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NEIGHBORHOOD Ringling College and New College face off in a flag football showdown. PAGE 1B
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
City plans Lido renourishment City officials will spend the next few months convincing federal officials to approve $13.64 million in funding for the project. Public meetings will also be held.
Don Castracani congratulates Regis McCurry.
+ Super senior The Sarasota Senior Softball Association awarded Regis McCurry the Fred Frank Achievement Award Wednesday, March 27, at the association’s annual awards luncheon, at Der Dutchman. The award is given to an outstanding player in honor of former player Fred Frank. McCurry helped found the league and has been a member since 1985. Guests of the luncheon also got a visit from the big leagues: Former Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox pitcher Ken Frailing was the guest speaker.
In what would become Lido Key’s largest beach renourishment, a $22 million project would pump close to 1 million cubic yards of sand dredged from Big Pass and New Pass to the beach. The project would also add three groins, intended to trap the newly placed sand, to the north end of Lido’s beach. The project is at least four to five years
from fruition, and federal funding that would pay for 62% of the overall cost has not yet been approved, said City Engineer Alex DavisShaw. DavisShaw, the city manager, a county planner and a representative from Lido Key Homeowners Association, met with
Beachgoers walk past exposed rocks on eroded sections of Lido Beach Monday, April 1.
SEE LIDO / PAGE 2A
Controversy looms around area strip mall The owner of the Ringling Shopping Center put up a chain-link fence that blocks a path from adjacent neighborhoods to Payne Park.
+ British Club helps Paws for Patriots The Sarasota British Club Monday, April 8, will present a donation of $1,500 to the Southeastern Guide Dogs Training Center, for the Paws for Patriots program. The program provides injured veterans with trained guide dogs.
A silver sports utility vehicle hauling a trailer of construction supplies pulled into the Ringling Shopping Center the morning of April 2. The truck wasn’t towing materials to revitalize the property, but was, instead, carrying curled bundles of aluminum fencing that — after installation — will effectively block pedestrian access connecting the Ringling Gardens neighborhood to Payne Park. In November, a group of residents from Alta Vista filed an appeal against the Sarasota Planning Board’s Nov. 14 approval of the Walmart site plan, citing the parcel’s zoning as incompatible with a supercenter, which would be considered a department store. Due, in part, to those residents’ efforts, last month Sarasota city commissioners denied
+ Siesta Beach ranks No. 2 Siesta Key Public Beach was listed No. 2 in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice 2013 Top 25 beaches in the U.S. Out of 1,296 reviews, 1,014 travelers described Siesta as “excellent,” the website’s highest rating. Linda Jackson, of Penn Yan, N.Y., posted a review that read, “The most beautiful beach experience. What’s not to like about this place? Amazing soft white sand, deep beach, perfect for walking, 3 miles long, plenty of places to rent and stay, or just drive there.”
SEE RINGLING / PAGE 12A
JUST KIDS BEING KIDS Rachel S. O’Hara
Shea Haines holds a baby goat in the petting zoo at the 12th Jungle Trails and Bunny Tails event Friday, March 29, at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Children enjoyed Easter egg hunts, face painting, raffles, a petting zoo and Easter Bunny visits. For more photos from Easter weekend, see pages 2B and 3B.
Florida Fence began building a chain-link fence on the east side of Ringling Shopping Center April 2. The fence showed signs of damage the following day.
INDEX Briefs.................... 4A Classifieds..........12B
Cops Corner........13A Crossword...........11B
Opinion................. 8A Real Estate...........8B
Vol. 9, No. 22 | Four sections YourObserver.com
LIDO / FROM PAGE 1A federal officials Monday, March 25, to discuss project plans. Those plans are preliminary, but one thing is clear: City officials think the ambitious project is the best way to buffer the beach from frequent erosion from storms. They will spend the next several months trying to convince federal officials to set aside $13.64 million — or 62% of the overall cost. City Manager Tom Barwin said the renourishment would also “protect the coastline and many structures within the coastline,” a factor that officials will stress as they try to convince federal officials to set aside funds. Congress will have to authorize the funding. “The biggest issue is getting funding,” Barwin said. “The project is not currently in the federal budget.” Although federal officials have been slow to set aside funds for recent coastal renourishment projects, last month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave final approval to a $23 million Sanibel Island renourishment. If Sarasota gets the go-ahead for permitting from state and federal agencies, and the $13.64 million in federal funding, the remaining cost of the project will be funded through a $4.18 million FDEP grant and another $4.18 million in Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funding. As one of the next steps in the process, the city will hold a series of public workshops — including one on Lido Key — to discuss aspects of the project with residents, DavisShaw said. The last major placements of sand on the beach took place in 2001, when 400,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped onto the
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
beach, with two subsequent renourishments in 2003 (770,000 cubic yards of sand) and 2009 to replace eroded sand. According to that state’s Department of Environmental Protection, the beach on Lido Key loses an average of 20 feet per year due to erosion. Along the beach, posted signs currently warn of rocks the surf has exposed. Along one stretch, a 4-foot-high wall remains where wave action has torn away a chunk of the sandy coast. Tropical Storm Debby caused much of the erosion on the Key, and the FDEP has already funded a smaller separate renourishment project to replace some of that sand. The project has been designed, but the FDEP has not issued final approval.
Keeping sand in place
Lido already has one rock groin along the public beach just south of the Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion. A main part of the city’s beach plan is to put in three additional updated groins on Lido Beach. If the project is approved, the groins, which would work to retain the newly placed sand, would be installed on the north end of Lido Key, DavisShaw said. The exact location and type of groins will be studied over the next few months, DavisShaw said. The initial evaluation called for “granite, rubble-type” groins, but federal officials wanted to see more analysis on the cost of different types of groins. In 2010, two modern groins were placed on Longboat Key near the Islander Club. Those devices are adjustable, allowing engineers to change how much sand passes through the system. The groins are also
The proposed $22 million project would pump close to 1 million cubic yards of sand on the beach. popular hangouts for birds and people who fish. “In 2012 we adjusted them to make them more permeable,” said Longboat Key Public Works Director Juan Florensa. “They were basically working too well.” About two years ago, DavisShaw visited the two new groins near the Islander Club. At the time, the city was “at least looking at the possibility of those types of groins,” Florensa said.
Lido Key’s $22 million project has been in the “planning process for quite some time,” Barwin said. According to DavisShaw, the ambitious project is similar to Longboat Key’s $17 million renourishment completed in 2005. During that project, crews spread 1.6 million cubic yards of sand on 9.5 miles of beach. The initial renourishment on
Lido Key will create a “beefier beach” that is wider than previous projects, DavisShaw said. After the first renourishment and the installation of the groins, the city’s plan is to add additional sand to the beach every five years. “The conversation under way is for a 50-year regular cycle for beach renourishment along the Gulf,” Barwin said. “That will see the beach renourished every five years on a regular cycle.” Currently, there is no regular beach-renourishment cycle on Lido Key. “When a storm comes through, we lose a lot of the wonderful white sand,” Barwin. Sand “recycled” from Big Pass would be used for the regular five-year renourishment projects, Barwin said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a plan with the city to dredge the inlet north of Siesta Key that has
never been dredged. In this case, the main purpose of dredging would be to harvest sand to mitigate erosion damage on Lido, but dredging could also have a secondary effect of, at least temporarily, making the inlet more navigable for boaters. Another possibility is getting sand from New Pass. As part of an agreement between Longboat Key and the city, sand that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged from New Pass would be shared with Longboat and Lido Key, Florensa said. “It looks like a smart, well thought-out plan that really boils down to recycling the sand that has been here and doesn’t go far,” Barwin said. Barwin hopes the five-year, sand-renourishment plan “will someday be implemented and become a regular part of the maintenance of our natural resources.”
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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
Booking conflict troubles ballet
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
A scheduling conflict between the city’s performing-arts hall and Sarasota’s only professional ballet company led to a canceled performance in April 2014. A scheduling conflict between the Van Wezel, the city’s only performing-arts hall, and the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota’s only professional ballet company, forced the ballet to pass on putting on a firsttime local performance of the ballet “La Sylphide.” Mary Anne Servian, managing director of the Sarasota Ballet, had secured permission from famed Danish choreographer Johan Kobborg to put on a performance of “La Sylphide.” But, in January, when she tried secure dates at the Van Wezel for April 2014, she discovered the Sarasota Orchestra had already booked two of the four requested days. The Van Wezel is the only local venue large enough to put on the ballet performance. “The scale of (‘La Sylphide’) is big — it’s a full-length ballet, just like ‘The Nutcracker,’” Servian said. The scheduling conflict worried Servian because she felt it represented the difficulty of trying to reserve a couple of days at the hall, which is city-run and hosts a mix of Broadway shows and national performers, along with local performances. Servian wants Van Wezel organizers and schedulers to try harder to accommodate local performances. “It has been difficult, especially during season,” Servian said.
Mary Bensel, executive director of the Van Wezel, said the issue was simple: The ballet wanted to reserve the hall for days that were already taken. “I have a long history with the ballet,” Bensel said. “It’s not like we decided we wouldn’t rent to the ballet. This is something that happens every day. We get people who call for dates, and we don’t have them.” Servian met with City Manager Tom Barwin March 5 to discuss what she perceived as more than an isolated scheduling conflict. Servian thinks it has become increasingly difficult to set aside future dates because the Van Wezel prioritizes scheduling Broadway shows and other larger performances. Barwin suggested that advanced planning may offer a solution to scheduling woes. “We’re encouraging each of these magnificent organizations to continue to collaborate as much as possible,” Barwin said. Barwin said, ideally, the ballet and the Van Wezel will schedule as early as five years in advance. Bensel, however, said it would be impossible for a performing-arts hall that schedules up to 150 shows a year to accomplish such advanced planning. For the 2010-2011 budget year, com-
missioners ended a city general-fund subsidy that kept the hall operating. Bensel must maintain a balance, booking big performances and Broadway shows that bring in the revenue to keep the hall in the black. But Bensel said she also strives to leave open dates for local users, such as the ballet and orchestra and the Ringling College Library Association for its Town Hall lecture series. During peak winter season, for instance, the Van Wezel sets aside 50% of all weekends for local renters, Bensel said. “That is news to me, that they set aside half of the weekends for local art organizations,” Servian said. Barwin said he understands the complexity of keeping the hall in the black. “The City Commission made the pretty clear requirement that the hall be run in a self-sufficient manner in which it is not subsidized,” Barwin said. Barwin said he wants to see the hall bring in large-scale shows, such as “the Phantom of the Opera,” which, according to Bensel, run several weeks and pack the house. Bensel agreed to remain flexible in booking local organizations, when she could. “We have to keep working at it,” Servian said. “It requires more conversation and a sit-down.”
by Alex Mahadevan | News Editor
Benderson plans Village construction The developer has started the permitting process to renovate a building on Ocean Boulevard.
Benderson Development the two parcels that make up Hanna Plaza for a Beach purchased Club combined $951,500 in 2011. The Hub Lobster Pot
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Daiquiri Deck patron area. “Given the parking issues/concerns on Siesta Key, as a consideration, in-structure parking may ease the parking problem for new construction in this area,” the review said.
The project will add a modern feel to First Street, and house three single-floor condos and 3,200 square feet of commercial space. A 5,000-square-foot rectangle of downtown land on First Street, across from Whole Foods, is slated to become a fourstory, mixed-use project. Giovanni Migliorini, co-owner of Main Street restaurants Café Epicure and Mediterraneo Restaurant, plans to construct a building at 1458 First St., which is currently the site of a fenced parking lot. Migliorini calls the building’s design “streamlined and minimalistic.” “It is a clean building,” Migliorini said, “with a lot of glass, steel and concrete.” The first floor will feature 3,200 square feet of commercial space. Migliorini said his plan is to lease the first floor to a restaurant tenant, although he says retail is also a possible use. The front of the first floor was set back to allow for patio space facing First Street. “I pushed the wall inside so there would be a dining area, similar to Selva (Grill),” Migliorini said. The next three floors will be single-floor, 2,200 square feet condo units. The condos will not be listed for sale. Migliorini will occupy one of the units, and his business partner will occupy another unit. It is not known who will occupy the third unit. Migliorini is applying for a building permit with the city and hopes to break ground in early summer. He estimates the project will take eight months to construct. Once construction is complete, Migliorini will be moving from Sapphire Shores to his new downtown condo building. “I love the location,” Migliorini said. Migliorini’s Beans & Machines LLC purchased the land in July 2011 for $405,000.
Selby Public Library
Siesta resident Lourdes Ramirez, who has been vocal about the island’s overlay district and land use on the Key, said the development would, in some ways, bring the property further into compliance with SKOD. The development would be consistent with parts of the SKOD, which encourages new development to abut sidewalks and provide awnings for pedestrians. Current tenants at the location, including Sea Pleasures & Treasures and Waterside Realty, did not know any details of the renovation. Mathes said the tenant structure is slated to remain the same, but said the project is too far in its infancy to make any concrete statements about leasing. The last major renovation in the Village was in September, to prepare the former site of Total Tennis, on Avenida Madera, for the restaurant Eat Here. Hanna Plaza was built in the early 1990s, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraiser website. “We want to give the buildings more of a Village feel,” Mathes said.
First Street project will add condos, commercial
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Siesta Key Village could have more than 8,000 square feet of new retail space if Sarasota County approves a building addition in Hanna Plaza, at 5221 Ocean Blvd. Benderson Development, which owns the property (made up of a north and south parcel), plans to add an 8,000-square-foot addition on the north parcel, which sits next to Beach Bazaar, and a 400-square-foot patio on the opposite side of the plaza. The addition would stretch to the sidewalk and overtake 14 parking spaces, according to the concept site plan. Benderson purchased the property’s north parcel as the limited-liability corporation 5221 Ocean Blvd., in 2011, for $300,000. Other Benderson purchases include a parcel with additional parking across the street for $396,000 and the southern parcel in Hanna Plaza for $651,500 the same year. The firm has invested roughly $2.7 million in Village properties since the beginning of 2011. The two parcels that make up Hanna Plaza and the adjacent southern parcel are listed together as “Siesta Key Commercial” in Benderson’s current concept. Benderson will work informally with the Siesta Key Village Association and the Siesta Key Association, as well as the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, as the project moves through the design process, said Todd Mathes, Benderson’s director of development. Siesta Key architect Mark Smith said, after an April 2 Village Association meeting, that he had spoken with representatives from Benderson about a stormwater plan for the rear of the property, but worried about the parking spaces subtracted from the property in initial designs. The firm will need an alternative parking agreement if the plans remain for the final development, according to comments from the Sarasota County Development Review Committee pre-submittal review. The additional square footage leaves a void of about eight parking spaces to comply with the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) and roughly 21 spaces to comply with the Sarasota County Code. The SKOD requires additional parking when restaurants increase the size of their
Rendering courtesy of Hoyt Architects
The building’s first floor was set back to allow for patio space facing First Street.
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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
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NEWSBRIEFS + Chapman leads recent fundraising reporting period
With less than six weeks left until the May 14 City Commission runoff election, the three candidates continue their fundraising campaigns. Susan Chapman led the way during the most recent campaign-finance reporting period, from March 6 to March 22, with $2,425 in campaign contributions. Thus far, Chapman has collected a total of $17,815 in campaign donations. Incumbent Suzanne Atwell collected $700 from March 6 to March 22. Thus far, Atwell has collected a total of $20,188. Richard Dorfman collected $600 during the recent campaign-contribution period. Thus far, he has raised the highest total of campaign contributions, $40,656. Candidates can collect a maximum of $200 from an individual donor.
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Sarasota County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 9, R.L. Anderson Administration Building, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
Sarasota County Commission Meeting — 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Sarasota Tree Advisory Council meeting — 3 p.m. Thursday, April 11, Administration Building, A/B Conference Room,1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
+ Commissioners approve North Trail overlay In a 3-2 vote Monday, April 1, city commissioners approved an amended proposal for a North Trail Overlay District (NTOD). The approved proposal diluted an original NTOD initiative. Voicing concern about “intrusive” developments being built under new guidelines, City Commissioner Terry Turner proposed an amendment that altered the way developments are approved under the proposal. Under Turner’s amendment, the planning board retains final approval on projects — as opposed to city staff having final say on developments on the North Trail. Commissioners approved the amendment 3-2. City planners, property and business
owners and nearby residents spent the past three years working on the North Trail Overlay District (NTOD) during a series of meetings. The opt-in overlay district is intended to attract long-planned redevelopment while addressing the concerns of the surrounding neighborhoods. The approved version of the plan includes the following major changes: • A one-story increase in building height would be allowed in most areas; • Buildings must be set closer to the street with parking in back or on the side; • Provide regulations for setbacks and daylight plane. Mayor Suzanne Atwell and Commissioners Paul Caragiulo and Shannon Snyder voted to approve the NTOD.
+ Propsosed Hub Pub requires variance open The city of Sarasota will host a community workshop April 16 to gather public
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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
MeetingS Wrap up
The Siesta Key Village Association met Tuesday, April 2, for its monthly meeting at Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar. • Topics included the Siesta Key beach improvement project; the forthcoming Siesta Fiesta and a workshop Village Association members are planning for the
input about a zoning change proposed to open a bar and nightclub at the Hub. The Hub Pub would be located on the corner of Second Street and Goodrich Avenue and operate from 11 a.m. through 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays. The city would also have to grant a variance for the bar to operate within 500 feet of a house of worship for the nighclub to begin operations.
+ Public invited to meet deputy chief candidates Six candidates vying for the deputy chief position with the Sarasota Police Department will attend an informal meet-
ing for the public Friday, April 5, at the police station. Four candidates are from outside the department, while Det. Jack Carter and Capt. Paul Sutton are currently serving in internal positions. Sutton served as acting police chief for a month before Chief Bernadette DiPino was sworn in January. The four external candidates include: • Michael Maniago, chief of police, Torrington Police Department • Steve Moyer, security and guest services director, University of Maryland Medical Center • Lee Spector, assistant professor of criminal justice management, Union University and Institute
It’s not every day the internationally known Big Boss of one of the world’s most influential advocacy organizations comes to Sarasota and proclaims that its regional director here is “the best.” It happened last week. Before David Harris, executive director of the New York-based American Jewish Committee, addressed attendees March 28 at an AJC West Coast Florida luncheon at the Sarasota Yacht Club, he joked about the organization’s “shy, reclusive” regional director, Brian Lipton. “We’re still trying to get him out of his shell,” Harris said, to the laughter of the audience. Those who know Lipton, who is based in Sarasota, know he is anything but shy and reclusive, especially when he’s behind a microphone and in front of an audience. Harris told his listeners that when AJC decided to open its regional office in the 1980s in Sarasota, covering Florida from Orlando to Tampa to Naples, it was a gamble. “It has worked spectacularly well,” Harris said. And, “Brian’s the best.” As further proof, Lipton is taking on additional responsibilities as AJC’s liaison to the AJC Adenauer Exchange Institute in Berlin. For the past 33 years, AJC and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation have • Milton Wiener, internal affairs investigator, Palm Beach County Sheriff
+ Federal spending freeze touches tax dollars The fiscal earnings of record year for tourism in Sarasota County will be slightly muted by a landmark budget debate in Congress. The county must cover a roughly $92,000 budget shortfall for the 2013
Brian Lipton, AJC West Coast Florida regional director operated an exchange program that sends Jewish Americans to Germany for a week to engage German political and civic leaders in discussions regarding German-Israel relations, the threat of anti-Semitism and U.S.-Germany relations. German participants travel to New York, Washington and other cities for similar conversations. Lipton will be in Berlin this month. In June, Lipton will return to Berlin to participate in AJC’s Third Generation Initiative. He will take 10 Jewish grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to meet with 10 non-Jewish Germans in their late 20s and 30s whose grandparents were in the German Army in World War II. “It’s a tremendous opportunity,” Lipton said. “I’m really excited to be able to continue AJC’s work, not only regionally, but on an international scope.” fiscal year due to the automatic cuts in federal spending — or the sequestration. Nearly $40,000 will come from tourist development taxes, according to an email from Chief Financial Planning Director Steve Botelho to county commissioners. The county must allocate $39,887 to replace federal subsidies on bonds out of the fund, which short-term rental properties fund through levies. Revenues from utility system funds will cover the remaining deficit.
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+ Shy? No, ‘the best’
At the Sarasota City Commission meeting Monday, April 1 commissioners: • Approved a status report on a Main Street improvement project and First Street Improvements. • Approved a request to install blue LED lights on the John Ringling Causeway. “I am very excited about it,” said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. “It is going to be gorgeous. I can’t wait to see it at night.” Representatives at Evolucia, a local LED lighting manufacturer, said the company is willing to donate the lighting. The next City Commission meeting will be held at 2:30 and 6 p.m. Monday, April 15, City Commission Chambers, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
Sarasota City Commission
end of April to address code enforcement in the island’s commercial district. • Village Association President Russell Matthes announced the return of island code-enforcement officer John Lally. Siesta will again have a full-time officer, along with overtime help from officer Kevin Burns. • Sarasota County is pursuing reimbursement from a driver who crashed into a Village light pole — which is currently “missing in action,” said Mark Smith, Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce chairman Mark Smith,. • An dumpster in the municipal parking lot that was overflowing by at least 4 feet was discovered April 2. Helene Hyland told Village Association members an investigation showed signs of restaurant trash, which is not allowed in the large green receptacle. The county is required to put a fence around the dumpster to comply with Siesta Key Overlay District regulations. • Siesta Key Association Vice President Peter van Roekens gathered the names of volunteers to sell T-shirts at the 40th annual Siesta Fiesta. Volunteers will have roughly 288 shirts to sell for $15 each.
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
by Roger Drouin | City Editor
Property owner proposes DID expansion to Burns Square
The move would mean Burns Square property owners would be taxed an additional 2 mills to fund capital improvements such as better landscaping and lighting.
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Sharon Katzman thinks Burns Square looks pretty good. But she thinks better landscaping and improved lighting — and “better cohesion and connection to downtown” — will make it even more of a destination for residents and tourists. Katzman, owner of IOPTICS Eyewear in Burns Court, is spearheading a preliminary effort to expand the Downtown Improvement District (DID) to include Burns Square. If the plan gains momentum, Burns Square would become a part of the taxing district that now stretches north to south from Second Street to Ringling Boulevard and west to east from Palm Avenue to Goodrich Avenue. If the expansion were to occur, property owners in Burns Square would be taxed an additional 2 mills to fund maintenance, capital improvements and other area improvements in the historic commercial district south of Main Street. As a result of the new tax, property owners in Burns Square would pay a collective $114,312 a year that would go toward upgrades such as improving a crosswalk on Orange Avenue; adding lush landscaping to the area; or bringing a streetcar stop to the neighborhood — if the city eventually brings a streetcar to Sarasota. Thus far, Katzman has sent surveys to 10 property owners, of more than 50 total owners in Burns Square, to get initial feedback on where improvements are needed in the area and how people feel about the concept of an improvement district. The City Commission would have to approve the DID expansion before it takes effect. Several property owners said they did not yet know enough about the tax-district proposal to weigh in, but some speculate it could be a good thing for business. Leanne Swor, owner of L. Boutique and president of the recently formed Burns Court Neighborhood Association, said she would like to see more details about the financial cost. “As a property owner, I’d like to know what the tax would add to my tax bill and what the benefits would be,” Swor said. As far as potential area improvements,
Possible improvements could include better crosswalks, sidewalks and landscaping in Burns Square.
such as better lighting and sidewalks and improved landscaping, Swor said it would be a plus for the district. She’d also like to know whether her fellow property owners support the measure, and she has concerns about timing in a tough economy. Dan Bailey, a partner at the law firm of Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen, also heard about the possible district expansion but didn’t know the specifics. “The train hasn’t left the station yet,” Bailey said. Bailey did say the Downtown Improvement District was a good model and said he could see some benefit of an expanded district that included Burns Square. As part of the next step, however, Bailey would like to see a cost-benefit analysis. In addition to creating a funding source for area-specific projects, the expansion would also clear the way for a Burns Square property owner to sit on the Downtown Improvement District board and, thus, have a say in downtown projects. “I see this as something vital and necessary for us,” Katzman said. “It will not take away from our uniqueness. But, it will enhance the connectivity to the rest of downtown.”
Read the survey sent to 10 Burns Square property owners. www.YourObserver.com
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by Nick Friedman | Community Editor
State Street Eatery owners Christian Hershman and Chis and Kirk Voelker Nick Friedman
State Street Eating House to expand, focus on service Following a successful first year, the restaurant will add additional seating and a lounge area, but its owners say they won’t lose sight of the atmosphere customers have come to love. Christian Hershman wipes his brow and takes a seat near the bar at State Street Eatery. The restaurant is closed, and the co-owner and chef has just finished moving an industrial oven in preparation for the bar’s upcoming expansion into the space next door — but Hershman prefers to call it an “extension.” “We’re not so much expanding as we are extending the services we already offer,” he says. “We’ve been fortunate to be successful here, and that’s resulted in long wait times for our customers. Our hope is that this will give them a nice place to wait, if that’s the case.” Hershman and partners Kirk and Chris Voelker opened the restaurant last year. State Street’s urban-chic vibe is created in part by its stripped-down décor, including a concrete bar top and exposed rafters; its craft cocktails, which are mixed with house-made ingredients; and its hip staff, who serves up dishes and cocktails with a sense of style. This combination of elements has secured the eatery’s spot in downtown Sarasota. The Voelkers own the downtown space, which The Old Heidelberg Pastry Shop previously occupied. When the Heidelberg closed, Chris Voelker began working with Hershman, an established chef and caterer, to develop a restaurant and bar with a vintage atmosphere. “It’s been great,” says Chris Voelker. “We’ve evolved, and we have a big mix of customers. There’s a great ambience, and Christian has a real vision for creating dishes. Our success has been the result of
a combination of a lot of things.” Now, a year later, the establishment is ready to grow. Hershman is cautious when speaking about the extension, because he largely credits the eatery’s success to its intimate size and throwback sensibility. “We’re not a 150-seat restaurant,” he says. “We’re a small, intimate, urban space, and that’s rare, especially downtown. I think that has a lot to do with our success, and we’re cognitive of that with this extension.” The extra space will help State Street retain many of the customers who want to stop in for a drink, but are unable to find a seat. Even so, Hershman says he’s found people are willing to wait. “I’m still surprised when people are willing to wait 45 minutes or an hour,” he says. “The expansion is important, because it’s a quick way to say thank you and provide them with a more defined, pleasurable place to wait.” Specific details of the expansion are forthcoming, pending approval from the city, but the basic idea is to offer customers a comfortable place to wait or just enjoy a cocktail. Preliminary design plans include adding additional tables and bar seating, as well as a lounge area with couches, where customers can enjoy light-menu items. State Street will also offer throwback services, such as shoe shining during the day. The owners have applied for a major conditional use permit through the city and will host a community workshop April 11, before presenting the plans to city commissioners in July. Hershman says they hope to have the new space open by early August.
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Observer opinion | our view SARASOTA
“If we are to build a better world, we must remember that the guiding principle is this — a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy.” Friedrich Hayek “Road to Serfdom,” 1944 Editor & CEO / Matt Walsh, mwalsh@yourobserver. com Executive Editor / Lisa Walsh, lwalsh@yourobserver. com Chief Digital Officer / Emily Walsh Parry, ewalsh@ yourobserver.com Deputy Executive Editor / Jessica Luck, jluck@ yourobserver.com Managing Editor / Randi Donahue, rdonahue@ yourobserver.com City Editor / Roger Drouin, firstname.lastname@example.org News Editor / Alex Mahadevan, alexm@ yourobserver.com Community Editor / Nick Friedman, nfriedman@ yourobserver.com Community Editor / Yaryna Klimchak, yklimchak@ yourobserver.com Copy Editor / Maria Amodio Managing Editor/Diversions-Season / Stephanie Hannum, email@example.com Arts & Entertainment Editor / Mallory Gnaegy, firstname.lastname@example.org Black Tie Photographer / Rachel O’Hara, email@example.com Managing Editor/Design / Nancy Schwartz, firstname.lastname@example.org Design Editors / Jennifer Edwards, jedwards@ yourobserver.com; Nicole Thompson, nthompson@ yourobserver.com Web Editor / Eddie Kirsch, email@example.com Director of Advertising / Jill Raleigh, jraleigh@ yourobserver.com East County Advertising Manager /Lori Ruth, lruth@ yourobserver.com; Digital Sales Manager / Kathleen O’Hara, kohara@ yourobserver.com Sales Manager / Rosemary Felton, rfelton@ yourobserver.com Senior Advertising Executive / Laura Ritter, lritter@ yourobserver.com; Advertising Executives / Victoria Baga, vbaga@ yourobserver.com; Penny DiGregorio, pdigregorio@ yourobserver.com; Patti Duff, pduff@yourobserver. com; Robert Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org; Rose Mango, email@example.com; Suzanne Munroe, firstname.lastname@example.org; Charlotte Owen, email@example.com; Kenji Trujillo, firstname.lastname@example.org Sales & Marketing Coordinator / Leslie Gnaegy, email@example.com Sales Coordinator/Account Managers / Lori Downey, firstname.lastname@example.org; Susan Leedom, email@example.com; Rachel Livingston, firstname.lastname@example.org Classified Advertising Sales Executives/ Maureen Hird, email@example.com; Courtney Callahan, firstname.lastname@example.org Interactive Art Director / Caleb Stanton, cstanton@ yourobserver.com Advertising-Production Operations Manager / Kathy Payne, email@example.com Advertising-Production Coordinator / Brooke Schultheis, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Graphic Designers / Monica DiMattei, email@example.com; Marjorie Holloway, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jim Knake, jknake@ yourobserver.com; Chris Stolz, cstolz@yourobserver. com; Luis Trujillo, email@example.com Chief Financial Officer / Laura Keisacker, firstname.lastname@example.org Controller / Lisa Schwenk, lschwenk@yourobserver. com Office Coordinator/Subscriptions / Donna Condon, email@example.com
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Watchdog for human rights “Iran. Iran. Iran. Wake up, world. Wake energy independence in the United States walked into a stall in a men’s room. up, world.” and Israel a top priority. “David Harris … I feel you are Jewish,” David Harris, executive director of the “What does energy independence have said the note. “My family is Refuseniks.” American Jewish Committee, is describing to do with Jews?” Harris said. “This has (Soviet Jews denied emigration.) how he has spent the past 15 years circling been our biggest Achilles heel.” While in Moscow, Harris visited synathe globe; sitting face to face, looking eye to For 40 years, western petrol dollars have gogues and made Jewish acquaintances to eye with the world’s most powerful heads financed the Islamic jihad. It’s shameful, learn about Jewish life. When he asked the of state; delivering the message incessantly Harris says, how U.S. politicians in that girl why she thought he was Jewish, she and emphatically: Iran told him no parents would cannot have WMDs. ever dare name their son “This is numero uno,” “David” — unless they were Harris said last week after Jewish. addressing a luncheon of Not long after, two uniAJC’s West Coast Florida formed soldiers nabbed chapter at the Sarasota Harris on the street and put Yacht Club. “Imagine Bin him under hotel arrest for Laden with a dirty bomb. three days and two nights. We would have been in The Russians expelled him to a totally different world Helsinki, and as he left, they then. The marriage of told him don’t try to return. radical Islam and WMDs — “I was on fire,” Harris that’s the world we cannot recalls. “Very inspired. I felt I let materialize.” had become a lifeline.” From the United States Harris joined the Hebrew to Great Britain and Immigrant Aid Society in Canada; from China to Rome and worked four years Russia, India, Germany helping Jews leave the Soviet and France; from Japan Union legally. In 1979, he to Brazil, Saudia Arabia, joined AJC. He wanted to Egypt, Pakistan, you name influence world policy. it, the heads of state in the Rachel O’Hara Tolerance or terrorism? highest offices know the David Harris: “The real test of Islam is how it treats its Christian minorities. In spite of his message of name and know the man: optimism to his Sarasota David Harris. audience, in a post-lunch interview, Harris time have been unable to merge in comHe is arguably the world’s most influenframed the state of the world as “much mon purpose to achieve domestically protial advocate for the world’s Jews and the messier” than when he became AJC’s exduced energy independence. “Forty years state of Israel and for worldwide human ecutive director in 1990. rights. He is a modern-day missionary who, later, we are finally starting to see.” As he Then, he says, the world was “uni-polar,” puts it: “The more we devalue Arab oil, the like early prophets, tirelessly and couramore we can change the balance of power.” no longer the bi-polar Cold War world of geously spreads the word. Harris and AJC, the two super powers. In the past 10 years, he says, “cannot remain silent in the face of Roots of passion: persecution however, the world has become increasinjustice. We need to stand up and deBorn in California, Harris attributes his ingly “multi-polar,” Harris says. fend democracy. We are heirs of prophetic passion for AJC’s mission to his parents and While the United States is still the super tradition, a link in a chain that goes back wife, all persecuted Jews. power, “its strength is declining,” especially thousands of years.” His mother, Nelly, and her family were economically, Harris says. Power is more For Sarasota-Manatee’s Jewish residents, among the last Jewish families to leave distributed. China continues to emerge. hosting Harris is almost akin to hosting a Russia legally in 1929, escaping Stalin. “Venezuela has been punching above its secretary of state. AJC is a powerful dipThe family traded its Moscow apartment weight, and Iran thinks it can win in the lomatic force. It has 26 U.S. offices and 41 for passports to go to Paris. For the next boxing ring with the U.S. because it has international posts and affiliates. When decade, they encountered anti-Jewish and energy.” And then you have the European a threat, injustice or attack affects Jews, anti-Russian sentiment in France. Union and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, the state of Israel or persecuted innocents And then in 1941, after a year of hiding China and South Africa). “They all can crearound the world, Harris quickly hopfrom the Nazis, Harris’ mother’s family obate their own blocs,” Harris says. scotches the world, imploring world leadtained visas from a Pennsylvania congressAdd to that wars are now asymmetrical ers to right wrongs. When the Palestinians man to come to the United States. “They — no longer two uniformed enemies easy sought statehood from the United Nations arrived with nothing,” Harris says. “For to identify. “The terrorists are always probin 2011, Harris and his AJC associates held them, the meaning of the Statue of Liberty ing at your weak points,” Harris says. “They 350 meetings in 100 nations, advocating and America is something far deeper and don’t have to go into the boxing ring.” defeat of the move. profound than for those who are born Asked what he sees arising in this global, Harris and his associates are able to do here.” asymmetrical cauldron, Harris says the this in large part because of the more than Harris’ father, Eric, was a science prodigy. future is unfolding now in the Islamic$30 million a year that comes from worldHis parents sent him from Berlin to Vienna Muslim states. wide donors, many of them in Sarasota in 1933 for safety. When he was 16, one of “Samuel Huntington wrote ‘The Clash and Manatee counties. Two weeks ago, for his projects was working on the synthesis of Civilizations and the Remaking of World instance, the Benderson family contribOrder.’ The real clash is within civilizauted $100,000 to AJC in honor of its current of the heavy hydrogen atom — a precursor to the hydrogen bomb. One day in tions,” Harris says. regional president, Ann Virag. 1938, after the Nazis took over Austria, they Who will emerge to define Islam? Will its So when Harris visits Sarasota, he draws expelled Harris’ father from his university. Muslim leaders permit tolerant and pluthe faithful. They are always eager to hear They detained him until 4 a.m. He spent ralistic societies? Or will it be the Taliban, his take on the future of Israel and world the night and early morning hours forced Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah or the next Bin Laden? order. to shine the boots of Nazi officers. “Christians have enormous challenges in Reasons for optimism Harris’ father made it to France, and in these countries,” Harris says. “The Jews are Harris couched his remarks last week in a 1940 volunteered for the French army. He gone. The real litmus test of Islam is how it framework of optimism. ended up in the French Foreign Legion treats its Christian minorities.” “Why am I an optimist?” he asked. in Algeria, later to be held three years in a And we’re seeing it: Coptic Christians “Because I have witnessed in my lifetime Vichy labor camp, mining coal. Harris says persecuted in Egypt. Chaldean Christians Jewish renewal, redemption and renaishis father eventually escaped and hooked leaving Iraq. An American Christian pastor sance … On the 65th anniversary of the up briefly with the U.S. Office of Strategic imprisoned in Iran. Harris ticks off other re-establishment of the state of Israel, it’s a Services, precursor to the CIA. countries where Christian minorities are cause for unadulterated joy. Harris’ wife, Giulietta, is an Arab Jew increasingly pressured or tormented — “Here’s the good news,” he said: born in Libya. He calls her one of the “ForAlgeria, Nigeria, Lebanon, Pakistan. • “No threat — not from Iran, not from gotten Jews” of North Africa. During the “For all of us, these stakes are huge,” he Hezbollah — is going to defeat the state of Six-Day War in 1967, Arabs in Libya turned says. Israel. their aggression on the Jews there. But an What should the United States do? • “Israel will continue to be a global Arab man hid for six days 10 Jews, includ“If I were running for office, I would say leader in entrepreneurship. ing Harris’ wife’s family. To this day, Harris America needs to restore its strength and • “Israel is on the verge of energy indesays, the man who saved his wife’s family confidence,” Harris says. “We have to get pendence. cloaks his identity for fear of reprisal. beyond the zero-sum games too many • “Israel may one day become an alterWhile the stories of Harris’ family mempoliticians are fighting, and there needs to nate to the Suez Canal to get to the Red bers continue to motivate him, his passion be a spirit of common purpose and comSea.” also comes from his own experience in the promise. Those are not dirty words. One more: “This country (the United mid-1970s. “We’re not a red and blue country,” he States) is also on the verge of achieving As one of six Americans teaching in secsays. “We’re a red, white and blue country.” energy independence.” ondary schools in Moscow and Leningrad, Americans, Harris says, need to convince For Harris and AJC, the latter would be a Harris was walking between classes when the world that, on the pressing issues it historic achievement. Ever since the Araba female student slipped a piece of paper faces, “we have the national strength and oil embargo of the 1970s, AJC has made into his hand, a clandestine hand-off. He the national will.” — Matt Walsh
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
UPCOMING Sunday April 14 Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood Luncheon to honor Rabbi Elaine Rose Glickman 12:30 p.m. at Lakewood Ranch Country Club, 7650 Legacy Boulevard, Lakewood Ranch. Cost: $45. Info: Call Cindy Gliburne at 812-4858
Saturday, April 13 Ring Sarasota 8 p.m. at The Glenridge Performing Arts Center, 7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota. Cost: $15. Info: Call 552-5325 SSA+S Celebration Gala 7 p.m. at Laurel Oak Country Club, 2700 Gary Player Blvd., Sarasota. Cost: $50. Info: Call Michael Reed at 330-1855, Ext. 100
8 Town Hall Lecture Series Featuring Tom Brokaw 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Cost: $100. Info: Call 924-1343
Yom Hashoah — An Hour of Remembrance with Dr. Abraham J. Peck 2:30 p.m. at Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave. W., Venice. Cost: Free. Info: Call 486-4714
SATURDAY / SUNDAY
Community Choir Concert 2 p.m. at The Glenridge Performing Arts Center, 7333 Scotland Way, Sarasota. Cost: Free. Info: Call 552-5325
Sarasota Film Festival 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; runs through April 14 at Regal Hollywood 20 Cinema, 1993 Main St. Cost: Varies. Info: Visit sarasotafilmfestival.com
12th annual Hob Nob at Ed Smith Stadium 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St. Cost: $50 for guests and members at the gate. Info: sarasotachamber.com
Siesta Key Chamber Networking Luncheon 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beckam’s on the Trail, 6727 S. Tamiami Trail. Cost: $12. Info: Call 349-3800
Florida Wine and Balloon Festival Various times and locations. Cost: Varies. Info: floridawinefest. org/event-info/
Just Desserts 6 p.m. at Selby Gardens Great House, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Benefits Family Promise Sarasota Cost: $50. Info: Call 952-1800.
A City of Performing Arts Discussion 7 p.m. in the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th St., Sarasota. Cost: Free to members; $10 at the door for nonmembers. Info: 364-9076
Designing Ambassadors’ Guild Fundraiser ‘Fifty Shades of Giving’ 6 p.m. at Mattison’s Forty-One, 7275 S. Tamiami Trail. Cost: $50. Info: Call 366-5293
Sarasota Newcomers Luncheon 11:30 a.m. at The Field Club, 1400 Field Road, Sarasota. Cost: $24. Info: Call Grace Sammon at (301) 649-5838
Saturday, April 6 27th annual Run for the Turtles 6:30 a.m. at Siesta Public Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. Cost: $30 for adults; $20 for children 10 and younger. Info: Contact Paula Clark at 388-4441, Ext. 357, or visit mote. org/runfortheturtles
Fourth annual YouthArts Festival 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at Selby Library, 1131 First St. Cost: Free. Info: Call Brittany Norwood at 365-5118 Ana Vidovic Performance 7:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2256 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. Cost: $20 for GuitarSarasota members; $25 for nonmembers. Info: guitarsarasota.org
11th annual Be a Visionary Walk 8:30 a.m. registration; walk begins at 9 a.m. at Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bay Shore Road. Benefits the Lighthouse of Manasota. Cost: $25 for individuals; $10 for children 5 and older. Info: Call 359-1404.
Sunday, APRIL 7 Longboard Cruza Palooza 8 a.m. registration; 10 a.m. race starts at 5253 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key. Cost: $20 to participate; free for spectators. Info: califloridaapparel.com
Kids Day Fair 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Payne Park, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota. Benefits All Children’s Hospital Cost: Free. Info: Call Irene Brooks at 9225437.
Piano Concert Featuring Jeremy Fisell and Nigel Potts 7 p.m. at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key. Cost: $18.
New College/Ringling College Flag Football Showdown 2 p.m. at New College of Florida Fitness Center fields, 5800 Bay Shore Road. Cost: $10. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
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tHe PRoMenaDe | 239.948.4000 26811 South Bay Drive, Suite 130, Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Sotheby’s International Realty and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
anna MaRia iSLanD 516 blue Heron Drive Terry Hayes
eagLe Point CLub 941.302.3100 $1,790,000
749 eagle Point Drive Terry Herschberger
SieSta Key 941.302.9674 $1,195,000
840 the esplanade north, 701 Joe Vuono
SieSta Key 941.302.1485 $1,100,000
DoWntoWn 941.302.3100 $599,000
1771 Ringling boulevard, PH104 Jo Rutstein premiersir.com/id/A3957159
4947 Commonwealth Drive Tamara & Todd Currey premiersir.com/id/A3968197
SieSta Key 941.587.9156 $559,000
4822 ocean boulevard, 8C Keith & Sharon Whitfield premiersir.com/id/A3963868
Longboat Key 941.408.6041 $338,900
4700 gulf of Mexico Drive, 205 Charlotte Hedge premiersir.com/id/A3971322
foReSt at Hi Hat RanCH 9345 Swaying branch Road Brian Wood
7471 Paurotis Court Greg Hudson
6957 belgrave Drive Jeannie McDermott
205 bay Drive north Terry Hayes
DoWntoWn 990 boulevard of the arts, 604 Barbara Mei
LiDo Key 1700 ben franklin Drive, 10C Perry Corneau
4289 Corso Venetia boulevard Cindy Marovich
anna MaRia iSLanD 941.544.0977 $599,900
VeniCe iSLanD 941.720.2053 $639,900
SieSta Key 5415 azure Way Judie Berger
5411 avenida Del Mare Judie Berger
PaLMetto 4418 Sailfish Lane Devon Davis
Longboat Key 601 Longboat Club Road, 804S Cheryl Loeffler
oySteR bay eStateS 1324 South Lake Shore Drive Joel Schemmel
foReSt at Hi Hat RanCH 9327 Swaying branch Road Brian Wood premiersir.com/id/A3959189
4317 Midnight Pass Road Joel Schemmel
16 offices, 47 countries worldwide and 19 locations along the Gulf Coast. bonita bay SaLeS CenteR | 239.495.1105 26951 Country Club Drive, Bonita Springs, FL 34134
tHe gaLLeRy | 239.659.0099 4001 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 102, Naples, FL 34103
fiftH aVenue | 239.434.8770 776 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102
VanDeRbiLt | 239.594.9494 325 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL 34108
tHe ViLLage | 239.261.6161 4300 Gulf Shore Boulevard North, Suite 100, Naples, FL 34103
bRoaD aVenue | 239.434.2424 390 Broad Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102
MeRCato SaLeS CenteR | 239.594.9400 9123 Strada Place, Suite 7125, Naples, FL 34108
eStuaRy SaLeS CenteR | 239.261.3148 1220 Gordon River Trail, Naples, FL 34105
MaRCo iSLanD | 239.642.2222 760 North Collier Boulevard, Suite 101, Marco Island, FL 34145
d with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. 3/20/13.
You’re invited to a special showing of the latest fashions in eyewear from:
THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
•Bevel •Orgreen •Freudenhaus
Special pricing day of show only April 5th, 3-8pm at Soto’s Optical On Main 953-3788
In the early morning of April 3, vandals spray painted a truck in the parking lot of the Ringling Shopping Center with anti-Wal-Mart slogans.
RINGLING / FROM PAGE 1A 109355
Siesta Key Village... a perfect time to visit
Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner • Shopping • Night Life • Sunsets #1 Beach in the Country!
Used Book Heaven
“It’s overwhelming” say people as they enter USED BOOK HEAVEN. The store has over 40,000 books in 1600 sq. ft. with large selections of mystery, cookbooks, sci-fi, history, art, etc. Pat Orlando, owner, and her husband Bob will gladly assist you in finding the right book for you. Used Book Heaven has been a fixture in Siesta Village since December, 1994. It is located just off Ocean Blvd. in the Arches Complex. Save money by buying at half price, trade your books or buy $1.00 surprise bags.
used book heaven... “Where all good used books go.”
“The Arches” 5216-D Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
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the construction of a proposed Walmart Supercenter at the commercial property. But, along with the Walmart proposal, the property owner had offered to purchase a nearby parcel of land to keep access open to nearby neighborhoods. But, with the defunct Walmart project and lack of offers from other grocery chains, the fence will remain and will block pedestrians from using the property as a shortcut to the park. In an email to the property manager for the Ringling Shopping Center and city officials, Kelly Kirschner, former Sarasota mayor and Alta Vista resident, expressed concern about the “unsightly wall” that was erected on the property. “This pedestrian access has been in existence for close to six decades, connecting the neighborhood to Payne Park and downtown,” Kirschner wrote in the email. “There are hundreds of homeowners and families who not only walk though the site every day, keeping their eyes on potential problems, but going to Payne Park to jog; walk their dog; take their children to the new playground, etc.” In an interview with the Sarasota Observer, Kirschner said many of his neighbors are confused why the property owner would place a fence blocking access.
“We had a reasonable project (in Walmart), and we had vitality, and now we’re going to have a fence,” said Myron Nickel, a resident of Terrace Gardens, who spoke in favor of the Walmart proposal at City Commission meetings. Nickel blamed members of the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association for fighting the Walmart proposal. “There’s not a lot out there our neighborhood can do about the fence,” said Alta Vista Neighborhood Association President Candy Spaulding. Ringling Gardens and Terrace Gardens, neighborhoods that surround the property, are small and haven’t had active citizen groups, Spaulding said. “It’s private property; they don’t have to abide by what their neighbors are thinking,” Nickel said about the shopping center. On Wednesday, April 3, the day after contractor Florida Fence finished part of the fence, tenants discovered anti-WalMart graffiti spray painted in neon orange on a white truck in the parking lot. On each side of the truck, vandals wrote a profanity directed at Wal-Mart. The plaza’s property manager and leasing agent Oakmont Capital Resources could not be reached for comment for this story. — City Editor Roger Drouin contributed to this story. Com
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6631 Midnight Pass Rd. | Crescent Plaza (1/4 Mile So. of Stickney Pt. Rd.) www.miguelsrestaurant.net | 941-349-4024
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THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 2013
2:31 a.m. — 5200 block of Ocean Boulevard. Battery. Deputies observed the first man punch the second man in the face in front of a pizza restaurant. The first man then punched the second man’s friend. The man told deputies he was acting in selfdefense.
6 p.m. — 600 block of Tropical Circle. Suspicious Incident. Two families informed a property owner on separate occasions that they had rented his home from a man named John Rice for spring break. The man told them he had never heard of John Rice. Deputies could not determine John Rice’s identity or whereabouts, or how much the families paid.
SLIP OF THE FOOT 5:34 p.m. — 5800 block of Midnight Pass Road. Vehicle Crash. A driver told a Florida Highway Patrol officer she crashed into another vehicle because her foot slipped off the brake pedal. Both vehicles were traveling 5 miles per hour in heavy traffic.
MARCH 23 LAUNDRY LIST OF PROBLEMS 9 p.m. — 1200 block of Shade Avenue. Burglary of a Vehicle. A woman told police her medication was missing from her car. She said she keeps it in a laundry basket in her vehicle because she is distrustful of her roommates. discovering marijuana cigarettes in a jar in his pocket. The man told police it was a legal, synthetic substitute for the illegal drug.
8 a.m. — 300 block of Orange Avenue. Possession of a Controlled Substance. Police arrested a man for a parole violation after
2:13 p.m. — 5300 block of Ocean Boulevard. Disturbance. A hotel worker com-
plained about three guests constantly using the pool after hours. Deputies issued trespassing warnings to the guests. They gathered their belongings and left the hotel.
A HOUSE DIVIDED 6:23 p.m. — 900 block of Beach Road. Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. A man and his father-in-law began arguing about politics while driving to a wedding. The man pulled out a pocketknife and told his fatherin-law he would cut his throat. Wedding guests tried to intervene, which made the man angrier. The man’s son was in the backseat and declined to give a written statement.
Visit our website to see a map of this week’s incident locations. www.YourObserver.com
New Model. New phase. Now opeN.
Big Homesites. Bigger Homes. Biggest Value. 16613 River’s Reach Blvd. Parrish, FL 34219 941.776.3355
Visit Our New Model in the New Phase at River’s Reach.
from the high $100s
A new model home by Neal Communities is NOW OPEN in the new phase at River’s Reach, a gated community located near the headwaters of the Manatee River in Parrish. Ask about the variety of three- and four-bedroom floor plans that offer up to 3,117 square feet. Outside, nature abounds with nearly half of the acreage dedicated to open space or preserve areas, and a rural setting reminiscent of old Florida. Stop by any of our communities to learn more.