee Boomers class for students 65 and over is also offered at the studio. Group classes are $30 per person for 35 minutes. The Boomer class fee is $25 for 30 minutes per student. Privateand group-session rates as well as the “Lil’ Buddy Bungee Class” for an adult and child can also be scheduled by appointment. First-time students receive $10 off their first bungee class. In addition to the bungee classes, Lynn also offers private personal training sessions in a fully equipped private weight room, located behind the bungee studio. At her Barbells Fitness, and Balanced Bodies Nutrition sessions, “The focus is strictly on weightlifting,” she said. “I’m really big on form, technique and movement.” Body by Bungee can be found online at bodybybungee. com, or call (941) 923-8703 for more information. It is located at at 4156 S. Tamiami Trail.

SPAS / HAIR & BEAUTY

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From left: Stacey Monroe, Vianna Kim Huynh, Carmella Catalfino, Sanna Hildebrand, Milan Augustine, Israel Valle, and Samuel Monroe. (submitted photo)

Andrew Monroe memorial honors 5 Riverview students Five soccer players at Riverview High School have been honored with scholarships provided by the Andrew Monroe Memorial Scholarship Fund. They are: Vianna Kim Huynh, Carmella Catalfino, Sanna Hildebrand, Milan Augustine, and Israel Valle. Organizers of the memorial held the annual 5K run on Siesta Beach on Jan. 9. Proceeds went toward the fund. Recipients were named at the Riverview High School Soccer Awards ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota on March 1. Following Monroe’s death in a 2011 car crash, the Monroe family set up the scholarship fund in his memory to assist Riverview soccer athletes for a legacy of higher education -- an education he was unable to complete. To qualify, each applicant submitted an essay explaining how they emulate the traits and characteristics that defined Monroe. The next event will be Jan. 8. Visit andrewmonroe.com.


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An artist’s renderings of the 112-room hotel and restaurant proposed at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd, including a pool view. (submitted images)

Hotel workshop restaurant “in the style of the Summerhouse,” which was a very popular upscale restaurant in a jungle-like garden setting on Siesta Key for many years. “A lot of people wanted me to do a smaller, luxury boutique hotel,” Balot said. “But I wanted something affordable that people could bring their kids to.” The concept of “affordable” is subjective, of course. Balot said his new hotel will charge patrons upwards of $300 per room, per night. During the high season, room rates will be an estimated $450 to $500 per night. “Since I started this last year, building construction costs are 30% higher,” Balot said. Balot held his first neighborhood workshop on the project on June 9, 2021, and the community is definitely appreciative of his willingness to continue to work with his neighbors and keep concerned citizens in the loop. The properties in close proximity to the proposed hotel site are all zoned residential multifamily, Balot said. “The buildings around (the proposed hotel) are seven floors. I’m proposing six floors,” he said, with a height of 35 feet over parking. Balot also said he will offer guests to check out beach buggies, coolers and chairs for the beach.

Continued from page 1

“During busy times, we plan on having an open-air trolley to take guests to the beach,” he added. Balot has received “about a 75% positive reaction” on his hotel plans, he said. “But there are NIMBY (‘not in my back yard’) people.” The biggest trip generator in Sarasota County is its beaches. A number of those present at the workshop emphasized that the hotel would likely increase traffic on a busy stretch that, they argue, will also be hindered by future plans to replace a stoplight with a traffic circle. A lady from the crowd yelled out, “Almost no one wants another roundabout on Siesta Key!” The position of county traffic engineers is that the roundabout will be an improvement and will not affect access. The traffic study will be updated to reflect the 112 rooms now planned for the hotel. Catherine Luckner, president of the Siesta Key Association, asked about a plan for stormwater mitigation. “We don’t want it sent to the Gulf or canals,” she said. “What is the treatment? Where will it be discharged?” “That’s above my paygrade,” Balot responded, but also reasserted his intention to do everything in his power to mitigate neighborhood issues. Siesta Key activist Mike

Cosentino, who is running as a Democrat for the Sarasota County Commission’s District 2 seat, praised Balot for working with the community, but reiterated the fact that if the county loses its lawsuits (the first two Siesta Key approved hotel proposals are in litigation regarding density), Balot will not be able to move forward with his current plan. “What I’m looking to build will have much less traffic than Davidson Plaza,” Balot said, referencing the busy Southbridge Mall located south of the hotel property on Midnight Pass Road. “I want to be able to show my face. I don’t want to be someone who does something bad for Siesta Key. If the county wins and we have unlimited density, which I don’t believe we should, I still want to build something nice for Siesta Key.” Balot plans to have two levels of parking and overflow parking with 315 total spaces. “The more cars I can take off the road, the better,” he said. Mark Spiegel, president of the Siesta Key Coalition, which was founded to combat irresponsible development on Siesta Key, praised Balot’s transparency. “I appreciate how you’ve kept us informed,” Spiegel said, adding that the setback should be measured from the building’s

footprint. “The county has admitted it was wrong about this.” “I donated to the Coalition. I thought a 170-room hotel was absurd,” said Balot, referencing the approved hotel between Beach Road and Calle Miramar near the Village. Said Spiegel, “I know you’re planning on having overflow beach parking, but from our perspective as Siesta Key residents we’re full. This just means more people crowding our beaches and roads.” “The city of Sarasota was thinking about 50 rooms per acre,” countered Balot, noting that his planned 112 rooms is right around that density. “I think the residents of Siesta Key would benefit from this hotel. I can’t solve these problems, but my intent is to mitigate them the best I can.” Neighbors from Gulf & Bay and Jamaica Royale condominiums, which abuts the property on both sides, expressed their concern about noise pollution. Balot agreed that his hotel must feature “quiet enjoyment,” and referenced his efforts to eliminate noise pollution at Siesta Key Beach Resort & Suites, a 55-room hotel in Siesta Village he co-owns. Other questions were raised, ranging from concerns about environment and trash, to setback variances and boundary walls. To be fair, some of these inquiries put

the cart before the horse, but people are understandably concerned. “To be honest with you,” Balot said, “I don’t even have a room design yet.” Balot said he will require patrons to be a minimum age of 23 to rent a room, and that he will restrict the number of people to a room. Further, he said he will stipulate guests cannot use the Gulf & Bay or Jamaica Royale beach accesses, and will instead instruct guests to use the public beach accesses. Addressing several complaints from residents on existing traffic problems and how this hotel would exacerbate those problems, Balot said “Hopefully, people will check in and use other forms of transportation.” Balot’s plans remain in a holding pattern until the county’s lawsuits relating to the first two Siesta Key hotels are settled. If the county loses, Balot would be unable to build without a special exception. If the county wins those lawsuits, the density cap remains unlimited. “If I can’t build the hotel, I may sell it, because I don’t like the alternative,” Balot said. “I don’t have a Plan B. Siesta Key needs a hotel, but I don’t know if it could use three. “My goal is to be a good neighbor.”

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To advertise in print or online contact: 27th State Media LLC at 941-312-0665 Send editorial and/or photos via email to: info@27statemedia.com

Published by 27th State Media LLC Contributing Writers and Photographers will be noted with bylines. Guest commentary not necessarily the opinion of 27th State Media LLC Reproduction without written permission prohibited. We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement. All business bios are extensions of the display advertisements. 27th State Media LLC is not responsible for claims made by advertisers. All ads are subject to the approval of the publisher. It is the responsibility of the party placing any ad for publication in Siesta Sand to meet all applicable legal requirements in connection with the ad such as compliance with town, county and state codes in first obtaining an occupational license for business, permitted home occupation, or residential rental property. DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that when you hire an unlicensed/uninsured person to do work at your home, you accept the liability. 27th State Media LLC is not responsible for claims made by advertisers.

P.O. BOX 35105, Sarasota, FL 34242 www.siestasand.us


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Sunset Beach Resort Siesta Key Dream Inn

Subscribe to Siesta Sand Weekly eNewsletter. Visit siestasand.us to sign up.

6600 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota

Complimentary shuttle service to and from anywhere on Siesta Key. 7 days a week from 10 AM to 11 PM. (driver tips only)

BestWesternSiestaKey.com 941.924.4900 Still Family Owned and Operated Since 2007 AAA-3 Diamond Property

HOURS: Sunday - Thursday 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM Friday & Saturday 2:00 PM - 10:00 PM Happy Hour 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

• 114 Guest Rooms • One and Two Bedroom Suites Now Available • Complimentary breakfast included with every stay • Free Shuttle Service to and from Siesta Key every day. • Microwave/Fridge in every guestroom *Amenities and services may be adjusted due to COVID-19, please contact the hotel or visit our website for details

Open to the public Live music Thursday thru Sunday starting at 4:00 PM (check the schedule on Facebook or call 941-924-4900) *Use of the pool for Registered Guests Only


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Key Employee Grasiela A new employee at the popular IL Panificio in Siesta Key’s Village, Grasiela brought to the business not only a passion for making pizza but also Mexican favorites. As a result, the business at 215 Avenida Medera now offers tacos, burritos, chimichangas, quesidillas, and more. Her expertise in Mexican fare came from her other job -- working at downtown’s La Primavera market. The native of Jalico, Mexico is a single mother who lives in Sarasota. She said she enjoys her new job at IL Panificio because of the variety of food she gets to make. To nominate a Siesta Key employee worthy of recognition, email: info@27statemedia.com. Photos by John Morton.

Sun Garden Cafe recognizes the impact that quality workers can have on a business, and is proud to sponsor the Key Employee each month.

Congratulations, Grasiela! Your dedication has resulted in a gift certificate for breakfast for four at Sun Garden Cafe, located at 210 Avenida Madera in the heart of the Village.