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Another local hotel proposed Site of former Wells Fargo bank is targeted as fourth new overnight lodging development on Siesta Key By Rachel Brown Hackney SarasotaNewsLeader.com A fourth hotel project has been planned for property on Siesta Key. This one would be constructed on the approximately 2.15 acres where the former Wells Fargo bank stood at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd. On March 19, Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department staff received a
preliminary application from Weiqi Lin of Port and Coastal Consultants in Sarasota, outlining plans for a 100room boutique hotel on the parcel that Wells Fargo recently sold to ABC SUB2 LLC, whose principal is David Balot, the document shows. The parcel is approximately 1,200 feet from Siesta Public Beach, “which
equates to a five-minute walk,” the preliminary application points out. It also is about 1.25 miles from Siesta Village, and it is immediately south of the Gulf & Bay condominium complex. “The owner is a member of the Siesta Key community, not someone from out of town, who currently owns real estate and has business interests
Davidson at helm of incorporation effort
on Siesta Key,” the application said. “As a member of the community, he understands the concerns involving the environment, the beaches, the waters, the lack of parking and the impacts of development [on the island].” Balot is the chief operating officer Continued on page 21
INSIDE: An exclusive interview with the man behind the fourth hotel project. Page 21.
Longtime resident, business leader looks to finish a task he spearheaded in the 1990s
Amelia De Grandville, 3, enjoys getting to know a member of Sarasota County’s mounted patrol during the April 3 Easter party at Turtle Beach. The youngster was visiting Siesta Key from Brookfield, Wisconsin. For a story about the event, see page 16. (photo by John Morton)
By John Morton A man with a name familiar to Siesta Key residents is returning to a project with which he’s quite familiar. John Davidson, a resident here since 1958 and known as the founder of Davidson Drugs and later The Pelican Press, has stepped forward to lead a group seeking incorporation of the island. If successful, Siesta Key would become its own town and form its own government. Currently, Sarasota County commissioners govern the Key. Resident Mike Cosentino, who held public meetings in February and March to discuss the topic, is no longer pursuing such a mission. The new group is called Save Siesta Key. In the late 1990s, Davidson spearheaded a similar effort but pulled the plug in 1997 before applying to the Florida Legislature. “The county agreed to work with us,” Davidson said. “They made some promises to add some signage, landscaping and streetscaping, so I
stopped. And after that, it just kind of went away. “But at that time, I must say, there were no real big concerns. We just felt a bit neglected. “As it turned out, they never did spend any real money on us.” The original effort did open the door to better relations Davidson with the county, including the creation of a citizen-driven 1999 Siesta Key Community Plan that entailed certain provisions regarding development and the environment. But times have changed, Davidson said, and the plan has been ignored. “We’ve lost on some big issues since then,” he said, “like the dredging of Big Pass, the
Continued on page 46
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• Village Map/business listings PAGES 24-25 • Crescent Beach Map/ business listings PAGE 26 • Music Calendar PAGE 32 • Gulf Gate Shops PAGE 35 • Accommodations Map/ Listings PAGE 47
Happiness is…Looking Forward With Abel’s Ice Cream’s amazing tenth anniversary celebration behind them, it’s time to look forward. This is the wonderful time of the year when the owners of Abel’s, Jerry and Jill Williams, get the opportunity to brag on their student employees who are graduating as part of the Class of 2021. “We are so thankful for our incredible staff,” Jerry Williams said. “I think I say this every year, but we have some of the best kids with the brightest futures. We constantly get comments and reviews extolling their great attitudes and service.”
Williams enjoyed allowing us to share a bit about his graduates. McKenzie, who plans to attend Florida Atlantic University and major in Business Management, loves Abel’s Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (Craving the ultimate chocolate fix, this flavor is a light raspberry flavored rich Chocolate ice cream with raspberry ribbon and dark chocolate mini raspberry cups...happiness awaits!) She recalls fondly her first day of training when thirty of her family members came in to support her, causing her
first big rush. Talk about a training experience! Adriana’s favorite Abel’s flavor is Coconut Almond Fudge (Sometimes you feel like...tropical coconut ice cream with fudge ribbon & whole roasted almonds.) and is headed to Florida Southern University to pursue her degree in Neurological Pediatric Physical Therapy. Samantha loves Purple Daze (Hopefully this Jimi Hendrix inspired flavor will make his fans proud. Black raspberry ice cream with a black raspberry crinkle, and dark chocolate black raspberry cups.) and is still
deciding her path forward. Jordan, who joins her as a huge Purple Daze fan, is headed to FSU to study English Lit and Philosophy. “We hope you’ll stop by and join us in wishing our seniors great success in their next season,” Williams added. Abel’s Ice Cream is located at 1886 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota in the South Bridge Plaza. Open Sunday through Thursday from Noon to 9:30 pm, and Friday and Saturday from Noon to 10 pm. Learn more online at www.abelsicecream.com or connect with them on Facebook and Instagram.
Let’s by becoming our own town. Do you believe Siesta Key has a voice worth hearing? • We stood up against the dredging of Big Pass and were not heard • The development of the Promenade will create even worse traffic, we spoke but were not heard • Now four large proposed projects that require special exception for increased density and height are trying to be built, we are not being heard.
We believe our community of residents and businesses deserve to have a voice that is heard.
PUBLIC MEETINGS April 28th, 2021 at 7pm
Siesta Chapel 4615 Gleason Ave 34242 Guest Speaker: Florida League of Cities Director Lynn Tipton Topic: “Municipal Incorporation in Florida”
May 19th, 2021 at 7pm
Siesta Chapel 4615 Gleason Ave 34242 Guest Speaker and Topic: To Be Determined
Visit www.savesiestakey.org Or visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/savesiestakey
DONATE • VOLUNTEER • LEARN Board of Directors
John Davidson, Chuck Byrne, The Honorable Harry Anand, Tracy Jackson, Stephen Lexow, Rick Munroe, Lisa Choate, and Tim Hensey
Greetings from the Gulf By John Morton ver heard of a neutral drop? It’s what teenage punks do in parking lots to impress their friends and ruin their transmissions. You put the car in neutral, floor the gas, and then crank ‘er into drive. A squeal of the tires is the reward as you burst forward. I’m guilty of this obnoxious little trick, and it sent the family’s Buick Electra to an early grave. But I have a defense: I learned how to drive in Sarasota. It was 1980 and I had just gotten my license. Well, remember how the driveway into the businesses down along Phillippi Creek used to not have the traffic signal? Upon leaving, sitting at a standstill on that steep incline, hoping to take a blind left heading south, was nothing short of terrifying. Hence, the neutral drop became my go-to tactic. That, and a scream of “whoahhhh!” as I went for it, knuckles as white as can be. Years later, the traffic signal arrived. I hate to know why, but I can guess. Now that the traffic has slowed (only figuratively) here a bit, let’s talk about road safety. Despite mastering that hideous turn, as well as that cruel intersection on the north end of the Key where Higel Avenue and Midnight Pass roads merge (now also home to stoplights), I thought I’d by now be fearless on the local roads. That’s not the case at all. I’m from the land where Canadian honkers are geese flying in a “V” formation. Now, they are angry motorists from Ottawa who roll down their window and point
out that I’m going too slow on Tamiami Trail. Now is the time to slow it down, for heaven’s sake. Tight little barrier islands are tricky, of course, but the way many of us are driving we aren’t giving those on foot or pedal a chance. Remember, we had a bicyclist die when struck by a trolley in February. He was “at fault,” but was he really? The poor guy was 74, trying to navigate the brutal intersection at Midnight Pass and Stickney Point roads. It’s a tough one by car, for crying out loud. In recent years, there has been an emphasis on cutting back on automobile use. But how can we encourage this when the options often feel like suicide missions? A report entitled “Dangerous by Design 2020” found Sarasota among the six most dangerous metro areas in the U.S. for pedestrians and bicyclists, based upon 2019 data. The others were all Florida cities, as our state remains by far the most deadly for nonmotorists. I lived on Fort Myers Beach, where bike riding was laughable until proper lanes were just recently installed. Over the bridge in Cape Coral, a motorist killed an 8-year-old girl at a school-bus stop during my time there. I also lived in Pinellas County, where I constantly reported on bike and/or pedestrian fatalities. I once attended a FDOT open house where plans for the redesign of a major thoroughfare were on display. The logjam of cars on that road was notorious. However, to my surprise, it showed the removal of a car lane in exchange for a bike lane. Several people groused. I applauded. Pinellas is also the place where a guy is proposing an above-ground
monorail system. If you’ve been on U.S. 19, you aren’t laughing. Meanwhile, Pinellas is also the place where an ongoing nightmare originated for me. I was driving along Alt. U.S. 19 (it’s the original 19 – what a dubious distinction!) just south of Tarpon Springs. It’s a crowded roadway that’s as narrow as it gets. That’s when I heard the chilling screams of a young girl who I saw kneeling roadside. I was one of many cars to pull over, only to see her puppy, still on her leash, dead in the ditch. So, back here on the Key, let’s talk about what we can do. There is now a mobile message board on Stickney Point Road as you approach the island, asking drivers to be alert and drive carefully. That’s nice, and I wish we could bolt the thing down, but we know warning signs and speeding tickets aren’t the answer. By the way, how can cars speed in gridlock you ask? Well, while Stickney often feels like “Stuckney,” it also becomes a raceway once there’s a sliver of an opening. I know people are anxious to get to the beach, but come on. I’m talking about a cultural change. A community mindset. You know how some places have those “Tree City” designation signs? Let’s come up with something similar, but promoting walkers and bikers. “Here, Pedestrians Come First” could be a good campaign. They’d look good with our “No. 1 Beach” signs. Watching cars blast in and out of the public beach is also concerning. That’s why we need to support the upcoming roundabout project there. I suggest two more of them find their way to the Key in the next few years. Slowing things down has to
Word on the beach
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become a priority. Let’s not just talk the talk, but walk the walk -- hopefully without fear of being clobbered by a car. A study by the AAA Safety Foundation shows that once cars reach a speed of just above 20 mph, they rapidly become more deadly. For example, a person is about 70% more likely to be killed if they’re struck be a vehicle traveling at 30 mph vs. 25 mph. In collisions at 30 mph, about one in five pedestrians will not survive. Those odds get significantly worse for older pedestrians, and we of course have many of those. Whether this island becomes its own town or not, let’s start a push for a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere that sets the standard. Let’s start now. Finally, kudos to FDOT for its powerful “How Many Pedestrian Deaths are OK?” ad campaign. You’ve likely heard it, but here it is again. Let it sink in. “Did you know in Florida, an average of 800 pedestrians and bicyclists are killed in car crashes each year? What do you think is a more acceptable number?” The person in the ad answers “Acceptable? Maybe 50?” It’s then we see 50 people turn the corner and approach the man. He recognizes them as his family, his friends. “So now, what do think is a more acceptable number?” asks the narrator. “Zero. Definitely zero,” the man answers. And his daughter runs up to him for a hug. I’m tired of having those nightmares of that little girl and her dog. I want nice dreams. And, I’m ready to dream big. Here’s to a big number. Here’s to zero. (John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)
As a first-time visitor to Siesta Key, what do you think of the place? Sandra Milwaukee “Everything is amazing, especially that beach. And the people are phenomenal -- they just seem so happy. I’m moving here!” Tammy Lansing, Michigan “I’m extremely impressed. The people seem friendly, it’s clean, and I feel safe. We’ve been to different places in Florida that weren’t nearly as nice as this.”
Josh Buffalo “It’s so clean here. The water is clear, the fine white sand is amazing, and the beach has so much room. I would want to live here in the winter. It’s like there is no sense of time.” Linda Chicago “I had heard so much about it, and I hoped I’d find it as a place to settle into. And it’s perfect. I love it. It’s fairly metropolitan in this area, you see a variety of age groups, and there’s art, entertainment, good restaurants. Coming from a big city, that’s what I need. And the warm weather means everything to me.”
Spring break tourism returns with a vengeance Siesta Key businesses and officials report a surge, in some cases exceeding pre-pandemic averages By Hannah Wallace
A jam-packed Siesta Beach, as seen in early April, illustrates a solid tourist season. (photo by Trebor Britt)
Siesta Key tourism needed a win, and Spring Break 2021 delivered. As southwest Florida experienced idyllic spring weather (and minimal coronavirus restrictions), visitors swarmed down from the Midwest and Northeast for the traditional spring vacation period. Groups flocked to Siesta Key Beach and strolled in droves along Ocean Boulevard, gathering around sidewalk tables for margaritas and fried grouper bites. Perhaps the most noticeable distinctions between this spring break and years past were the prominent facemasks as well as the enhanced appreciation and cordiality expressed by guests. Rental property owners and restaurant managers welcomed the crowds, even as these businesses worked through the continuing problems caused by COVID-19. “I think there is a bit of caution, but people are eager to get out and have fun,” said the Daiquiri Deck’s Russell Matthes from its Village location. “I’ve noticed a difference in people’s demeanor. They’re a little more hospitable. I think they understand what our staff are going through, that they’re on the front lines. And we’ve seen our guests being really understanding.”
Matthes notes that, in coronavirus times, Daiquiri Deck benefits from being an open-air restaurant. And like many Village restaurants, the Deck was able to add sidewalk tables due to temporary-use permits. Next door, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, with 90% of its seating outside, has been operating at full capacity — including four new sidewalk tables added in 2020. For the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office, this year’s spring break was more or less business as usual. The office allocated the usual spring break resources to its Siesta Key substation — including mounted patrols and traffic units — and handled a typical number of calls, according to Major Brian Woodring. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the SSO also produced a spring break media campaign emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility and encouraging everyone to adhere to CDC guidelines. And while final numbers won’t be available until later in the year, Erin Duggan of Visit Sarasota estimated that most area accommodations were booked at about 90 percent occupancy for the spring. “We are hearing from our hotel partners Continued on page 42
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Island Chatter Sand, sports events slated for Siesta Beach Several activities on Siesta Key’s public beach take place this month. An annual amateur sandsculpting contest will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 1 at Siesta Beach. It is open to 20 contestants with day-of registration being required. There is no fee to participate. It takes place near the red and yellow lifeguard towers. On May 8 and 9, a beach lacrosse tournament is being held at the beach. It involves 250 participants on five courts and features music and vendors. It runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. May 14 through 16, the Dig the Beach volleyball tournament takes place. Matches run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Money for gym equipment, dividing wall goes to fire station The budget for the construction of the new Fire Station 13 on Siesta Key has grown by $69,000, thanks to two donations the Sarasota County Commission has received. The Siesta Key Fire Rescue Advisory Council has donated $16,000 per gym equipment, while neighboring Gulf & Bay Condominium has donated $53,000 for a dividing wall between the two properties. During demolition of the fire building last spring, workers cleared out vegetation that featured thick underbrush and non-native Brazilian pepper trees that had effectively created a wall. “It became apparent some sort of barrier would be necessary to maintain site security, limit trespassing and improve aesthetics,” read a memo from Gulf & Bay to the commissioners. The proposed wall would be 375 feet long and 8 feet in height. Construction of the new 10,500-square-foot fire station is expected to be completed this summer.
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Community Spotlight Linda Vasilaki
Take lots of notes, students!
You are the general music and orchestra director at Out-of-Door Academy’s lower school (a private school located on Reid Linda Vasilaki Street on Siesta Key) where you’ve spent 38 years. Tell us about the path that landed you there. I started teaching general music in the Grand Rapids, Michigan public schools, where I taught for eight years and founded a talent-education violin program based on the Suzuki violin method. I travelled from school to school, as a general music and strings specialist. My husband, Yuri Vasilaki, was the principal violist of the Grand Rapids Symphony and DeVos String Quartet. founding member of the New World String Quartet, and a violist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. When he joined the Florida West Coast Symphony (aka Sarasota Orchestra) as principal violist in 1982, I joined the symphony and started a Suzuki violin program. As our three children grew, we researched the best schools and the Out-of-Door Academy was our favorite. Can you describe the early years with your program and how it has evolved?
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When I first started teaching at ODA in 1984, there were 72 students in the school. The program was basically designed by the teacher in charge. In the early days, we offered the Suzuki violin lessons after school and general music during the school day. When I was hired, I was told that if I didn’t enjoy directing musicals, I should not consider the job. Pageants seemed to be a focal point of the music program. As the program evolved and more children were interested in lessons, we created the ENCORE program on campus. I reached out to music colleagues in the community who helped me found the program. We offered dance, drama, instrumental lessons, and voice. Our “Show Stoppers” chorus and the “Dem-Team” (string students) would take field trips to perform in local schools and at special events. It was such a great bridge for our students. We loved joining students from other schools to give concerts together. Our three children were the perfect instant feedback for me. From their reactions, I could tell if the curriculum was kidfriendly and engaging. Is there an ambitious production or two that stand out from your career? My first experiences with pageants at ODA were in the evening. Candlelight lit the
paths and twinkle lights in the trees turned the campus into a fairy land. As our school grew and we outgrew the evening concert venue, I remember vividly the holiday productions of the Nutcracker and Scrooge held at Van Wezel, thanks to a generous and supportive parent, Ann Curtis. At the time, my music room was the tiny green room adjoining our stage in what was originally the MacKinlayKantor Theater, named after the award-winning Civil War author who wrote Andersonville. How the students managed to take their songs and dances to the huge stage at Van Wezel from my tiny music room remains a mystery to me. Our students from ODA always seem to have a knack for performance and adjusting to new situations. The entire lower school, pre-K through 8, was involved, so I can say that we had casts of 300 to 500. Parents made everything possible by helping to make costumes, prompting and supervising backstage, and planning for cast parties. To my disbelief, we outgrew Van Wezel! The pandemic has been hard on everyone, and particularly on children. How has the music program helped them cope? Music is such an important part of brain development and growing up.
Linda Vasilaki (left) plays violin as former student Sophia Doyle, a Siesta Key resident, performs a dance. (submitted photo)
It is sometimes children’s main means of expression. Due to the pandemic, we have learned to make music on Zoom, where rehearsals and lessons know no limit. Since this all started, I have noticed that my students gravitate toward more serious music or songs with a meaningful message, much more so than before. I always give them choices and am surprised at how many select more challenging music and take time to listen to their friends’ recitals and performances. They love sharing their music. I made each of the students a Music Kit (at least 300 of them) when the school went remote last year so that all of our lessons can be interactive. Each one consists of a little drum and beater, sand blocks, shaker, rhythm sticks, a deck of rhythm cards, a beat keeper, and I tell the students to bring a “found
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sound” to our lessons to share (something they discovered around the house that can make music, such as a set of keys, an empty coffee can, a Tupperware container with a plastic top, a set of sticks and the back of a chair, and so on). We often have a hoedown at the end of the lesson and children are invited to play their ‘found sounds’ or a portable instrument, such as a violin or a keyboard. What unique methods did you introduce to keep music in their lives during the shutdown? I have had a lot of fun with the students making iMovie music recitals and short video clips. As they practice and polish a piece, I have taught them to record themselves. They send the recording to me, and we send it back and forth to fix certain passages so that it can be as professional and artistic as possible. When the
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students and I are happy with the finished product, I put it into a music app with special effects. I can add a piano part and/or harmony parts, special acoustics or imagery. Often, we share these videos with the school in virtual weekly assemblies. Monthly, we produce iMovie recitals and share them with our favorite “fan club” at Bay Village Assisted Living. These friends have watched the students grow up through the years and they love watching them mature as new little ones join the team via our monthly concerts, which are now monthly iMovie recitals. Their director streams the iMovie to all of the residents’ rooms and we hear great things from them. (See the students in action at youtube.com/watch?v=_ CpSP0ONJKg).
This picture from December 2019 shows the ODA students and Linda Vasilaki entertaining the residents of the Oaks community in Osprey. (Submitted photo)
Have any of your students made music a career choice? If so, can you share some examples? Several of our students have gone on to make music their career. They have attended prestigious music conservatories and earned music degrees and awards, including doctorates and roles in major competitions. Rosena M. Hill Jackson has been a star on Broadway and has won major awards. She played star roles in Carousel, The Color Purple, After Midnight, Come Fly Away, Ragtime, and other Broadway musicals. She is co-founder of Jack & Hill Music with Jason Jackson, her husband and award-winning trombonist. (Visit rosenahilljackson.com/). Aaron Romm earned a Bachelor of Musical Arts degree at Vanderbilt University’s Blair
School of Music. He completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois. He performs with his family all over the world, as well as locally with several of our symphonies. Currently, he is principal trumpet with the Venice Symphony, and he teaches at State College of Florida. (Visit aaronromm.com/). Shannon Ross is an upand-coming cello star. She has performed around the world and is featured in prominent concerts every year. She is studying at the Royal Conservatory of London. Shannon was recently promoted to principal cellist in its top orchestra. During this past year, she loved playing “Rachmaninov Sonata” as part of the festival Verão Classicó in Lisbon to the U.S. ambassador of Portugal and the Fulbright Commission. Following her progress since she started cello in the fifth grade at ODA has been very exciting. She was selected to perform in Boston for a program called From the Top and she performed as soloist with the Anna Maria Island Chamber Orchestra, in which my husband and I were members. We were able to hear her high school senior recital at Walnut Hills School for the Arts in Dover, Massachusetts. (Visit fromthetop.org/musician/
Linda Vasilaki (third row, far left) performed in a virtual capacity last year with the Detroit Symphony. (submitted photo)
shannon-ross/). Abbey Graham recently graduated from Liberty University as a music major in recording, engineering, and producing. She plans to continue her education in Germany and earn a Tonmeister degree. Abbey often helped us during music summer camps at ODA and plays stringed instruments and oboe. One of our former violin students, Alexandra Dee, is a conductor of orchestra at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. We just purchased an orchestral piece that she arranged and will soon learn it in ODA orchestra class. One of the most endearing experiences was when my very first violin student from Grand Rapids, Patrick Foley, came to ODA to guest-conduct our orchestra about 20 years ago. Foley was a star violinist, attended prestigious music schools, and has since created
his own computer company. Last year, when we all had to quarantine, he Zoomed into our music classes and conducted MasterClasses. Since he is a master with the technical side of music, he was able to teach me a lot about the sound and special effects that musicians need when teaching on the Internet. It is so much different than simply speaking to a class. How about you? What outlets have kept you musically engaged? Last summer, I was able to play virtually with the Detroit Symphony. We played “Jupiter” and we sent in our parts so that they could stream them together. I am playing the viola part. It was exciting and was the beginning of my realization of how much could be done remotely. I also sang with a choir that included music teachers from around the world.
Big Pass dredging appeal shot down By Rachel Brown Hackney SarasotaNewsLeader.com
Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal has ruled for the city of Sarasota in the case initiated in 2017 by the Siesta Key Association in an effort to prevent the removal of sand from Big Sarasota Pass to renourish Lido Key Beach. The April 14 written opinion, totaling six pages, says that the 12th Judicial Circuit Court “correctly determined that SKA could not maintain an action under section 403.412 [of the Florida Statutes] because the city of Sarasota … conducted its operations pursuant to a valid permit,” Judge Edward C. LaRose wrote. Section 403.412 is titled Environmental Protection Act in the Florida Statutes. Established in 1971, the law says, “The Department of Legal Affairs,
any political subdivision or municipality of the state, or a citizen of the state may maintain an action for injunctive relief against: “1. Any governmental agency or authority charged by law with the duty of enforcing laws, rules, and regulations for the protection of the air, water, and other natural resources of the state to compel such governmental authority to enforce such laws, rules, and regulations …” In response to the decision, Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown provided the following statement: “This latest court ruling once again affirms that the city has complied with all appropriate regulations and state permits in
moving forward with the critical Lido Beach renourishment project, which is now nearly complete. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and collaborating with the entire community to ensure the protection of the shoreline, properties and infrastructure on our barrier islands.” SKA president Catherine Luckner was out of town when the opinion was issued, she indicated in an email. The nonprofit did not provide a statement for this article. Long effort to protect Big Pass In March 2017, the SKA alleged that the city of Sarasota violated its own comprehensive plan policy and the Sarasota County
Comprehensive Plan in proceeding with planning for the Lido project without seeking a necessary county permit. The nonprofit pointed to Section 4.6.1 of the county’s comprehensive plan. That says the county prohibits “dredge and fill activities in the Gulf of Mexico, bays, rivers, and streams of the county except to maintain previously dredged functional navigation channels and existing drainage canals.” No sand ever had been removed from the pass, SKA leaders stressed. However, during a five-hour hearing on July 23, 2019 before Circuit Judge Andrea McHugh, Tim Litchet, then-director of the city’s Development Services Department, and Alexandrea
DavisShaw, the city engineer, both testified that city staff followed routine procedures in the application for a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit for the Lido Key Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project. The city was a joint applicant with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the permit, although the USACE was not a party to the case. Litchet told the Circuit Court that he and DavisShaw had reviewed all the relevant city policies before submitting the application to FDEP in March 2015. “My conclusion was that the project was consistent, is consistent, with the city’s Comprehensive Continued on page 42
Look at your financial situation holistically Sarasota Local Brings Experience & Trust to Siesta Key What’s the biggest financial mistake you can make? Choosing the wrong investments? Waiting too long to save for retirement? Underestimating the costs of retirement?
moral concerns, you want to positively affect the world around you. And that’s why you may feel compelled to make charitable gifts throughout your life and then make philanthropy part of your legacy. To accomplish these objectives, you’ll want to include gifting techniques in your financial strategy today and your estate plans for tomorrow. Of course, for the estate planning component, you’ll need to work with your tax and legal advisors.
All these are reasonable answers, but the biggest mistake you might make is not looking at your financial picture holistically – that is, not bringing into the picture all the elements of yourself. Let’s consider some of them: • Your views on helping your family: Your decisions about helping your family are clearly going to be a major part of your financial strategy – and this is true at virtually all stages of your life. When your children are young, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to put away money for their college education, and, if so, how much, and in what investment vehicles. When they’re young adults, you may also need to decide how much financial support you’re willing
Joe St. Onge outside his office on Siesta Key.
to provide for things such as the down payment on a new home. And when you’re drawing up your estate plans, you’ll need to consider how to distribute assets to your children, grandchildren or other family members. • Your personal beliefs: As someone with civic, ethical and
• Your purpose in life when you retire: When you retire, you may be stepping off a career path, but you’re also entering a world of possibilities. How will you define, and live out, your new sense of purpose at this stage of your life? Do you seek to broaden your horizons by traveling around the world? Do you want to give back more to the community by volunteering? Can you spend more time pursuing the hobbies you enjoy? Each of these choices will carry different financial implications for how much you’ll need to accumulate
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for retirement and how much you will need to take out each year from your retirement accounts, such as your IRA and 401(k). • Your health: Your physical and mental health can play big roles in your financial plans and outlook. On the most basic level, the healthier you are, and the better you take care of yourself, the lower your health care bills will likely be during retirement, which will affect the amount you need to put away for health care. And you also may need to prepare for the costs of long-term care, which can be enormous – in fact, a private room in a nursing home can easily cost $100,000 per year, according to the insurance company Genworth. It can be challenging to weave all these elements into a single, unified vision, so you may want to get some help from a financial professional. But, in any case, be prepared to look at your situation holistically – because, when putting together a lifetime’s financial strategy, every part of your life matters.
Joe St. Onge, ChFC® Financial Advisor Edward Jones Investments 5112 Ocean Blvd., 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.
Edward Jones. Member SIPC. Advertorial
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After a thorough investigation into the applicable laws, Sgt. Arik Smith, leader of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office substation on Siesta Key, has determined that electric bicycles are not permitted on the county’s beaches. If someone is pedaling such a bicycle it is allowed, because then the bike is not considered a motor vehicle, he told members of the Siesta Key Association at its April 1 meeting. SKA president Catherine Luckner and others have reported during recent meetings that numerous people have complained about the danger of electric bicycles, as the vehicles are so quiet that individuals have nearly collided with them. The problem has been especially bad at sunset, she said, with members of the public moving around to get the best look at the sun. During the March SKA meeting, Smith said he had begun looking into the issue. At that time, he explained that he was waiting on a definitive response from the general counsel in the Sheriff’s Office. In his decision, Smith referred to Section 130-37 of the County Code, which has the heading “Motor vehicles prohibited on Beaches.” In fact, Smith noted, two different county ordinances make it clear that electric bicycles operated by motor only are not allowed on any county beaches. He also addressed the issue with representatives of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department. A bicycle is defined as any device propelled by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, either of which is 20 inches or more in diameter, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped for two front or two rear wheels, the code said, adding that a motor vehicle means a self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway,
Signs that notify beachgoers that electric bikes are illegal are now up at Siesta Key’s public beach. (photo by John Morton)
but not including any bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device. “We’ve started to try to give that information out to people,” Smith told the SKA members during a Zoom meeting. Before beginning enforcement of the ordinance, he said officers would work to educate the public. In the meantime, the information has been added to the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the county webpages to emphasize what is legal and what is illegal on the beaches. Smith acknowledged that groups of “20 or 30 people strong” riding electric bicycles together on the beach “can become a safety issue.” Margaret Jean Cannon, the SKa director, told Smith she understood that signage had been placed on
the lifeguard stands on the public beach to warn people about the fact that electric bicycles are not allowed. However, Smith said the problem is that people often think the signs mean that bicycles are forbidden just on the stretch of beach where the lifeguard stands are located. Cannon also told Smith that, the previous night, she filmed approximately 30 people on electric bicycles. When she called out to the riders that they were operating the vehicles illegally “they tried to fake pedaling ... they can’t peddle that fast,” she said. Smith replied he had spoken with representatives of several rental companies that provide electric bicycles on the Key, to let them know about the county ordinance.
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From the Grill...
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5 STAR REVIEWS THE NORM FOR THIS SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Reviewed February 16, 2021
From the Market...
Large selection of fresh seafood. Special Orders Welcome!
I really like this family business. Just fresh good food, especially excellent fish and seafood. If you want quality, simply cooked to order fish and sides, this is it. My favorite key lime pie in town, too. So glad I found this little place a few years ago. Clam chowder is really nice, too.
Feeling crabby? Come on down and enjoy our fresh crab cakes. You can order them three different ways! 1. Crab cake appetizer 2. Crabby BLT sandwich 3. Crab cake dinner! Then to finish it off with a piece of homemade key lime pie.
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
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Residents voice concerns about south business area By Rachel Brown Hackney SarasotaNewsLeader.com Some residents are complaining that customers of Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar and the Cresecent Club, businesses just south of the intersection of Midnight Pass and Stickney Point roads, are impeding bicyclists and pedestrians. Said Siesta Key Association president Catherine Luckner to Sgt. Arik Smith, leader of the Sheriff’s Office’s substation on the Key, “We’ve had a lot of people spilling into the road,” in the area of those two establishments. “I don’t know what can be done … to get them out of the road. … There’s also a lot of noise.” She voiced her concerns during an April 1 meeting of the group. “If there’s people standing in the roadway, and you feel it’s a safety issue, call us,” Smith replied. “A deputy will come out [to investigate the situation].” Smith added that he would talk with representatives of Capt. Curt’s about the complaints. SKA director Erin Kreis said the greater problem is at the neighboring Crescent Club, which has outdoor seating in front of the bar that is situated right on top of the 2-foot-wide sidewalk. Resident Jim Wallace said that he had seen a change at the front of the Crescent Club that appeared to have ameliorated the problems to some degree -- the removal of planters that may have encroached upon the sidewalk. Nonetheless, Wallace said, “It’s still bad.” “I will check into it,” Smith promised, adding that he could understand why the situation would be more problematic at the Crescent Club than at Capt. Curt’s, based on the property where the establishment stands. “You have to check it out on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night,” Kreis advised Smith. Given the fact that so many people are on the Key for spring break, she said, “Two weeks from now, it might be different …” Said Wallace, “We have no sidewalk whatsoever in front of the
Pedestrians use the bicycle lane and part of the street to do their walking in front of the Crescent Club on April 9. About 2 feet of space adjacent to the building is considered the sidewalk. (photo by John Morton)
Crescent Club.” Therefore, people have been accustomed to walking in the bike lane on Midnight Pass Road, while bicyclists have been forced into the street with vehicular traffic. Wallace called the situation “very dangerous.” A search of the county’s permitting records for the Crescent Club, which is located at 6519 Midnight Pass Rd., showed that county staff had received several complaints over the past months about similar issues. In June, a caller reported that the owners of the Crescent Club had “taken over the sidewalk” and were “putting folding signs in the bike path.” Code enforcement staff investigated that complaint and called it “unfounded,” as noted on June 20. Then, on Oct. 21, a caller reported that “the bar area that is set up in front of this business is impeding the line of [sight] for [pedestrian] and street traffic.” As of April 5, that complaint was still open, county permitting records showed. Next, on Jan. 13, someone called the county to say the Crescent
Club’s “recent expansion in front (probably due to relaxation in rules due to Covid-19) is encroaching on the walking and bike path along Midnight Pass Road, which puts pedestrians and bikers in the path of traffic.” A building compliance investigation also resulted in that complaint being identified as unfounded. Documentation received about that complaint, through a public records request, said, “All work was permitted. No building violations noted. There are some decorative potted plants which may be a code or zoning issue. Forwarded to [code enforcement] for review.” Then, a March 29 complaint was made about the planters in the area that the person considered to be the street setback. A code enforcement investigation ensued, the permitting form showed, but it was closed the following day, on March 30. In an April 5 email, County Public Records Specialist Bethany Higgins reported that code enforcement staff had told her that the Crescent Club had moved the potted plants back into the appropriate area.
Big Water Fish Market Retail Market & Restaurant
6641 Midnight Pass Rd, Crescent Plaza
Monday - Sea Club Tuesday - Tuna Tuesdays Wednesday - Soft Shell Crab Sandwich Thursday - Lobster Roll Friday - Pompano Cubano Saturday - Seafood Pasta Sunday - Ceviche Nachos We are open for dine in, takeout, or curbside pickup. www.bigwaterfishmarket.com
Siesta Key’s Best Fish Market Now selling steaks, poultry, and deli meats in retail market
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Above, Shawn McLoughlin’s “Rose Garden at Phillippi Estate Mansion,” an oil painting on linen panel, won first place at the 2018 Suncoast Light Chasers competition in the professional division. Right, McLoughlin studies some of his canvas work at his Siesta Key studio. (submitted photos)
The art of inspiration Motivated by health scare, Shawn McLoughlin paints a positive future By Jane Bartnett
hawn McLoughlin’s art is woven into the tapestry of Siesta Key life. Found in the form of whimsical island scenes that not only grace the walls of thousands of homes but also in large, brightly colored murals and signs that dot the sides of stores, resorts, and restaurants in the Siesta Key area, McLoughlin defines the term of successful working artist. Many would say that this talented and commercially successful artist with grown-up beach-boy good looks has led a charmed life in his adopted hometown that he made his own some 50 years ago. But in June of last year, at age 67, McLoughlin’s life changed dramatically. After living a healthy and active life, he suddenly felt extreme fatigue and pain. Doctors delivered devastating news: he had pancreatic cancer. The good news, they told him, was that he was a candidate for the Whipple procedure -- a major surgery for which only about 20% of patients qualify. According to the Mayo Clinic, this “difficult and demanding operation” can be “lifesaving, particularly for people with cancer.” Surgeons at Doctor’s Hospital in Sarasota performed McLoughlin’s surgery. It was a success. Following 15 days in the hospital, he went home to recuperate. Shaken by his sudden illness, he decided to sell more than 160 pieces of his art during a sale at the Village Cafe. It was a sellout. With that done, McLoughlin created a website and began cataloguing and documenting all of his work. The weeks went by and McLoughlin found a new will to live as he gained strength and better health. “I still have a lot of living to do,” he said, speaking of his two sons and five grandchildren. “Time is precious. I’ve been given a gift with my ability to paint and I want to share it with others. I’m very grateful to my doctors and now, I’m back at work.” Sitting in his studio surrounded by paintings, canvases, pens, ink and paint, he recalled his emotions earlier this year, when the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. “It was a great honor, but it made me realize that I’m not done yet,” he said. Speaking of his life and what lies ahead, “I’m back to painting after regaining my health,” he said. “Because of the operation, I feel the importance of doing what matters most. With a renewed sense of gratitude and appreciation, I have a passion to paint our natural world of beauty here on Siesta Key. Look around, look
up, look into the eyes of people we pass, look at the grass growing or the flowers blooming or the sun setting over the gulf. Gratitude can change our whole perspective on life.” McLoughlin’s new life perspective is most visible in his oil-on-canvas paintings. A departure from the often lighthearted work that he is known for, his oil or “plen air” paintings (a French term that means to paint in the open air) are created in nature. His work reflects the Impressionist and Hudson River schools of art. “I enjoy building the picture A commissioned on site, free form, as you painting goes see it,” he said. from start to As a member of the finish in the Plen Air Painters of the hands of local Suncoast, McLoughlin artist Shawn McLoughlin. is one of more than 700 (submitted artists in the non-profit photos) group who paint together on Siesta Beach and other scenic locations in the area. In 2018, during the organization’s Light Chasers outing at the Phillippi Creek Art Show, McLoughlin won first place in the professional division. As an artist, painting en plen air “takes a little more guts,” he said. As much as his love of this classic art form has become his passion, McLoughlin is still very much committed to the business side of the signature designs he has created over the years in either acrylic, oil, watercolor, or charcoal. Sales and distribution of his popular 8x10 paper art prints depicting Siesta Key beach scenes, birds, sunsets, resorts, and sea life remain strong. Wrapped in plastic with a foam board, they are sold ready for framing at four Siesta Key shops: Beach Bazaar, Crescent Beach Grocery, Sunshine and Sand Hidden Treasures, and the Village Cafe. His paper prints, along with custom-sized gallerywrapped canvas prints, are also available through his website: siestashawn.com. Commissioned projects for private clients also fill McLoughlin’s day. While putting the finishing touches on one of them, he commented “I enjoy knowing that the work that I’ve created brings joy to people who come here to visit.” Embracing his past while looking ahead to creating many more en plen air oil paintings is driving him forward. “Some days,” he said with great sincerity, “I look at a blank canvas and I think, ‘I can’t do this.’” After a brief pause, the smile returned and the artist said with great modesty, “It’s not always easy, but I’m getting better at it.”
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Easter egg hunt gets kids, parents back on track Chamber event at Turtle Beach sees large turnout By John Morton
Ryan Wunderlich enjoys some upside-down fun at the hands of the Easter Bunny. (photo provided by Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce)
Needless to say, the 100-plus kids who raced around the playground area at Turtle Beach for an Easter-eve party were delighted. And the adults on hand were not only delighted, they were relieved. “It’s just fantastic that there’s finally something for the kids to do. Back home, we have nothing going on like this,” said Buffalo’s Cory Dziduch while his 2-year-old son Ayden tossed beanbags through holes in a wooden Easter bunny. “What a great chance to finally get some fresh air.” The sun-splashed April 3 morning brought out a large crowd for the event, hosted by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce with help from the local Kiwanis group. Egg hunts, snow cones, games and prizes were among the highlights, along with visits from the Easter Bunny, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s mounted patrol, a fire truck and ambulance drive-by, and an animal education session with Big Cat Habitat’s Stella
the Sloth. “It’s so nice to see them all out here,” Kevin Ritchey, a Siesta Key resident, said of the kids. “Life has been so childless for so many of us.” His grandson Jax, 6, and granddaughter Olive, 4, were among them. They were finally visiting from Wilson, Wyoming, after more than a year. “It’s been tough on them to not see their grandpa for so long. Really, they haven’t even seen other kids,” Peter Kocubinski, their father, said. “Getting outside is also nice. Where we came from, there are still 10-foot snow piles.” Considering the fact that so many kids have been cooped-up for a long time, Kocubinski was impressed at how well-behaved the kids were. “We’ve been to some egg hunts where everyone was very aggressive,” he said after his kids collected their treats. “This one was very nice and calm. It is well-organized.”
Above, 2-year-old Ayden Dziduch, a toddler from Buffalo, is delighted to pick out a rubber chickadee as his prize after playing a beanbag-toss game. Right, Oliver Godfrey, 4, who’s visiting from Gilbert, Arizona, makes a great find during the egg hunt. (photos by John Morton)
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#1 SHOPPING DESTINATION ON TRIP ADVISOR! Silver City Sarasota was chosen best Silversmith/Goldsmith in Sarasota for 2021. What makes this store so unique? As you walk into the store, you are always greeted by the friendly staff and you automatically feel the family-like atmosphere. The staff “is family”, according to Monica, owner, of Silver City Sarasota. Debra and Suzanne have worked for Monica since its inception 15 years ago. Arlene joined the family three years ago. Ask any of the staff and they will tell you how much they love working at the store. “The big chain corporate jewelry stores hold no appeal for this generation, Monica, owner of Silver City Sarasota comments. Our customers like the warmth and care we offer. Walking into any larger retailer you can never seem to find the same sales associate you met the first time. Reading the reviews on both Trip Advisor and Google confirms this fact. You will find compliment after compliment not only on the beautiful jewelry, but on the awesome customer service the staff offers.” The main attraction for this retailer is the trademarked “Siesta Key Watercolor Gemstone” collection. The inspiration came to the retailer because as Monica realized, “Tourists always wish they can somehow take their vacation memories with them”. With this in mind, Silver City Sarasota 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. The 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 of paradise representing our sea, sky and the beautiful sand of Siesta Key Beach. Each piece is designed by them with a beautiful variety of designs both in sterling silver and 14k gold. Silver City Sarasota also carries a collection of jewelry made with actual Siesta Key Beach Sand. The simple elegant collection is their second-best selling item according to Monica. Giving back is also at the heart of the staff of Silver City Sarasota. They felt the need to help Mote Marine Aquarium after the difficult bout of red tide in our area in 2018. They took it upon themselves to invest their own finances into designing, creating and trademarking the “Tide Away” Save Our Beaches Collection. 25% of the proceeds from this collection go directly to fund Mote Marine Aquarium’s red tide research department. It’s no accident that this gem of a store has been chosen by locals and tourist alike as Siesta Key’s #1 “must stop” shopping destination. They are located in the Southbridge Mall shopping center at 6539 Midnight Pass Rd, Siesta Key. Visit their beautiful website at:
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Rollin’ With Rawhide? Think Twice About Your Dog’s Chews of Choice
Kyle Baker, Senior Pet Food Nutritionist at DOGPerfect Offering both exercise and entertainment, chewing is a natural and necessary activity for your dog. It allows pups to maintain strong jaws, clean their teeth, and it can help them alleviate anxiety and boredom. For years, rawhide has been a popular chewing option for dogs, but unfortunately studies have shown it to be unsafe. Created from a cow’s inner hide, traditional rawhide is stripped of flesh and hair, and treated with chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde. It’d be bad enough if your dog was just chewing on this, but often they’re swallowing it too. Rawhide chews are difficult to digest, expand in the stomach, and can cause a blockage if too large. It’s time to move on from rawhide and roll with a healthier chewing choice. Ready? We’ve got some excellent alternatives.
As you might expect, all-natural selections are the safest and healthiest chewing options for dogs, with a litany of benefits. Made from all parts of the animal, natural chews aid dental health, stimulate chewing instinct, are 100% digestible, and serve as a natural source of glucosamine. Plus, there are a number of great natural chews available, so your pup never has to get tired of the same ol’ same ol’. Here are few of the terrific natural options available: Bully Sticks – Made from pizzle, an allnatural product similar to beef tendon or dog jerky. Dogs love the taste and texture of these long-lasting chews. The density and texture of bully sticks are ideal for safe chewing and teeth cleaning as they soften with use. Plus, they’re suitable for dogs of any size or developmental stage. One note: they can carry a bit of a smell, so opt for odorless varieties. Beef Trachea – Yep…it’s a cow’s windpipe. Primarily made of cartilage, beef trachea is high in protein, low in fat, and filled with chondroitin and glucosamine that promote joint health. Highly palatable for pups of all ages, beef trachea is another natural chew that’s great for cleaning teeth. But if trachea
turns you off, don’t sweat it. Beef tendons sourced from the Achilles are another excellent option with similar benefits. Ears – Also cartilage based and protein rich, ears are durable and can improve joint health. A variety of animal ears make for popular choices, such as cow, lamb, venison, and pig. However, it should be noted that pig ears contain a higher fat content than the others. Fish Skins – An all-natural, simple, single ingredient treat, fish skins are made from exactly that. To turn them into chews, skins are dehydrated until they reach the consistency of jerky. From there, they offer an outstanding source of lean protein and useful Omega 3s, and help support teeth and gum health. Hooves, Horns, Antlers and Bones – While similar in texture and consistency, not all hooves, horns, antlers and bones are created equal. Yes, many of these allnatural choices offer a lot of benefits, but there are some watchouts. Earth Animal No-Hide Chews are made with only simple, real, and trusted ingredients. They are easy to digest and never include additives, bleaches, formaldehydes, or synthetic chemicals. They are a good, long chew that isn’t just tasty for your dog, they also promote healthy teeth and gums. Marrow bones, harvested from cow or bison, are another nice source of minerals and nutrients. However, you’ll want to opt for raw bones as cooked bones often splinter, and keep them frozen for maximum freshness. Lastly, naturally-shed deer or elk antlers present a long-lasting alternative with a soft outer layer that dogs enjoy. Though they rarely splinter, it’s important to note that tough antlers can cause teeth damage if they’re the wrong size or dogs are left unattended to chew too aggressively. We suggest keeping an eye on your pup, and choosing pre-split antlers that allow dogs easier access to nutrient-rich marrow. Yak’s Milk Chews – Our final all-natural option, yak’s milk chews offer big protein, easy digestion, are free of grain or gluten and available in a variety of sizes. If your dog needs a break from meat-based chews, yak’s milk can be a nice change of pace.
A little extra effort
Hopefully these alternatives have convinced you to go natural. However, even if you do decide to remove rawhide or plastic chews from the equation, the reality is no chew is without risk. Monitoring your dog’s chewing routine can assure their safety and help you gain a greater understanding of their needs. Additionally, before making your selections, pay attention to where the product is made. As always, we recommend purchasing products made in the U.S. to ensure the use of quality ingredients and proper manufacturing standards. Like other efforts to keep our dogs happy and healthy, it really comes down to doing just a little extra to help them achieve their best lives.
Bailey is a rescue dog, joining her family in December 2014. While she looks very official and active in this Siesta Key picture on the golf cart, she usually prefers the other kind of siesta (nap) much, much more. She likes her dad and brothers, but she loves her mama and sister. It’s a girls thing! (Submit your Paw Pal to the Siesta Sand at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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 one-on-one nutrition consult with Kyle.
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!
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Alpine Steakhouse is proud to be the recipient of the Sarasota Magazine Readers’ Choice award for
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Serving Sarasota Since 1975 Broad wings with outstretched finger-like tips, along with a bright-red featherless head and pale yellow bill, are some key traits that make this large raptor easy to spot. From a distance, the turkey vulture in flight is often confused with an eagle or osprey. However, if it appears to turn wobbly circles while gliding, then it’s probably a turkey vulture.
Rising thermal air currents not only provide a free glide, but also lift up the smell of fresh carrion for these scavengers to locate a meal of “leftovers.” Scavengers like the turkey vulture perform a valuable service as de facto sanitation engineers, tidying up the landscape of carcasses one bite at a time. Since their food source is literally everywhere, it is quite common to see them circling over fields, rivers and marshes, as well as dumpsters and roadsides. Turkey vultures may appear to be very dark -- even black -from a distance. However, they are actually dark brown with some lighter areas under the wing, giving them a majestic appearance in the right light. Jan Baumgartner’s handmade notecards showcase Siesta Key natural scenic beauty and wildlife. They are available in two locations: BLVD Beachwear 5239 Ocean Blvd (941) 349-2583 Shelly’s Gift and Christmas Boutique 4420 S Tamiami Trail (941) 260-8905
Blooming this month: Confederate Jasmine
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Confederate Jasmine, or Trachelospermum jasminoides, is a species of flowering plants that are usually grown as a vine and grows very well on fences, trellises, or an arbor. Sometimes it’s called Star Jasmine. They have beautiful fragrant white star-shaped blooms with dark-green leaves. A bonus is they bloom several times a year and attract butterflies and bees. This will be a nice addition to your garden. It grows well
in full sun, as well as in semishade. Once established, this is a drought-resistance plant. It’s currently in bloom in the Quiet Garden at Sarasota Garden Club, 1131 Blvd of the Arts. Join the club on May 9 for “Mother’s Day in the Garden.” For information, go to SarasotaGardenClub.org or call (941) 955-0875. Submitted by Kay Weber, Botanical Gardens Chair, Sarasota Garden Club
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Hopeful hotelier shares his vision
An exclusive Q&A with David Balot The site of the former Wells Fargo bank, located at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd., is being eyed for a new hotel by David Balot. It’s the fourth Siesta Key hotel application submitted to Sarasota County within a year. Siesta Sand asked him to share his history and plan. Q: Can you tell us about your history in the hotel business? A: Although I have owned and rented residential and commercial property for more than 20 years, I recently got into the transient rental accommodation business approximately four years ago. Q: What made you decide to “go for it” in regard to the Wells Fargo property? A: I was contacted by a local realtor friend who told me the Wells Fargo building was for sale. As a current Wells Fargo customer, with business interests that utilized that branch, along with being a part-time resident on Siesta Key, I knew the property well and always thought it had potential. So I called my brother, who is my partner in real estate and business, and we put in an offer. Unexpected to us, our offer was accepted, and we then both said, “Now what?” Q: Are you in any way concerned that your proposal is the fourth from developers within a year and there has been some citizen pushback in play? A: Let me start by stating, I am not a developer. I consider myself more of a businessman
and operator, and this proposed hotel with restaurant/bar will be the first in terms of commercial development for my brother and me. With that said, I have been reading and listening to a lot of the opposition regarding one of the proposed hotels on Siesta Key and to be honest, I tend to agree with a lot of the pushback. That is what made me think the former Wells Fargo site could provide an alternate hotel with adequate parking (and even some much-needed additional parking for beachgoers) while not running afoul to a lot of the pushback and concerns from the local residents. Q: How is your proposal different from the other three hotel projects being proposed? A: My boutique hotel proposal is different from the others as it’s designed to keep a limit on intensity for future Siesta Key redevelopment. My project proposes 100 rooms on approximately 2.15 acres of property which is just under twice the current density. In addition, the proposed hotel will be built within the current allowable 35 foot above parking. However, we are asking for one level of parking above ground. In reality, because the first floor has to be 1 foot above flood, this equates to an approximate 7-foot increase in overall height. Q: How do you think your project would have a positive impact to the quality of life and experience on Siesta Key? A: Although Siesta Key
has a tremendous amount of condominiums, townhouses and homes for rent, these properties often have a minimum stay of three or seven days. With that said, it is my opinion that the Key could benefit from one or two new hotels for those guests that want to stay under three days, for those who want the security of a hotel and for those that are looking for something newer, built to current code and more handicapped accessible, than Siesta Key currently has to offer. As such, yes, I do believe that the hotel, with a much-needed new restaurant that actually has enough parking for all of its patrons, would increase the quality of life and experience on Siesta Key. Q: What is the biggest obstacle you face in getting your proposed project done? A: Due to the purchase price of property on Siesta Key and the significantly increased cost to build in today’s world, the numbers simply do not work with keeping to the current density limits. My proposed hotel will not increase the current density by six or seven times, like one of the other proposed hotels, but will double the current density for new or redeveloped resorts/hotels or motels in Commercial General/ Siesta Key Overlay District only. I understand a lot of the residents believe that there should be absolutely no increase in density for transient accommodations, especially unlimited density, and as such I am trying to reasonably mitigate the situation with my
proposal. In short, I am simply trying to propose the least amount of density increase needed to financially support the development and redevelopment for a lot of the outdated, smaller transient properties that were build in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s that would be better torn down and rebuilt than fixed-up. Q: Have you received positive feedback from any of the key stakeholders on Siesta Key? A: Prior to the required neighborhood workshop, my intention is to have meetings and listen to concerns with leadership members of the Siesta Key Association, the Siesta Key Coalition, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, the neighboring properties at Gulf & Bay Club and Jamaica Royale, and a few key business leaders on Siesta Key. As of today (April 15) I have met and/or spoken at length with several members of the aforementioned groups (not all yet) and the feedback has neither been positive or negative. Each person that I have spoken with seems to recognize that I am trying to propose a change that is not egregious. I am trying to meet in person, without an attorney present, and openly discuss the pros and cons of my project with an attempt at reasonably mitigating the issues. The feedback that I can provide is that, in all of the meetings I have had so far, regardless if we ultimately have agreed to disagree, every person I have spoken with
seems to be appreciative that I have reached out and provided transparency and honesty in our discussions. It has also been mutually beneficial to me as it has provided me with the opportunity to listen to their personal concerns and concerns of their neighbors, friends and members. In meeting this way first, I believe the neighborhood workshop will be much more productive, which we anticipate having prior to the end of May. Q: Tell us more about the restaurant component and other amenities. A: I am a local Sarasota resident, I am a past resident of Siesta Key, and currently a part-time resident of Siesta Key. There are many great restaurants on Siesta Key, however parking has always made it a difficult choice when deciding where to take my family of six, (four children and two adults) out to dinner. My intention is to have an affordable restaurant where locals can either belly up at the bar and have a beer with an appetizer or where families can meet their friends out for dinner, while never having to worry about finding a parking spot. I would like to note that my intention is not to open a nightclub or 21-and-older bar, but a restaurant with alcohol served, like all of the other restaurants in Siesta Key and Sarasota. I do not expect noise to be a concern for the hotel guests and definitely not for the nearby residents as well.
Continued from page 1
of Siesta Key Beach Resorts and Suites, according to the Better Business Bureau. The only other project team member identified is Mark Sultana of DSDG Architects of Sarasota. The hotel design also would encompass a 9,350-square-foot restaurant and bar, the application says, and would be open to the public as well as guests. “The existing one-story building [comprising 8,580 square feet] was built in 1971, and has a total of 49,450 [square feet] of asphalt parking,” with total impervious lot coverage of 65.42%, the document says. Further, the parcel is the only one on the island zoned Commercial General within the Siesta Key Overlay District that is surrounded by residential multi-family properties, the application notes. “The uniqueness of its size makes it an ideal parcel for a boutique hotel on Siesta Key,” the document adds, “and its location is perfect for a hotel/restaurant bar to serve the many visitors” who come to the island each year. Balot also is asking for a change in county zoning and land-use regulations to allow the maximum 35-foot height for commercial construction on the Key to be calculated above the planned two levels of parking. Such a design “is the best solution for the property growth and development of a much-needed new hotel on Siesta Key. The owner is interested in working with the Siesta Key Association, the Siesta Key Condominium Council, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, neighboring communities, and all residents who live on the Key to develop this property,” the document adds. The parking levels would have a total of 394 spaces, including spots designated for motorcycles, golf carts and bicycles. “Parking will include 97 extra beach
Left, a view of where a new hotel is being proposed. It joins a teardown and expansion of the Siesta Key Beach Resort and Suites, along with new hotels at Old Stickney Point Road (lower left) and Calle Miramar (lower right), as potential developments. (submitted images)
parking/overflow parking spaces and seven handicapped spots to meet the current requirements under the [Unified Development Code regulations] for hotel and restaurant/bar parking,” the application says. Further, a swimming pool approximately 32 feet by 115 feet in size, and one or more hot tubs, would be built on the third floor above the parking area. The Wells Fargo branch closed on Nov. 18. Based on the details in the March 4 deed
of sale between Wells Fargo and ABC SUB2, the latter paid $4.41 million for the former bank site. First Union National Bank of Florida Real Estate purchased the parcel on Feb. 28, 1992 for $1.3 million, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office records show. In 2020, those records note, the market value of the parcel was $4.588 million. Additionally, like the other three Siesta Key hotel proposals that have been outlined to county staff, this one seeks an amendment
to the county’s comprehensive plan to increase the residential density allowed for “transient accommodations” — the county term for hotels and motels. In this latest situation, ABC SUB2 is proposing that lands zoned Commercial General (CG) in the Siesta Key Overlay District zoning regulations “may be redeveloped to a new resort/hotel/motel which has twice the density and intensity of current zoning regulations.” The requested comprehensive plan change would apply to Future Land Use Policy 2.9.1, which regards residential density and intensity on the county’s barrier islands. County regulations allow up to 13 dwelling units per acre on CG parcels. However, a hotel room without a kitchen counts as half a unit. The team working on a proposed 170room hotel on parcels between Calle Miramar and Beach Road on the edge of Siesta Village wants to eliminate residential density calculations for hotels altogether on the barrier islands. The group seeking to construct a 120room hotel on Old Stickney Point Road is calling for a change that would allow double the residential density for transient accommodations just in the South Bridge area of Siesta Key. Finally, the team working on the redevelopment of the Siesta Key Beach Resort and Suites on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village has filed a preliminary application seeking a countywide change to the Unified Development Code that would allow any existing transient accommodations with 40 or more units before March 13, 1989, and still in operation as of the date the amendment would take effect, to be redeveloped without having to comply with the CG residential density restrictions on the Key.
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Mind Body Soul: Life Energy “If you want to find the secrets of the universe (and your health), think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” -- Nikola Tesla
By Dolores Day
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WORLD FAMOUS CLAM CHOWDER 1200 Old Stickney Point Rd, Siesta Key FL 34242
his is one of my favorite quotes. 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 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 al- most 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. 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 application 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 personal energy field 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 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. May you have good vibrations everywhere you go. Thank you for reading my friends. (For a list of measured high vibrating activities visit the website www.de-day.com and receive your free e-book to enhance your health.)
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VILLAGE MAP, pages 24 -25
ACCOMMODATIONS, page 47
CRESCENT BEACH MAP, page 26
By John Morton
Some gals enjoy the Low Tide Tours tiki boat that travels through Siesta Key’s Intracoastal Waterway. It’s docked near Turtle Beach but can pick you up from a canal dock. (submitted photo)
have the area to ourselves. You see unobstructed 360-degree views that are stunning.” A certified captain escorts each trip, with the addition of a first mate for groups of seven or more. Soda, water and snacks are served. Customers of age are allowed to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Pick-up from local canal docks is an option, Kobza said, but there must be enough access to accommodate the boat’s 14-foot diameter. Passengers can also request a stop at Spearfish Grille near the South Bridge for takeout orders.
Julie Schaefer, an Ohio snowbird who resides part-time on the Key, has taken six voyages with Low Tide Tours. “You’d think we’d get sick of it, but no way. Every trip has been different,” she said. “And they know the hot spots for seeing dolphins. It’s like they call them to come out. “We’ve taken both family and friends, young and old, and we think it’s the best thing to do on Siesta Key. Everyone has been impressed. “I mean, I’ve never seen a floating tiki boat before. It’s such a unique thing.” To book a tour, call (941) 405-0045 or visit lowtidetours.com.
GULF GATE SHOPS, page 35
May you enjoy the water this month Welcome to some warmer water! The temperature of the Gulf of Mexico off Siesta Key sees a robust increase each May, going up an average of five degrees from April’s average of 73. At 78 degrees, you’ll find wading about in the water much more pleasant. It’s quite the improvement from the average yearly low of 65 in February. August brings the average high, at 86.5. It’s like taking a bath. In May, you see serious swimmers train for upcoming summertime Ironman races as they swim parallel to the beach, much like a dolphin. You also see more families and friends forming a social circle out in the Gulf. Talk to some of them, and you’ll learn that many come from coastal communities on the state’s eastern shores where swimming is more difficult due to busy boat traffic, rough waves, inconsistent water quality, and deep drop-offs. Crescent Beach offers just the opposite. It’s usually calm, it’s shallow for dozens of feet, and it deepens at a very gradual slope. And, once it’s deep, a friendly sandbar is often just a few strokes away. Furthermore, boundary buoys protect swimmers at the public beach while lifeguards at four stations keep an eye on everyone. Unfortunately, stingray season also coincides with the arrival of May’s warmer waters. They like to come in close, warm up, and begin their mating rituals. That said, it’s important to know the “stingray shuffle.” By kicking up a cloud of sand as you enter, you’ll likely scare off any stingrays hiding along the bottom. They only sting in defense. They are not aggressive by nature. For extra precaution, water shoes are a good idea. Beach Bazaar in the Village has them, as does Davidson’s at both the north and south ends of the island. You’ll find scuba masks, snorkels and fins there as well. The crystal-clear water of Siesta Key provides for a terrific view. So, take a dip on your trip. The Gulf here is the perfect place. -- John Morton
Don’t Waste Your Island Time Crossing Bridges! We are conveniently located just a few steps from Crescent Beach and minutes away from anywhere on the Key.
• Full Service Grocery • Party Trays • Boar’s Head Meat & Cheese • Domestic & Micro Beers • Fabulous Deli Sandwiches Made to Order! • Largest Wine Selection on Siesta Key • Farm Fresh Produce • Beach Supplies • Butcher Shop • Take Out Meals
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LIVE MUSIC, page 32
Here’s to a fabulous float Since when can you learn a thing or two at a tiki-bar party? Low Tide Tours sees to it with its relaxing and educational pontoon trips through Siesta Key’s Intracoastal Waterway, hosting outings both in the day (four passenger minimum) and at sunset (six passenger minimum). The boat holds a maximum of 12 and can be booked for either private or public tours. Located across from Turtle Beach at Bayfront Marina, 8865 Midnight Pass Rd., the business debuted in January of last year but was waylaid a bit by the pandemic. Now, it’s full-float ahead for a unique business that gives customers a close-up view of nature like few others. “Our boat only drafts a few inches, which is much lower than most, so you’ll feel like you’re part of the water,” owner Jason Kobza said. “You’ll be right on top of the dolphins and manatees. And we can get closer to the birds and mangroves than other boats. The wildlife on our trips make it special.” Kobza said a dolphin is spotted on his trips nine out of 10 times. But that hardly makes it a routine event for him. “I’ve lived here 10 years and no matter what, each time I see a dolphin I feel giddy, like it’s the first time. “I love the look on people’s faces when they spot one.” Among his favorite stops along the tour, which lasts either 2 or 4.5 hours, is Midnight Pass (located between Siesta and Casey keys). “Most people can only get there by kayak, and oftentimes at sunset we’ll
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1211 Old Stickney Point Rd., Siesta Key, FL 34242 (corner of Stickney Pt. and Midnight Pass Rd.)
Island Chatter Breeze trolley sees ridership spike in March
Big G’s Oyster Happy Hour from 3-6 Every day 1/2 Priced House Oysters
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.
Live Music Every Day and Night
Despite COVID-19 precautions being in place, the Siesta Key Breeze has been ferrying lots of passengers around the island, as documented by Sarasota County Area Transit. Even with every other row blocked off to create social distancing, the trolley carried 17,271 people in January and 21,182 in February, the county reports. Those figures were down 56.03% and 57.51%, respectively, from the same months in 2020, before the pandemic struck. However, the passenger count took a big jump in March with a tally of 42,664. Last March, the count was
Complaints of amplified noise on Siesta Beach are addressed Sgt. Arik Smith of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office addressed complaints from members of the Siesta Key Association regarding amplified noise on the public beach. Complaints can be addressed under the guidelines of the county’s noise ordinance, he said. “What we need for enforcement is a victim or a
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1250 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242 NI CE ND O F VE IS LA
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325 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236
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Anna Maria Island
107 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, FL. 34217
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 GAS STATION Circle K Store........................................Map-E #6 GIFTS & SOUVENIRS Beach Bazaar..................................... Map-C #28 Gilligan’s Gift Store...........................Map-B #32 Island Trader...................................... Map-C #51 Sea Pleasures & Treasures............... Map-C #29 Siesta Key Outfitters........................Map-D #13 HEALTH & FITNESS Indep. Lifestyle Solutions ............... Map-D #10 Siesta Healing...................................... Map-D #9 Siesta Key Fitness............................ Map-B #73 Studio Yooga ................................... Map-B #51 ICE CREAM/SWEETS Big Olaf Creamery............................ Map-C #52 Curly Cream Ice Cream...................... Map-D #9 Local Chill Ice Cream......................Map-D #60 Made in Rome Organic Gelato........ Map-C #53 Meany’s Mini Donuts....................... Map-C #24 Stefano Versace Gelato..................... Map-C #50 SubZero Ice Cream/Yogurt............. Map-D #16 The Fudge Factory............................ Map-A #36 INTERNET / WiFi SERVICES Davidson Drugs...............................Map-D #65 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company........ Map-B #31 JEWELRY Created Gems.................................... Map-C #51 Mount -N- Repair Jewelers................ Map-D #9
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31,519 before the service was suspended March 3 in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The trolley did not resume its runs between Turtle Beach Park and Siesta Village until June 15. In March 2019, the Breeze served 62,699 passengers.
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
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
complainant who’s willing to give their name” and sign a Sheriff’s Office form documenting an incident, Smith said. A deputy can determine whether a specific noise exceeds the relevant level as noted in a chart in the county ordinance. However, an officer also has to give the person making the noise “a reasonable amount of time to come into compliance with the ordinance.” That period is 15 minutes, Smith said. “If they come into compliance, then we no longer have a violation,” he added. If the person refuses to comply, he said, the officer can write the person a citation.
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Warning signs regarding the presence of red tide were posted April 16 on Siesta Beach. (photo by John Morton)
JACUZZI ISLAND COTTAGES & BEACH VIEW HOUSE & PARKING*
The Florida Department of Health ordered on April 16 the posting of red-tide notices on Siesta Key beaches. Beach water samples a few days earlier revealed a medium-range presence of red tide, the state reported, while Sarasota’s health department reported some related cases of respiratory irritation. While the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did report a fish kill in the area, no signs of such were present on Siesta Key. In Sarasota County, notification signs were also posted on Siesta Beach; Turtle Beach; Longboat Key; Bird Key Park; Lido Key’s North, Casino and South beaches; Nokomis
Beach; and North Jetty Beach. For beach conditions, Mote Marine posts daily information at visitbeaches.org.
Chamber of Commerce golf outing is May 24 Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce members are invited to sign up of the group’s 21st annual golf tournament, held May 24 on TPC Prestancia’s Stadium Course. Sponsorship opportunies are also available. A continental breakfast is followed by golf at 9 a.m. An awards luncheon wraps up the outing. A putting contest is also part of the festivities. To register, visit my.siestakeychamber.com.
OPEN DAILY 8 AM - 2 PM
27th State Media LLC
Red tide warnings posted at Siesta and Turtle beaches
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MARKETS/FOOD STORES Circle K Store........................................Map-E #6 Morton’s Siesta Market................... Map-C #25 MASSAGE Hands of Light Massage...................Map-B #35 The Spa at Calle Minorga..................Map-E #74 MEDICAL - DENTAL Siesta Village Dentistry.................... Map-D #63 Siesta Dental........................................Map-B #49 Siesta Key Physical Therapy............ Map-D #20 MISCELLANEOUS Chamber of Commerce...................Map-D #67 Prime Audio Video..............................Map-E #1 Roberti Enterprises........................... Map-A #39 Village Arcade................................... Map-C #53 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Attorney Fleming.................................Map-E #1 Edward Jones Investments.............Map-D #68 Smith Architects................................... Map-E 74 REAL ESTATE / RENTAL SERVICES Amy Robinson RE................................Map-E #1 Beach Palms................................................... B-74 Coldwell Banker Realty.................... Map-D #20 EXP Realty............................................Map-E #4 Judith Guzzi & Assoc........................Map-E #74 Keller Williams Real Estate.............. Map-D #11 Michael Saunders Realty.................Map-E #72 ReMax Alliance Group................... Map-C #29 RentSiestaKey.com.............................. Map-D #9 Robasota Rentals & Real Estate....... Map-A #39 Siesta Key Rental Prop..................... Map-D #10 The Ringling Beach House Rentals......Map-D #9 Tropical Sands Accommodations....... Map-D #67
48 47 46
RESTAURANTS / CAFÉS Another Broken Egg................ Map-C #54 & 55 Blasé 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#37 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 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
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CRESCENT BEACH SHOP INDEX
Things You Like...................................... C-3 #14 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 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 Beach Grocery...........................B-3 #1
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 The Beach Deli @ Crescent Beach Grocery......B-3 #1 DRUG STORES Davidson Drugs..................................... C-3 #14 FASHION & ACCESSORIES Fin Island Co.............................................. A-3 #2 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters........................ A-3 #4 Coconuts Fashion......................................B-3 #1 Green Turtle Swimwear......................... C-3 #14 Key Casual Fashions............................... D-3 #17
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 Crescent Beach Grocery...........................B-3 #1 REAL ESTATE / RENTALS Beckmann Properties.............................. C-2 #15 Homes & Condo Rentals........................ D-3 #17 Re/Max Tropical Sands............................B-3 #1 Siesta 4-Rent............................................ C-3 #14 Waterside Realty.................................... C-3 #17 RESTAURANTS / CAFES
Capt. Curts Crab & Oyster Bar.................B-3 #7 City Pizza Italian Restaurant................. D-3 #17 Clayton’s Siesta Grille...............................B-3 #9 Daiquiri Deck.................................................A-3 #2 Spear Fish Grill..............................................A-4 #5 Toasted Mango Cafe....................................C-3 #17 Miguel’s Restaurant................................ C-3 #17 WATER SPORTS - FISHING - RENTALS A to Z Beach & Bike Rentals.................. A-5 #12 FIN Island Co. ........................................... A-3 #2 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters........................ A-3 #4 Parasail Siesta........................................... A-3 #2 Siesta Key Bike & Kayak ........................B-3 #8 Siesta Key Marina.................................... A-4 #5 Siesta Key Jetski ........................................ A-3 #2 Siesta Sports Rentals............................. C-3 #14 Waves Boat & Social Club...................... A-5 #12
Big Water Fish Market................................C-3 #17 Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill...............A-5 #12
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Crescent Beach Grocery 1211 Old Stickney Pt. Rd.
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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.
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Photos by Trebor Britt
“Distress on the Beach” -- Lifeguard and southwest Floridian Nate Bruneau prepares to launch his recuse watercraft to search for a lost 6-year-old boy. Thankfully, moments after this photo was taken the rescue was called off as the parents happily found their son.
“Sun and Fun” -- From left: Austin Giguere, Rose Davis, Shayna Scone of Sarasota, and Jon Evans of Venice enjoy a warm, sunny day on Siesta Beach. Giguere and Davis work in the service delivery industry, while Scone is a home health aide and Evans works with wastewater. Scone’s aunt survived COVID-19, but has not yet reacquired her sense of taste, Scone said.
“Tatt Friends” -- Tattooed friends (from left) Kelsea Eagles and Mary Young of upstate New York enjoy the beach. They became friends after meeting at a garage party. Eagles’ favorite tattoo is the lion on her arm. Young’s is the one on her leg that will cost about $200 to get colored in.
“Northern Skimmer” -- First-time visitor Maisie Chesebrough, 12, of Indianapolis throws down her skimboard on the shoreline of Siesta Beach. Several families from her Christian school recommended the beaches of Sarasota. The shallow water makes it perfect for young children and those who want to try their hand at skim-boarding. Maisie’s mom said, “We love the white sand and crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.” “No Horsing Around” -- Sarasota County Sheriff’s Deputy Karla Small (left) is on 16-year-old Saber and Deputy Steven Brown is on 7-year-old Navigator, patrolling busy Siesta Beach. They do so for eight to 12 weeks during spring break. Horses in good health can live up to about 40 years of age, they said.
“Seaworthy” -- Malaki Beiler, 5, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania literally digs Siesta Beach. Since his grandparents live in Pine Craft, this has become an annual visit. Malaki spends most of his time in the water and his favorite show is “Wild & Kratts.”
“Eva’s Hair Wraps” -- Sixth-grader Caroline, 11, of Connecticut enjoys her first professionally done hair wrap. Her mother has always wrapped it in the past. She’s very happy to be back in school and when asked about online learning she commented, “I didn’t like it.“ Her favorite movie is “H2O,” which is about mermaids.
“BFFs” -- High school seniors (from left) Skye Ekes and Avria Kuntz of Sarasota give Siesta Beach two thumbs up after being quarantined together for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Kuntz said, “It was a lot more fun than being quarantined at my house. I’m an only child so it’s no fun being stuck alone in my room all day.”
“A Float, Anyone?” -- Siesta Beach visitors find just about anything they need at the wellstocked concession area, a short walk from the shoreline. It has many varieties and strengths of critical sun protection, floaties, and a wide variety of delicious food and refreshing beverages.
“Celebrating” -- From left, friends Ashley Stubbs of Bonita Springs and Donna Taylor of Indiana enjoy an amazing beach day. Both agreed that if they had one wish it would be continuous happiness and joy every day. Donna and her husband come here annually to celebrate their anniversary, the 29th this year.
Saba Sands will take another shot at condo complex By Rachel Brown Hackney SarasotaNewsLeader.com The special magistrate who conducted a dispute resolution hearing in a case involving the property located at 636 Beach Rd. on Siesta Key has agreed that the Sarasota County Commission was not unreasonable in denying a petition for new construction on the site. However, Tampa attorney Kenneth Tinkler also agreed that the petitioner, Saba Sands LLC of Sarasota, could file a revised application with Sarasota County Environmental Permitting staff, seeking approval of a coastal setback variance for a four-unit condominium complex. “That is what the petitioner intends to do,” William Saba, principal of Saba Sands LLC, said in an email. “We anticipate prompt approval by the county of [the new petition], granting the needed variance for four units. After all, the property is zoned for eight or nine units and the new variance will not need to allow 1) construction further seaward than already exists, nor 2) more ground coverage than presently exists.” Stephen Rees, Saba’s attorney in the Florida Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution Act process, noted in a separate email: “The county testimony at the hearing was the petitioner could file a new application for such a variance at any time. The county also stated that such an application would be classified as a substantial change and would be considered on its merits without delay.” Saba Sands LLC submitted the revised plans to state and county environmental staff members prior to the Feb. 22 hearing. In August, the County Commission denied Saba Sands LLC’s petition for a six-unit structure, which the
These identified lots in the 600 block of Beach Road are being eyed as a four-unit condo complex by a local resident. (submitted image)
company wanted to build in place of a single-family residence on the parcel. That condominium complex would have had about 17,106 square feet of living space. The proposed new structure would have a total building footprint of 5,226 square feet under roof, while the total lot coverage would be approximately 12% less than that of the two-story-overparking, single-family residence on the site, according to materials submitted to the county. In a report to the commissioners about the special magistrate’s recommendation, County Attorney Frederick Elbrecht pointed out that Tinkler found the board’s denial of the original petition “was not unreasonable or unfairly burdened the property,” referencing language in the state’s Bert J. Harris Jr. Private Property Rights Protection Act. During the Aug. 26 public hearing on Saba Sands’ original petition for the Coastal Setback Variance, Commissioner Nancy Detert voiced her view that approving the petition would
set “a horrible precedent.” She stressed, “I’m not antiproperty owner,” but she added, “To me, you’ve got what you bought. … It does take a lot of nerve to ask for multiple units on this property.” Howard Berna, manager of the county’s Environmental Permitting Division, explained during the hearing that two parcels seaward of the proposed site of the new condominium complex would remain in their natural state, but Detert expressed concern that owners of other Beach Road houses with such parcels could seek the board’s approval for large new multi-family residences if the commissioners allowed Saba Sands to proceed with its plans. During their regular meeting on March 23, the Sarasota County commissioners unanimously accepted Tinkler’s recommendation in the case, as County Attorney Elbrecht had advised them, based on the stipulations of the state law. The magistrate’s findings In his formal report,
Tinkler explained that he first attempted to mediate the dispute. However, he continued, because “the parties did not come to an amicable resolution,” he was tasked with considering the facts and circumstances in an effort to determine whether the County Commission’s August 2020 decision was “unreasonable or unfairly burdens the Property.” Tinkler then pointed out that Section 54 of the County Code “prohibits construction or excavation activities seaward of the Gulf Beach Setback Line and waterward of the Barrier Island Pass TwentyYear Hazard Line except as otherwise permitted by the code.” The Gulf Beach Setback Line is the county’s figurative “line in the sand” to protect dunes and coastal vegetation, which, in turn, protect landward property from storm surge and other flooding events. During the hearing, Tinker noted, the parties disagreed about “whether a 2010 approval by the county of a multi-family structure at
610-612 Beach Road should serve as a precedent to allow [Saba Sands] to also build a similar structure. It is undisputed, however, that [Saba Sands] requested greater encroachments into both the Beach Road street setback and the rear yard setback” than the County Commission allowed for the construction on the other parcel. Therefore, he added, the commission’s denial of the variance in Saba Sands’ case did not appear to be unreasonable or unfair. However, Tinkler pointed out, the resolution of denial the board approved “could be read as somehow prohibiting any future proposal that included some level of intensification of use, even if the county’s criteria for variance approval were otherwise met.” Among the findings in that resolution are the following: • “The Gulf shore area seaward of the GBSL near the property is subject to rapid and severe fluctuations resulting from erosion and accretion in this coastal high hazard area.” • “It is contrary to the public health, safety, and welfare to permit the construction of structures seaward of the Sarasota County GBSL except to the minimum extent necessary to permit reasonable use of the petitioners’ property.” During the hearing, Tinkler asked whether Saba Sands could “put forward a revised application for a Coastal Setback Variance, in light of the evidence and testimony,” he wrote in his recommendation. “The county testimony at the hearing was the petitioner could file a new application for such a variance at any time [and] it would be considered on its own merits without delay. The petitioner did not challenge the county’s position.”
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New palms grace Village
Above, employees of Wilhelm Brothers lower a palm in place in the Village in front of Gilligan’s. Right, the final results. (photos provided by Lisa Cece)
A new streetscape has appeared on the southern end of Siesta Village. Lisa Cece, the special district coordinator for Sarasota County, explained that the black olive trees that had stood in front of Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill for many years had grown too large for their space; their root structure was lifting bricks in the walkway, and they were encroaching on the roof structure. Four black olives in front of the Daiquiri Deck also were lifting some bricks. Those trees were not thriving, either, so it appeared they would not survive. As a result, Cece said, they needed to be replaced as well. The Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., which represents the property owners in the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District, approved foxtail palms to be installed in both areas. The work was done in
late March. “The new palms will not create issues in the walkway in the future as they have a root ball and descend down rather than out with growth,” Cece said. “The palms are self-pruning and will not create clearance issues street-side.” As the trees in front of Gilligan’s grow, she added, they will extend up and over the roof. In her county position, Cece serves as the liaison to the Maintenance Corp. The property owners in the Public Improvement District are assessed an ad valorem tax each year to provide funds for the Village upkeep. The directors of the Maintenance Corp. consider any special issues that need to be addressed with those funds. Installation of the new trees was performed by Wilhelm Brothers Inc., which handles the Village landscaping under the terms of a county contract.
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Beach clean-up volunteers line up to deposit the recyclable trash they found into the new turtle sculpture at Siesta Beach. (photo by Jane Bartnett)
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By Jane Bartnett A large, original sea-turtle sculpture formed from aluminum now graces the main entrance to Siesta Beach. Unveiled during a morning ceremony on April 17, the work of art took a year and a half to design and create. The result of a joint partnership between Sarasota County and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the sculpture was created in the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Koski Center, a state-of-the-art scenic production facility. Asolo master designer Jeff Dean had the lead role. “We had a team of six designers, welders, carpenters, artists and metal workers,” he said. “It was a very difficult and challenging design.” The mission was to use art as a way to educate the public -- to “remind beachgoers of the need to protect our natural environment and to promote the benefits of reducing and recycling waste that endangers the life of marine animals once it makes its way into the waters of the Gulf,” Dean said. Added Jon Thaxton, senior vice president for Community Investment at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, “We wanted to engage the artistic community and the public in an interactive way.” Several small doors on the side of the sculpture open, allowing the artwork to double as a receptacle for displaying recyclables. During the event, volunteers from Keep Sarasota County Beautiful deposited into the sculpture the plastic bottles and other recyclable waste that they had found during a beach clean-up earlier in the morning. In the near future, the doors will be
sealed and the majestic sculpture will serve as a permanent work of art and a continuing reminder of the community’s commitment to environmental sustainability. “The Gulf of Mexico now has the highest concentration of plastics in the world. There is not another issue that impacts this community more than the health of our waterways,” Thaxton said. The impact plastic pollution is having on Gulf marine life is dramatic. Scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have reported that the 2019 death of a baleen whale, now believed to be a member of a newly discovered Gulf species called Rice’s whale with numbers less than 100, was due to a large piece of sharp plastic that the whale ingested. Plastic bottles, bags, cigarette buts and other bits of debris that are harmful to manatees, turtles, dolphins, as well as Gulf Coast birds and fish of all varieties concern marine scientists who place great urgency on increasing public awareness and the need to recycle. “Thankfully, the plastic and trash that we picked up today will not end up in these waters,” said Candi Messerschmidt, a member of the advisory board for Keep Sarasota County Beautiful. “Water quality is crucial to our way of life here in Sarasota County, for our region, and for our entire state,” said Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department. Added department employee Shawn Yeager, “When we visit our beautiful beaches, remember that famous quote and leave nothing behind but footprints.”
She’s got the look Melissa Grossenkemper is the new owner at Key Casuals By Jane Bartnett
Barber Scott Reich
Formerly of the Village Barber
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Key Casuals has a new look, a new owner and a new line of women’s clothing. “Our motto is, dress like you’re on vacation,” said Melissa Grossenkemper, the store’s new owner and buyer. “Vacation clothing designed to appeal to women age 25 to 45 who are visiting or living on or near Siesta Key is what makes this store such a special place.” The shop features lightly colored, cool and breezy pants, tops, dresses and beach wraps selling between $30 and $150. Straw hats range in price from $24 to $60. Fashionable straw bags, sunglasses, jewelry, and other accessories round out the selection. After buying the store on April 1 from longtime owner Carole Collier, who ran the boutique for 33 years and sold clothes for women, men and children, Grossenkemper said that bringing Key Casuals into this new chapter is “fulfilling a dream that I’ve had for years.” A native of Venice, Grossenkemper moved to Nashville in 1998 to attend Trevecca Nazarene University. After graduating with a degree in communications, she began a successful sales career in the music industry, working with major music production companies. It was in Nashville that she met her husband, Jamie, who manages his own busy career in the music business by working remotely and traveling to shows and concerts. In 2016, the couple relocated to Sarasota. “This is home,” she said. In the coming weeks, Grossenkemper is focused on building her store’s offerings of resort wear, gifts and accessories. Elan, a popular Miami women’s clothing line featuring pants, jumpers, rompers and dresses, is a customer favorite. “A lot of Disney Resort stores carry Elan,” she said. Key Casuals also features the fashion labels Sugar
Store owner Melissa Grossenkemper puts items on display at her Crescent Plaza women’s clothing store. (photo by Jane Bartnett)
Lips, Lush and Hashtag. In addition to updating the store’s offerings, Grossenkemper has also added online shopping to Key Casuals website. “So many of our customers are visitors to the Key,” she said. “Now they can shop with us from anywhere in the world.” A grand-opening Ladies Night champagne celebration is being planned for late May. “I want to re-introduce women and the Siesta Key market to the new Key Casuals,” she said. Located in Crescent Plaza at 6625 Midnight Pass Rd., store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (941) 349-6625 or visit sarasotakeycasuals.com.
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Online rentals continue to impact bed-tax collection In the 2020 fiscal year, online accommodations rental platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway continued to increase their share of business in Sarasota County, Chief Deputy Sarasota County Tax Collector Sherri Smith has reported to members of the county’s Tourist Development Council. Since May 2017, the county has been receiving a monthly check from Airbnb for the Tourist Development Tax — or “bed tax” — revenue that Airbnb hosts collect in the county, she said. By the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the Airbnb total was $310,755.25. The figure climbed to $1,105,374.61 in the 2018 fiscal year; $1,664,256.33 in the 2019 fiscal year; and $1,792,348.50 in the 2020 fiscal year. Each fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. The 5% Tourist Development Tax is charged on rentals of accommodations for six months or less time. Through Dec. 31, Airbnb’s TDT collections added up to $960,971.71.
Thus, from May 2017 through December 2020, Smith said, the county “almost effortlessly” has brought in more than $5.83 million in revenue from Airbnb. Thanks to the Sarasota County Commission’s support and the assistance of the Office of the County Attorney, she continued, HomeAway and TripAdvisor, “and all their subsidiaries,” began remitting TDT collections to the Tax Collector’s Office in April 2019. Since then, she added, the county has received more than $1.97 million from those other companies. “That’s amazing,” she said. A graphic in the Tax Collector’s Office’s published report on the 2020 fiscal year notes that revenue from the online platforms has increased 59.12% over the past two years. The only other type of accommodation with an increase during the same period was “campsites,” which saw a 1.62% uptick.
SARASOTA COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX Collections by location, fiscal year 2018 through 2020 FY18 Longboat Key North Port Sarasota (city) Sarasota (unincorp) Siesta Key Venice Consolidated Online platforms
$1,971,900.89 8.66% $64,827.16 0.28% $6,766,301.95 29.73% $4,017,261.65 17.65% $7,074,505.04 31.08% $1,343,148.49 5.9% $416,623.27 1.83% $1,105,374.61 4.86% $22,759,944.06
FY19 $1,672.174.3 7.16% $61,587.52 0.26% $7,149,241.38 $30.62% $3,882,032.10 16.63% $6,937,303.25 29.71% $1,308,827.47 5.61% $385,148.47 1.65% $1,952,773,.82 8.36% $23,349,088.39
$1,469.430.39 7% $53,885.88 0.26% $5,828,140.01 27.75% $3,348,911.47 15.94% $5,818,456.02 27.70% $1,199,039.22 5.71% $180,389.10 0.86% $3,107,282.55 14.79%
$5,113,505.66 7.62% $180.300.56 0.27% $19,743,683.34 29.42% $11,248,205.32 16.76% $19.830,265.31 29.55% $3,851,015.18 5.74% $982,160.84 1.46% $6,165,430.98 9.19%
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Arts on the Horizon By Rodger Skidmore Reel to real
he first moving pictures were actually taken with still cameras -- a series of them were lined up along a race track. When the horses charged by, the lead horse broke threads attached to the camera’s shutters. The resulting photographs were then printed on individual cards and, when rapidly viewed one after another (flipped), the motion picture industry was born. The cards were housed in a metal box and the viewers turned hand cranks to move the pictures forward as they viewed the five- to 10-second “movies.” The limiting factors were the number of cameras needed, and having to break threads to get the cameras to capture the motion. Soon, continuous film which passed by one shutter was developed, with the hand crank being turned by the cinematographer. The rest was “technology.” Hand cranks gave way to electric wires, then to batteries. Audio was synced to the pictures and then rich colors were added. Giant movie cameras gave way to shouldermounted ones, and then to VHS and smaller cassettes which could be controlled with an individual’s own two hands. And now, today, everybody’s camera-of-choice is the cell phone. The style of viewing has also changed. From one viewer, cranking the motion of the cards by hand, to hundreds of
In the Village 941-349-9822
viewers at a time sitting in local theaters across the country, and back down to a few, sitting on their couches huddled together in theaters of their own making. And finally, ironically, the one-minute cellphone recordings and slightly longer hand-held videos, whose action is tripped by police, and other authoritarian personnel, breaking the threads of decency, one after another, with the results shown to millions around the world. It is these videos of deeds and actions which are on display at an exhibition titled For Real This Time at the Ringling Museum of Art’s Monda Gallery, through May 16. It opens up a space for deeper reflection on the common experience of resilience across cultures in order to create a shift in our psyches that inspires tangible and effective change. At least that is the hope. This month’s selection is “Bear Witness: Woodcarver.” Find more information at Ringling.org.
In search of lost time
Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust is the story of a young boy’s journey through life. What has your journey been like, and do you remember, or long to remember, some of those wonderful things from your past? If you are from a certain time, or from a certain place, you might be seeking out a dive bar that you frequented, the smell of flowers on an unnamed hillside, the sound of waves splashing on a hidden beach -- or, then again, perhaps it was the great
ethereal and other-worldly and played in funky places in Greenwich Village where the air was smoky and, afterwards, memories were just as hazy. The tribute group Classic Albums Live will perform in this kind of setting at the Van Wezel, sending out its rendition of Pink Floyd’s great album Dark Side of the Moon. (If you’d like to hear them do their note-for-note version of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely A Beatles tribute is among the highlights at Hearts Club Band album, you can the Van Wezel in May. (submitted image) catch them in Clearwater on experience of hearing a certain June 17.) band play music that brought so If interested in other hits from many things all together for you yesterday (and the years before), back in the day. then you might want to sit on The dive bar has been closed the lawn (or on a blanket of down for health violations, the your own bringing) outside the hillside is now part of a housing Van Wezel on May 8, alongside development, and the hidden the bay, and listen to those beach has just a bit too much red good old tunes as performed tide to make it worth the trip. by Yesterdayze, including, But, oh those bands. The original or course, Beatles songs. band members are long retired, Reservations for spaces on the or are altogether gone, but lawn are required. tributes to them live on and on. For more info on these and How many Beatles concerts other shows, go to vanwezel.org. did you attend in person? None? Or one or two? ... in your Mondays vs. every day dreams? Well, now you have a On Monday mornings chance, at the Van Wezel on May Garfield, the comic-strip cat, 9, to attend a series of concerts does not like to get out of bed. from various phases of their When he does, he must have career, all in one evening. RAIN coffee. And, even then, he looks is coming to town with their like he’s having a bad hair day. tribute to the Beatles, all of their How are you on Mondays? costumes, and with lots of their And, if it’s that bad, what can songs. They’ll be sure to sing you do about it? Remember, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” you are in Sarasota, Land of the “Please Please Me,” “If I Fell,” Magnificent Sunsets. and many, many more while And now, since we are living wearing clothes from their in Daylight-Saving-Time-Land, various album covers. we have time to grab a bottle of Pink Floyd was a band of wine, load the beach chairs into another color -- they were more the car, head to the beach, and
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watch the clouds turn 43 shades of pink. Wonderful. And, wonder of wonders, for the rest of May, we can head for the Ca’ d’Zan terrace for Acoustic Sunsets live on Monday evenings. Starting at 6 p.m. a different musician will play for you as you soak in the rays of the setting sun. Drinks and bites are available. OK, that takes care of Monday evenings, but what about every day, during the day? Everyone’s heard of Rembrandt, Picasso, Michelangelo, and Van Gogh. You can see their works any time, in any museum. But what about those artists that you don’t know because you’ve never heard of them? Perhaps one such painter is Sam Gilliam. Is he any good? Well, Christies sold one of the paintings from his Ray series for a bit more than $2 million a couple of years ago. Of course, Mr. Gilliam didn’t get that money. He originally sold it for about $2,000 (less 40 to 50% gallery commission) back in the 1970s. Another way to know that Sam Gilliam is an OK painter is the fact that he is having a solo exhibition through August 15 in the Searing Galleries at the Ringling Museum of Art, plus a career retrospective at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum next year. He is an abstractly abstract painter in that he does not frame his works, but drapes them abstractly, so that at each showing they appear differently. Yes, for more information visit Ringling.org.
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THE COTTAGE In the Village 941-312-9300 THE HUB-BAJA GRILL In the Village 941-349-6800 SNIKI TIKI @ CAPT CURTS Crescent Beach Shops 941-349-3885 Spearfish Siesta Grille Southern end of SK 941-349-1971 Turtle Beach Grill Southern end of SK 941-349-2280
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Rescues a challenge here, but chief believes in system Chief Regnier says Siesta Beach lifeguards are a valuable emergency asset By Rachel Brown Hackney SarasotaNewsLeader.com As traffic congestion has worsened on Siesta Key in recent years, residents have voiced elevated worries about whether the Sarasota County Fire Department is able to get its vehicles to emergencies in a timely fashion. Photos provided by residents since the tourist season began this year have shown both fire trucks and rescue vehicles that appear to be caught up in traffic jams. Moreover, during Siesta Key Association meetings, directors of the nonprofit and members continue to raise an alarm about the traffic’s impact on emergency operations. During the past couple of years, individuals have talked of people allegedly having suffered heart attacks on Siesta Beach with paramedics unable to reach the patients until it was too late. Yet, Fire Chief Michael Regnier enumerated the variety of measures the department utilizes to make certain that firefighters and paramedics can reach scenes quickly. “We look at this from a very data-driven way,” he said, “to make sure we have resources throughout all of Sarasota. … My goal is to get to the patient as quickly as possible.” In regard to the beach, Regnier explained that the lifeguards “are our initial response.” If someone suffers a medical emergency, he said, the lifeguards, who are trained as first responders, will get an alert from 911 Dispatch. “They report directly to dispatch,” he said, and, if fire units also are responding to the situation, the lifeguards
can convey necessary details to the firefighters/paramedics. For example, a lifeguard can provide the units precise details about where to find the person in distress. Because each lifeguard stand on Siesta Beach has its own color, “That helps tremendously,” he said. “When I hear things like units can’t get to an emergency on time, I don’t necessarily agree because we have the lifeguards … and resources that are available pretty quickly.” The lifeguards are on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sara Nealeigh, the county’s Emergency Services public information officer, noted. They are in their stands between 10 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Moreover, Regnier said, Fire Station 13 is very close to the beach park, and the crew can send an alternate vehicle with medical supplies to provide aid until a rescue unit and/or fire truck can reach the scene. Years ago, he explained, the fire department upgraded all of its fire engines to what is called “advanced life support status.” That means at least one trained, certified paramedic is a member of each crew. Therefore, even if the closest rescue unit is tied up on another call, Regnier said, the crew on the fire engine can administer medication and even use a defibrillator on a patient. Additionally, he continued, in a situation in which someone is having a heart attack, a rescue crew can handle all sorts of interventions in the back of an ambulance — including providing oxygen — while en route to the hospital.
“We speak directly to the [emergency room] doctors and are guided by those doctors,” Regnier added. In the spring of 2019, the fire department launched a pilot program with a rapid response vehicle to assist on calls, Nealeigh of Emergency Services noted. Rapid response was used in conjunction with COVID-19 transports starting in March 2020. Then, in May of the same year, a permanent Medic 1 unit began service. The rapid response approach has proven its worth, Regnier said, noting that each crew can do everything paramedics with an ambulance can do, except put someone on a cot. In fact, he pointed out, an ambulance is not needed in some cases, anyway, so a rapid response crew often can handle all facets of an emergency. Fast transit in spite of congestion More anxiety has arisen on Siesta Key over the past year as four different project teams have proposed new hotels — with a couple of the initiatives calling for 170 rooms. Residents fear that if those projects win Sarasota County Commission approval, the roads on the island will become even more clogged. “I don’t get into politics at all,” Regnier said. As he has during public presentations on Siesta, Regnier explained that when fire department personnel are responding to emergencies, they utilize a system called Opticom; it allows them to make certain the traffic signals are green. “We can take control of
Left, an EMS vehicle and fire truck are at a standstill on Ocean Boulevard, near Calle Miramar. Below, an EMS vehicle struggles to turn onto Stickney Point Road. (submitted images)
[an] intersection” as a unit approaches with its lights and siren operating, he told members of the Siesta Key Condominium Council in February 2020. “The system works very well.” Moreover, firefighters/ paramedics are able to immediately alert the Stickney Point Road and Siesta Drive drawbridge tenders to let them know when a unit is responding to an emergency, so the tenders will not raise the bridges during those times. Regnier further noted that if the units from Fire Station 13 are on a call, and another emergency happens, the fire department easily can dispatch units from a different location in the area. For example, he recalled an incident that occurred more than a year ago, when a unit from the Waldemere
Street fire station — near Sarasota Memorial Hospital — responded to an emergency via the Siesta Drive bridge. “There was no issue there,” he stressed, in terms of getting to the scene in a timely fashion. Additionally, the fire department moves units around as needed, he said. His staff also works with neighboring counties’ Emergency Services leaders, as well as the North Port Fire Department and Venice Fire Rescue, he said, to make certain that every area of the county has the support it needs. Traffic congestion is a fact of life in Sarasota County during the height of tourist season, Regnier noted, saying vehicles get tied up on Jacaranda Boulevard and Bee Ridge Road, as well as on the approaches to Siesta.
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What’s new ... beyond the bridges
ave you heard about The Point? It’s a wonderful waterfront restaurant and lounge on Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey that opened its doors in October. If you’re coming from Siesta Key, head south on Tamiami Trail and at Bayview Drive drive a short distance toward the water and be prepared for a pleasant surprise. Fans of Evie’s Spanish Point Tiki Bar, the open-air waterfront eatery that was a well-kept secret among locals, will know this location. The Point sits only steps away from Evie’s, which is still a fun place to gather in an ultra casual setting to enjoy live music, basic fare, and large tables for group gatherings. But, if you’re in the mood for a slightly more upscale lunch, dinner or cocktail time, The Point awaits. Designed with a welcoming coastal vibe, the three-story pale-blue restaurant that faces
the water and is trimmed in white with a tin roof. It could easily be mistaken for a large luxurious home. On the first floor, a wide open seating area complete with outdoor couches, chairs and a fire pit faces the water and grassy lawn that slopes down to the dock. It’s a great place to meet friends for a drink and watch the sunset. Upstairs on the second floor, accessible by elevator or stairs, panoramic windows offer diners beautiful elevated views of the bay. They surround a large dining room and bar area that is filled with light-colored tables and chairs. There’s plenty of outdoor dining that also features water views. On the third floor you’ll find one of the best places around to catch a beautiful sunset and enjoy a relaxing drink and some live entertainment. Open for lunch, dinner and
By Jane Bartnett cocktails, The Point also offers a kids menu for both lunch and dinner, making it a great family place. There’s mac-n-cheese, hamburgers, pizza and more. Adult diners will enjoy the mix of Florida and New England dishes that include Bangin’ Shrimp, The Point’s North Atlantic lobster roll, a surf and turf tower, filet mignon, southern style shrimp and grits, and grilled grouper. The varied menu has something for every taste. The Point also offers its guests a delicious selection of original cocktails as well as a full wine menu. Beer lovers will discover an interesting collection of local and Florida draft beers, plus time-honored favorites. Most people tend to drive to The Point, but if you’re a sailor just pull up to the dock and stay awhile before heading out again. The Point is located at 131 Bayview Drive and is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Its kitchen closes nightly at 9 p.m. The daily happy hour runs from 11 a.m.
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The Point offers a waterfront setting like few others. (photos by Jane Bartnett)
to 5 p.m. Reservations can only be made online through its Facebook page. Call (941) 7863890 or go to eviesonline.com. Another tasty new find on the dining scene is Island House Taqueria at 2773 Bee Ridge Rd. Previously occupied by Tacosto-Go, this new spot is brought to you by the folks who own Island House Tap & Grill on Siesta Key. This is the place to find great tacos and really good authentic Mexican food. For its grand opening, stop in on May 5 and join in the celebration of the Cinco de Mayo Mexican holiday, honoring Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla over the French in 1862. Visit Island House Taqueria on Facebook. On a hot day or balmy evening, nothing beats a delicious ice cream cone eaten on a deck overlooking the water. Sound good? Well, Lickity Splits Ice Cream, the new little spot open at 1502 Stickney Point Rd. on the mainland side of the South Bridge, is for you. Its creamy and delicious hyperlocal Florida ice cream, created in Lakewood Ranch, is made with a small-batch process that sets it apart. Drop in and choose one, two or even three of the 85 flavors. Check out its Facebook page and see pictures of the delectable ice cream cones in a rainbow of colors. Lickity Splits is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. Rounding out our new list of dining discoveries is 5-0 Donuts’ new location at the Shops at Siesta Row, 3800 S. Tamiami Trail. It’s the third store in Sarasota and the largest -- the two other locations are 7119 South Tamiami Tr. and 2241 Ringling Blvd. Magically delicious and beautifully crafted donuts are
made here each day for those lucky enough to snatch them up before they’re all sold out. Proof that the early bird gets the donut, the store’s hours are limited to 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Finally, before heading out to these special places, make sure that you look and feel your best. Don’t you deserve some pampering? Plan a visit to the recently opened Noire Nail Bar in the Landings Shopping Center at 4850 South Tamiami Tr. and treat yourself to a relaxing and refreshing spa-like experience. Enjoy specialized manicures and pedicures, plus beauty treatments ranging from eyelash extensions to facials and waxing. Special services for children under the age of 10 are also offered. Book your appointment online at noirethenailbarsarasota.com/ book or call (941) 706-0860. It is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Kayla Cary serves up a sprinkly treat with a cherry on top at Lickity Splits, a new ice cream parlor near the South Bridge. (photo by John Morton)
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DISCOVER GULF GATE’S SHOPPING VILLAGE Mushroom stone-baked pizza, munchies, calzone, salad, hoagie, or even a burger. Pick from our selection of 24 draft beers or tasty, handcrafted cocktails. And, many of our pizzas can be made glutenfree or vegan. Located at 6727 S. Tamiami Trail. 941-388-7504. Off the Hook Operated and run by Chef Wes Duval, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and master at serving guests the freshest fish possible with a focus on local delicacy delights, eclectic presentations, and legendary desserts. You will
enjoy great service and a variety of original dishes he has mastered over his years specializing in seafood. His fusion of fresh fish paired with unique and flavorful creations is divine. All ingredients are hand-picked and complimented by a refined wine selection from vineyards around the world as well as his choice in quality spirits and local craft beers. Off the Hook has become a signature culinary destination, from first sip to last bite. A perfect date-night-spot or gathering place with your foodie friends.
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GULF GATE Hooters
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 successfully listed and sold many, many properties throughout E 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 D drop by our office. Only Eyes, Optical (S-24) brings a new, exotic, eclectic, eccentric, unique collection of vintage, hipster, contemporary C 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 B with the purchase of new lenses. Call 941-444-7984 to set up an appointment with their licensed optician. Mellow Mushroom serves a one-of-a-kind pizza pie. A The flavors and ingredients are just as unique and special as the restaurant’s design. Try a Mellow
With our map, located below, 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 mouth-watering 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 (G11): has been an institution in the community for years, owned by Kyle Flannery. The super-clean barbershop’s clientele is comprised of primarily men, but the shop services children as well. Scott Reich, formerly of the Siesta Key Village Barber Shop has relocated to this location. West End Pub (G-49) Where else can you watch your favorite game with a great selection of beers, wines and liquors served by a friendly staff AND where you’re allowed to bring your own restaurant or deli food? Right here. 6500 Gateway Ave. – 941-554-8905. Tony’s Chicago Beef Company (S-16) is owned and operated by true Chicagoans. Dedicated to deliver Chicago’s best food Chicago style Hot Dogs wit’ the works...dragged through the garden on poppy seed buns with fresh cut fries, Italian Beef Sandwiches anyway you like, dipped or dry, sweet or hot. All served in true Authentic Chicago Style. Solórzano’s Late Night Pizzeria (S-32): At every Solórzano’s, they offer an experience familiar to those
Serving all of Sarasota & Siesta Key... FEATURED LISTINGS We're Growing, AGENTS WELCOME! (941) 957-0833 LOCATION The Landings Plaza 4924 S Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34231
20670 GRANLAGO DRIVE VENICE, FL 34293
3247 BETTY DR SARASOTA, FL 34232
5012 COURSE DRIVE SARASOTA, FL 34232
TEXT ON DEMAND CODES TO (855) 981-7253, FOR MORE INFO
Florida Fish of Siesta Key
Florida Puffer Yellowtail Florida Puffer Sailfish Sailfish Spanish Mackerel Dohlpin “Mahi-Mahi”
Mangrove Snapper Scoolmaster Lane Snapper Scamp Black Mullet Snook Red Drum “Redfish”
Florida Pompano Jack Crevalle
Spotted Sea Trout
King King Mackerel Mackerel
arpon fishing will take off during May as migratory fish arrive along our beaches. Also look for Spanish mackerel, tripletail, cobia and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. Snook will move into passes and the surf and reds and trout should feed heavily on shallow flats as baitfish become more plentiful. Trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and more should be good options on deep grass flats. Resident tarpon are usually the first to show up as they make their way out of rivers and creeks. As migratory tarpon begin to arrive this month, we should have schools of tarpon moving both north and south along our beaches. Early arriving tarpon may be more aggressive due to less fishing pressure early in the season. Set up in their line of travel and wait for tarpon schools to move past and cast a DOA Baitbuster, a 4-inch CAL Shad, a live crab or pinfish to them. Once you’ve seen the first school of fish, you can concentrate your efforts in that “lane” since other schools should be following the same route. When they aren’t showing well on the surface, a live bait under a float in their travel lane may score. I’ve also done well blind casting a DOA Baitbuster or Swimming Mullet when there wasn’t much showing on the surface. Be quiet and using your electric trolling motor sparingly. Even though your four-stroke outboard sounds quiet, it is no substitute for an electric trolling motor. Give other anglers at least several hundred yards of space and keep in mind that fish can be moving either north or south so setting up too close to another angler may affect their flow of fish. Fly anglers should do well with a variety of baitfish or crab fly patterns fished on floating or intermediate sink tip fly lines. Staking out or anchoring in shallow water on their travel route should result in some shots at fish. The best angle is a “head on” shot, followed by a quartering shot. A perpendicular shot may work if it’s timed perfectly, although casting too far beyond their line of travel will usually spook them. I use a push pole with an occasional assist from a trolling motor if I need to adjust my position to make a cast. Snook, reds and spotted seatrout remain closed to harvest on the west coast of Florida. The Florida FWC has extended a temporary modification of regulations for reds, snook and trout, in the areas affected by the recent red tide. The area extends from Pasco County, south to the south bank of Gordon Pass in Collier County. Reds, snook and trout are catch-and-release only in that zone until May 31. Full details including exact boundaries can be found at https://myfwc.com/news/all-news/extendedcnr-220/. This is current as this is being written;
The Capt. Rick Report Ohio’s Dennis Ondercin caught and released this tarpon while fishing the coastal gulf with Capt. Rick Grassett. (submitted photos)
however, the temporary modification may be extended. Check www.myfwc.com for the latest regulations. Snook will be spawning this month so use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them in a timely manner and handle them gently. Larger snook will mostly be females and should always be supported horizontally rather than hung vertically by the jaw. You’ll find them in passes and in the surf. They will also stage around docks and bridges close to passes. Casting CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms or DOA shrimp around docks and bridges close to passes should be effective. Small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, work well at night. One of the most fun ways to target snook is to walk the beach and cast CAL jigs, DOA Shrimp or flies to them in the surf. Higher tides this month will mean that reds will spend more time feeding on shallow flats. Look for them along mangrove shorelines and around oyster bars when the tide is high and in potholes or along sandbars when the tide is low. When fishing shallow water for reds, be as quiet as possible. I prefer to use a push pole or wade. Reds are one of the most challenging species to catch on a fly. Since they can be very
Right: Cooper caught a snook while using live shrimp under a popping cork. Below: Jackson, visiting from Georgia, was thrilled when he landed a snook near the South Jetty with some help from the boat captain. Both boys were on the water casting their lines with CB’s Outfitters. (submitted photos)
Little guys, big fish!
spooky, I often wade for them when fly fishing to keep a lower profile. You’ll also find big trout in many of the same shallow areas that you find reds. They will be plentiful on deep grass flats. I prefer to cast CAL jigs and flies on sink tip fly lines for trout. A DOA Deadly Combo also works very well. Drifting and casting ahead of the drift is usually the most productive method. Look for flats that have a good mix of grass and sand and good tidal flow. You may find pompano, bluefish and Spanish mackerel on the same deep grass flats where trout are plentiful. They can be targeted in the same way as trout, but you may need to use wire or heavy fluorocarbon leader when toothy fish are around. You may also find Spanish and king mackerel, little tunny, cobia and tripletail in the coastal gulf. Keep your eyes open for surface activity such as diving birds, breaking fish or baitfish being forced out of the water which could indicate the presence of mackerel, blues or little tunny. Medium spinning tackle and 8- or 9-weight fly tackle should be heavy enough, although your tarpon spinning and fly tackle is not too heavy for cobia. Look for cobia either swimming on the surface or around navigational markers or buoys. I have also found cobia swimming with schools of tarpon before. Tripletail may be found around crab trap floats or buoys, where they can be targeted with a DOA shrimp or CAL jig on spinning tackle. When fly fishing for tripletail, a floating line on an 8- or 9-weight fly rod with a shrimp or baitfish fly pattern, like my Grassett Flats Minnow, should get the job done. This is one of my favorite months of the year. If battling a big tarpon isn’t for you, you should have plenty to do on both shallow and deep grass flats or in the coastal gulf. I’ll be spending my time targeting tarpon in the coastal gulf unless conditions won’t allow it. There is something about casting a fly to a giant fish in shallow water. Our natural resources are under constant pressure from red tides fueled by residential, agricultural and industrial runoff, toxic spills, freezes, increasing fishing pressure and habitat loss and degradation. Please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit. Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett FFI Certified Fly Casting Instructor Orvis-Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters Orvis Outfitter of the Year, 2011 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. www.snookfin-addict.com and www. flyfishingflorida.us Email email@example.com (941) 923-7799 (office/land line)
Capt. Jim Klopfer’s Fishing Forecast May 2021 Adventure Charters
Speckled trout fishing has been strong in 2021, as Anne can attest. (submitted photo)
ay is a transition month in Sarasota. Although the calendar says it is still spring, by late May it will definitely feel like summertime. Pelagic species such as king and Spanish mackerel will have migrated north, inshore fishing will be best early and late, and giant tarpon will invade the inshore Gulf of Mexico -- a sure sign that summer is here! Speckled trout fishing should Klopfer be good in May, especially with the catch-and-release regulations. The flats near Big Pass should also be productive. Casting Bass Assassin 4-inch Sea Shad baits on ¼-ounce jig heads in front of a drifting boat will produce speckled trout and some ladyfish. A live shrimp under a noisy cork is a deadly technique for catching trout. Pinfish, grunts, and pilchards will produce less fish, but generally larger ones. The shallow flats will be very active as they flood with bait. A low, incoming tide is the best time to search for reds and snook in the skinny water. Fish will stage in holes and deeper water, then move up onto the shallow flats as the tide floods. Scented soft plastics, weedless gold spoons, topwater plugs, and live bait are all effective. Lures work best when looking for fish, as water can be covered quickly. Live bait is best once the fish are located.
Some of the largest trout will also be found in shallow water. Snook will be moving out to the beaches and will be scattered out all over. Mangrove points and bars near the passes should hold snook, as will structure in both Big Pass and New Pass. Outgoing tides are preferred, but as long as the water is moving, fish can be caught. Plugs are great baits that cover a lot of water quickly and are great fun to fish. Jigs and other soft plastics work well, too. Anglers who are proficient with a cast net will load up the well with pilchards and catch a lot of fish. Surf fishing should be excellent and by the end of May there will be decent numbers of snook in the surf line. Small white jigs and flies work well on snook, as does live bait fish. Silver spoons cast out and retrieved in quickly will fool mackerel and ladyfish. Live shrimp will fool a variety of species. By the middle of the month, many guides and recreational anglers will be focusing on one of the most exciting angling challenges found anywhere: light tackle casting to giant tarpon! This is truly world-class biggame fishing. Tarpon that migrate up our coasts are large fish that average 80 pounds, but reach more than 200 pounds. The 25- to 30-pound spinning tackle and 12-weight fly rods are used most often. A live crab is the preferred bait, but live pinfish and other bait fish work well, too. These baits are fairly light and spinning tackle works best to cast and present baits.
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Notes from the Island Fishmonger Clean water = clean fish
uring the last 10 years, the controversy over farm-raised vs. wild fish has been a highly debated subject. By no means is this article intended to be a political statement, but more of an eye opener to those of us who enjoying eating fish and how we can contribute to the environment’s health. If we wish to continue eating clean, healthy and sustainable fish for years to come we must start by protecting the environment and our oceans at the same time. As a fish monger, who has paid much attention and researched the situation, this article will contain a lot of facts and also my opinion on this topic. If given the opportunity, I could probably write a book on this concerning matter. I feel there are pros and cons to both sides of the story, so let’s explore. On one side, I think we all would agree that farm-raised fish in a box that is pumped with chemicals and color enhancement is an inhumane and unhealthy way of doing things. But on the other hand, there are ways of doing farm-raised correctly that will provide us with the Omega fatty acids and health benefits that our bodies need. Farm raising has come a long way in recent years. An example of a good farmraised product can be found in the specialty fish markets that will have other options such as Irish, Canadian or Faroe Island Salmon. Irish Salmon is one you will find at Big Water Fish Market. It is raised in the cold, pristine waters of Ireland with a heavy current flow. The nets are not cleaned with chemicals and the fish are raised without hormones or antibiotics with plenty of water to swim and are never injected with color or dyes. The bad farmed-raised fish is North Atlantic Salmon and that is how it should be labeled. That is what you get when you buy from larger chain grocery stores instead of specialty fish markets. Recently I watched a Netflix documentary that really hit home. It was an eye-opener for sure. The documentary called Seaspiracy is about our oceans and how we are destroying them. It covers the effects of plastic pollution; our
Candi Messerschmidt, an advisory board member with Keep Sarasota County Beautiful, volunteers her efforts during the April 17 Great American Cleanup on Siesta Beach. Additional clean-ups will take place July 5 and Sept. 18. (photo by Jane Bartnett)
ecosystem; the brutal slaughters of dolphins, whales and sharks in the Pacific Ocean; overfishing; trolling; and the subject of farm-raised seafood. I encourage people to watch this show -- not because I want to discourage us from eating fish, but because I think we should all be aware of what’s going on in our oceans. Especially the pollution and unnecessary killing of beautiful mammals. We want to be able to continue eating fresh fish from the right sources. I must warn you: it’s a hard watch. On a more positive side, we don’t see much of any of that on the Gulf Coast. Our beaches are cleaned daily by the county and, thankfully, early-morning walkers are also doing their part. You don’t want to be the person posting pics on Facebook of handling live starfish, mistreating manatees or turtles on Siesta Key.
Those are fighting words for us locals. Best I can tell, there is no recreational overfishing here as charter captains seem to enforce catch limits. The local fish we eat is wild-caught and inspected by both the Department of Agriculture and the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), which patrols our waters to ensure limits are respected, prevent overfishing, and enforce boater-safety laws. The biggest danger to our marine wildlife, such as dolphins and manatees, are our boat motors. Most of our local boaters are aware and alert and our hope is when tourists visit, they keep these things in mind and are respectful to our waterways and wildlife. A trout farm in Italy was a great experience for me, with the trout pond located behind the restaurant. The trout was raised properly and was caught to order. Talk about a fresh, sustainable trout dinner that was excellent. Next time I will avoid the pickled trout appetizer. Here is something else I bet you’re not aware of: All shellfish, such as oysters, mussels and clams, are farm-raised in ocean beds. If you think about it, the meat and vegetables we eat come farm to table in one way or another. At Big Water Fish Market, we like to think we are doing our part. We start by only buying our fish from reputable brokers and captains -- we do not sell overfished species, we specialize in local wild-caught fish, and only sell properly farm-raised seafoods. We also recycle and even replaced our plastic straws with macaroni straws. My hope is that people will start bringing their own shopping bags, like they do in Italy, so we can get rid of the plastic to-go bags once and for all. In closing, we all need to do our part. Recycle your plastics, respect our oceans, and continue to keep Florida beautiful and clean. Live well ... eat fish. -- Scott Dolan Big Water Fish Market BigWaterFishMarket.com 6641 Midnight Pass Road Siesta Key
MAY 2021 TIDE CHART Florida, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Sarasota Bay
N 27° 20' / W 82° 33' Date
Carissa landed this snook on a live pilchard. (submitted photo)
12:45a -0.4 1:56a -0.3
©2021 FreeTideTables.com - For comparison only - Times are local - Tides in feet from MLLW
ACCOMMODATIONS PAGE 47 HOMES FOR SALE PAGE 45 SIESTA KEY MARKET STATS PAGE 39
The Highs and Lows of Properties Sold on Siesta Key
Provided by Key Solutions Real Estate / www.keysolutionsrealestate.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 6675 PEACOCK RD. $4.45 MILLION This custom-built waterfront refuge with elevator boasts over 8,600 square feet of thoughtfully designed living space and 113 feet of bayfront, situated on .62 acres of beautifully manicured landscaping. The four-bedroom (plus office) home is elegant and functional, leaving no space without purpose. A two-story formal living room featuring floor-to-ceiling
LOWEST-PRICED SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE 4413 OCEAN BLVD. $585,000 A charming, three-bedroom, twobath home located on a private lake within walking distance of Siesta Key Village. An inviting, spacious, fenced
backyard is adorned with an idyllic, spring-fed lake, home to numerous bird species. A welcoming living room features one of the two wood-burning fireplaces that this home has to offer. The massive kitchen provides the space for the gourmet kitchen of your dreams.
complex with lush landscaping that includes palm trees, large oak trees and tropical flowers. The new brick paver driveways and roads add to the beautiful curb appeal. Residents and guests can enjoy the resort-style pool that is heated year around, or meet with friends in the newly decorated clubhouse
walk-in shower. Two additional bedroom suites in the second-floor guest wing share a second morning bar to give all family and guests privacy. Outdoors, the resort-style pool terrace, covered paver patio with full summer kitchen and dock with 20k-pound boat lift, answer your needs for relaxation and adventure. Courtesy of Michael Saunders & Company
The location of the spacious master bedroom and bath suite offers privacy from the rest of the house. This property provides a fourth and fifth bedroom opportunity by converting the den and family room. Courtesy of Keller Williams
HIGHEST-PRICED CONDO 6326 MIDNIGHT PASS RD., #509 $2.5 MILLION Enjoy endless views of the Gulf of Mexico with its majestic sunsets and yearround tropical breezes from this expansive double penthouse condominium residence. Meticulously maintained and updated, this unit has been customized with appointments and numerous upgrades LOWEST-PRICED CONDO 5625 MIDNIGHT PASS RD., #608 $275,000 This freshly painted, updated and newly decorated turnkey furnished condo right across the street from Siesta Key Beach is a must see. Located in White Sands Village, a well-maintained condominium
windows, gas fireplace with on/off switch, grand chandelier and travertine flooring entreats the eye upward and out toward captivating bay views. The gourmet kitchen features a breakfast nook, Thermador and Sub-Zero appliances, six-burner gas stove with pot filler, granite surfaces, and abundant wood cabinetry. The master wing features a morning bar, outstanding custom closet with his-and-her functionality, and spa bath with dual water closets, soaking tub and
throughout. The extended open kitchen has quartz counter tops and matching paneled appliances. Enjoy entertaining at the spacious center island with cooktop and overhead fan, double ovens, and warming drawer, Refrigerator plus a cooler beverage drawer. Washer and dryer conveniently located inside this unit. The unit has four bedrooms -- two
with kitchen. This is a pet-friendly community. Unit 608 has an updated kitchen complete with all new appliances in 2020. Updated bathroom. Large tile flooring set on the diagonal throughout the entire unit. New televisions and furniture. Courtesy of Coldwell Banker
spacious master bedroom suites, each outfitted with walk-in closets, full bathrooms, and views of the water. Additional features include electric hurricane shutters, surround-sound system throughout the unit, dry bar with mini frig, and custom plantation shutters. Courtesy of Icon Premium Realty
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338 Avenida Milano, Sarasota, Florida Beaches!, Boating! & Bistros!! Great seasonal getaway or investment located on a quiet cul de sac. This Tropical Paradise in “The Village” is the Siesta Key property you have been looking for. Beaches!- you are a short walk to World Famous Siesta Beach. Boating!- approx. 71 feet of Canal Front with access to world class fishing and watersports. Bistro’s!-You are steps away from locally acclaimed dining and entertainment of Siesta Village. Walk everywhere, no need to drive! This 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom is loaded with charm. The Master bedroom has a full En Suite bath. Walls of glass & lots of natural light. The back yard is a private tropical paradise with Mature landscaping. The front and back yards are a private tropical . Sold Turnkey (Fully) Furnished. This is Florida Living!!
Live the life of dreams with modern luxury, steps from the beach and Village
Siesta Beach Villas is one of the newer condominium complexes on Siesta Key. Built in 2011, the four-unit complex meets stringent wind and flood codes all the while providing a luxurious high-end living experience with some of the best views on the Key. Nine-foot ceilings, hardwood flooring, abundant windows and French doors, private elevator entrances, and over-sized two-
car garages are just a few of the features that set this property apart. The four units share a lovely heated, free-form, fenced pool in a lush landscaped setting. Interior in the units include high-end finishes and fixtures, combined with an abundance of windows and doors, creating a stunning living space. Siesta Beach Villas makes the best use of Siesta’s incredible weather and environment by
providing amazing outdoor living areas. The spectacular rooftop -- complete with outdoor kitchen, grill, fire pit, bar, dining and casual seating, and hot tub -- affords some of the best views on the Key. Enjoy the Gulf, beach, Siesta Village, downtown Sarasota, and more all from the comfort of your rooftop living room. Share Siesta’s famed sunsets with your friends and family from this oneof-a-kind venue. Most of the owners occupy their units part time, thus there are few transients. A one-month rental policy helps to ensure a stable and quiet atmosphere within the community. The location, within minutes by walking to world-renowned Siesta Beach and to fun, eclectic Siesta Key Village, is unsurpassed. Unique boutiques, restaurants ranging from seaside eats to haute cuisine, live music and a happening night life are all available within just a couple of blocks. Directly across the street, Siesta Beach offers unlimited
My wife and I had an exceptional experience with Al Nemore from Keller Williams. He went beyond just gathering information on what we were looking for in a home. Al took the time to get to know us as people and anticipate the properties that would most interest us. With his help, we were able to find our perfect match on Siesta Key, and we are very happy to be
new residents. Thanks Al!
941- 479-1175 • 856-278-7522 firstname.lastname@example.org
water sports including fishing, kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling, and more. Beach volleyball, tennis, and pickle ball courts are readily available, as are comfortable relaxing lounge chairs. The Siesta Beach pavilion and concessions offer convenient food and beverage. RECENT SALES: Unit 301-1, a three-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath unit sold in November for $2.325 million. NEWLY LISTED: Unit 305-1 is listed by Bob
Ruiz of Key Solutions Real Estate Group for $2.35 million. This is a three-bedroom two-and-a-halfbath unit on two floors with a tremendous rooftop balcony. Two large lanais off of the living spaces and two balconies off of the bedrooms on the two main floors make the outdoor access readily accessible. To learn more about Siesta Beach Villas or any other Siesta Key property, contact Bob Ruiz, Key Solutions Real Estate Group, at (941) 544-3299 or visit RobertRuizRR@ aol.com.
Marty Remillard NMLS#343653
No Lender Fees 941. 223.9416 highdefintionmortgage.com
March 7 identity theft Complainant reported that an unidentified suspect used her name, social security number and other personal information to apply for Illinois unemployment benefits. The suspect used complainant’s son’s Illinois address for the claim, and complainant became aware of the fraud when her son received a letter from the Illinois unemployment office regarding the claim. Complainant contacted the appropriate Illinois authorities to advise them of the fraudulent activity. The case remains open. March 14 burglary Complainant is an out-of-state landlord. His wife entered the property to prepare it for future tenant and discovered that the master bed had been slept in, the porch curtains had been pulled down, and the dish racks in the double sink were missing. Security camera footage from the property showed a man exiting the property matching the description of a suspect from several residential burglaries that occurred in the area during the same timeframe. Investigation revealed that the suspect likely entered the property through an unsecured rear sliding door before spending the night inside the residence. The missing dish racks are valued at $20. March 21 burglary Complainant parked his vehicle in a parking lot overnight. The next morning, he discovered that someone had entered the vehicle and removed sunglasses, two knives, a key, and a cell phone. Fingerprint evidence was collected and processed.
March 19 battery At 1:50 am, police were conducting routine patrol when they observed two males involved in a physical altercation outside of a bar in the Village. The apparent aggressor was handcuffed and placed into a patrol car, while continuing to attempt to fight with the victim. The victim kept asking why the police were making a big deal out of the fight, and insisted on signing a waiver of prosecution. The case is closed.
2020 Como Turbo 3.0 bike, valued at $4,600. The bike was locked to the back of his Jeep Grand Cherokee overnight. The suspect apparently used bolt cutters to cut the locks securing the bicycle. The case remains open.
March 20 battery Police were called to a reported battery at a bar in the Village at approximately 8 p.m. The defendant was asked to leave the bar because he was intoxicated and saying rude things to other people in the bar. Eventually, the defendant complied with a request to pay his tab and exit. While exiting, he charged the victim headfirst, knocking him to the ground and then continuing to try to strike him. Security footage confirmed the situation. The defendant was intoxicated during his interview with police. He was subsequently transported and remanded to the custody of the Sarasota County Jail.
April 2 grand theft The victim reported that she left her light-green Boss bicycle with a black basket in the bike area in the beach access 10 location. She left it unattended and unsecured. When she returned, she was dismayed to find that the bike had been stolen. She could not provide a serial number for the bicycle, nor any potential suspects. The case remains open.
March 27 theft Complainant reported that she left her purse unattended at the Siesta Public Beach and it was stolen between 3:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Items stolen include: credit card purse, driver’s license, credit card, numerous credit/debit gift cards, checkbooks, prescription sunglasses. The case remains open. March 30 grand theft The victim reported that an unknown suspect stole his crimson
March 30 theft A Florida license plate was reported stolen from a Panther Scoot Coup. Available surveillance and other evidence was collected and the case remains open.
April 3 burglary The victim reported that her bicycles were locked in a garage near her designated parking space. Approximately six hours later, she found one of the bicycles missing. It is a yellow Canondale road bike with an estimated value of $500. Security surveillance is being reviewed. April 5 burglary The victim reported that sometime on April 5 or 6 he believes that the suspect entered his residence and stole multiple firearms and his firearm inventory sheet from a locked closet. There were no signs of forced entry. The victim reported that there was only one key to the closet, and it
required a special locksmith to copy. He believes the suspect took the key and copied it in December 2020 because the suspect previously worked for him and stole from him. The victim described his detailed theory that he was being tracked by the suspect through an app on his phone, and the suspect accessed the house when the victim was out by entering from the beach, onto the roof and through the attic. He believes that the suspect stole the firearms, put them outside, locked the door and exited the way that he came in. The victim could not provide the app or all of the suspect’s contact information, stating that his phone had been hacked and information was deleted. The case remains open. April 6 battery At 2:30 pm, police responded to a reported fight on Siesta Key Beach near the red lifeguard tower. Upon arrival, all parties were dispersed, but police eventually made contact with one of the parties involved. He reported that he argued with a female about her kids being too loud, and the female responded by throwing a drink in his face and chest-bumping him. He reportedly defended himself by pulling her hair, and then a second subject approached and pushed him to the ground. Police could not locate any other parties involved, and investigation was completed. April 10 battery Complainant reported that her son was battered in a parking lot on Beach Road on April 7. He called her to pick him up, saying he had been punched in the face. She took him to the emergency room, and he was diagnosed with a fractured
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mandible, which will require further treatment and surgery. The victim explained that he was in the parking lot with his friend when he saw a girl he knew from middle school. He waved to the girl, and suddenly a male acquaintance “sucker punched” him in the face due to being upset about the girl. The victim’s friend corroborated the statement. Photographic evidence was obtained and processed. The suspect has been located in Manatee County. The case remains open.
precautions, hospitality insiders have dubbed this season’s surge in tourism “revenge travel,” according to Dave Pilkey of Tropical Sands Accommodations. Its employees oversee around 600 rental units on the Key, all of which were fully booked through April; they’ve had to turn people away during spring break. “There was obviously some pent-up demand, but it’s exceeded any of our expectations,” he said. The busy spring season was especially sweet considering how unpredictable business has been during COVID-19. Back in January, many Siesta business leaders had no idea what to expect. “We weren’t sure when the vaccine was coming out, we weren’t sure if we’d have another shutdown, and we weren’t sure if people were going to be comfortable going out again,” said Matthes of his outlook in January. Pilkey began fielding massive
cancellations in November, and the dropouts continued through mid-January. Tropical Sands typically sees a lot of month-long, oversees bookings during spring, and Canadians usually account for about 14 percent of stays. This year, pandemic travel restrictions caused those non-U.S. visitors to stay home. In January, when Pilkey normally expects to be fully booked through spring break, Tropical Sands still had 1,200 open weeks. But American tourists have made up the difference and then some. In late January, the newly available accommodations began to be snatched up by people in search of shorter stays, like young families who can only vacation for a week rather than a month or more. Another potential factor in this year’s tourism boom is one of the few positives to come out of the pandemic: more people working remotely.
This spring, there were likely out-of-town visitors who didn’t even have to take time off — or as much time off — to stay on the Key. “People can just bring their laptops and work from the beach,” said Hale. Still, coronavirus-related obstacles continue to present problems for Siesta businesses. Disruptions in the supply chain continuously affect restaurant operations: Deliveries are late because of a shortage of drivers, or some items are simply unavailable for long periods of time. The sometimes overwhelming numbers of visitors have taxed hospitality staff, too. Hale and Matthes have both struggled with staff shortages. They speculate that fear of coronavirus, changes in profession during pandemic shutdowns, and outside financial support from unemployment and stimulus checks led to a scarcity of restaurant professionals to hire
during the surge. And with more visitors staying for shorter periods of time, the booking offices and cleaning staff for local hotels and rental properties have been working overtime to keep up with the higher guest turnover. Ultimately, this year’s spring break has left Siesta Key businesses with a sense of cautious optimism. While Tropical Sands continues to see increased bookings through June and July, restaurant managers are concerned that the decrease in international travel — usually a staple of Siesta Key’s summer — will continue to impact their bottom line. “We’re hoping that summer’s strong for domestic travel,” said Matthes. “I’m going back and forth. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. We’re thankful for the customers and guests who have come down. We’re proceeding with caution.”
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Plan,” Litchet testified. McHugh ultimately ruled in favor of the city, which prompted the SKA to file the appeal. In the Court of Appeal opinion, Judge LaRose pointed out that the permit the city and the USACE received from FDEP “did not eliminate the necessity to obtain any other applicable licenses or permits that may be required by federal, state, local or special district laws and regulations.’” The Circuit Court dismissed the SKA’s original complaint, he continued, “reasoning that the county’s Comprehensive Plan did not qualify as a law, rule, or regulation subject to section 403.412, and that the [permit] ‘appears to preclude’ SKA’s lawsuit.”
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that March has been busy,” she said. “Things ‘look’ and ‘feel’ full.” In fact, rather than a historic drop-off in tourism, as was experienced during last year’s spring break, this year’s visitorship soared to new heights. Sarasota Bradenton International Airport posted a record-breaking March, handling 277,590 passengers for the month — an all-time high for the airport and an 81% increase beyond traffic in March 2020. Evidence suggests many of those visitors headed straight to Siesta Key. At Siesta Key Oyster Bar, the increased volume was palpable. “It was crazy. That’s the only way I can put it,” said SKOB general manager Kristin Hale. “Sales-wise, we have just blown it out of the park. It is unreal, even compared to 2019. And Easter was early this year. We stayed even busier for an additional week than we would have in the past.” After a full year of pandemic
Finally, in a second amended complaint filed in Circuit Court, LaRose said the SKA alleged that the city had violated Section 54-653(4)(a) of the County Code by failing to obtain a dredging permit from the Sarasota County Water and Navigational Control Authority (WNCA). (The County Commission sits as that authority.) The Circuit Court dismissed that count, LaRose noted. In the appeal, he continued, the SKA argued that “the trial court erred” because it failed to consider the “plain language” of the state’s Environmental Protection Act and that it “did not recognize the distinction between a WNCA permit and [FDEP’s permit].” The city continued to maintain that the state permit was all it and the USACE
needed to proceed with the Lido project, La Rose added. Moreover, he noted, the city pointed out that the dredging “‘will occur exclusively on state-regulated and -owned sovereign submerged lands.” In reviewing the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, LaRose explained, the Appeal Court found that the law “does not require the person or government agency to hold every potentially relevant permit; it only requires the person or government agency to hold and act pursuant to ‘a valid permit or certificate covering such operations.’” Thus, he wrote, “We cannot extend the terms of [the act] beyond their plain language.” “In this case,” La Rose pointed out, “SKA
did not claim that the [FDEP permit] was invalid or that the City failed to comply with its requirements. In fact, SKA admitted in the second amended complaint that the City and the Corps obtained a [permit from the state] that authorizes the [Lido] Project. Accordingly,” he added, the trial court correctly ruled that the statute barred SKA’s cause of action. The dredging of Big Pass began in July 2020, as the SKA was engaged in the appeal. Although the FDEP permit allowed the USACE contractor to remove up to 1.3 million cubic yards of sand to renourish Lido Key Beach, a USACE spokesman reported in December 2020 that the final tally was 683,084 cubic yards.
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Riverview High School soccer athletes receive Andrew Monroe scholarships Nine Riverview High School soccer athletes were named recipients of the annual Andrew Monroe Memorial Scholarship at a March 3 ceremony at the downtown Hyatt Regency. The fund, which is generated by a 5K run on Siesta Key, contributed $7,500 toward higher education. The receipents are: Samantha Bickel, who will attend Florida State University; Joseph St. Onge, University of Florida; Nicholas Coelho, Florida
Atlantic University; Tyler Hockett, Florida State University; and Madelyn Halperin, Allison Kukanza, Caroline Reilly, Christie Gianoplus, and Barbara Anne Harper, all undecided. The scholarship was cretaed by the Monroe family when it lost Andrew Monroe in a 2011 automobile accident. To qualify, each applicant submitted an essay explaining how they emulate the traits and characteristics that defined Andrew Monroe.
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Top row from left: Stacey and Samuel Monroe. Bottom row from left: Madelyn Halperin, Allison Kukanza, Caroline Reilly, Christie Gianoplus, Samantha Bickel, Barbara Anne Harper, Joseph St. Onge, Tyler Hockett, and Nicholas Coelho. (submitted photo)
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• CB’s Saltwater Outfitters – CB’s Saltwater Outfitters is an ORVIS Endorsed Outfitter Fishing Charter Service serving Siesta Key as well as Longboat Key, Lido Key, Sarasota, and Venice. Our veteran guides offer exciting Fishing Adventures for anglers of all ages from novice to the expert. See our website: www.CBsOutfitters.com or stop in their store for additional info. 1240 Stickney Point Rd, Siesta Key. (941)349-4400.
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“If mere mention of a destination’s name stirs wonder in the soul, then we must go and learn why that is so.” Jack Veeger, Sarasota: A Tribute in Verse and Vision
Early photographs and written descriptions of Siesta Key depict our island home with few physical structures save an early hotel, scattered fish camp houses with brilliant expanses of white sand beach. The wide beaches extended along the north and western tip (Big Pass) south to what was then Midnight Pass, separating us
SURROUNDED BY WATER ON THREE SIDES The POINTE affords incomparable views. From this lovely two-bedroom, two-bath condo at the southernmost end of Siesta Key you will wake to awe-inspiring sunrises over Neville Preserve on Little Sarasota Bay and marvel at the spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. This impeccable unit has been beautifully renovated from floor to ceiling to include diagonally inset tile flooring throughout, solid-wood cabinets with granite countertops and stainless appliances in the open kitchen, and renovated baths. 9393 MIDNIGHT PASS RD, #205, SARASOTA, FL 34242, MLS# A4472542 , $495,000, Key Solutions Real Estate, 941- 894-1255 STUNNING VIEWS This three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom beach condo has stunning views and the sunsets never disappoint. The total square footage is 2,245 with 1,845 square feet of air conditioned space with five private balconies, three of which are oversized. This flowing open floor plan is perfect for beachside living and elegant entertaining. A walker’s paradise on the white sands of Siesta Beach to the heart of the Village, restaurants, boutiques, and nightlife. 5400 OCEAN BLVD, #1-3, SARASOTA, FL 34242, MLS# A4486556, $1,699,999, Key Solutions Real Estate, 941-894-1255
from our southern barrier island neighbor of Casey Key. An aerial photograph dated approximately 1933 shows what is most likely a shell road leading west, directly to the beach. No imagination at that time could have sculpted a vision of what has become a most unique island community. Fortunately, early residents recognized the need for planned sharing of this natural resource, and “if you build it, they will come” came true. Siesta Key is now home to more than 7,300 permanent residents and another estimated 4000 part- time residents. Visitors from around the world occupy the many rentals (condominiums, small motel and apartments). 350,000 tourists visit Siesta Key Beach during the year (VisitSarasota). At any given time, the current estimate of people on our Key is more than 3080 people per square mile. Our stewardship together for this piece of paradise is essential. BE PART OF OUR CONTINUING STORY. We must fight overdevelopment, increasingly dangerous traffic/ pedestrians conflicts and damage to our natural resources.
LOVE SIESTA KEY IN ACTION
JOIN US NOW. $35 Annually. SiestaKeyAssociation.com/about/become-a-siesta-key-association-member/ 941.364.4880 • Like us on Facebook!
Meet the members of the Save Siesta Key Board of Directors
John Davidson He is serving as chairman and has resided on the Key since 1958. He is founder of Davidson Drugs, which he established first in the Village and then added a second location in 1965. He also created The Pelican Press. Davidson founded the Argus Foundation and has been on the board of directors with Sarasota Memorial Hospital and the Selby Foundation. He studied pharmacy at both Duke and the University of Colorado.
Chuck Byrne “As a West Point graduate, Navy officer, and corporate vicepresident of 3M, I have lived all over the world. There is no place that compares to Siesta Key. “I have been a full-time resident here since 2016 and I believe incorporating Siesta Key will sustain the character of the island and our quality of life for our residents, businesses, and visitors.”
Hon. Harry Anand
He is a chemical engineer and former mayor of the Village of Laurel Hollow, New York. “I am a passionate Siesta Key resident of 10 years and involved in several local boards, including the advisory board of the Sarasota County Sheriff, the Gulf Coast CEO Forum, and the Sarasota Yacht Club. “I believe selfgovernance is at the heart of our democracy and our history as a nation.”
“My whole life, I wanted to be a Florida resident. When I moved here seven years ago, it was a dream come true. “After being diagnosed with breast cancer and beating it, I decided to retire from a career in seniorfocused healthcare. “I believe that incorporating Siesta Key will improve the quality of life for all who live here, do business here, and visit here.”
“I spent my entire childhood on Siesta Key, until age 17. “As a neurologist, I decided to close my private practice in Atlanta in 2012 and relocate back home, to Siesta Key. “I truly care about my community. I volunteer at the Friendship Center, I am a board member of Save our Siesta Sand 2, and have supported many local initiatives. I believe the time has come for Siesta Key residents and business owners to unite and create our own destiny.”
Rick Munroe “I have lived in Sarasota for 27 years and have owned the Sun Garden Cafe on Siesta Key for 14 years. I am the Founder of Munroe Consulting Group. “I am, and always have been, an active member of the community. “I believe the businesses and residents of Siesta Key are the best qualified to manage the local issues we face.”
Lisa Choate “My first visit to Siesta Key was in 2019 with my family. We knew immediately that this was where we wanted to live. We wasted no time and moved here permanently in 2020. “My professional projectmanagement career of 18 years was spent implementing, managing and mentoring. “I believe the incorporation of Siesta Key is necessary to keep the charm of this beautiful island.”
Tim Hensey “I have lived on Siesta Key for 14 years and have been a resident of Sarasota for 51 years. “My entire career has been with a large national commercial construction firm, where I run the southern Florida division. “I believe keeping Siesta Key and its unique vibe is essential to the quality of life for all who come here.”
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Benderson project (at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road), and now the hotel proposals (all four of which require deviations from height and density restrictions). They all negatively impacted us immensely.” Davidson said the county’s indifference about the Key is at its height. “It only looks at us as a revenue stream. And no one ever gets out here,” he said of commissioners. “It’s worse now than it was before.” The Save Siesta Key Board of Directors are Davidson, Chuck Byrne, the Hon. Harry Anand, Tracy Jackson, Stephen Lexow, Rick Munroe, Lisa Choate, and Timothy Hensey. A website has been created with the address of savesiestakey.org. With a lead-in stating “We are more than a vacation destination, we are a community,” it provides details of the incorporation effort and solicits donations in order to reach two goals. The first is to collect $40,000 for a required feasibility study (the amount raised was at $18,015 as of April 23) and then another $250,000 to hire an attorney to form a town charter and create legal petitions. Paperwork is due in Tallahassee by Sept. 1 if Siesta Key’s application is to be considered in the upcoming legislative session. Another requirement is a signature of support from at least 10% of Siesta Key’s voting residents. Finally, a referendum needing
majority vote would be held as a final step in the process. If all falls into place, Siesta Key could be a town in 2022. “Did you know we are the largest barrier island in Florida that is not incorporated?” Davidson said. “There is so much potential for us here, and it is in the best interest of the Key to pursue that. We shouldn’t have to change our lifestyle, but the problems coming our way with traffic flow will do that. In fact, it’s already bad. I was driving down 41 recently and the cars were already backed up that far with people trying to get on the island. And that was on a Tuesday during the lunch hour.” Finally, he hopes to lead an effort to at least get his idea on the table. “Siesta Key is a natural for incorporation. I’m just amazed it wasn’t incorporated before. I plan to work hard on this and get it to a vote this time. Let’s see what happens,” Davidson said. He also noted that, if incorporated, he hopes the town’s direction will be to go “government light.” In such a case, police protection is among some services still outsourced to the county. Fort Myers Beach, which incorporated in 1995 and is similar in land size and population to Siesta Key, follows that path. “We’re using the Fort Myers Beach model,” Davidson said of his campaign. “Honestly, I think we can do this without raising taxes. It doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s why people tend
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Members of the board of directors of Save Siesta Key are (from left, top row) Chuck Byrne, Lisa Choate, Rick Munroe, (bottom row) Tracy Jackson, John Davidson, and Harry Anand. Not pictured are Tim Hensey and Stephen Lexow. (photo by John Morton)
to resist. “Believe me, deep down I’m a little bit anti-government.” The group will hold its first public meeting at 7 p.m. on April 28 at Siesta Key Chapel, 4615 Gleason Ave. A second one is slated at the same time and place on May 19. It is looking for volunteers to serve in roles such as fundraising, the petition drive, and being a neighborhood ambassador. Email info@ savesiestakey.org if interested. Munroe, owner of Siesta Key’s Sun Garden Cafe, feels both the community and visitors are behind the effort. “I get 2,000 to 3,500 people through my restaurant in a given
week, and I get comments of support all the time. I’ve been asking people about the idea for four years, and I hear the same things. Whether they live on the Key or not, they have an intimate connection with it and love its character. “There’s a groundswell of interest. It’s strong.” Added Davidson, “I think it’s stronger than it was 25 years ago.” Garnering the backing of local business leaders will also be a goal of the group. Steve Cavanaugh, owner of Tropical Sands Accommodations, is among them. He thinks Davidson’s role will make a difference. “John Davidson has been
a staple in the Siesta Key community for as long as I have lived here -- since 1995 -- and obviously many years before that. His credibility is unquestioned and I appreciate what he is trying to do for our island,” Cavanaugh said. “I could not think of a better or more respected person to spearhead this effort of incorporation. “While I have not made up my mind on which way to go on this I would, without question, listen to what he proposes.” Munroe hopes the initiative finally gets the support he feels it deserves. “We’re the crown jewel (of the area). We should be treated as such,” he said.
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Christopher This month’s Volleyball Fanatic is Christopher of Naples. He and his co-ed partner have teamed up several times in beach volleyball tournaments with great success. Christopher started his outstanding volleyball career when he was just 11 years old. If he can stay injury free, he said, you’ll likely see him competing on the beach for many more years. Photos by Trebor Britt