Siesta Sand- May 2023

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Ruling a possible blow to hotels?

Meanwhile, local judge recuses himself from other 2 lawsuits filed; potential trial

How much it impacts the upcoming Sarasota County trial, if at all, is yet to be seen, but Siesta Key resident Lourdes Ramirez hopes an April 3 state ruling in her favor will help derail the approval of three high-density hotels on the island.

It was then that administrative law judge Suzanne Van Wyk with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings sided with Ramirez in saying the county’s removal of a density cap regarding transient

accommodations was inconsistent with its comprehensive plan that serves as its blueprint for growth. Prior to the county’s 2021 approval of hotels at Calle Miramar (170 rooms), Old Stickney Point Road (120 rooms) and, in 2022, Midnight Pass Road (112 rooms), the number of rooms per acre was in general limited to 26 rooms per acre. The 170 rooms proposed for the Calle Miramar hotel, which Ramirez is targeting in a different lawsuit against the county, would be created on just

Incorporation bill progresses at capitol

Save Siesta Key’s quest to have local residents vote on whether or not the island should become its own municipality if off to a good start in Tallahassee.

Known as House Bill 923, it cleared its first hurdle in the Florida Legislature on March 29 when the Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee unanimously moved it ahead with a 17-0 vote.

It’s a committee that Save Siesta Key board members have been told is one that brings great scrutiny, thus representing an encouraging start toward potential approval from the House and Senate.

“While we still have several steps to go before this becomes law, we are cautiously optimistic that the legislature will grant what all citizens deserve – the opportunity to vote,” Tim Hensey, chairman of Save Siesta Key, said.

As of April 24, the bill was being examined by the Ways & Means Committee, with the State Affairs Committee to follow. Success at those two stops will result in a vote by both the House and Senate prior to the session ending May 5.

Support there, followed by approval by the governor, would bring the bill back to Siesta Key for a local referendum vote slated for November of 2024 during the general election.

If 50%-plus-one votes yes, Siesta Key becomes incorporated on what would likely be Dec. 31 of 2024, with election of a town council to follow in March of 2025.

Currently, Save Siesta Key is governed by Sarasota County.

In January, the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation voted 4-1 in support of the bill

Continued on page 37

shy of a single acre of land.

Sarasota County and the developer had 30 days to appeal the ruling, which Ramirez expected would occur. Still, she hopes it packs a punch later.

“I think it’s going to go a long way,” Ramirez said of the ruling, looking ahead to a combined trial now moved to Nov. 13 at the earliest where two separate lawsuits are challenging the county’s actions. “I can’t imagine a judge saying, ‘I don’t want to know

about it.’”

The administrative judge could not rule on the hotels themselves, but rather the ordinance change. It’s the potential November trial that will likely determine whether the hotels can be built as planned.

Ramirez is suing to only stop the Calle Miramar hotel, which is near her residence, while a second lawsuit filed by the 222 Beach

Continued on page 38

MAY 2023| 941.312.0665 | 27TH STATE MEDIA LLC | | COMPLIMENTARY Page 18 A trinket tribute to iconic structures 1398 • Village Map/business listings PAGES 24, 25 • Crescent Beach Map/ business listings PAGE 28 • Music Calendar PAGE 32 •Gulf Gate Shops PAGE 39 • Accommodations Map PAGE 47 WATCH THE INDY 500 ROAR RIGHT HERE! LIVE MUSIC NIGHTLY! see our ad on page 5 Page 9 Turtle Beach repair has begun © Why the world comes to Sarasota Page 14 Some bungalow beauty remains Karaoke Tues & Thurs Entertainment Every Day, Every Night Captain Curt’s Village aiquiri o o Captain Curt’s Village Digging that Siesta Key teamwork A group of youngsters visiting from Illinois and Minnesota teamed up on Crescent Beach to start work on a sand castle as sunset neared. The wet sand provided quite the challenge. (photo by John Morton)
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36 Get to know your Siesta shorebirds
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Thiscolumn almost didn’t make it in time. And I blame that new, free answering service with which I was once, for 10 seconds, so impressed.

On April 20, at 4:30 a.m., it sent me halfway to the moon with its high-pitched wail and evil, eye-popping red-triangle-withexclamationpoint-in-themiddle imagery.

Now that’s how you get a fella out of bed. Finally, I thought, my taxpayer dollars were at work.

I even kicked the rooster to the curb.

Yet ever since that morning, not a cell-phone chirp came my way.

Oh, what I’d do for a little cocka-doodle-do again. Please come home my fine-feathered friend. I’m fine with that lazy 5 a.m. thing you had going on. A half hour won’t kill me.

Good news is, by me surviving another deadline, we have the chance to check-back in with a man who’s a true pacesetter. When you ask Larry the Siesta Photo Bomber of what he’s most proud these days he’ll tell you about his longer runs, faster runs, all while gallantly dishing out the midstride interruptions so many of us now cherish.

More importantly, I noticed he’s also a trendsetter. There he was the other night, smiling and chatting with me, donning a custom bomber T-shirt with a QR code emblazed on his belly.

Greetings from the Gulf

Go ahead, point at my belly

Folks, you can’t tell me that this won’t become the norm in short order when it comes to the shirt order. The chance to entice people to point their phone at your midriff and enter your world of midlife crises is a slam dunk., per today’s social nonsense. Remember when you’ve suffered through friends’ Facebook posts of what they were about to eat? Well, chew on this!

In Larry’s case, his QR code sends fans to his Instagram page. That’s where you’ll see he now has surpassed 2,000 followers thanks to his 1,700-plus beach bombs.

“All in 11 months,” the bomber declared, part bragging I suppose

and part acknowledging a world gone mad. His warmyet-maniacal demeanor always keeps you guessing. Only Larry Frankel can go from irritating to irresistible like this.

I mean, check out the picture below of him bouncing with the beach babes. You don’t strike like that without a big bomb in your arsenal.

A little about the QR-code shirts -- you can change the destination website as often as you’d like. Save the spotted owl one day, offer up cooking instructions for it the next. When I asked Larry what he’d like as a secondary platform, he picked Toys for Tots. That’s what

the Marines support and he, needless to say, is one of them.

What would I select for my online overtures? Yes, boss of mine, would be first in the rotation. Yet I believe everyone on planet earth has it marked as a favorite. So, on to the next.

That brings me quickly to That’s a battle cry for Packers fans and directing folks to such a website certainly brings out the smartypants cheesehead in me, once again shredding what I’ll call the Munsters (ha!) of the Midway. It’s even better because that boss to whom I referenced is from the Windy City.

But get this -- that domain name is actually available! What? That’s unbearable. Come on, Packers fans. No one has received that as a Christmas gift?

So, that said, my real choice would be Now there’s a cause. Let it flow!

You can read about that topic on page 11 of this issue, by the way.


Nancy Detert didn’t really represent Siesta Key directly from her District 3 Sarasota Board of County Commissioners seat, but at times it sure felt like she did.

On many votes that impacted the Key, she clearly had its best interests in mind.

Now, I wouldn’t wish the attendance or, even the viewing, of a government meeting upon anyone. But for those who do participate like yours truly, I bet you’ll agree Detert was someone upon whose every word you hung.

Innovative. Informative. Imaginative. Impassioned. Inspiring. Impressive.

When she passed April 5, we lost a lady who dotted a lot of I’s. And don’t get me started with the T’s -- as in terrific. She didn’t miss a thing.

Said Siesta Key’s Mark Smith, who had the privilege of sitting next to her at the dais as a cocommissioner for too short a period of time:

“Nancy was as tough as nails with a soft heart. She was brutally honest. You always knew what her position was on any subject, no filters. She was great! Nancy will be greatly missed.”

And I hate to get political at a time of mourning -- but just as the arrival of Smith and District 4 commissioner Joe Neunder were likely pluses for all things Siesta Key, one can’t help but get nervous about the idea of a replacement appointee for Detert coming in, courtesy of the governor.

Pay close attention please. That seat represents quite the swing vote.

(John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)

3 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
Photo courtesy of Sarasota County

Round and round we go

County approves design, dates for major roundabout near public beach; mini roundabout about to go in at Ocean Blvd. and Higel Ave.

Next summer. That’s when workers will break ground on the roundabout.

After about three years of design tweaks and projected start dates, the controversial traffic-flow measure that’s approved for the high-profile intersection of Midnight Pass Road and Beach Road has come unto focus and will begin construction in the second half of 2024. With a seven-month timetable for completion, early 2025 is when we’ll likely see it finished.

At one point, the roundabout work was supposed to coincide with the island’s current repaving project. But the county delayed its start again to ease the stress.

And, according to Spencer Anderson with Sarasota County public works, it won’t require detours while being built. It will instead be passable via a single lane at times.

“It’s not a wise idea to direct traffic through the neighborhoods,” he said.

On March 21, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners approved the $2.9 million project. Although the road is now owned by the county instead

of the state (part of a trade in 2019), the Florida Department of Transportation is paying for the work because it’s a project it initially set in motion.

But first, Siesta Key residents will get a mini preview of what’s to come with the construction of a mini roundabout at the chaotic intersection of Higel Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. It is set to start in late June and boasts design features that will limit the number of crashes at the spot and will improve the turning and visibility problems, according to the county.

It will be a “vortex junction” system, which is a rapidly installed, modular, environmentally friendly (made of recycled materials) and removable structure than can be placed upon existing roads.

The installation of the mini roundabout is among the many improvements the county has put in place along what is considered a dangerous stretch of roadway for drivers and pedestrians in the northern part of the Key. They include drainage work,

guardrails, warning signage, and speed cushions.

Back to the big boy

As for the larger roundabout across from Siesta Beach, public reaction to it has been mixed. The county conducted a survey last year and about 33% supported the roundabout, 32% wanted it left alone, and 30% wanted a straight “T” intersection.

“They are polarizing,” Anderson said of the concept of roundabouts, “but they are a proven safety countermeasure for situations similar to the intersection of Beach Road and Midnight Pass (Road).”

An emphasis on pedestrian safety within the roundabout’s design is something Anderson hopes will improve upon the public’s outlook. He said it will have dedicated crosswalks at each leg of the roundabout and widerpaved shoulders (10 feet in width) to each approach, instead of sod, to accommodate high bicycle traffic.

Continued on page 42

4 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Beach-bound pedestrians wait to cross at Mindight Pass and Beach roads. The area will be home to a roundabout that’s slated to begin construction next summer. (file photo)

Island Chatter

Amateur sand-scuplting event is eliminated after 50 years

After 50 years of its existence, Sarasota County officials have announced it has ended the annual amateur sand-sculpting program on Siesta Beach, citing low participation numbers.

It was usually held in early May. Last year, inclement weather caused its last-minute cancellation.

The county reports that it is looking for new event opportunities at the beach for that time of year.

Meanwhile, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival in November always features an amateur competition each year. “We look forward to enthusiasts entering that contest,” a county spokesperson said.

Roundabout is topic at May 4

Siesta Key Association meeting

The roundabout project scheduled to take place next year at the intersection of Midnight Pass Road and Beach Road will be the subject at the next Siesta Key Association meeting, set for 4:30 p.m. May 4 in the community room at St. Boniface Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Rd.

Siesta Beach volleyball tourney is May 20, 21

The Dig the Beach volleyball tournament is set for May 20 and 21 at Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Rd. About 500 participants will battle. For more information, visit event/siesta-key-may-20-21-2023/.

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Donation could put mini-reef program in fast lane

With 50/50 offer, project leader hopes to add 215 structures to Siesta Key canals, bringing total beyond the halfway point

Can the Key’s canals and waterways once again sparkle with clear water and teem with healthy marine life? An ambitious project to achieve just that takes a big step forward this month, and it’s an opportunity for waterfront residents.

An anonymous donor’s $35,000 gift to an ongoing Siesta Key Association water cleanup program will nearly double the effort’s impact – and slash in half the cost for property owners to participate.

If they act by May 19, those property owners can reduce the cost of having a marine-life-regenerating artificial mini-reef installed beneath their dock by 50%, to just $166.

With the grant, said Grand Canal regeneration project leader Jean Cannon, the organization will be able to add about 215 mini reefs to the 270 already in place. In all, the Key’s waterways have 878 docks. The new push will bring the effort more than halfway to the finish line.

The mini reefs in place are already succeeding at attracting the juvenile marine life that are nature’s own water filtration system, “We’re seeing shrimp for the first time in a long time, and stone crabs, oysters, mussels, fantail worms” and more, Cannon said.

The little creatures attach themselves to the mini reefs and filter out sediments and

Meet the captain

pollutants. That brings cleaner waters that attract the bigger fish that have fled the canal in recent years.

Scientists are watching the project closely. They are actively out on the water (see story below) taking measurements, and Cannon expects to see research reports on the results in the next year:

“We are already seeing a difference in the

amount of fish and marine life. Now the test is, does it improve the water quality? That’s our next step,” she said.

Young dolphins are voting yes. Cannon said they are again being seen in the canal after a longtime absence.

Citizen scientists are supporting the effort. The organization has enlisted volunteer researchers from Out-of-Door Academy and Sarasota high schools.

Homeowners who sign up for a minireef under their dock don’t have to do much more. The organization does all the installation work, and residents don’t even need to be home when the install takes place.

To apply for the 50/50 purchase for a mini-reef, dock owners should email or call Cannon at (941) 313-0559. Again, the deadline is Friday, May 19.

“This beautiful environment needs some stewardship,” Cannon said.

As a teenager growing up on Siesta Key, Greg Anderson used to swim its inland waters with youthful joy. Once, he even water-skied around the entire island.

The canal water “was so clean and pristine,” he recalls. “Beaming with fish, energy, and life.”

Alas, no more.

So, when Anderson, now retired from owning an asphaltconcrete business, saw an opportunity to participate in the canal’s regeneration, he stepped forward without hesitation.

At a Siesta Key Association meeting he heard Jean Cannon, the cleanup’s leader, describe how scientists would soon be monitoring the results of her mini-reef installation project.

There was just one problem: The scientists, with all their advanced degrees, and Cannon, with all her unwavering optimism and persistence, had

not yet found the ideal way to actually get around on the waters to do the testing.

Enter Anderson, a lifelong boat owner: “I told her, I’ve got a brand-new boat. I’ll take you guys out.”

That was a year and a half ago, and Anderson has been doing just that ever since. About once a month he loads up to 10 passengers – researchers, government officials and volunteers – onto his 30-foot boat and captains a scientific cruise of the canal.

For Anderson, it’s a chance to get out on the water while doing some good for his community. But for the scientists and Cannon, it’s serious – and precise – business.

It turns out that a typical waterborne vessel is not the most stable or secure vehicle for loading and using sensitive, fragile scientific equipment. But Anderson’s boat is a “tri-toon,” a

triple-pontooned 30- by 10-foot floating platform that provides the researchers with additional stability and maneuverability, “almost like an oil rig,” he said. Drawing minimal water, the unnamed vessel (“I never name my boats,” Anderson said) can slip in close to the shoreline and docks where Cannon’s minireefs have been installed. The scientists can take and process their samples effectively.

Anderson, who lives on the canal, has three mini-reefs attached to his dock. He has encouraged several of his neighbors and friends to install the devices on theirs. And while Cannon expects the next year to yield meaningful scientific evidence of the mini-reef project’s success, Anderson is already sold.

“I see dolphins coming in to the canal, manatees coming in and out,” he said. “This is working.”

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A grouping of mini-reefs as seen beneath a canal dock in the northern part of Siesta Key. (photo
John Morton)
Greg Anderson is at the wheel as he motors mini-reef project leader Jean Cannon through the waterways of the Grand Canal. (photo by John Morton)
Siesta resident Greg Anderson generously leads the way through canal waters

Outdoor Waterfront Dining!



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Fisherman Platter … $32

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Twin Maine Lobster Tails … $54


Coconut Shrimp … $22

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Shrimp & Crab Scampi … $24

Salmon Pasta … $21

Chicken & Shrimp Curry … $21

Sweet ‘n Spicy Chicken & Shrimp … $22

Pasta Primavera … $16


Turtle Pie … $9

Key Lime Pie … $9

Sample Platter … $12

Ice Cream Bar … $6

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Community Spotlight

QJoe, you are a financial advisor with Edward Jones who has an office in the Village. For starters, please share your history with Siesta Key.

AI’ve been coming out to Siesta

Key since I was a kid, especially in high school. We would come out every weekend, grab a sandwich from the old Siesta Market – now Morton’s -- and go play beach volleyball all day. I still grab sandwiches from Morton’s, but now I work all day.

Two of my best friends live in southwest Florida, so when a third comes into town we go play 2-on-2 beach volleyball -- now 30-plus years later, although not quite the six-hour marathons anymore.

QWhy did you choose to establish your business here?

AWhen I moved my then 17-year-old practice over to Edward Jones, 10-plus years ago, I was trying to determine the best spot in Sarasota. The Edward Jones business model typically has one advisor and office administrator in a single location. That’s why you’ll see 10-plus Edward Jones offices around town. We want our relationships to be intimate, trusting and tailored for each client.

Fortunately, the timing worked out perfectly for me as the previous advisor on Siesta Key was moving. Our home office wanted some stability out here, as I would be the fourth advisor in three years. With my background and experience,

they felt I would be the best advisor to serve the community for 25-plus years and we are well on our way.

QAbout a year ago you moved down the road a bit to 5011 Ocean Blvd. How has the new office been an improvement?

AIt has been amazing! We doubled our space and designed the layout, so we couldn’t be happier. My personal office has a 20-foot floorto-ceiling window where I can look out and see blue skies and palm trees. It’s truly a dream come true -- 25 years of hard work paying off. We also have a unique client meeting room, with really comfortable chairs and a big screen TV just a few feet away. Clients absolutely love being comfortable and relaxed while we can easily see/ review their investments, goals and strategies.

As for location, it’s great to still be in the Siesta Key Village, but I appreciate the peaceful aspect of being on the north end, away from the congestion. I have a golf cart with Edward Jones signage, so we take that to frequent our favorite restaurants and enjoy the businesses, just in smaller doses.

Oh, and the parking situation is so much better.

QYou are the girls varsity soccer coach at Riverview High School, your alma mater. How did that come into play?

Continued on next page

8 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Making a big difference out there
Joe St. Onge not only gives solid advice, he leads by example
Above and clockwise: Joe St. Onge (in the foreground) with his Riverwiew soccer family; spending special time with a little buddy at a grief camp; enjoying the view of all views at the new office. (submitted photos) 1500 Stickney Point Road Sarasota, FL (Located at Channel Marker 62 at the Siesta Key South Bridge) Now accepting reservations for large groups Happy Hour Monday - Friday 2 - 6PM • 941-921-6200 • 941-921-6200 Every Seat has a Water View Waterfront Dining…at its best! Waterfront Dining…at its best! Live Entertainment 5-9 Daily Lunch and Dinner Served Daily NEW HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Community Spotlight

Continued from previous page

AI played soccer my whole life, ultimately getting a full scholarship to play at Division 1 Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

When my kids started playing, I got licensed to coach their competitive travel teams at FC Sarasota and did so for 6 years, “retiring” in 2019. Riverview let their girls varsity coach go in the summer of 2021 and the athletic director said my name kept coming up in conversations with families who had daughters there, ironically as I had coached their younger siblings. I told the AD I couldn’t practice right after school like traditional programs, so he let our team practice from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and it works perfectly for my work schedule.

It’s been a wonderful first two seasons, with winning records, playoff wins and even bigger wins “off the field” with a great group of young women and a tremendous coaching staff.

Riverview is the only high school I would have considered and I love being able to give back to the community, especially to Ram Nation!


also established a foundation in memory of a friend. Can you please tell us about that?

ATwenty years ago, one of my best friends was killed in an auto collision. His wife, Melissa, was nine months pregnant with their first child.

Melissa wanted to raise money to help local kids that had to deal with grief, just like their daughter Madisyn. I lost my mom when I was 2 years old, also because of an auto accident, so it was a no-brainer for me to hop on with Melissa and a few others to establish the Mark Wandall Foundation.

Melissa’s long-term goal was to eventually have a camp for kids to go to and share their experiences with others who understood. Six or seven years ago, she connected the foundation to a national organization -- Comfort Zone Camps -- and we have been doing three-day grief camps ever since. These weekends are so incredible for the kids, but with kids on waiting lists our goal is to raise enough money to have two camps per year. Unfortunately, it costs $60,000 to have these three-day camps for 50 to 55 children. We have an annual golf event each fall, which is our primary funding.

QDo you participate in any other community endeavors?

AI am a mentor for two high school students through an amazing not-for-profit program called Take Stock in Children. It offers mentoring, college success services, and the opportunity to earn a college scholarship for underserved students. I have been with the boys since 2019 and plan on staying with them through graduation in 2025 from Suncoast Polytechnical and Sarasota High School. I take them lunch once a month and communicate with them regularly, to help guide them as needed. Take Stock in Children is always looking for volunteers.

Turtle Beach repair project begins

Having been left in the dark by a lack of reply from FEMA regarding its early-March request for a one-year extension on the renourishment of Turtle Beach, Sarasota County acted out of necessity and got the project in motion.

On April 17, the county announced that California-based Ahtna Marine & Construction had been hired as contractor for the work at a not-to-exceed price of $8,284,283.10. Just two days later, the company was staging equipment at the beach with a sand-haul start date targeted for the week of April 24.

Known as the South Siesta Beach Repair Project, the scramble is now on to complete it by FEMA’s June 30 deadline. Originally presented as a project that would bring 100 trucks over Stickney Point Bridge and then down

Continued on page 42

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Office adminstrator Donna Hindman (left) and St. Onge at the opening of the new office at 5011 Ocean Blvd. (submitted photo) Construction equipment began to be staged at Turtle Beach on April 19 in anticipation of the South Siesta Beach Repair Project. Its deadline for completion is June 30. (photo by John Morton)

Village restroom to be discussed

Mark Smith, the Sarasota County District 2 commissioner who represents the northern half of Siesta Key and resides on the island, has asked that the topic of constructing a public bathroom in Siesta Key’s Village be included as a capital improvement item during a May budget hearing.

He requested in March that county staff provide the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners with examples of small public bathrooms, and public works director Spencer Anderson did so by submitting samples of the stucco concrete block structures recently built along the Legacy Trail.

Smith said he would be aiming at something a bit “simpler” by suggesting a structure with 5-inch by 5-inch galvanized steel posts that are similar of the look of the Village’s gazebo, with metal panel walls and a metal roof that would also match the gazebo.

Smith said Anderson had estimated a base cost of around $15,000, depending upon the potential need for site improvements.

Last summer, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter to the county that requested funding for a public bathroom in the Village, noting that 40% of its walk-ins inquired about the location of one. The chamber also conducted a survey that asked if the Village needed a public restroom, with 87% of respondents saying yes.

In August, representatives of three Village businesses near the final trolley stop on Canal Road addressed the commissioners, describing how they are bombarded with bathroom requests by the public. It was then that Wendal Jacobsen, manager of Beach Bazaar, pledged that some of the business’ property adjacent to where the gazebo sits could be donated for the creation of a public restroom.

Currently, the public bathroom closest to the Village can be found at Siesta Beach, about 1

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Mark Smith of the county commission hopes to construct a public restroom in the Village that shares the design features of the gazebo, as seen above. Land next to the gazebo that has been offered by management at Beach Bazaar is being considered for the site of the facility. (file photo)
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mile away.

County leaders receive the Little Sarasota Bay lowdown

Some perspective, some advice, some optimism, some words of both wisdom and warning.

The presentation delivered by David Tomasko, executive director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, to the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners on April 11 ran the gamut. That makes sense, considering the prospect of restoring Midnight Pass has many moving parts and is as complex as it is controversial.

While Tomasko emphasized that he would not be telling the board what to do – “We don’t have a dog in this fight,” he said of his program – he was indeed invited to speak in hopes of being a resource for the county as it works toward a decision on whether to open the

pass. A group called Midnight Pass Society II has emerged, lawmakers in the area have pledged their support, and the Florida Legislature has been asked to contribute $1 million toward design and permitting for whatever method, if any, is chosen.

Midnight Pass is the natural waterway that connected the Gulf of Mexico to Little Sarasota Bay, running between Siesta Key and Casey Key, was closed about 40 years ago by bulldozers – with county approval -- when

two homeowners feared their houses were in danger due to the shifting pass. Their subsequent effort to move it on their own failed, and today the area looks like one continuous beach. As a result, some feel the lack of water circulation in the area is ruining the bay’s water quality.

“I’ll bet my paycheck your water quality will improve,” Tomasko said of the notion of dredging the pass and the quick benefits it would produce. In fact, he showed data that revealed a two-thirds reduction in tidal flow to the bay since the pass closed.

However, he shared some history of how passes naturally

Continued on page 31

Midnight Pass funding need gets lawmakers’ ear

Sarasota County has requested $1 million, is awaiting final

Sarasota County officials await a possible contribution from the state of Florida for assistance with up-front design and permitting costs for the possible restoration of Midnight Pass. The county has requested that the legislature provide $1 million.

On Jan. 17, state Rep. Fiona McFarland filed the request on behalf of the county.

On March 25, the Florida Legislature’s House members requested that $500,000 go toward the project when they released their

appropriations bill. What the Senate will do in terms of a possible match remained uncertain as of April 24 -- the legislative session is scheduled to end May 5.

Other state leaders to publicly support the project include state Sen. Joe Gruters and U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, who recently met with county officials on the matter.

Said Steube, “Reopening Midnight Pass would bring a series of positive improvements to Little Sarasota Bay –

determination from Senate leaders

from both a water quality standpoint and a healthier environment for wildlife, homeowners on the bay, and visitors.

“My office stands ready to assist our local leadership in jumpstarting a critical project that will make a real difference in Sarasota County. We are prepared to be a partner at the federal level as we navigate the many federal and state agencies involved in the unique nature of opening an inlet and restoring the bay to a marine system.”

Mike Evanoff, president of the non-profit Midnight Pass Society II, also expressed appreciation for the efforts in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

“We are excited to support the (Sarasota) Board of County Commissioners and happy it is moving the needle forward,” Evanoff wrote in an email. “It’s all about water quality and flow and renourishing the bay.

“We are also getting tremendous support from the community.”

11 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
The former inlet between Siesta Key and Casey Key, shown here, is known as Midnight Pass. In the early 1980s, it was filled in with approval of Sarasota County and, as a result, the Gulf of Mexico no longer directly flows into Little Sarasota Bay. (submitted photo) Tomasko

Going the distance, once again

Longtime Siesta Beach lifeguard Robert Martini is set to brave another grueling endeavor for a charitable cause

At midnight, on June 25, Siesta Beach lifeguard Robert Martini will push off from Bimini in the Bahamas and begin paddling his surf-ski straight out into the darkness. His hopeful destination? Lake Worth, Florida, 80 miles away.

“All you see is the canoe and the stars,” he said as he trained for the journey in the Gulf waters off Siesta Beach. “We’ll probably see Florida within six hours.”

Martini will join some 200 other paddlers on the journey, which benefits Piper’s Angels Foundation for children and families battling cystic fibrosis. As his pledge for participating in the event, Martini has raised more than $2,200 for the organization, plus another $1,000 for Better Life Academy, a private school in Sarasota for special-needs children. Martini’s son, Maverick, has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“Sometimes I get complacent,”

Martini said. “I just needed something to mentally and physically challenge myself. What gets me motivated is I don’t like to ever hear the phrase, ‘It is what it is.’”

It’s not the first time he’s paired community service with a feat of physical endurance. On Aug. 8, 2021, Martini ran 50 kilometers, from Sarasota’s Trader Joe’s to Venice Beach and back, to raise money for ADA-compliant swings in Sarasota County parks. He livestreamed the event as he ran. It took him six and a half hours.

“People like to donate money for a cause,” he said back then. “And their reward was watching me go through a lot of pain and suffering.”

This time he won’t be suffering alone. Participants in the June 25 event can pilot anything that uses arms for propulsion, from outrigger canoes to prone paddleboards.

Martini will use a surf-ski, a lifeguard rescue craft that’s 19 feet long and 19 inches across.

“It’s very unstable. Your core is the key. You have pedals to control the rudder, which helps you with your leg drive, and you also using your back and abdominal muscles,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s your arms, but they’re just a guide.”

Though all of the paddlers will be

aided by the Gulf Stream (“Mother Nature’s current,” as Martini called it), Martini’s feat this year will take twice as long as his 2021 run — and that’s if things go well.

“I’m shooting for 12 hours,” he said, though it might take as long as 15. “The other goal is to beat my lifeguard partner George. The third goal is just to finish.”

Hello, Aloha, Hola, Grüezi, Bonjour, Hallo and Ciao!

…are the words that greet customers as they walk through the door of this fashionforward, stylish women’s boutique in Siesta Key Village. Casa Smeralda FASHION’Style + Art, relating to the emerald green coast of the Mediterranean Sardinia, is owned by Swiss-expat Marie-Louise Leuenberger. Having traveled around the world, she selects pieces inspired by life near the sea, with many years of experience as a boutique owner and designer. Marie-Louise understands lifestyle, quality and comfort. The flowy fabrics, pre-washed linens, washable silks, the fun and uplifting eclectic mix of women’s clothing, footwear and accessories, are mainly sourced from the continental US, Hawaii, Italy, Canada, Nepal, India and Indonesia.

Marie-Louise, being environmentally conscious, loves styling women who visit her store and loves helping them “to step into their best and sometimes even beyond their fantasy.”

12 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Left, Martini on the surf-ski he’ll be paddling. Below, on duty on Siesta Beach. (submitted photos) Hours: Monday
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Exploring Siesta Key ... with Jane Bartnett

Paying homage to the old-world Florida bungalow

I have always had a fascination with old houses that tell the story of how a place came to be. Here on Siesta Key, I discovered that the charming bungalow has played an important role in our island’s history.

Traditionally created as one-story vacation properties, many of the original island bungalows that dotted the island when built in the 1940s and 1950s have now given way to new and much larger homes. While they may not be as plentiful as they once were, thanks to Rich and Ali Light a collection of bungalows has been preserved.

The Lights, who live and work in Palm Island’s canal country (just south of the Village) with their daughter, Chloe, are passionate about the bungalows. While preserving a piece of Siesta Key history they have found a way to share it with others and keep this important part of the island’s history alive.

After discovering the Key more than 25 years ago, the Philadelphia couple fell in love with the old-world feel of this special place. Captivated by the many original bungalows that dotted the island, they decided to make it their home. Soon after, they created a business that preserves these small Palm Island homes and also offers visitors a chance to experience the old-world charm of bungalow living.

Blending Rich’s background in construction, real estate and business management, along with Ali’s talents as an artist, the couple began to purchase and renovate cottages when they came up for sale.

“It was a generational time,” said Rich. “People in their 80s were interested in selling. When we bought our first bungalow in 2000, the owner wanted to be sure that we would keep the house intact.”

During the next several years, the Lights found other sellers who shared that same desire to keep the tradition alive. Instead of putting the houses up for sale, the Lights kept the properties and made them into rental properties that they marketed to island visitors. Their company, Siesta Bungalows, was born.

“Our business model is grandma’s beach house,” says Rich with a laugh. And Ali calls their style “old-Florida


“Many of our guests are what I call old house people,” said Rich. These visitors, he noted, come from areas of the country where older homes are valued and cherished.

“When the island was first developed,” he added, “there were shell roads and the houses were built with large overhangs and lots of windows to allow for good ventilation. These bungalows were built to be winter cottages.”

14 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Lily Patch Blue Lagoon Fern Haven Granada Craftsman Tropical Hideaway Canal Place Garden Terrace
Continued on page 34 SIESTA KEY 1960 Stickney Pt Rd 941.922.4545 DOWNTOWN SARASOTA 50 N Tamiami Trl 941.954.8800 LONGBOAT KEY 3170 Gulf of Mexico Dr 941.383.2288 SWIMWEAR | RESORT WEAR | ACCESSORIES SHOP In-Stores or Online NOW!
Rich and Ali Light relax on the front porch of one of their bunaglows on Siesta Key’s Palm Island. (submitted phots)

Reviewed January 29, 2023


As frequent visitors to Sarasota, we’re not sure how we managed to miss this place in the past. Now that we have found it, we will be back to sample everything.

We tried the stone crab chowder and the grouper tacos. Both were delicious and loaded with fish. Our tacos were dressed with a pineapple, watermelon salsa and accompanied by a side of wheatberry salad which had just the right balance of sweet and tangy. Our son also raved about his broiled tripletail which came with fresh green beans and potatoes. Prices, including beer, were reasonable and portions were plentiful.

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★★★★★ From the Market... Large selection of fresh seafood. Special Orders Welcome!

Easter fun!

For the first time, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Easter Egg Hunt was held at Siesta Key Chapel. It was previously held at Turtle Beach. Not only did the kiddos have fun but so did the critters! (photos courtesy of Samantha Ponzillo Media)

16 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665

It’s all in the family

With Miguel’s at 40 years and still going strong, the Garcia restaurant legacy is alive and well thanks to brothers Gabe and Daniel

The privileges – and perils – of being raised on the inside of a family business can nudge the grown-up child either way: all the way in, or far, far away. It can easily take either turn.

Consider the case of Miguel’s, the French fine-dining spot that’s been a mainstay on Midnight Pass Road for 40 years.

Miguel and Betty Garcia, the founders who also originally ran the Surfrider restaurant right on the Gulf of Mexico where Stickney Point Road intersects

with Midnight Pass Road, had an easy recipe for imposing discipline when their two young boys, Gabriel and Daniel, got into mischief: the young men were sentenced to kitchen duty washing the night’s dishes. The punishment cured the misbehaviors, but miraculously did not scare the lads from the scene. Fortunately for the family, and for generations of Siesta Key patrons, Miguel and Betty also let their sons experiment in the kitchen. They gravitated at first to baking bread,

and gradually were drawn in. Fast-forward a few decades, and Miguel’s still delights diners with its superb continental cuisine – and with Gabriel and Daniel now at the helm.

“I didn’t want them to be in the business. It’s very hard,” dad Miguel recalls. “Be a lawyer or a doctor. But fine, whatever makes you happy.”

What made – and makes –Gabriel and Daniel happy is to greet their guests graciously in a

Continued on page 35

Did you know that Siesta Key

Looking into the water at Siesta Key Beach is an incredible, captivating feeling - hues of blue and green dancing in light waves on top of crystal white sand with sunlight reflecting on it. Undeniably, the “Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM” has captured the colors of this experience.

It’s no secret that the sand on Siesta Key Beach is composed of 99% pure quartz. The crystalline white sand of Siesta Key is luxurious, soft, white and cool to the touch 365 days a year. This is why our beloved beach has been revered as one of the most beautiful in the world. Wanting to capture the experience and essence of Siesta Key beach was the goal of the proprietor of Silver City, Monica.

“Tourists always wish they can somehow take their vacation memories with them,” so with this in mind, Silver City designed the Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM. They were able to capture the colors of Siesta Key’s blue/green water and put it into a quartz gemstone. This quartz gemstone is a fusion of the tropical colors that surround us. Just looking into the clear, beautiful gemstone will transport you back to our island paradise representing the Sea, Sky and beautiful sand of Siesta Key Beach.

Silver City has now become a “Must Stop” destination for tourists (Currently named #1 shopping destination on TRIP ADVISOR on Siesta Key). Shining brightly among the cases of this uniquely mirrored store lies the much raved about Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM Every jewelry piece is designed and made by Silver City Sarasota. The staff of Silver City Sarasota is very proud of their unique collection and variety of designs in Sterling Silver and in 14K gold.


Above, then clockwise: The exteriors of Miguel’s and the Surfrider; Miguel Garcia greets a Surfrider diner; the cozy interior of Miguel’s. (submitted photos)

has a Gemstone?

17 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
Gabe (left) and Daniel Garcia in their longtime Crescent Plaza family restaurant. (submitted photo)
Also available online at Silver City Sarasota 6539 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota, FL. 34242 Phone: 941-349-5030 Open Monday-Saturday 10am to 5pm Siesta Key Watercolor GemstoneTM Advertorial LET’S GO TO THE BEACH! Watercolors That Inspire LET’S GO TO THE BEACH! Watercolors That Inspire



Whether they be magnets, ornaments or paperweights, Mark Palmer is producing a smash hit in the form of Siesta Key-inspired trinkets

Siesta Key’s brightly colored lifeguard shacks have long been a symbol of the island’s iconic beach and island life. Artists, filmmakers, photographers and writers have captured their images and memorialized the yellow, red, blue and green stands in various forms for many years. Known the world over, they are a treasured Siesta Key landmark.

Thanks to a tech-savvy Sarasota teenager and her creative, entrepreneurial dad, miniature versions of the structures can now adorn your home or office. Sold both on Siesta Key and online in the form of magnets, ornaments and paperweights, they’ve become a popular keepsake for visitors and residents alike.

They are the brainchild of Hailie and Mark Palmer, whose company is called Takeaway Trinkets, and are produced in the family’s garage via Hallie’s 3-D printer. The tale of how they came to be is reminiscent of Apple computer founder’s Steve Jobs’ early days when the late tech giant launched his career from his father’s garage.

Said Mark, “Hailie had received a 3-D printer for Christmas. My wife’s sister’s boyfriend, who is the manager of the Beach Bazaar store in Siesta Key Village, suggested we use the printer to create something interesting to sell there.”

With the challenge of what to create with the new technology before them, the father-daughter collaboration began. They decided to create miniature replicas of the lifeguard stands and paint them in the same colors. The small treasures, Mark thought, would be a nice gift or treasured souvenir.

Utilizing his own business background and Hailie’s technological know-how, Mark mapped out a plan. An award-winning photographer, cinematographer, director and producer, he is the owner of Mars Vision Productions in Sarasota. The company specializes in video production and still photography. And Hailie, a sophomore at Sarasota’s Riverview High School, is the president of its STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Club.

“She wants to be an engineer and work for NASA someday,” said her father.

With their Beach Bazaar challenge accepted, the duo got to work. As any good STEM scientist would, Hailie began her research. At Siesta Beach, she meticulously measured a lifeguard station and, after returning home with her measurements, used CAD (computer-aided design) software to create a full-scale model. A first attempt was then printed.

“It was two to three months of trial and error,” Mark said. “About 140 prototypes later, we couldn’t get the dimensions to scale right.”

Determined, they continued to work through design and production issues.

Continued on page 44

18 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
mini version of the
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These adorable paperweight trinkets that celebrate the iconic Siesta Beach lifeguard towers are the creation of Mark Palmer, shown below during the production process. (submitted photo)
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Quite the balancing act

Family, business, coaching -- Sebastian Marin, owner of the Seafood Joint in the Village, has found time to do them all in standout form

Sebastian Marin can keep a lot of balls in the air. In the last five years, he’s been a successful Siesta Key restaurateur, Cardinal Mooney head soccer coach, and a father — three jobs that can each demand superhuman amounts of energy. Marin has done all three in the same day.

“You kind of learn from each one how to spread the time around,” he said as he drove from his Village restaurant, the Seafood Joint, to his youngest child’s school on the mainland, to a seafood market in St. Petersburg. “When I grew up, people were always telling me I had a lot of energy. I think that shows in my work ethic.”

Marin came to Sarasota with his family as a child and channeled his energy outdoors, playing soccer at Twin Lakes Park, fishing and enjoying the beach. After college, he embarked on a foodservice career with a couple of the area’s most storied seafood restaurants and fish markets. He also returned to Cardinal Mooney, his alma mater, to coach. He learned that success in either setting depended on teamwork.

But after more than a decade of working toward the success of other people’s restaurants, Marin longed to run his own spot. He envisioned a casual joint dedicated to fresh, local, sustainable seafood from the local commercial fisheries on Pine Island, Cortez and in Pinellas County. He’d offer high-quality products that could also help preserve the local

environment he fell in love with as a child.

“A lot of people won’t hesitate to just buy off any boat, and then we have no way of knowing where that fish came from or what day it got pulled out of the water,” he said.

Finally, in 2018, Marin saw an opportunity to grow his business just as his family was growing, too. He opened the Seafood Joint Market and Grill on Avenida Madera, right in the heart of Siesta Village. At the same time, he was 10 years into his coaching career, and his first son was less than a year old.

Despite his energy, Marin exudes a sort of easygoing geniality that makes everything look deceptively

easy. But in retrospect, tackling new fatherhood, coaching, and a brand-new restaurant simultaneously “was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he admitted.

Still, his vision came to life.

“My specialty was always going to be to display the fresh fish in front of the customers and have an open-kitchen concept,” he said. “The fish case is right there in front of the tables, the grill is right behind us. The kitchen is pulling from the fish case to cook the orders. We don’t have a microwave. The freezer is only for the French fries and snow crab.”

The concept has proved popular. With fewer than 30 seats, the

Continued on page 34

20 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Stone crab claws in one hand, a soccer ball on one foot. Few can deliver this combo to a table like the Seafood Joint’s Sebastian Marin. (photo by John Morton) An article showcasing the accomplishments of his Cardinal Monney soccer team is proudly displayed on the wall of Marin’s business. (photo by John Morton)
Inspired by you. Created by us. LEED Accredited Professional Florida Licensed Building Contractor CBC 060004 Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker BK3222256 Florida Licensed Home Inspector HI4630 Concierge Custom Construction | Remodeling | Project Management 3534 South Osprey Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34239 | 941.924.1868 |

Coming through in the clutch

Russell & Russell Construction steps in to bring a big, bold waterfront beauty to life as the company targets Siesta Key

Mark Russell, a general contractor who brings more than 30 years of construction and fine carpentry experience to his Russell & Russell construction clients, is responsible for creating residential and commercial projects throughout Florida and in his native Rochester, New York.

On Siesta Key, he’s finding a particular delight in overseeing the completion of a luxury four-story, four-unit beachfront condominium at 84 Avenida Veneccia – near the Village.

Designed by the celebrated DSDG Architects of Sarasota, construction is expected to be completed this summer. The poured-concrete structure includes one townhouse and three one-story dwellings. All were purchased preconstruction in 2021.

Although the project is currently Russell’s only one on Siesta Key, his hope is that it will be the first of many.

In fact, Russell is planning to make the Siesta Key area his new home this summer.

Russell & Russell took over the Siesta Key project in June 2022 from another builder. Once completed, each unit will have its own elevator as well as private cabanas. The pool deck will feature a common pool and bar-b-que area. Parking for residents will be found on the ground floor.

Luxurious baths and kitchens, as well as custom-trim carpentry, will grace the completed residences. During a construction

tour of the building, Russell explained that “We’re using exotic woods such as Ipe and Cumaru from South American that are similar to mahogany.” Speaking of his pride in the exacting trim carpentry work that his carpenters

perform for this and other clients, Russell pointed out a 9-foot ring that will grace a recess in the ceiling where a dramatic chandelier will hang.

“Carpentry is a specialty. The more complicated, the more fun it

is,” he said with a smile. “We have the ability to make owners’ dreams come true.”

Russell’s wife, Diane, a former Verizon executive who spent her career in corporate sales, handles the marketing side of the business.

The couple launched their business in July of 2013 in Palm Harbor. This year, the Russells plan to open a second office in Sarasota.

“This is a growth area for

Continued on page 34

21 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
Above, then clockwise: The scene of the remodeling project; lead carpenter Mark Rambone busy at work; contractor Mark Russell on the balcony, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. (photos by Jane Bartnett)

CDs can be part of your investment strategy

In the financial world, stocks and stock-based mutual funds often get a lot of attention. And deservedly so, because they often form the core of a portfolio. But to help achieve your goals, you may also want to consider a broader array of investments — one of which may be a certificate of deposit (CD).

As you may know, a CD earns interest on a lump sum for a designated period. You can purchase CDs whose maturities range from a few months to 10 or more years. Generally, the longerterm the CD, the higher the interest rate, although this isn’t always the case.

In recent years, CD rates have been pretty low, reflecting the overall interest-rate environment. But now, as the Federal Reserve has repeatedly raised interest rates to combat inflation, CD rates are rising, too. In fact, one-year CDs can currently be found paying in the 5% range — a rate that hasn’t

Sarasota Local Brings Experience & Trust to Siesta Key

been seen in more than 15 years. Later in 2023, though, if the Fed eases up on rate hikes, or perhaps even starts reversing them, CD rates could fall again.

You can purchase a CD from a bank or buy a “brokered” CD from a financial services provider. The income you receive from a CD may be its main attraction, especially if the rates remain elevated for a while. But there’s

another key advantage to owning CDs: They can help diversify a portfolio of stocks and stock mutual funds that are generally more susceptible to movements in the financial markets. A portfolio that contains CDs, as well as bonds and government securities, can help reduce the effects of market volatility. Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t guarantee profits or prevent losses in a declining market. While adding individual CDs can be valuable, you might get a greater benefit from a more strategic approach known as laddering. You can build a CD ladder by buying a series of CDs that mature at different dates in the future — perhaps one month, three months, six months, nine months and 12 months out, or an even longer-term ladder of one to five years. In either case, as one CD matures, you can use the money if you need it or reinvest it to another “rung” on your ladder. If interest

rates are up, the reinvestment option might be appealing, but if the available CD rates are lower than your maturing CDs, you could find better uses for your money. And you’d still have your longer-term CDs, possibly paying higher rates, working for you. You must evaluate whether a CD ladder and the securities held within it are consistent with your investment objectives, risk tolerance and financial circumstances.

The amount of space occupied by CDs in your portfolio should depend somewhat on your stage of life. If you’re a long way from retirement, you may want to own a larger percentage of growthoriented investments. But once you’re retired and getting more income from your portfolio becomes more important, you might find a greater need for CDs.

In any case, CDs may prove useful to your overall financial strategy — so give them some thought.

22 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Joe St.
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments 5011 Ocean Blvd., suite 205 Siesta Key, FL 34242 (941)-346-0560 phone (941)-320-4030 mobile This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones. Member SIPC. -- Advertorial -“The Landings Plaza” 4982 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34231 941-925-3955 Fax 926-0066 View menu at Explore Our $4.99 Daily Specials Great Sandwiches Since 1994 Sandwich Construction Specialists Quality, Affordable, Gentle NEW PATIENT SPECIAL Comprehensive Exam by the Dentist & X-Rays! $50 CALL FOR AN APPOINMENT TODAY • 941-505-1200 5136 Ocean Boulevard • Siesta Key, FL 34242 • • See us on Facebook Dental Crowns starting as low as $59 per month Dental Implants starting as low as per month $79 Dentures starting as low as $69 per month Smile Makeovers starting as low as $69 per month LOW MONTHLY PAYMENT OPTIONS Root Canals starting as low as $65 per month FULL SERVICE DENTAL CARE Dr. Ta Over 25 years of Experience in General, Cosmetic, Implant Dentistry and Full Mouth Reconstruction FEATURED SERVICE! Botox and Dermal Filler Treatments! FEATURED SERVICE! SomnoDent Snore Treatment Devices
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Bump, set, spike -- a local delight

For beach volleyball players, playing a match or two on the soft, white, powdery sand at Siesta Beach is pure heaven.

On a breezy mid-April afternoon, a vacationing family from Long Island, New York, was celebrating its 15-year-old son’s birthday and enjoying a competitive game of beach volleyball on Siesta Beach.

“Best birthday ever,” said the teen after scoring a point for his team.

Added his mother, “The sand, the weather, this beach, it’s the best.”

And what was chimed in by the father? “Hey, we’re here on vacation in Siesta Key. What could be better!”

In the world of beach volleyball, few beaches can compete with ours as a place to enjoy this timeless sport. Amateurs and pros alike are in agreement on that.

Florida Backroads Travel called Siesta Beach an “iconic” place for beach volleyball. “Its high-quality courts are often used for official tournaments and games, but it’s a popular location for recreational leagues and casual play as well,” reported the travel website.

On most days throughout the year, beach volleyball players can be found enjoying one or two or more of the 10 Siesta Beach volleyball courts that are maintained and managed by Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. Located a few steps away from the main pavilion and open free of charge during park’s hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the courts are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Friends gather for casual pick-up matches, high school and college beach volleyball tournaments are held, and on occasion Siesta Beach hosts professional tournaments. Even when tournaments are being played, there are always three northern volleyball nets that are left open for public play.

What is it that makes this special place

nirvana for volleyball beach players? It all comes down to the sand, said Jonathan Poyner, Sarasota County’s Siesta Beach coordinator.

“Siesta sand,” he said, “is amazing for volleyball because the nearly pure quartz sand is never hot on your feet and the consistency is soft, with very little shell

content, making it ideal for diving to get that perfect shot.”

For those who want to take in the fastpaced action of a professional beach volleyball tournament, Siesta Beach will be the site of three major volleyball tournaments that are booked for 2023.

The “Dig the Beach Series Siesta Key” event will return her on May 20 and 21, after a three-year absence due to COVID-19. It has become one of the largest sand volleyball tournaments in the country. Last played on Siesta Key in 2019, the popular event offers fans a chance to see exceptional professional and amateur adult and junior players in action.

Diogo Sousa, director of Dig the Beach Volleyball and vice president of operations at Exclusive Sports Marketing, the firm that will present the tournament, said that he and his team are looking forward to getting back to Siesta Key.

“As the No. 1 beach, Siesta Beach attracts a lot of top players. They really enjoy playing there and a lot of our local players live in Sarasota,” he said.

June 3 and 4, the Sunshine State Outdoor Volleyball Association will host “Summer Smash,” featuring adult and junior competition. In the fall, SSOVA will return to Siesta Beach for a second two-day adult and junior event on the weekend of Oct. 7 and 8.

The summer-break volleyball camp offered by Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources that has taken place on

Continued on page 29

In keeping with our Morton’s tradition, we also carry a delicious array of prepared foods, perfect for take-out, picnics, parties and more.

23 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
VILLAGE MAP, pages 24, 25 CRESCENT BEACH MAP, page 28 GULF GATE SHOPS, page 39 LIVE MUSIC, page 32 ACCOMMODATIONS, page 47 941.312.0665 VISIT OUR SIESTA VILLAGE LIQUORS JUST NEXT DOOR! 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
produce, meats and seafood.
Please stop in and say hello! 205 Canal Road, Siesta Key • 941-349-1474 • Your Go-To Store on the Island
A family visiting Siesta Key from Long Island enjoys the volleyball offerings at the public beach, where 10 courts operate under a first-come, first-serve basis. (photo by Jane Bartnett)

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

Island Chatter


Counselors age 16 and older are also needed. To sign up, visit bit. ly/3iNN02V.

Chamber golf event is May 22

Island Chatter

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

Summer camp guide is here, registration is now open Summer camp registration is now open for Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources.

Offerings include day camps, adventure camps and week-long specialty camps. To access the county’s camp guide, visit bit.

The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce will host its 23rd annual golf tournament at TPC Prestancia’s Stadium Course on May 22. This outing presents a unique opportunity for chamber members and guests to play a round of golf on the exclusive, championshipstyle course. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Registration includes a continental breakfast, 18 holes of golf, cart fee, awards, prizes, contest holes, lunch, and more!

Visit my.siestakeychamber. com/events/details/golftournament-05-22-2023-1715.

Cleanup trifecta is May 5-7

The third annual Beach Blast Trifecta will be held May 5-7, invloving cleanup of three local beaches. Those who attend all three events get a chance to win a gift card. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, May 5, 5 to 7 p.m. at Ted Sperling Park, at South Lido Beach. Saturday, May 6, 8 to 10 a.m. at Siesta Beach.

Sunday, May 7, 9 to 11 a.m. at Turtle Beach.

To register, visit https://loom. ly/0j48sbE.

Daily Drink Specials

25 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC 24 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665 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 COFFEE SHOPS Bean Coffeehouse Map-D #62 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company Map-B #31 DRUGSTORE Davidson Drugs Map-D #65 FASHION & ACCESSORIES Beach Bazaar’s & Swin Shack Map-C #28 Blvd. Beachwear Map-B #30 Casa Smeralda Fashion’Style D #12-11 Comfort Shoes-Birki & More Map-D #64 Foxy Lady Fashions Map-A #40 Gidget’s Coastal Provisions Map-B #44 Island Boutique Map-B #50 Island Style Map-C #53 Lilly Pulitzer Map-D #66 Sea Shanty Map-C #24 Siesta T’s Map-B #30 The Sandal Factory Map-B #46 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 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 MAILING SHIPPING US Post Office Map-D #65 MARKETS/FOOD STORES Circle K Store Map-E #6 Morton’s Siesta Market Map-C #25 MASSAGE Hands of Light Massage Map-B #35 The Spa at Calle Minorga Map-E #74 Sassy ... the Little Day Spa.............Map-D #62 MEDICAL - DENTAL Siesta Village Dentistry Map-D #63 Siesta Dental Map-B #49 Siesta Key Physical Therapy Map-D #20 MISCELLANEOUS Chamber of Commerce Map-D #67 Prime Audio Video Map-E #1 Roberti Enterprises Map-A #39 Village Arcade Map-C #53 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Attorney Fleming Map-E #1 Edward Jones Investments Map-D #68 Smith Architects Map-E 74 REAL ESTATE / RENTAL SERVICES Amy Robinson RE Map-E #1 Beach Palms B-74 Coldwell Banker Realty Map-D #20 EXP Realty Map-E #4 Judith Guzzi & Assoc Map-E #74 Keller Williams Real Estate Map-D #11 Michael Saunders Realty Map-E #72 ReMax Alliance Group Map-C #29 Map-D #9 Robasota Rentals & Real Estate Map-A #39 Siesta Key Rental Prop Map-D
#33 Island House Bar & Grill Map-D #69 Lobster Pot Map-C #23 Mojo Risin’ Coffee Company Map-B #31 Old Salty Dog Rest. & Pub Map-E #2 PI Pizza & Craft Beer Map-A #3 Ripfire Pizza Map-B #47 Siesta Key Oyster Bar Map-B #45 IL PANCIFICO Map-D #15 Summer House Map-C #57 Sun Garden Café Map-D #19 The Cottage Map-C #58 The Hub Baja Grill Map-C #59 The Seafood Joint Map-D #15 The Star Thai Sushi Map-D #17 & 18 Village Café Map-D #14 SPAS - HAIR & BEAUTY Sassy Hair Salon Map-A #40 Sassy ... the Little Day Spa.............Map-D #62 Siesta Key Nails & Spa Map-D #9 Shaman Sanctuary Salon Map-D #9 SPORTS INTEREST/RENTALS CaliFlorida Map-C #29 Robin Hood Rentals Map-B #34
Ringling Beach
Rentals Map-D #9
Sands Accommodations Map-D #67
Broken Egg Map-C #54 & 55
Café Map-A #38
French Cafe Map-C #47
Gabbiano Map-D #71
Deck Raw Bar Map-B #42-43 Flavio’s Brick Oven & Bar Map-B #29 Flavio’s Italiano Ristorante Map-B #30
Island Bar & Grill Map-B
from previous page
from page 5
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Sarasota’s only old-fashioned Meat Market, Deli and Restaurant under one roof

Voted Sarasota’s best non-chain Steakhouse 4 years in a row!

Home of the Sarasota TurDucKen, as seen on The Food Network with Guy Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Time to order:

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We offer takeout and complete catering services.


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Great egret (Ardea alba)

The great egret is an elegant heron adorned in white, magnificent plumage and is nearly the size of the great blue heron. Inhabiting six of the seven continents, this long-legged and long-necked marvel is at home near most bodies of water, salt or fresh. The great egret serves as the “spokesbird” for the Audubon Society’s emblem. It was the first critically endangered bird whose nearly tragic end was prevented by the society’s conservation efforts through legislation. Like all babies, the ones pictured here are still totally dependent on their parents

for food and protection. Baby egrets are nest bound until 4 weeks old when they gain the strength and balance to begin exploring, on foot, the branches supporting their nest — as high as 50 to 100 feet off the ground. Talk about a tightrope act! In another two to three weeks, this brood will test their fledgling wings to become newly minted aviators under parental supervision. It takes a closely knit community to raise all the baby egrets that will, in about two years’ time, keep the colony going strong in adulthood.

Jan Baumgartner’s handmade notecards are available at Sunshine & Sand Hidden Treasures, 6635 Midnight Pass Rd., in Crescent Plaza.

Like all pineapples, they are a type of bromeliad. Originated in tropical America and the Caribbean, explorers have moved the pineapple to all tropical parts of the world.

Ornamental pineapples are grown just for their looks, while the edible pineapple is a standard fruit appreciated worldwide. It’s prettier relative, the ornamental pineapple, is a true landscape beauty often underutilized, but always appreciated.

Ornamental pineapples can easily be grown here in Sarasota. Either purchase a started plant, or find a friend or neighbor with a vegetative part to share. To start ornamental pineapples, you first need either a crown from the fruit or suckers. Suckers form at the base of the leaves of the old

mother plant. The bigger and more developed that all these propagation materials are, the quicker they will develop into a new plant.

Pot the plantlets in clean potting medium to start new plants. Set rooted plants out in full sun to part-shade locations situated in planting beds enriched with compost about 36 inches apart to help develop vigorous plants. Applying an organic mulch will also help maintain moisture and suppress weeds.

Ornamental pineapple plants are in bloom at The Sarasota

Boulevard of


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28 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665 941.346.0202 1220 Old Stickney Point Road HAND MADE: • Ice Cream • Sundaes • Shakes Home of the Orange Squeeze OPEN DAILY 11AM - 10PM BARS & NIGHTCLUBS Capt. Curt’s Backroom Saloon B-3 #7 Crescent Club C-3 #13 Sniki Tiki B-3 #8 COFFEE SHOPS Coffee Garden B-3 #8 DELIS / BAKERIES Anna’s Deli & Sandwiches C-3 #14 Nutritious You C-3 #14 DRUG STORES Davidson Drugs C-3 #14 FASHION & ACCESSORIES Fin Island Co A-3 #2 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters A-3 #4 Coconuts Resort Wear B-3 #1 Green Turtle Swimwear C-3 #14 Key Casual Fashions D-3 #17 Things You Like C-3 #14 GIFTS & SOUVENIRS Capt. Curt’s Souvenirs B-3 #8 Green Turtle Shells & Gifts C-3 #14 Sunshine Sand Hidden Treasures D-3 #17 Silver City Jewelry C-3 #14 HEALTH & BEAUTY Eye Style Optical ....................................C-3 #17 Sanctuary Siesta Key A-5 #12 Siesta Key Salon & Spa D-3 #17 The Key Spa & Salon A-5 #12 ICE CREAM & TREATS Orange Octopus B-3 #8 Siesta Creamery C-3 #14 INTERNET / WiFi SERVICES Davidson Drugs C-3 #14 Mail Pack Center C-3 #14 LIQUOR STORES Crescent Club B-3 #13 Siesta Spirits C-3 #17 MAILING & SHIPPING Mail Pack Center C-3 #14 US Post Office Sub Station C-3 #14 MARKETS 7-11 Store C-3 #16 Big Water Fish Market C-3 #17 REAL ESTATE / RENTALS Beckmann Properties C-2 #15 Homes & Condo Rentals D-3 #17 Re/Max Tropical Sands B-3 #1 Siesta 4-Rent C-3 #14 Waterside Realty C-3 #17 RESTAURANTS / CAFES Big Water Fish Market C-3 #17 Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill A-5 #12 Capt. Curts Crab & Oyster Bar B-3 #7 Clayton’s Siesta Grille B-3 #9 Daiquiri Deck A-3 #2 Pizza ‘N Brew Siesta Key D-3 #17 Spear Fish Grill A-4 #5 Toasted Mango Cafe C-3 #17 Miguel’s Restaurant C-3 #17 WATER SPORTS - FISHING - RENTALS A to Z Beach & Bike Rentals A-5 #12 FIN Island Co. A-3 #2 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters A-3 #4 Parasail Siesta A-3 #2 Siesta Key Bike & Kayak B-3 #8 Siesta Key Marina A-4 #5 Siesta Key Jetski A-3 #2 Siesta Sports Rentals C-3 #14 Waves Boat & Social Club A-5 #12 CRESCENT BEACH SHOP INDEX MAP C-3 #14 Anna’s Deli 6535 Midnight Pass Rd. MAP B-3 #1 Crescent Beach Grocery 1211 Old Stickney Pt. Rd. MAP A-3 #4 CB’s Saltwater Outfitters 1249 Stickney Point Rd. MAP B-3 #1&8 Coconuts Fashion 1215 Old Stickney Point Rd. MAP C-3 #17 Toasted Mango Cafe 6621 Midnight Pass Rd. MAP C-3 #14 Siesta 4-Rent 6555 Midnight Pass Rd. MAP C-4 #17 Big Water Fish Market 6641 Midnight Pass Road MAP A-5 #12 Boatyard Waterfront Bar & Grill 1500 Stickney Point Rd. MAP C-3 #14 Davidson Drugs 6595 Midnight Pass Rd. SHELL& GIFT CITY SHELL & GIF T THE GREEN TURTLE TUR 349-4751 349-4751 SiestaKey’s Largest Seashell& CoralSelection! SOUTHBRIDGEMALL CRESCENT BEACH SIESTA KEY SiestaKey’s Most Friendly& Unique Shopping Spot! 6525 Midnight Pass Road In South Bridge Mall “A Tropical Department Store Department Store“ MAP B -3#14 FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE! FREE! With This Coupon No Pu r chase Necessary green TURTLE COUPON green TURTLE COUPON Just ForStopping In AF ree Tropical Gift! AF f t! EXPIRES:12/31/2020 VA59¢ LUE GIF TS& SOUVENIRS BEACH FASHIONS BEACH SUPPLIES BEACH COVER-UPS L ADIES & JUNIORS FASHIONS SUPER MEN'SLINE TS & ASHIONS JUNIORSFASHIONS S LINE $ T Siesta Key BestDiner in Florida 6621 Midnight Pass Road Just S. of Stickney Pt. Road 941-552-6485 Open 7 Days A Week ~ 7 AM - 3 PM BREAKFAST and LUNCH SERVED ALL DAY Full Breakfast and Lunch Menu All Natural Fresh Fruit and Veggie Smoothies Beer, Wine and Bloody Marys MSN Food and Drink Jan. 2015 Coming Soon! Now Hiring Agents Call Bryan at 941-302-9090

County enjoys more good tourism news

Fiscal year 2022 (beginning Oct. 1 of 2021) was record breaking as far as tourism in Sarasota County is concerned, with visitors spending more than $1.7 billion here. That is according to Visit Sarasota, which serves at the county’s tourism arm, as its representatives gave the organization’s annual report at the April 11 meeting of the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners.

“Sarasota County was uniquely positioned to take advantage of the post-COVID surge in travel because Florida was reliably open for business and because of the strong marketing efforts we had in place prior to COVID,” Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota, said.

That spending spree tops the number of more than $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2021.

In fact, fiscal year 2022 numbers surpassed 2021 numbers in all major categories.

Economic impact: More than $2.8 billion in 2022 vs. more than $2.2 billion in 2021.

Visitation numbers: 1,499,200 in 2022 vs. 1,365,700 in 2021.

Commissioner seeks traffic measures

Concerned about the ever-growing chaotic congestion on Siesta Key, Sarasota County ommissioner Mark Smith on April 11 received support from his colleagues to explore some measures to combat safety issues.

For starters, he’d like to expand the speed cushion pilot program to the south business district, namely at where both Stickney Point Road and Old Stickney Point Road cross Midnight Pass Road – outside of the Captain Curt’s Village.

“There is a lot of crossing there with people going to the beach,” said Smith, who resides on the Key.

If the approved 120-room hotel toward the end of Old Stickney Point Road is built, that area will likely be even busier with pedestrians.

As for cars approaching the area, from the north on Midnight Pass Road they converge with what is often gridlock traffic coming off the south bridge. From the south on Midnight Pass Road, they are leaving behind a speed limit of 40 mph a short distance behind them. In August, an SUV struck and injured a father and two of his children – one of whom he held in his arms – at the Old Stickney Road intersection.

The speed cushions, that come in the form of small bumps, would be the same as those installed last year along Ocean Boulevard where motorists enter the Village from the north. They are placed across the width of the road and are designed to encourage drivers to slow down to about 15 mph to handle smoothly. However, they are narrow enough for emergency vehicles to straddle, not impeding their travel.

Secondly, Smith has asked that a special traffic model be created by the county for Siesta Key, including input from two residents who have a history with the subject – Bill Oliver and Jim Wallace.

A traffic model is a mathematical model

that includes the study of traffic flow in relation to road width and other factors while drawing heavily on theoretical foundations. Models can teach researchers and engineers how to ensure optimal flow with a minimum number of traffic jams.

Smith said the existing traffic models produced by the county don’t adequately take into consideration non-car issues and scenarios – namely the large presence of pedestrians.

Smith noted that beyond pedestrians, the Key is loaded with bicycles, golf carts, skateboards, scooters, and many other conveyances.

“It’s an experimental lab on how to move people,” he said of the scene. “I’ve seen more golf carts on Siesta Key than on most golf courses.”

Oliver is a traffic impact expert consultant and spoke as an opponent to the new 170room hotel approved for Calle Miramar near the Village. Wallace, who was formerly a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the 2021 hotel approvals, fought the FDOT in a losing effort to not erect traffic signals along Stickney Point Road at Avenue B & C at what will be the entrance to the upcoming Siesta Promenade project.

Smith told commissioners that he’s heard that such a model could costs between $150,000 and $200,000 to develop, but it would likely play a role in saving much more than $200,000 in county attorney fees when you consider the danger of so much roadway congestion as cars and pedestrians try to coexist.

“It should help avoid future litigation,” said Smith, noting the study could also help play a role in land-use decisions and possible requests for special exceptions related to them.

Smith said both the Siesta Key Association civic group and the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce support the study.

Room nights sold: 3,255,230 in 2022 vs. 2,945,020 in 2021.

Average daily rate: $237.44 in 2022 vs. $194.83 in 2021.

Occupancy: 71% in 2022 vs. 66% in 2021.

The origin of visitors in fiscal year 2022, Visit Sarasota reports, was 91.5% domestic and 8.5% international. Haley said the international market is still slow to return to form but improving, noting that it reconnected with some European tour


What is strong again is the traditional origin market made up of many northern cities, while in fiscal year 2021 most domestic visitors were regional -- coming from within Florida or the southeast part of the country.

Among the top origin cities were New York City, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, and Boston.

The number of corporate meetings hosted in Sarasota County also improved in fiscal year 2022, especially in the fourth quarter, as 44 of them were booked out of 299 direct invites, Visit Sarasota reports. That resulted in $12 million in economic impact.

Fiscal year 2023, which began Oct. 1 of 2022, looks promising as well. Haley reports that through the end of February there has been a 6.8% increase in visitors and in direct spending a 4.6% increase – a number she said is a bit down because many visitors in October and early October were relief workers here to help with Hurricane Ian cleanup and relief.

“While our rooms were full, they were heading out to help others. They weren’t going to attractions. They weren’t going out to eat,” Haley said.

In this year’s tourism season, she noted, room-rate occupancy went as high as 87% with the average room rate for February reaching a staggering $303.

“I don’t think I can afford to vacation here in high season,” Haley said.

A participant in the annual Dig the Beach tourney on Siesta Key delivers a serve. The event is May 20 and 21 at the public beach, 948 Beach Rd. (file photo)

Beach volleyball

Siesta Beach for many years will not take place this summer.

“Hopefully, it will return to the program lineup for summer camp next season,” said the Siesta Beach coordinator.

Continued from page 23

to close distances and make the crazy diving plays that are hallmarks of AVP sets,” the organization reports.

Scoring is also different.

Although many casual beach volleyball players use indoor rules and play with teams of six or more, beach volleyball rules call for only two players per side.

According to the Association of Volleyball Professionals, team size is not the only difference. “Beach volleyballs are softer, lighter, and marginally bigger. With four fewer players per side on the beach, that bigger, floatier ball allows for those players

“In indoor volleyball, a set is won by the first team to score 25 points. Beach volleyball is played to 21,” it said.

Beach volleyball on the white sands of Siesta can hold its own against any other top beach volleyball location. Just ask any player having the time of their life playing a game of pick-up ball or a player going in for a spike to win a big tournament.

Volleyball utopia? It’s right here.

29 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
To advertise in Siesta Sand, call 941-312-0665 Subscribe to Siesta Sand Weekly eNewsletter. Visit to sign up.
The intersections of Midnight Pass Road at both Stickney Point Road and Old Stickney Point Road are high traffic and high pedestrian spots that have Sarasota County Commission member Mark Smith concerned. Here, pedestrians cross toward Captain Curt’s Village. (photo by John Morton)

MONDAY Make Your Mother’s Day Reservations Early!

HAPPY UNIVERSITY PARK 8235 Cooper Creek Blvd, University Park, FL 941-359-4816 SARASOTA LANDINGS 4956 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 941-927-2270


The Siesta Sand presents a monthly column that featuring a cocktail one can either make for themselves at home or find at a local Siesta Keyarea establishment.

Key Cocktails is sponsored by Siesta Key Rum, Florida’s finest craft rum producer that uses all natural ingredients in its distillery process. Siesta Key Rums are smooth enough to be enjoyed on their own, but they also make a great base for cocktails!

To toast the merry month of May, we are enjoying a Siesta Key Coffee Mocha Martini made with Siesta Key Coffee Rum. It’s sure to be a hit with martini lovers!

Siesta Key Coffee Mocha Martini


2 oz. Siesta Key Coffee Rum

1.5 oz Creme de Cacao Chocolate shavings


Preparation: Add Siesta Key Coffee Rum and Creme de Cacao in a shaker and add ice. Shake it up until nice and chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with grated chocolate shavings.

Paw Pals

Meet Zulu

Zulu is a 9-year-old “mix of everything” who was rescued by his owner Kathy while she visited Mardi Gras in 2014 in New Orleans -- the dog was literally dropped off in her lap when someone found Zulu in neglectful living conditions as a 2-month-old puppy.

To Siesta Key he came, and the good life here includes trips to Turtle Beach, Phillippi Estate Park, and Glebe Park.

Beef jerky is Zulu’s go-to snack.

(Submit your Paw Pal to the Siesta Sand at

30 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665 Online Ordering for Take out and Delivery 539 S. ORANGE | 941-955-7859 | OPEN MON-FRI 9-4 & SAT 10-4 | DONATE SHOP CONSIGN VOLUNTEER  The joy of shopping  The joy of giving  The joy of recycling  The joy of supporting students and the arts in our community Find your joy Sarasota’s #1 consignment shop This purchase helped award $250,000 in grants and scholarships during our 2021-2022 Fiscal year.
Est. 1962
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move, and how there even used to be one to the north near the Point of Rocks.

“A wild pass is not going to necessarily stay the way you dug it. It will move,” Tomasko said, noting that several of which he knows have required additional dredging. “Look at the history.”

He also warned against using a jetty on each side of the pass, similar of what was done at the Venice Inlet, showing aerial pictures of how the beach thins out to the south of the jetty because southbound sand flow is blocked.

As for the use of a pipe or pipes, which has been under consideration by the commissioners, Tomasko agreed that maintenance issues would be likely.

What he did recommend was the creation of a culvert – a permanent reinforced tunnel often seen under roadways. He said they are commonly used in the Florida Keys for similar circumstances and one project he worked on personally that involved a culvert to create water flow at Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County won an award.

“It’s not something in which a manatee would get stuck,” he assured the commissioners.

A culvert would not allow for a navigable waterway, like Midnight Pass once did, but many proponents of the potential project have minimized the importance of that – instead focusing on water quality. Currently, boaters in the Intracoastal Waterway must travel to either Big Pass to the north or the Venice Inlet to the south to reach the Gulf. About 14 miles separate the two.

Watch your words

“The bay is not dead.”

Tomasko emphasized those words several times during his presentation.

“Don’t say it, because it’s not true. The most important thing you have is your credibility,” he said.

Tomasko noted that an abundance of mangroves and seagrass remains present. He said the bay also holds one of the area’s largest juvenile fish populations, serving as a nursery.

“If you talk about the bay as some toilet needing to be flushed, you’ll lose a lot of friends,”

Tomasko said, stressing that the current habitat will have people looking to protect it. “If you decide you’re just going to put a channel right through the middle and not care about seagrass and mangroves, there’s going to be a lot of pushback from a lot of people.”

In fact, opening the pass would likely increase the bay’s chances of being impacted by the red tide living in the Gulf, Tomasko said.

“Little Sarasota Bay had a lower level than most in 2018,” he added.

The biggest culprit today that is hurting the bay, Tomasko continued, is the influx of nitrogen – a common result of wastewater overflows and stormwater runoff. He said the water quality in Little Sarasota Bay was much worse five years ago, but improvements in water treatment infrastructure went a long way.

“You’ve spent millions on this, and it’s working,” he told the commissioners.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Ian last September stirred things back up, and water quality again dipped and marine life suffered as

salinity stratification and bottom water hypoxia occurred, killing off oxygen below. It’s when an influx of freshwater rests above the saltier water, he explained, and the saltier water is unable to get oxygen from the atmosphere or photosynthesis.

A lack of a quality habitat is the result, Tomasko said, and it’s a scenario where larger fish can swim away from the problem, but the small ones can’t. “If you live on the bottom, you’re going to die,” he said.

He added that complaints by fishermen that the bay no longer has large fish is misleading. “If people want to catch big fish, they need to care about little fish, first,” he said.

Tomasko also told commissioners that the pursuit of permits is tricky, with many

agencies often involved. He also reminded the board that an attempt for a permit to open the pass 15 years ago was denied by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

He encouraged the board to not fall for contractors who claim they will have no trouble getting a permit. “I spent half my career in the private sector,” he said.

“Someone who says it’s easy, or ‘I’m confident I can get permits’ – you might want to run away.”

Instead, Tomasko encouraged the board to rely on experts and research. Then, meet with permitting people up front before money is spent.

“Let the science tell you the problem that needs to be fixed,” he said. Then, a case can better be made to proceed.

In closing, board chairman Ron Cutsinger asked Tomasko if there’s a chance that too much time had passed in this case.

“If a pass has been closed that long, does it matter? Does it take it out of its historical designation?” he asked.

Tomasko said the unique circumstances surrounding the pass – specifically that its closing was the result of mankind – should help.

“It’s not a dealbreaker. It was an artificial impediment, it was closed with a bulldozer, I’ve seen the pictures. That’s an important point – there was never a permit granted to close it, just to move it. They did not meet their permit obligation.”

Said Cutsinger, “If we’ve learned anything today, it’s that we’ve got a long road ahead of us.”

31 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
Tomasko presentation Continued from page 11
Trout Almondine, Macadamia Nut Encrusted Grouper, Cult favorites like Pizzas, Duck, Fish Tacos Exec Chef Mike Yoder, one of the best chefs in the world GM, Jacob Butler, and our friendly staff will provide a most entertaining experience. Clayton is a fun, spirited, community guy and lifelong resident Best Eatery in the country, says his mom “Kitten” High School mentoring program teaching work ethic and responsibility Locals’ Gathering Spot Great Happy Hour from 4-6:30 ECO friendly restaurant Proves you are not a member of the Chain Gang 1. 2 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. TOP 10 REASONS TO VISIT CLAYTON’S SIESTA GRILLE 1265 Old Stickney Point Road Siesta Key 941-349-2800
A recent photo of Midnight Pass, or a lack thereof. Where there used to be a natural waterway between Siesta Key and Casey Key now appears to be continuous beach. In the early 1980s, the pass was filled in with sand with Sarasota County approval. (submitted photo)

Arts on the Horizon

A spring leads to summer

And the man to lead you on this journey, May 13 through June 11, is the Man of La Mancha. He, and his faithful manservant Sancho Panza, will meet with you most evenings at Asolo Rep’s Mertz Theatre (previews May 10 and 11).

The original book, Don Quixote of La Mancha, was first published in 1605 and is considered to be not only the first modern novel, but one of the greatest in literature. No wonder then that it is a beacon drawing the most illustrious stars to the plays and musicals about this most chivalrous of men. The non-musical play on which the musical is based starred Lee J. Cobb, Colleen Dewhurst, and Eli Wallach. The lyrics first written for the musical were by W.H. Auden but were dropped as they were considered to be too overtly satiric in this satiric play about, among other things, the Spanish Inquisition. Rex Harrison was to be Don Quixote in the original production, but this star of My Fair Lady was considered to be not quite good enough. Richard Kiley and then Jose Ferrer took his place. Robert Goulet starred in the National Tour, as did Peter O’Toole in the film, with Placido Domingo singing that role in the studio recording. Quite a constellation of stars.

The original novel Don Quixote was a work of fiction within a work of fiction. In the book, Cervantes was imprisoned in Spain (he was imprisoned in Istanbul) by the Spanish Inquisition (by the Ottoman Empire). The book is a fun read full of comic adventure, but the question arises, why did he write this extraordinary tale, besides the fact that he really could use the money?

It has been said that his family might have been “new Christians” – meaning that his grandparents, or great-grandparents, might have once been Jewish. Under the Inquisition, while might made right, might put one under an ongoing cloud of suspicion.

So, if one is going to write a tell-all book about one’s current government’s evils, and

how they twist a decent citizen’s attempts to do good works and make him a laughing stock to all onlookers, what better way to do so than to portray oneself as being a laughing stock that is imprisoned by that country’s enemy (as Cervantes had been). And then, while in a fictional prison, have that person, and his fellow prisoners, put on a play highlighting the evils of his county’s enemy (which actually were those of his own country). And how, today, to make it even more fun – or politically palatable – why not make it into a musical.

When an author, who worked for his government in many capacities for many years, writes a fun book that could be considered to be political, then you know it was all about putting it to the man.

More info about this Tony (five) awardwinning musical at

Slow boat to London

In 1938 all boats to and from London (relative to today) were slow. Not as slow as the ones that arrived at Plymouth Rock a few years earlier, but slow enough. In the early summer of that year my grandfather, who liked to travel, and loved England, took a trip to London.

As my grandmother, who did not like to travel, stayed home, he booked a solo trip,

sharing a cabin with a stranger in order to get the lowest fare (this was during the depression, after all). The steamship line put my grandfather into a double cabin with another gentleman who traveled under the name of Thomas Wright Waller. The only thing my mother told me about this, was that her father said the man was somewhat heavyset and was very nice.

Star Wars was a great movie so there were sequels and prequels. The Broadway hit musical Ain’t Misbehavin’’, about the life of the music legend Fats Waller, was just as acclaimed, so it was natural the Nate Jacobs, the founder of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, would create a pre-sequel (seqprequil?) which tells more about his life and times in Big Sexy: The Fats Waller Revue. This world premiere musical runs through May 28 at the WBTT’s Donelly Theatre on North Orange.

Besides creating and directing this show, Nate Jacobs chose the Fats Waller tunes, out of the 400 or so that Mr. Waller wrote, that would best characterize the high times and hard times of the 1920s and 1930s –“Honeysuckle Rose”, “Ain’t Misbehavin’”, “The Joint Is Jumpin’”, etc. The show will feature WBTT favorites Leon S. Pitts II as the big man himself and Ariel Blue as Edith Hatchett, his first wife.

Whether it was Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, or others, hard times brought out the best in many of America’s great entertainers. More info at

The key to good feelings is Grace –preferably grace with a little kick. And that may be why Grace: The Spirit of Aretha may be just the kind of grace you need. This lively co-production of the WBTT (Nate Jacobs) and the Key Chorale (Joseph Culkins) is being held May 8 at the Van Wezel, on the 50th anniversary of Aretha Franklyn’s release of her Grammy award-winning album, Amazing Grace. Besides this iconic song, you’ll hear “Mary, Don’t You Weep”, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”, “Chain of Fools”, and so many others.

More info also at and

School’s letting out, and nothing to do?

Were the kids bored last summer? Well, here are some possibilities. From May 30 to Aug. 4, Art Center Sarasota will host the young ones for 10 weeks of creative summer fun! Days are full of activities, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and before- and aftercare is available. The Art Center will be catering to two different age groups (6-10 and 11-15) with appropriate activities. The masterpieces they create will be exhibited at the end of each week. Fun plus recognition for all that participate. Register at summercamp.

Ten weeks too long? Well, there are oneand two-week sessions at the Opera Summer Camp that will be held at the Sarasota Opera House this June. A team of professionals will be doing some hands-on teaching for all skill levels and for two different age groups –singing, costume design, props and staging; all aspects of an opera production. Registration through May 15 at summer-camp.

How does acting sound instead of singing or painting? If that’s what interests them, then Florida Studio Theatre’s summer camp might be just the thing. This camp for young ones from ages 4-17 has classes in acting, music, dance, and improvisation, involving the entire creative process; from writing to playmaking. Registration at

Kids jumping up and down driving you crazy? Then get them a bit of dance direction at Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s Kids Summer Program in July. They can explore a variety of dance styles, including creative movement, contemporary, jazz, afro-modern, and hip-hop. They will be bounding with joy. Registration at

32 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665

Siesta Snapshots Photos by Trebor Britt

“Siesta Monster“-- Four-year-old Boz is thrilled to be pushing his monster truck through the standing water and sand on the beach. Boz is enamered with trucks, tractors, fish and crabs. His father serves our community as a firefighter at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

“Siesta Chillin’“ -- First-time visitors Jessica and Dave Etheridge drove almost three hours from Port St. Lucie to enjoy a relaxing day on Siesta Beach. Originally from Texas, a friend of theirs wrote a country song with the lyrics “One boot in the red dirt and one barefoot in the sand.”

“Sharing on Siesta“ -- Three-year-old Laila shares her plastic ice cream cone with her mom, Lea, along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Visiting the beach and county parks are among Laila’s favorite activities. Maryland residents just 10 months ago, Lea is a nurse at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

All Roads Lead to Made in Rome Organic Gelato on Siesta Key!

Thank you to all of our costumers from Paola, Sierra, Kylie, Taylor, Anna, Stefania, Giada, Alexis, Alice, Sage, Emma, Anna and Nora. And, of course, Diane & Massimo say grazie to all of our costumers and staff!

“Siesta Tennis” -- Twelve- year Siesta Key resident Pete Collazo of Michigan hits a forehand back to his girlfriend on the Siesta Beach tennis courts. Currently a manager/bartender at Shaner’s Pizza in Gulf Gate, Collazo stays active playing tennis, biking, and paddle boarding.

“Service on Siesta”

Owner Diane Theron-Cuna invites you to watch the process as she creates a batch of her sinfully delicious gelato from scratch every 15 minutes.

“We are very proud and happy each day. to be here on Siesta Key,” says Theron-Cuna.

If you’re lucky enough to catch Theron-Cuna at the shop, she will happily entertain you with stories of her earlier days as a circus performer. She comes from three generations of circus entertainers and has traveled around the world performing with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The family earned their own “Star of Fame” at St. Armands CircleThe Theron

33 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
-- Spencer, assistant manager of the Sun Deck concession overlooking Siesta Beach, computes a customer’s food bill. He loves the beach and feels fortunate to come there nearly every day. Before working on the beach he worked for Bushwacker Spirits in Sarasota. Sage Kylie Giada, Anna & Alexis Diane 5204 Ocean Blvd. in Siesta Key Village Cycling Troupe. Sierra & Paola Taylor & Stephania Anna Nora Alice Emma

residential home construction as well as anything commercial,”

Mark Russell said.

In addition to the current Siesta Key project, Russell & Russell recently completed residential projects on Lido Beach and a condominium in downtown Sarasota.

Speaking of the company’s


commercial projects, “We do a lot of restaurants,” Mark Russell noted. A Culver’s restaurant in Lakewood Ranch as well as a small remodel of a First Watch restaurant in Sarasota are recent jobs of which the builder is proud. The firm’s portfolio also includes numerous restaurant renovations, hotels, country clubs and medical

Happiness is…Butter

Yes, you read that right. Isn’t everything better with butter?

As another snowbird season comes to an end, it’s time to bring on the slower summer pace that’s smooth as butter. The gang at Abel’s Ice Cream is all in.

Stop by in May for butter-filled featured flavors like Butterfinger (You won’t want anyone touching your…Vanilla ice cream loaded with crushed Butterfinger® candy bars!), Butter Pecan (Awesome Butter Pecan ice cream loaded with lightly salted,

facilities. That work often includes interior trim, wainscoting, chair rails and bathrooms.

When it comes to custom homes, Russell recommends poured concrete and masonry. “They create better and more secure homes and offer the best way to protect your assets and your life. We saw what happened in Fort Myers Beach,” he said.

In the interior design world, Russell noted that clean, sleek lines are trending. “We’re seeing a move away from fancy trim to flat crown molding that is more current. Tongue and groove ceilings made from exotic woods that can be painted or stained create a more subdued look,” he said.

To assist clients in finding their “look,” his firm works with leading interior designers and architects. Russell & Russell’s smaller projects, he reported, begin with a budget of at least $50,000. “This could be a kitchen or bathroom remodel,” he explained.

Stressing the importance of a quality roof, Russel urges homeowners to “have their architect and engineer pay to go

above and beyond code.” If the architecture allows it, he said, “A metal roof works especially well for a Key West- or East Indies-style home. It will hold up.”

Meanwhile, 15 highly skilled carpenters make up Russell & Russell’s carpentry team, he noted, bringing years of experience and a true sense of design and appreciation for the wood itself to their roles.

“Several have achieved master carpentry status. They are outstanding and really enjoy doing unusual and often complex trim work,” he said, and it “often involves complicated interior ceiling work, moulding, and baseboards that enhance and transform a home’s interior.

“They are equally adept at creating gorgeous outdoor living spaces.”

Many of the company’s residential and commercial projects can be seen online at

“We have a great team who work well together and we’re a real family business,” Russell said.

Continued from page 14

While so much of the island’s history gives way to new construction, these cheery and welcoming bungalows stand proud.

The Lights currently own and manage six pet-friendly bungalows on Siesta Key. “We’ve painted them in timeless, fun colors that are not serious,” said Ali.

All bungalows, she reported, are fully equipped for long-term stays and each house has its own name reflecting a tropical casual island vibe. Rentals are available on a monthly, seasonal and annual basis. Rates and availably vary for each unit. Siesta Bungalows rentals include two studio cottages named Fern Haven and Garden Terrace.

The Tropical Hideaway has two bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths. The Lily Patch and the Blue Lagoon are both two-bed, two-bath houses. Canal Place, the largest bungalow, has three bedrooms and two baths.

The couple also own and manage two other bungalow properties in the historic Sarasota neighborhood of Granada, near the Siesta Key north bridge.

Under Rich’s watchful eye, each bungalow is well-maintained and preserved. “Customer service is extremely important to us,” he said. “We treat our tenants with respect and deal with any issues that come up. Each year we focus on various updates.”

“Our rates are reasonable,” he added. “Many of our people are retired couples who want an extra bedroom for family visits and room for their pets. When they arrive, we have bikes, beach chairs and coolers ready for their use.”

Many guests return year after year. “We’ve got people who’ve come back for more than 10 years,” said Ali.

Clearly, the Lights are two people who have found a calling in their lives. Photos and property details of the bungalows are available at

roasted pecans), and Butterscotch Bomb (Butterscotch ice cream loaded with a thick ribbon of butterscotch and exploding with brownies, heath bars, cookies and peanut butter cups.)

And if you’re not feeling all that buttery love, no worries. At Abel’s Ice Cream, they believe that great ice cream should be enjoyed by everyone, which is why they offer a range of fl avors that are perfect for any palate. So whether you’re a chocolate lover or a fan of fruity fl avors, they have something for everyone.

Visit Abel’s today and taste the difference for yourself. With their commitment to quality and flavor, we’re sure that Abel’s Ice Cream will be your new favorite treat all year round!

Abel’s is located at 1886 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota in the South Bridge Plaza. Open Sunday through Thursday from Noon9:30 pm, and Friday and Saturday from Noon-10 pm. Learn more at or connect with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Continued from page 20

Fortunately, this important piece of Siesta Key’s history is being cared for and nurtured. Seafood Joint fills up fast with diners in search of fresh grouper, snapper and more. On top of that, the market’s retail sales account for 30 percent of Marin’s total business (and that figure gets up to 50 percent for holidays). Marin also offers off-site catering with dishes like fish tacos and seafood boils. Teamwork remains key.

“Everybody [at the restaurant] is kind of like me,” he said of his trademark energy. “My place is small. The cooks and the servers are all relying on each other. One can’t work without the other.”

And while Marin retired from coaching in 2019, he went out on a high note. In his last season, he coached the Cardinal Mooney boys to the state finals for only the second time in the school’s 60-year history.

Marin’s two sons are now 6 years old and 10 months old. Even without the coaching gig, Marin is still running. And it doesn’t look like he’ll be stopping any time soon.

“From a young age, I just had a lot of energy,” he said of his continued success. “Being a soccer player, we can play much longer than anybody else.”

34 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Construction project Continued from page 21 THANKS FOR ANOTHER GREAT SEASON! BIKES, E-BIKES, SCOOTERS, KAYAKS, PADDLEBOARDS 1224 Old Stickney Point Rd. (in Captain Curt’s Village) Best prices, best equipment, best service (941) 346-0891 Free delivery on Siesta Key! To advertise in Siesta Sand, call 941-312-0665 Fishing Charters 941.349.4400 Open 7 Days 7am-6pm 1249 Stickney Point Road, just over the Stickney Point Bridge “Voted BEST Parasail Company” ParasailSiesta .com BOAT RENTALS BOAT RENTALS GOLF CART RENTALS 941-346-8200 • Since 1959 RESERVE for Memorial Day Weekend!


family Continued from page 17

warm, comfortable, traditional atmosphere and serve them classically oriented cuisine. Walking into Miguel’s is like walking into a generations-old bistro in Europe, where the host greets you by name and knows what you want for dinner before you do.

Today dad Miguel says of his boys, “I am very proud of them.” (A third son, Miguel, is a Siesta Key fire chief and dad is proud of him, too.)

The lines of responsibility inside Miguel’s are clear: Daniel works the front of the house, and Gabriel is the chef. A graduate of Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales University culinary school (“Dad discouraged me but I was adamant”), Gabriel interned for a while in a restaurant in Spain and then showed up back at dad’s door, whisk in hand. It was September 2002.

“I was 22, ambitious and naïve,” Gabriel recalls. “I had a hundred ideas. Some were good, some didn’t work.”

Enough of them did for dad to start stepping back and ultimately retire, leaving his legacy in capable hands. Classic French cuisine is just that – enduring. All the

mouth-watering standards are on the Miguel’s menu: from coquilles St. Jacques and escargot to onion soup, canard a l’orange and chateaubriand. But the secondgeneration Garcia boys have adapted to meet changing tastes: more tableside salads, gulf coast seafood with a continental twist. All served up in a dining room that evokes the days when going out to dinner was a special occasion. And all without the premium price tag often associated with French fare; the prices are in line with Key norms. Since the pandemic, they have added takeout with online ordering.

(And how did dad Miguel, born and raised in Spain, come to create a French restaurant in the first place? As an adult he lived in France and French Canada, where

Miguel’s is located in Crescent Plaza at 6631 Midnight Pass Rd. It is open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. (photo by John Morton)

he learned and excelled in the trade. Eventually, life and sunshine brought him to Siesta Key.)

It’s a formula for ongoing success. Miguel’s is regularly singled out in “Best Of” features, with its extensive early bird menu praised frequently. The secret to that success? Gabriel thinks he knows, and it’s not just the fine fare the kitchen turns out nightly: “With all the competition from corporate restaurants, people are still looking for a niche mom and pop place. They want a waiter who knows them.”

That, and a nice plate of sole meuniere or steak frites, will do the job every time, as it has for the 40 years since Miguel and Betty opened the place. The classics endure.

35 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC SALES GALLERY LOCATED AT 32 SOUTH PALM AVENUE IN DOWNTOWN SARASOTA THEDEMARCAY.COM | (941) 404 - 8858 | SALES@THEDEMARCAY.COM ©2021 Wolf Development Strategies and Wolf Residential. All Rights Reserved. Wolf Residential and Coldwell Banker operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. fully supports the principles of the fair housing act and the equal opportunity act. Oral representations cannot be relied upon as correctly stating representations of the developer. For correct representations, make reference to the documents required by section 718.503, Florida Statues, to be furnished by a developer to a buyer or lessee These spacious 3 and 4-bedroom luxury residences are expertly designed, each with panoramic views of the Gulf, the Keys and the city. The DeMarcay is a full-service boutique community featuring a rooftop pool & clubhouse, and is located on Palm Ave, in the heart of downtown Sarasota. Delivering Fall of 2023. Only 2 Homes Remain. Pricing available upon request. DEVELOPER RESERVE COLLECTION LUXURY BOUTIQUE RESIDENCES IN

Get to know, respect, protect your Siesta shorebirds

The shift in the air is familiar to us. As fall fades into winter, in much of the country temperatures drop substantially with freezes and snowfalls changing the landscape. Here in Florida, people from the north flock south to our shores to enjoy the milder winter climate and consistent sunshine. Many of these human “snowbirds” don’t realize that they are not the only ones with this strategy.

Several species of shorebirds and seabirds migrate to our shores for the winter and spring -- they are the original snowbirds. They spend the warmer months traveling back north, sometimes as far as the deep Arctic tundra, to breed. During the winter and spring, however, they enjoy the beach alongside many human tourists and seasonal residents also looking to escape the frigid temperatures.

Some bird-watching tips for our beach birds:

• Be sure to approach groups slowly and give flocks space to rest. Many of the birds at Siesta are adapted to people and will let you close if they do not feel threatened. Birds resting on the beach are often reserving energy needed to feed and raise their young, so it is important to not chase and disturb them.

• Keep pets at home. For birds, dogs appear as a predator and their presence alone can cause the flock to be disturbed. With nesting birds this is particularly problematic as the eggs and young chicks are exposed to the hot sun and predators when adults are flushed, or disturbed, off their nests.

• Take care to keep the beach clean. Trash can entangle birds and food left behind can attract predators like coyotes, raccoons,

crows and gulls to the area where birds are resting and nesting. Leave only footprints and take only memories.

Here are 10 common local beach bird species -- the first five are mainly winter residents and the final five are year-round or summer residents. Keep your eyes peeled on the beaches and see if you can notice when these species start to transition.

(Photos come after description. All photos courtesy of Kylie Wilson and Audubon Florida.)

Ring-billed gull

A migratory gull found in Sarasota during the fall through spring. Ring-billed gulls are among most common gulls in North America and are often found in urban areas. Ring-billed Gulls breed in large colonies, usually on islands throughout the northern U.S. and Canada. Their yellow legs and yellow bill with a black ring around the tip easily identify adults whereas juveniles have a pinkish bill and legs.


A migratory species in Sarasota in the non-breeding season of fall through spring. A robust shorebird with a striking redbrown coloring and black bib in breeding plumage, it nests on the high Arctic tundra and migrate south for the winter. They are called turnstones for their foraging behavior where they walk about flipping over stones, shells, and seaweed looking for food.

reds and browns. They are one of the most common shorebirds, often seen scurrying along the waves at the shoreline feeding on small invertebrates.

Herring gull

A migratory gull that winters in Sarasota in high numbers. One of the large gull species, and the most common in Sarasota. They are much larger than the annually resident laughing gull. Adults are identified by their pink legs and yellow bills which have a red spot near the tip during the breeding season. Annually, several hundred flock to Siesta in the winter.

A migratory species in Sarasota in the non-breeding season of fall through spring but some individuals stay year-round, possibly young birds who are non-breeders. It’s a small sandpiper that is often confused for the snowy plover in the non-breeding season when they are a dull gray. In breeding season however, they are a beautiful mix of

Semipalmated plover

A migratory species in Sarasota in the non-breeding season of fall through spring. It is similar in size and shape to the snowy plover but a darker brown with yellow legs and black collar. They are a widespread and common species of plover. The term semipalmated refers to the toes being partially webbed.

Snowy plover

In Sarasota, year-round and nesting from March through August. Snowy plovers are a small and inconspicuous shorebird, and one of our local state-threatened beach-nesting

New Energy Medicine Technologies are Now Offered at Spa Experience, Siesta Key

After completing the Life Transformation program at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, and experiencing firsthand the cutting-edge energy medicine offerings there, Connie Lewis is excited to bring Qrs and H-Wave healing therapies to Spa Experience Siesta Key. Lewis has created a new service that encompasses all her areas of expertise including trigger point therapy, Reiki, Cupping, CBD massage Hot stone Massage, Sports Massage, and now QRS and H-Wave therapies. Consultation and coaching time are included with your session.

Qrs is energy medicine that utilizes PEMF (pulsed electric magnetic therapy via a mat laser and ear and eye accessories. These noninvasive therapies are painless and ultra-relaxing and healing in nature. Some of the many benefits of the Qrs Mat and laser are improved and speedier recovery from physical tiredness and over-exertion. Qrs balances the body’s acupuncture points in 8 minutes leaving you feeling stress-free, energetic, and ready for whatever the day may bring. Qrs aids in healing muscle soreness and post-workout stress while healing the muscles joints and bones.

H-Wave is an FDA-approved medical device used to flush lymphatic fluid, increase circulation and eliminate pain and restore function. If the space around the cell is congested, the cells cannot uptake the oxygen

and nutrition it needs resulting in pain sickness, disease, and premature aging. If the space around the cells is free of congestion and metabolic waste products, the cell can now uptake oxygen and nutrition resulting in less pain sickness, more energy better health, and slower aging physically and mentally.

Incorporating these technologies into her Spa treatments will be an incredible leap forward in assisting clients live a more painfree relaxed life.

Spa Experience Siesta Key was opened in January of 2021 when Connie decided to expand her Spa in scope and services. Having owned and operated Massage Experience Siesta Key for 22 years she wanted to offer a wider range of services now including Acupuncture, Qrs, H-Wave energy medicine,

and Spa Parties. Lewis continues to offer her pampering results-driven facials using Pevonia Botanica Skincare and body line. Pevonia Botanica products are available for purchase by calling or stopping by the Spa.

Spa Experience Siesta Key boasts 5 treatment rooms that can accommodate up to 8 guests at a time. We are happy to help you make arrangements for your Bridal party, family reunion, or a spa day with friends. Please call for details and package options.

Spa Experience Siesta Key is conveniently located near the Siesta Key public beach at 5700 Midnight Pass Road, Suite 4b, Siesta Key, FL 34242 Our phone number is 941-349-4833 and our website is

36 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
turnstone Sanderling
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LICENSE #MM 40045 & MA 17596


Continued from previous page species. There are only an estimated 412 breeding individuals in all of Florida and only 20% of the population live along the central Gulf coast. These pale-colored plovers are masters of camouflage, and that is their main defense against predators. They historically nested successfully on Siesta for years but in the last few seasons no nests successfully hatched. Last year, for the first time in decades, there were no documented snowy plovers nesting on the Key.

Black skimmer

A year-round resident and local breeder between April and September. It is one of the state-threatened beach-nesting species. A very distinctive bird with contrasting black and white plumage, bright orange legs and an uneven, knife-like bill that is orange at the base and black at the tip. The bird gets its name from the unique foraging method: It uses the elongated lower half of the bill to pierce through the water while it flies right above the surface, skimming for fish. Sarasota has one of the largest nesting colonies of black skimmer in the entire state. Each year the colony disperses from its nesting site at Lido Key and travel to various areas across the state and even abroad during the non-breeding season. The majority of our local nesting population winter on Siesta. Migratory populations from along the Atlantic coast join our local birds -- we are able to determine this by re-sighting individually banded birds within the flock.

Least terns are fast to defend their nests and chicks by dive-bombing any potential threats, including people who may get too close. They are entirely migratory, spending the winter in South America. They are classified as state-threatened due to a loss of habitat and disturbances during nesting.

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going to the state capitol for consideration –a year after shooting it down on its first try.

State Rep. Fiona McFarland is part of that delegation and is serving as the bill’s sponsor. When addressing the Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee members prior to their vote, she said “I’ll remind everyone that this country was founded on the belief of the right of self-governance.”

She emphasized the goal of the incorporation group was “just to have the question put before them on the ballot” on behalf of the island’s residents.

Laughing gull

A year-round resident and breeder in Florida. Laughing gulls are the most familiar beach birds in our area, with their cackling cries and propensity for eating potato chips. Like most gulls, they are very adaptable and opportunistic feeders.

For this reason, they are often seen picking at food and trash people leave behind. It is important, though, not to feed them -- human food holds no nutritional value for them and feeding them causes them to become aggressive toward people.

Least tern

It exists seasonally in Sarasota during the breeding season of April through August. It is one of our local state-threatened, beach-nesting bird species. In Florida, least terns nest in colonies on the beaches and have adapted to nest on gravel rooftops as a substitute for declining beach habitat. They are the smallest tern species in North America but despite their size they are fierce.

Royal tern

A year-round resident and local breeder. It’s the largest of the “crested tern” species and identified by the bright orange bill and all black crest, or cap, in the breeding season. In the non-breeding season, the black cap recedes and the birds look like they are balding.

This species is primarily coastal and found year-round on Siesta. Flock sizes seem to dwindle in the summer when birds are nesting but during pre- and post-nesting these noisy birds are highly acclimated to people and allow beach visitors to walk close by them. Be sure to give these birds space though as they are typically either courting or raising young and need to conserve energy.

McFarland also told the committee that a local straw poll resulted in an 87% approval by respondents, with 42% percent of registered voters returning their ballots – exceeding the 36% turnout of the most recent Sarasota County primary.

With about 7,000 registered voters, she noted that Siesta Key was the state’s largest unincorporated barrier island.

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With our map on the next page you’ll be able to navigate your way to our featured shops with ease.

The Shop SRQ (G-2) offers flat-tops, fades, tapers, blowouts, razor cuts, and straight razor shaves. Owners, Erick and Dawn use a back to basics approach to grooming with a precise attention to personal detail.

Their commitment to excellence has provided them with many loyal customers. They welcome the opportunity to earn your trust. Hours: Tues. – Fri. 8:30am – 6pm, Sat., 8:30am –3pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Gulf Gate Barber Shop (G-7) has been an institution in the community for years, owned by Kyle Flannery. The super-clean barbershop’s clientele is comprised of primarily men, but the shop services children as well. Scott Reich, formerly of the Siesta Key Village Barber Shop has relocated to this location.

West End Pub (G-49) Where else can you watch your favorite game with a great selection of beers, wines and liquors served by a friendly staff AND where you’re allowed to bring your own restaurant or deli food? Right here. 6500 Gateway Ave. 941-554-8905.

Tony’s Chicago Beef Company (S-16) is owned and operated by true Chicagoans. Dedicated to deliver Chicago’s best food - Chicago style Hot Dogs wit’ the works...dragged through the garden on poppy seed buns with fresh cut fries, Italian Beef Sandwiches anyway you like, dipped or dry, sweet or hot. All served in true Authentic Chicago Style.

Solórzano’s Late Night Pizzeria (S-34): At every Solórzano’s, they offer an experience familiar to those who understand the importance of family and dedication. Their recipes and techniques have been perfected through three long generations based on the


traditional simplicity of the methods used by their Italian ancestors. Dine inside, outside, pick up, or DELIVERY anywhere on Siesta Key, or in Sarasota until 3:30 a.m. 6574 Superior Ave., 941924-5800.

Gulf Gate Food + Beer (S-51): Sarasota’s late-night hot spot for the service industry, night owls, and midnight snackers. It’s not your typical sports bar, offering unique menu selections for carnivores and vegetarians. Be sure to check out their menu online at:

Hours: 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Sun. - Thurs.) open until 2 a.m. (Fri & Sat.).

Roberts Realty, Inc. (M-5) John Garner, Broker Assoc. & Diane Shane, Broker Assoc. have a combined 40 years’ experience in Sarasota of making dreams come true for our clients. For buyers, we have had great success in finding the right property for our clients because we listen closely to their wants and needs and matching that as close as possible. For sellers, over the years we have successfully listed and sold many, many properties throughout Sarasota County. Our philosophy is to have fun, enjoy the experience, achieve great results, make friends and receive referrals. We’re with you every step of the way! Call 941-924-2330 or drop by our office.

Only Eyes Optical (S-24) brings a new, exotic, eclectic, eccentric, unique collection of vintage, hipster, contemporary eyeglasses and sunglasses to the community. Licensed and experienced optician available to fill your prescriptions. Only Eyes Optical has a large assortment of free frames with the purchase of new lenses. Call 941-444-7984 to set up an appointment with their licensed optician.

Zuzu’s & Moondoggy’s (GG26, GG25) Ready for an evening out?

Continued from page 1

and Robert Sax and the Marina Del Sol complex (near the Old Stickney Point hotel) takes on two hotels.

If the county loses, the third hotel at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd., at the site of the old Wells Fargo bank, would also be impacted as it too benefited from the change in ordinance.

Ramirez feels the state ruling will serve in the form of additional information she calls “substantial authority” during the October trial, more so than actual evidence.

It also serves as a feel-good moment long needed by island residents, she said.

“Siesta Key has been battered. There hasn’t been a win, no matter what,” Ramirez said of what she considers several setbacks in the hands of county commissioners. “We tried, but only heard no. No one at the county stood up for us – the residents have had to do it themselves.

“Finally, I think they understand that there are a lot of issues out here. And we finally have a win. We needed it.”

More legal


Meanwhile, the judge with the 12th Circuit Court assigned to both county hotel-related lawsuits, who on March 17 ruled to combine them, recused himself from the case just four days later.

On March 21, Stephen Walker filed a notice of recusal, citing a personal and professional relationship with the legal team representing, at various times, entities owned by Siesta Key resident Gary Kompothecras, He is the developer of the Old Stickney Point Road hotel.

Attorney Charles Bailey of that firm represented Kompothecras’

Choose from Zuzu’s -- an exotic Polynesian top shelf cocktail lounge where you can dress to impress and enjoy cocktails with friends, or Moondoggy’s -- a fun surfing-theme atmosphere where you can chill and have fun. Located at 2234-2236 Gulf Gate Drive, Zuzu’s & Moondoggy’s has 13 big screen TV’S, MLB Package, ACC, BIG10, SEC, NFL Package, pool table, SUPER CHEXX BUBBLE HOCKEY and a punching bag! Zuzu’s is open 12:00 PM – 2:30 AM daily. Moondoggy’s is open 7AM – 2:30AM daily.

Scandinavian Gifts Baked Goods and Grocery (GG-37) A fixture in Sarasota for 32 years, Scandinavian Gifts offers an assortment of linens, glassware, cookbooks, jewelry, candles, food items, and Christmas collectibles. Located at 2166 Gulf Gate Drive, the store is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The Skinny Dip (G-26) Established in 2020. The Sarasota Skinny Dip location is a family-owned business, with husband-and-wife Alex and Sorelly, and their kiddos, Sophie and Noah. The business specializes in letting you make your frozen yogurt the way you want it! We specialize in Skinny8 Froyos, which are only 8 calories per once! Also available vegan and low-fat options so that all Dippers can, well, dip!

Apothecary Shoppe (S-6) Eric and Laurie’s knowledge of pharmaceuticals and natural/holistic remedies enables the safe integration of traditional and natural therapies. Their organic skincare line is compounded on site by Laurie who started her career as a make-up artist for the Today Show, Saturday Night Live, and so many more. Eric is a pharmacist and also certified in naturopathy, wanting the best natural options for his clients. Open M-F 10-5 pm, Sat 10-3 pm.

team for a summary judgment (one that doesn’t involve a jury), of which both parties had requested. Walker did not make such a ruling, and never gave a timeframe on when, or if, one would be made. He would eventually combine the trials, but even when doing so did not rule out a summary judgment involving Ramirez – a judgment that could have eliminated a need for any trials if the county was found in violation.

hotel proposal during the county’s hearings in 2021 that involved both the Sarasota Planning Commission and the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners, which had the decisive vote.

When asked for comment on Walker’s decision to recuse himself, Kompothecras declined.

Sax also declined to comment specifically on the decision but did say “I have full confidence in the judicial system to protect the interests of the residents of Siesta Key in accordance with the clear intent and provisions of the county’s own comprehensive plan.”

Walker twice held hearings regarding Ramirez’s case, including the March 17 ruling to combine the lawsuits. That of course involved both cases, the second of which involves Kompothecras.

On Jan. 6, Walker heard hours of testimony from both Ramirez’s legal team and the county’s legal

Said Ramirez, in part, of Walker’s decision, “In recusing himself from the mega-hotel lawsuits, it was quite a surprise since I expected to hear from judge Walker on our motion for summary judgment. But I appreciate judge Walker’s honesty.” Ramirez said she believed all testimony from both her team and the county would remain valid during the transition.

Judge Hunter Carroll was assigned to replace Walker. However, on April 4, Carroll himself filed an order of disclosure with the court, explaining that while before becoming a judge he provided representation in matters involving entities associated with Kompothecras.

Carroll, as of April 24, had not recused himself from the case. Ramirez, however, worries the scenario could turn into another obstacle. “Just when I see the goal line, they keep moving back the goalposts,” she said.

Furthermore, citing his own busy case-load schedule, Hunter on April 20 notified all parties that the week of Nov. 13 was the earliest he could here the combined cases. It had previously been slated for the week of Oct. 9 while under Walker’s direction.

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An artist’s rendering of the 170-room hotel approved at Calle Miramar. (submitted image)
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Florida Fish of Siesta Key

Florida Puffer

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fishing Forecast

his is a great month for snook on shallow flats. Reds and trout will also be more active as the water warms and baitfish become more plentiful. You might find Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano in passes or on deep grass flats. Look for Spanish mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), cobia and tripletail in the coastal gulf this month. Tarpon should also make an appearance in back country areas and in the coastal gulf later in the month.

Tarpon will become more plentiful this month as resident fish make their way out of rivers and creeks and early arriving migratory fish begin to show along beaches, particularly by the end of the month. Water temperature in the gulf is a key factor with 80 degrees being an optimum temperature. As the water warms toward that, fish will become more plentiful. Resident fish may be rolling on deep grass flats in some of the same places that you find trout, laid up on edges of shallow grass flats or along sand bars.

Spin anglers might score with a DOA Shrimp, Baitbuster or 4-inch CAL Shad Tail while fly anglers might connect with a black Deceiver or Tarpon Bunny fly. Keep your tarpon tackle, rigged and ready, this time of year so you’re able to take advantage of any opportunity that arises.

Regulations have returned to normal for reds and snook in Sarasota. Spotted seatrout have changed in southwest Florida to a three-fish-perperson bag limit and a six-fish boat limit. Trout must be from 15 inches to 19 inches with one allowed per vessel more than 19 inches.

In my opinion it’s important to protect larger trout, which are usually female breeders. Full regulations and details for all species can be viewed at

Snook should be staging on flats, around sand and oyster bars, on points of islands and around docks and bridges close to passes in the Intracoastal Waterway. Spin anglers should score with CAL jigs and a variety of plastic tails including the 4-inch CAL Shad, DOA Baitbusters or surface walking top water plugs, like the DOA PT. Fish the edges of bars and potholes when the tide is low and mangrove shorelines or points of islands when the tide is high. You’ll also find snook around docks and bridges in the ICW. Night snook fishing should be productive with small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow fly, CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms, DOA Shrimp and Tiny TerrorEyz. Fish peak tidal flows for the best action.

Reds will spend more time feeding on shallow flats due to more plentiful bait. I am seeing a decline in reds and big trout in shallow water in many of the areas that I fish, which makes them even harder to catch with lures and flies.

Look for them in potholes, the edges of bars and around docks when the tide is low. You should find them higher on flats over shallow grass or around mangrove shorelines when the tide is high. I like a 1/16-oz CAL jig with a shad tail or jerk worm for reds in shallow water. They are easy to fish in shallow water, come in

multiple colors and are a good way to find reds. My Grassett Flats Minnow is my “go-to” fly for reds. It fishes well in shallow water and its bend back design makes it very weedless.

You may also find big trout in skinny water in many of the same places that you find reds. The same lures, flies and techniques used to find and catch reds will also work for big trout.

Trout should be plentiful on deep grass flats. I like to drift and cast ahead of my drift with CAL jigs and a variety of plastic tails or DOA Deadly Combos. Fly anglers should score with weighted flies on sink tip fly lines. I tie Clousers with Ultra Hair on long shank hooks so that they are durable and will hold up to toothy and rough mouth fish. Deep grass flats with a close proximity to passes and usually good due to strong tidal flow.

You might also find blues, Spanish mackerel, pompano or flounder mixed with trout on deep grass flats. The same lures, flies and techniques that you use to find trout on deep grass will work for these species, too. You’ll need to tip your leader with wire or heavy fluorocarbon when blues and mackerel are around. I prefer heavy fluorocarbon and long shank hooks whenever possible, since that usually won’t affect the trout bite. Blues and mackerel usually don’t feed on the surface in the bay like they do


in the open gulf, but you may see bait showering or boils indicating fast moving fish, feeding just below the surface. Pompano may “skip” when you run or drift past them giving their location away. When that happens, circle back upwind and drift the area. Flounder are often found in potholes, on the edges of bars or on mud bottom.

There should be good action in the coastal gulf this month with Spanish and king mackerel, false albacore (little tunny), cobia and tripletail. Look for Spanish mackerel or albies feeding on the surface. You might find tripletail or cobia around crab trap floats.

Your tarpon spin or fly tackle can do double duty for cobia and medium spinning tackle or an 8- or 9-weight fly rod will cover everything else. Artificial reefs or natural areas of hard bottom may hold any of these species. When fishing these areas you will need to get your lure, fly or bait down in the water column to the level where fish are located.

This is one of my favorite months. There should be good action in Sarasota Bay on both shallow and deep grass flats, in the coastal gulf for mackerel, albies, cobia and tripletail and with tarpon by the end of the month.

I like early season tarpon, since they are usually aggressive, but there should be lots of other options, too.

Kid Catch of the Month!

40 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665 Sarasota, FL - May 2023 Date High Low AM ft PM ft AM ft PM ft Rise Set Moon 1 Mon 11:12 1.6 11:05 1.6 5:17 0.3 5:50 0.6 6:49 8:04 2 Tue 11:21 1.8 11:59 1.5 5:45 0.4 6:29 0.4 6:49 8:05 3 Wed 11:32 1.9 6:09 0.6 7:06 0.1 6:48 8:05 4 Thu 12:51 1.5 11:46A 2.1 6:29 0.8 7:43 -0.1 6:47 8:06 5 Fri 1:41 1.4 12:06 2.3 6:47 0.9 8:22 -0.3 6:46 8:06 6 Sat 2:35 1.4 12:32 2.4 7:02 1.1 9:06 -0.4 6:46 8:07 7 Sun 3:37 1.3 1:04 2.5 7:12 1.1 9:55 -0.5 6:45 8:08 8 Mon 1:42 2.6 10:53 -0.5 6:44 8:08 9 Tue 2:27 2.5 11:58 -0.4 6:44 8:09 10 Wed 3:21 2.4 6:43 8:09 11 Thu 4:30 2.2 1:09 -0.4 6:42 8:10 12 Fri 6:06 2.0 2:17 -0.3 6:42 8:10 13 Sat 10:19 1.5 7:59 1.8 3:16 -0.1 2:56 1.2 6:41 8:11 14 Sun 10:23 1.6 9:38 1.7 4:05 0.1 4:29 0.9 6:40 8:12 15 Mon 10:37 1.8 10:59 1.6 4:44 0.3 5:33 0.5 6:40 8:12 16 Tue 10:53 2.0 5:17 0.6 6:25 0.1 6:39 8:13 17 Wed 12:09 1.5 11:12A 2.2 5:42 0.8 7:11 -0.1 6:39 8:13 18 Thu 1:12 1.4 11:33A 2.3 6:02 1.0 7:54 -0.3 6:38 8:14 19 Fri 2:12 1.3 11:57A 2.4 6:18 1.1 8:34 -0.4 6:38 8:14 20 Sat 3:11 1.3 12:24 2.5 6:29 1.2 9:14 -0.4 6:37 8:15 21 Sun 4:15 1.2 12:54 2.5 6:35 1.2 9:55 -0.4 6:37 8:16 22 Mon 1:29 2.5 10:39 -0.3 6:37 8:16 23 Tue 2:08 2.4 11:27 -0.2 6:36 8:17 24 Wed 2:53 2.2 6:36 8:17 25 Thu 3:46 2.1 12:18 -0.1 6:35 8:18 26 Fri 4:54 1.9 1:10 0.0 6:35 8:18 27 Sat 9:04 1.5 6:21 1.7 1:59 0.1 1:43 1.3 6:35 8:19 28 Sun 9:16 1.6 7:59 1.5 2:45 0.2 3:21 1.0 6:35 8:19 29 Mon 9:31 1.7 9:29 1.4 3:25 0.4 4:28 0.8 6:34 8:20 30 Tue 9:48 1.8 10:47 1.4 4:00 0.6 5:20 0.5 6:34 8:20 31 Wed 10:06 2.0 11:57 1.4 4:31 0.8 6:05 0.2 6:34 8:21 Florida Puffer Mackerel Flounder Mackerel
Red Snapper Yellowtail Dohlpin “Mahi-Mahi” Mangrove Snapper Lane Snapper Black Mullet Red Drum “Redfish” Florida Pompano Jack Crevalle AmberJack Spotted Sea Trout Cobia Black Drum Catfish Blue Marlin Black Grouper Sheesphead Tarpon Baracuda Snook Scoolmaster Scamp King Mackerel Gulf Flounder Sailfish
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters (941) 923-7799
Frank Zaffino with a snook he landed with an artificial minnow fly while fishing at night in Sarasota Bay. (submitted photo)
Brooke, a visitor from Massachusetts, shows off the snook she caught in Sarasota Bay. She also managed to get the “inshore slam,” which is a redfish, snook and trout. She also caught and released a flounder, jack, catfish, and lizard fish. If you’d like to submit a picture of a child’s fishing moment, send it

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41 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC

Sand-haul project underway

Midnight Pass Road each weekday, an accelerated plan now calls for as many as 130 trucks per day, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from Monday through Saturday (excluding holidays).

Non-construction portions of Turtle Beach will remain open to the public throughout the project.

June 30 is when a $4 million grant from FEMA is set to expire. It notified the county last fall that the completion date was moved up, noting that Sarasota County was the final entity to not take advantage of grant money earmarked to replace sand – in this case along Siesta Key’s Turtle Beach – washed away in 2016 by Hurricane Hermine.

Originally, the county planned to start in March under a 60-day window to be done by May 1, which is the start of sea turtle nesting season. Now, with the new June 30 completion goal in play, nests in the path of the project would be moved if needed.

County officials said such measures were allowed by its permit from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The project entails the delivery and placement of a total of 92,500 cubic yards of sand. It will be spread across a 2.1-mile portion of the south end of Turtle Beach, adding about 10 feet of width. A closed-off work area of 500 feet along the beach will be required, moving along northbound as the project progresses.

Many obstacles, concerns Delays in permitting and the lack of contractor bids received by the original Feb. 15 deadline put the project behind schedule,


Splitter islands will also be in place for pedestrians after a short walk within each leg of the roundabout, offering a safety zone. Other features include bike ramps between the sidewalks and roads, increased street lighting, and flashing rectangular beacons at controlled crosswalks.

“We’re doing everything to reduce pedestrian conflicts,” Anderson said. “We are directing them all to the most appropriate crosswalks.”

prompting in part the request for the delay. Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert, prior to her recent passing, even asked Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott while on a visit to Washington for assistance in getting FEMA to cooperate.

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube also contacted FEMA, but to no avail.

Furthermore, opposition to the massive truck activity during tourist season also concerned county leaders. If a one-year delay had been granted, the plan would have been to start the project in November when the island is less busy and turtle nesting season is done (Oct. 31).

The Siesta Key Association civic group is among those in opposition of the project’s timing, as well as a recent request by the county’s consultant to alter its DEP permit -which was subsequently granted. As a result, the county has added a second 20-foot-wide dune access path for trucks and an additional staging area in the park’s boat ramp parking facility. Currently, about 275 feet at the south part of Turtle Beach has already been set aside as a staging area.

The consultant reassured the state’s EPA that the dune pathways would be stabilized by mats.

Bob Luckner, a board member with the Siesta Key Association, voiced concern to his fellow members that the request could open the door to the doubling of the number of trucks needed to complete the job before the deadline.

Luckner’s group has also voiced concern over the idea that the two beach access points are home

Continued from page 4

With the intersection often packed with beachgoers, the roundabout’s focus on pedestrian safety did receive appreciation from the board. However, the need for the roundabout in relation to vehicular traffic did bring on some skepticism.

“Of all the years I’ve lived out there – about 30 – I can’t remember an accident that caused me a delay. It’s not a troublesome intersection as far as traffic collisions are concerned,” Commissioner Mark

to burrows occupied by gopher tortoises -- a protected species. Now, those dunes will see 20-ton dump trucks constantly traveling through them.

Luckner has notified many government entities that his group believes a review is in order.

The bottom line is this: The civic group opposes the project’s current form on many fronts.

“The Siesta Key Association supports the general objectives of the South Siesta Key Repair Project but is opposed to doing it now during season. We advocate for doing it on a more paced basis this fall,” Luckner said. “We also object to the proposed permit modification that will double the truck traffic, including 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days per week.”

The county has not said publicly that the truck traffic, while likely seeing in increase, would actually be doubled.

Regarding the lack of bids,

Smith said. “But maybe it is with collisions with pedestrians. It’s extremely tricky for bikes. I’m hoping this is the solution to make it less tricky.”

Said late Commissioner Nancy Detert, “Yes, roundabouts cut down on fatalities – you have a fender bender instead of a fatality. But that’s not the problem we’re trying to solve here. We haven’t had a million deaths at that corner.

“The problem is we have a mixed use – bicycles, scooters,

moving the solicitation deadline from Feb. 15 to March 1, a second bid did eventually come in. In the end, the two of them were for $8.3 million (the accepted bid) and $8.6 million.

Both of those numbers far surpass the FEMA grant.

With FEMA’s role still in limbo, county commissioners on March 7 were forced to budget about $7.7 million for the project, with a notto-exceed number of $11 million for the bidder that would be selected. FEMA had pledged to cover 87.5% of the project, with the remaining 12.5% covered by the county’s tourism pot, but uncertainty remains on those numbers now that costs have greatly increased.

Meanwhile, some opponents of the project have also urged the county to use a barge, eliminating the truck traffic, as it did in 2016 when Turtle Beach was renourished just months before Hurricane Hermine arrived.

baby buggies, and cars. The only thing messier than this is the circle at the Arc de Triomphe in France. If you’ve ever seen anyone try to cross that street, it’s impossible.”

Meanwhile, Siesta Key resident Jann Webster addressed the board and asked that the community have some input, hopefully in the form of a public workshop, noting that she thinks there is no other roundabout in all of Sarasota where there are more pedestrians needing to cross. She

The county earlier this year said a barge would be too costly at a minimum of $5 million, adding that availability of one could be unlikely.

The 2016 project required one as 713,565 cubic yards of sand were put in place, far more than the 92,500 this time around.

The truck traffic could cause gridlock, be hard on the bridge and roads, and be dangerous for pedestrians, opponents contend.

Other opponents are calling upon the county to dredge nearby Midnight Pass, which was filled-in and has been closed off for 40 years, and use that sand to renourish Turtle Beach. The Midnight Pass topic is one on the front burner for both county and state leaders right now.

The sand being used on the project is coming from an inland sand mine and is EPA approved, consisting of limited silt and shell fragments..

fears the roundabout may only agitate already stressed-out drivers jockeying for a parking spot at Siesta Beach.

“They are driving and frazzled, pushing for that last spot,” Webster said. “It’s kind of naïve to think drivers are playing nice and yielding to merging traffic. It’s when you see drivers at their worst, focusing on getting 3 inches between them and the next car bumper -- perhaps not looking out for pedestrians.”

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Continued from page 9
A view of the Turtle Beach parking lot on April 21, as equipment continued to arrive. (photos by John Morton)

The Highs and Lows of Properties Sold on Siesta Key

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.



$4.562 MILLION

Located on a quiet cul-de-sac, this canal-front home is conveniently located very close to the Siesta Key Village. Upon entering the home, you are immediately drawn across the spacious open-concept great room and through the triple French doors to the expansive multi-level covered lanai. An entertainer’s dream with an incredible backdrop of a wide canal, boat lift, and dock, a large, heated saltwater pool with spillover spa, travertine decking, and tropical landscaping professionally illuminated for the ultimate setting. 11-foot ceilings provide an expansive sensation flowing throughout the first floor. The kitchen features 42-inch wood cabinets, granite countertops with




Over 2,600 square feet of living space in this unique island home. Nestled among grand oaks and mature landscaping, this three-bedroom, two-bath pool home is quite charming with its high ceilings, hardwood and ceramic tile floors, and a new roof. The main floor has an extra-large living area with vaulted ceilings and spiral staircase leading to the master suite. Off the living room

a tumbled marble tile backsplash, and a stainless-steel appliance package including a 6-burner Wolf gas cooktop, convection oven, microwave, warming drawer, and Sub-Zero refrigerator. The primary owner’s suite is a massive retreat complete with two large custom walk-in closets, an ensuite bathroom with two vanities, a walk-through shower, jetted soaking tub, and a private water closet. This open and split floor plan allows privacy among the five bedrooms. Some added features include Brazilian teak hardwood flooring throughout, 8-foot doors, ceiling speakers, security system, whole-house Kinetico water softener and Kinetico reverse-osmosis water system, paver driveway, 10,000lb boat lift, tankless water heater, well for irrigation, impact windows, solid poured cement celled walls and so much more.

you will find the galley kitchen with plenty of cabinets and counter tops. Kitchen cabinets can be accessed from the dining area, making entertaining a breeze. The bonus room off the dining area would make a great family room, office, library -- the possibilities are endless. The laundry hookups and laundry sink are in the oversized two-car garage and the inground pool provides a refreshing end to another day on the island.


8600 MIDNUGHT PASS RD., #202, #203 $2.75 MILLION

This magnificent Gulf-front luxury condominium has three bedrooms, four full baths, and a two-car garage with countless custom upgrades in Hidden Lagoon Beach Club on Siesta Key! This second-floor, upscale home is two units combined into an incredible unique 3,652 square feet of living space featuring 68 feet of windows and French balconies with captivating views of Siesta Key Beach and the Gulf of Mexico. The home has an open floor plan with many separate sitting/gathering areas, a custom-designed wet bar, an office/study/library with built-in bookshelves, and art nooks

throughout. The updated kitchen has custom cabinetry, granite countertops, a five-burner cooktop, an oven, a built-in refrigerator, and a butler’s pantry.

Relax in the exceptional owner’s suite with glass French doors offering breathtaking views of the ocean. The suite has a large walk-in closet, lighted tray ceiling, and an ensuite bath with dual sinks, custom cabinetry, and a large walk-in shower with three shower heads and a bidet. The second oversized guest bedroom has custom closets and built-in shelving with an ensuite bath featuring a soaking tub. Access is restricted through the secure lobby with elevator access and an on-site manager.




Spectacular full bay views from this sunny condo located at the south end of Siesta Key, across the street from Turtle Beach. Price reflects needed updating/ work. There is an assigned carport parking spot and private locker. There are 49 boat slips available

with deep water access and no bridges to the nearby Intracoastal Waterway. Sunrise Cove offers many amenities. The complex’s sea wall was 75% replaced in 2021, residential roofs replaced in 2016, complex newly painted. Lots of parking for guests. Each floor has its own laundry/storage area.

Courtesy of ReMax Alliance

43 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
Courtesy of Premier Sotheby’s Courtesy of Keller Williams

Trinkets Continued from page 18

“I found myself trying to reverse the design to make sure it wouldn’t break,” Mark said.

Finally, they got the magnet design – their first creation -- right. Ornaments were to follow.

“We made our first batch of 60 lifeguard chair magnets and they sold very well at Beach Bazaar,” Mark said. “Our next batch was a gross of 144, so we decided to try lifeguard-chair ornaments.”

The paperweights were the next project. And in each case, the process is lengthy.

“It takes four-and-a-half hours to produce eight magnets. The ornaments take eight-and-a-half hours to make four. We can produce the chair that makes up part of the paperweight in five-anda-half hours.”

Meanwhile, sales and demand continued to increase as word got out. And, for last year’s preChristmas season, “Scooter of the Beach” of green lifeguard station

fame signed a limited edition of several hundred ornaments. They quickly sold out.

Even Siesta Key Rum put in an order for the magnets and sells them along with other merchandise in its factory store.

On the Key, the stores that sell them are Beach Bazaar, Davidson Drugs, and Sunshine & Sand Hidden Treasures.

Off the Key, Coastal Flow on South Tamiami Trail stocks them. They can also be purchased at

To keep up with demand, Mark is considering moving the operation out of his garage and into work space at his production company. He’s also envisioning new markets that are just waiting to be conquered.

“We’re creating a business strategy to re-create other local landmarks,” he said. “It’s the only hobby I’ve ever had that I’m making some money on.”

44 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665
Above, Hailie Palmer measures the yellow lifeguard station on Siesta Beach. Right, the magnets and a paperweight. (submitted photos)

Keeping it Real By

A market with mixed messages, but still a good one

Iconsider it a compliment when someone asks me, “What’s going on in the market?” People have always asked me this question but, lately, it’s the first thing people say to me. The last two years have been absolutely insane in the real estate market. I’ve been doing this since 2004 and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Things started to change around November 2021. We couldn’t get properties on the market fast enough -- every listing had multiple offers, no inspections, as-is contracts, people paying way over list price. It was an all-out dog fight.

Our frenzied market peaked in April of 2022. At that time, 51.4% of the single-family homes sold in Sarasota and Manatee counties were sold above list price. As of February 2023, that number has dropped to 8.9%, which is more in line with a “normal” market.

If you look at the average salesprice-to-list-price ratio, it’s currently about 97 %. But that doesn’t really tell the whole story. List prices have dropped 10 to 12% (depending on

the product), making the sold price at 97% actually 13 to 15% below what they would be if list prices were still at the March/April 2022 level.

The charts in this column show the months of inventory broken down by segment. The segments in both single-family homes and condos under $500,000 up to $2.5 million are still in a seller’s market. However, our market is incredibly oversaturated in the $5 millionplus price point. In single-family homes there is 30 months of inventory and in condos there is 46 months.

Time on the market in the $5 million-plus in both singlefamily and condos has increased significantly. It’s not that demand has fallen significantly but the inventory has risen faster. Homes in the $400,000 to $1 million range are still seeing multiple offers, as we are so low on inventory in that sector. We are still seeing high-demand products, like a $1.5 million nicely renovated beachfront condo getting multiple offers.

So, what does all this mean?

For what should you prepare yourself if you are a buyer in this market? Have a proof of funds available if viewing anything over

$3 million. It’s been a standard in other markets for years, but is now standard in ours. Know that many lowball offers will probably be ignored (especially under $2.5 million). The inventory in our market is still incredibly low in those segments.

High-end luxury buyers, especially those looking at condos over $5 million, have leverage. The inventory in that market is saturated. The Multiple Listing Service currently shows 46 months of inventory, but that’s only tells part of the story. Most of those listings are new construction, and developers only list a small percentage of their inventory on the MLS. If every available unit was listed, the actual months of inventory available would skyrocket.

So, what if you’re a seller? What do you need to consider?

Price is more critical than it’s been in years. Few buyers are willing spend their time looking at homes that are overpriced and are not likely to throw in an offer on one either. The high-demand product is a much-more narrow market segment than in years past.

Condition and updating are critical! Buyers are ignoring homes that need updating because they

Natalie’s Numbers

(data represents combination of Sarasota & Manatee counties)

know a project that would have taken six months in years past could be a year-long project now.

People are going to buy and sell real estate no matter the overall global conditions. You don’t have to think that far back … 2008 to 2011. However, demand points will shift. Homes that draw a premium will shift. Product and location demand will shift.

The bottom line: The market is sending out mixed messages right now. Rising interest rates, bank failures, inflation and stock market volatility have slowed the market

a little, but it won’t hit here like it does in other areas of the country. People who have planned their entire life to retire in Florida are still buying here, no matter what is going on in the rest of the world. We’re still selling sunshine! Stay sunny, Siesta.

(Natalie Gutwein, a Siesta Key resident, is a licensed Realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty’s Judie Berger Team and is also a member of the board of directors of the Siesta Key Association civic group.)

45 MAY 2023 941.312.0665 27th State Media LLC
Single-family homes Mos. of inventory less than $500,000 2.54 $5000,000 to $1 million 3.73 $1 million to $2.5 million 5.10 $2.5 million to $5 million 16.0 above $5 million 30.0 Condominiums Mos. of inventory less than $500,000 3.41 $5000,000 to $1 million 4.59 $1 million to $2.5 million 4.19 $2.5 million to $5 million 5.20 above $5 million 46.0 For Your Professional Home Valuation - 1280 HIDDEN HARBOR WAY | $7M 778 SIESTA DR | $6M 3731 INDIAN BEACH PL | $6M 521 CASEY KEY RD | $5M 5315 HIDDEN HARBOR RD | $4.15M 1035 SEASIDE DR #501 | $3.95M 3423 LA PALOMA AVE | $3.55M 7340 PINE NEEDLE RD | $3.5M | RECORD SALE 642 WATERSIDE WAY | $3.2M 713 TREASURE BOAT WAY | $3.1M 5382 SHADOW LAWN DR | $3M | RECORD SALE 657 SIESTA DR | $2.5M 497 ISLAND CIR | $2.45M | RECORD SALE 614 AVENIDA DE MAYO | $2.275M SIESTA KEY | 1 DAY | $3.1M | BUYER & SELLER 7323 PINE NEEDLE RD | $3.5M 326 ISLAND CIR | $4.175M SIESTA KEY’S TOP SELLING REALTOR ® SINCE 2005 No.1 RECENTLY SOLD $112 MILLION PENDING & SOLD IN 2022 WHO YOU WORK WITH MATTERS Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. 941.928.3424 | JOIN OUR SUCCESS 115 SAND DOLLAR LN | OFFERED AT $1.595M 6300 MIDNIGHT PASS RD #1101 | OFFERED AT $1.6M 4104 ROBERTS POINT RD | OFFERED AT $1.749M Natalie Gutwein REALTOR ® BUYERS’ AGENT Judie Berger, P.A. REALTOR ® ABR, GRI SOLD PENDING PENDING


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Key Employee


For 25 years, Doug has been the maintenance supervisor at Polynesian Gardens, home to more than 70 villas on Siesta Key.

“Really nice people live here -- I’ve been treated pretty well all these years,” Doug said. The Louisville, Kentucky native previously spent 20 years working commercial construction jobs in the Ohio Valley. “I’ve worked outside all my life. That’s what I really enjoy, and this is the perfect place for that,” he said.

Photos by John Morton.

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

Congratulations, Doug!

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

48 Siesta Sand MAY 2023 941.312.0665

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