Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pick Up a Disney Day at the Rothenbach Air Potato Pick-Up

Care about parks? Want to get involved? Come out to Rothenbach Park on Jan. 16th. Registration starts at 8  a.m.:

Find out more about volunteering here, and how you can register with the county as a regular volunteer.

And check it out: The Friends of Sarasota County Parks have qualified for the ‘Give a day, Get a Disney day’ event. By volunteering for this event you can register and have the opportunity to receive a free one day ticket to Disney World. (Ticket quantities for this program are limited. Must be at least age 6 to participate. Other terms and conditions apply.) Volunteers need to register at after January 1, 2010.

If you have questions please call Connie at 371-1180

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa came early?

Santa is due in Lake Sarasota on the firetruck on Sunday, Dec. 20th, between 2 and 4 pm. (See the map here).

But our neighborhood has been treated to a Christmas gift already.

Last week Ray and Connie Bresciani and some of their grown children and growing grandchildren spruced up the front entrances, laying down 40 bags of mulch, doing some weeding, and even thoughtfully added wreathes for a nice seasonal touch.

Thanks Ray and Connie and all you Brescianis! Not just for this gesture, but for the time, thought, sweat and care you have put into many projects in Lake Sarasota. We're fortunate to have quite a few residents who pitched in to help build Hina Point Park, pick up trash on Mauna Loa and to do a really thorough clean-up of Lakeview Park, among other projects -- all that great help is gratefully acknowledged. Not all are aware that if it were not for Ray and Connie, some of these projects would not have gotten done -- some they initiated, others were shaped and enhanced by their contributions, others they just showed up and did the hard work - providing food and organization for the Lakeview Cleanup, materials and plans for Hina Park, ideas and help for the canals in Lakeview Park.

In tough years like the one we've had, many of us feel pressed, and little able to spare thought, let alone time and energy, for things outside our immediate and urgent needs. Thanks to Ray and Connie, and to everyone who found it possible to pitch in this year to make Lake Sarasota a better place.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Beautification Sat. Morning 9 a.m.

From Ray comes this summons:

Good morning fellow workers of Lake Sarasota!

Our front entrances (Mauna Loa & Westminster) need some attention! Trimmed, weed whacked, & mulched. Would like to set up a short work detail for this Saturday morning at 9 A.M. We will probably need 30 to 40 bags of mulch.

Interested in keeping Lake Sarasota beautiful? Saturday morning some members of the beautification team will be out at the front entrance (Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge) with brand-new mulch and fertilizer purchased with some of our county grant money.

So come out at 9 a.m., meet some of the busiest people in Lake Sarasota, and help give your community a nice uplift.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Meeting Place and Santa Confirmed!

Two updates: We will hold our first meeting of 2010 on Jan. 12, from 7-8:30 p.m. at Lakeview Elementary, in portable #33, which is amongst the newer portables near the south entrance, going towards Bent Tree on Hand Rd.

Santa on a Firetruck has been a Lake Sarasota tradition for the past few years, and this year is no exception. Santa will arrive on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at 2:00 PM, and ride around the neighborhood, and end his visit around 3 PM.

He'll begin at Station 8 and proceed through Lake Sarasota Neighborhood on a firetruck from the Station. Here's the route:

View Santa Claus Comes to Lake Sarasota in a larger map

Friends of Park Group Forms

A new Friends of Rothenbach Park Chapter met Sunday to get some orientation on what the park is about, what can be done for it, and where to begin. Friends of Sarastota County Parks is the umbrella organization with many resources to help new chapters get going. (Facebook / Twitter).

All kinds of events are possible, from races and yard sales to butterfly gardens, hiking, and landscaping. It's really up to the communities that wish to get involved.

The first event will come on Jan. 16th - the Air Potato Pick-Up will begin at 9 a.m. and all are welcome. The idea is to rid the hammocks of as many of those bulbous air potato seeds as possible -- otherwise the invasive vine takes over and kills native species.

If you want to get involved in shaping Sarasota's new park, come out on the 16th and pitch in. All ages can help - bring a hat, gloves, closed shoes (not sandals), garbage bags or buckets (some will be supplied). When done, enjoy some refreshments at noon, followed by a brief Friends of Rothenbach Park meeting. For more info, feel free to contact the point persons for the Group: Ray and Connie Bresciani (371-1180) or at .

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Free H1N1 Vaccinations for all Sarasotans Dec. 5th

H1N1 flu vaccinations now available for all Sarasota County residents

The Sarasota County Health Department will offer free H1N1 flu vaccinations to the general public from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 at the following locations:

* Sarasota County Health Department, 2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
* Woodmere Community Park and Recreation Center, 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice
"We have served the at-risk population, and now, we're prepared to provide the vaccine to the general population," reports Chuck Henry, incident commander for the Sarasota County H1N1 response.

According to Henry, health officials will immunize as many people as possible during the two clinics Dec. 5. Both the H1N1 nasal mist, which is preservative-free, and an injectable vaccine of inactivated virus will be available.

The H1N1 (Swine) flu vaccine is not intended to replace the seasonal flu vaccine. Each vaccine protects against a different virus. For adequate protection against all known circulating flu viruses, people are advised to get two vaccinations: one for seasonal flu and one for H1N1 flu. Similar to the seasonal influenza vaccine, most healthy adults who receive the H1N1 vaccine will have protection in eight to 10 days. People who receive the seasonal FluMist(r) nasal spray vaccine must wait at least 28 days before receiving the H1N1 FluMist(r) nasal spray vaccine.

Blank consent forms will be available at each location for those who do not download the vaccine consent form in advance. Those who do not have access to a computer can visit the health kiosks at any Sarasota County library. The Sarasota County Call Center has a TDD line, 941-861-1833, available for those who are hearing impaired.

For more details about Saturday's vaccine clinics, including a fact sheet about the vaccine and instructions about vaccine consent forms, call 941-861-2800, or visit the Sarasota County Health Department's Web site,<>

Jan Thornburg
City of Sarasota
Public Information Officer
941-650-9693 (Cell)
941-954-4113 (Fax)

Get involved: From the LSCG Board

Dear Residents of Lake Sarasota:

We had our monthly meeting last night. It was interesting and informative.

We had a citizens patrol report from Ted Cover. Ted reported that crimes in October were up from crimes in September (we don't have the November police report yet). The Citizens Patrol is in need of volunteers to patrol our neighborhood. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please contact Ted at 379-0758

If you can just patrol for a couple of hours a month it makes it much easier on everyone. Please make an effort to give the Citizen's Patrol a hand!

Yard of the Month winners were selected and will receive the Yard of the Month signs shortly. It should be prominently displayed until the next winners are selected in January, 2010.

Since we were required to change the date of this month's meeting (circumstances beyond our control) we have decided to have our $50. cash raffle at our next meeting. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 12, 2010, but the arrangements have to be finalized. We will send out another email when the date and location have been confirmed. WHY NOT COME AND TAKE A CHANCE AT WINNING $50.?????


We believe that Santa Claus will be visiting the neighborhood on December 20, however this is another date that we have to confirm with the fire department since they will be loaning Santa a fire truck to ride around the neighborhood on. We will let you know when Santa's plans are finalized.

We have tentatively selected March 13, 2010 for our next garage sale.

We have tentatively selected April 10, 2010 as the day for our Spring Fling.

We are in discussions as to when to start working on a new business directory and will let everyone know when to send in the information and money if they want to be in the directory.

The events that take place in Lake Sarasota require a lot of work when the work is only done by only a few people. We would ask that you try and help us out by volunteering some of your time to help with one or more events. This will help to keep things moving and will make our community better for everyone. Please contact Sandy Allen at 921-2137 or and let her know how you can be of assistance with the events that are coming up. THE LAKE SARASOTA COMMUNITY GROUP NEEDS SOME HELP!

Board of Directors
Lake Sarasota Community Group

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Latest Severe Weather Alert

For: Sarasota County Emergency Management -- Sarasota County, FL
Condition Yellow

Sustained Wind 25+ MPH

Issued: 4:43 PM EST Wed, Dec 02, 2009.
Valid: 04:43 PM EST Wed to 07:30 PM EST Wed

20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 MPH

Strong southerly winds will continue through the rest of the afternoon which could reach up to 30 mph at times. Higher gusts are possible. Winds will gradually decrease this evening.

Notes from Dec. 2 Meeting

If you received a flyer announcing the December meeting on Dec. 8 or 9, ignore it -- for various reasons the meeting was held Tuesday night, Dec. 2. We tried to get the word out, however, due to very low turnout, the drawing for the $50 gift certificate has been rescheduled for the January 12th meeting (see below for more details).

Crime update: There were eight incidents in Lake Sarasota in October, according to the Sheriff's report. That's down from 20 per month during the summer (but up from four in Sept.)

Ted is looking for help with Citizens patrol - please call him (941 379-0758) or email him at Training for the patrol is brief, easy and available - contact Ted and he'll set it up.

Three more homes were awarded Yard of the Month and will be hearing from Renee.

Sandy is working on lining up the annual Santa on a fire truck -- please check this space for an update, but tentatively it's Sunday, Dec. 20th. Confirmation and time TBA.

Sandy collected $117 in donations from the Fall garage sale.The date of the Spring Garage Sale is March 13. Contact her to get on the map.

The Spring Fling is set for Saturday, April 10.

Sandy plans to start working on the next biz directory on Mar. 1, with plans to distribute it around May 1. There was some discussion of posting the directory online, perhaps even on Facebook. Folks are looking into this. Contact her for more info: (321-5582).

The next general meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 12, from 7 - 8:30 pm. Most likely it will be in a new venue, at Lakeview School. More on this as details are known.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

LSCG meets Dec. 2

The final 2009 monthly meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group will be held on a different day and time:

The group will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 pm in room 203 of Sarasota Baptist Church community center - this is just upstairs from the room we normally meet in.

The meeting will run from 6:30 to 8 pm - at 8 we have to be out of the building. People are invited to bring snacks, drinks and their ideas for next year. A $50 gift certificate will be raffled off. Among projects to be discussed, a community garden, bike paths on Bee Ridge west of Mauna Loa, and [your project here].

(Note: The first meeting of 2010 will take place in the same room on Jan. 13, 6:30 pm.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best wishes of the season

From the Lake Sarasota Community Group:

A very happy Thanksgiving,

And a sane Black Friday:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dog Park Patrons Pitch In

A couple of piles of mulch were dropped at the dog park a while ago, and remained there undisturbed, until this morning. After waiting patiently but in vain for it to somehow spread itself, a stalwart group of dog owners Friday morning took matters into their own hands. They brought shovels and pitchforks, rakes and a wheelbarrow, and in between the bantering about Frankenstein parodies and the relative work ethics of men and women, about an hour and 20 minutes later, most of one large pile was spread where there had just been dirt before.

A few images from the entirely enjoyable occasion, with hearty thanks to Kathy, Art, Roxanne, Jenn, Steve, Jim, Dan the Squirrelmaster and Bill for literally pitching in:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

October crime report from the Sheriff"s Office

Ted shared this October update of crime reported in Lake Sarasota:

Here's the October crime report:

There were eight total incidents: one burglary, one juvenile disturbance, and six thefts. Palau Drive was the "hotspot" with three thefts. Two were at adjacent addresses (4051 and 4052). The burglary was at 4111 Berkshire. The Juvenile disturbance was at 6918 Jarvis Road. The other four thefts were at 7266 Mauna Loa, 4008 Palau, 4102 Berkshire, and 3948 Middlesex. Most incidents occurred between the 9th and the 17th of the month. Most incidents occurred between 5 p.m. and midnight. Three incidents occurred in the morning hours, one at 4111 Berkshire (burglary), one at 4008 Palau (theft), and one at 4051 Palau (theft).

The number of incidents doubled over September, but are still below the high levels experienced during the summer months.

Ted Cover
Citizens Patrol

As always, Citizens Patrol could use a few good volunteers - it doesn't take much time, is entirely safe, and proven effective. Give Ted a call at 379-0758 (email) if you can spare an hour a month or so.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Carjacking: Advice from the Florida Attorney General

How to Prevent a Carjacking

Source: Florida Attorney General's Office

  • Keep doors locked and windows shut.
  • Don't stop to assist a disabled motorist. Instead contact a service station or police.
  • When stopped at a light, leave enough room between you and the car in front that you could make an escape.
  • Be suspicious of anyone approaching the car with fliers, asking for change or directions. Be ready to leave carefully, even if it means running a red light or stop sign.
  • While driving, if struck from behind or in any suspicious way, stay in your vehicle with the doors locked and windows closed until the police arrive. Activate your vehicle's emergency flashers.
  • If you're very suspicious, get the other vehicle's license number and drive to the nearest police station or a well-lighted area with lots of people.
  • If you think you are being followed, drive immediately to an area with lots of lights and people. If possible, drive to the nearest law enforcement office.
  • Obtain and use a cellular phone to call for help. In Florida, dialing *FHP anywhere in the state from a cellular phone will connect you with the nearest Florida Highway Patrol station.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LSCG Meeting Notes, Nov. 10, 2009

Chief Fire Inspector Don Damron offered a lot of information about smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. For those unable to attend, a summary has been put in the files section of the Yahoo Lake Sarasota Group.

The treasury currently has $1321.15. We also still have grant money from the county.

Ray gave us an update on the Bee Ridge Rd. East project that will widen and buffer the road. More here.

NOTE: Several of those present were strongly in favor of forming an ad-hoc committee to press for sidewalks and bike paths to extend west of Mauna Loa to Cattlemen, much of which falls to the state, rather than the county. Also, the empty land used for used cars and a dilapidated old political sign at Bikini and Bee Ridge needs to be cleaned up, several said. Stay tuned.

During a recent Citizens Patrol round, Connie noted the location of several potholes on various Lake Sarasota streets. On Oct. 14, she called the county number: 861-5000, and was connected with a woman who took the addresses of the homes near the potholes. All the potholes had been filled by Oct. 20th. Connie was impressed that it only took one call to get it done. She also learned that Lake Sarasota roads are due for repaving in 2011.

Sandy received $127 in donations from her work on the maps for the Garage Sale, which seems to have been a success.

The group is concerned about recent vandalism at the park and was glad to hear that security cameras are to be installed there. There are also plans to further oxygenate the water of the ponds in the park -- more on this soon.

The next meeting is set for Dec. 8 - if we are meeting in the same room, people will bring snacks.

And the group thanks whoever donated a new flag -- a new one had been ordered, but when the man arrived to replace the old one, he found someone had beat him to it. Our unknown benefactor's kindness is deeply appreciated.

Ted was unable to make the meeting, but will update us on recent incidents in Lake S. soon. He also still needs volunteers for Citizens Patrol:

Fire Inspector will speak tonight

At next Tuesday's LSCG meeting, Don Damron, Chief Fire Plans Reviewer/Inspector of the Sarasota County Fire Dept. will talk about home fire safety, and the department's smoke detector and home inspection programs.

Other Agenda items will include discussion of future events, Yard of the Month, Bee Ridge Road update, parks issues (vandalism), and other new business as may come up.

We meet the second Tuesday of each month at Sarasota Baptist, room 100, at 7 pm. The group is strictly voluntary - no dues, no deed restrictions, all welcome.

Update: Ida will bring some rain, wind

Update from Emergency Services as of Tuesday morning:

Good Morning: Ida is now on shore and is expected to weaken. We are watching #73 located near Puerto Rico. This system has the potential to develop into a storm. I will keep you posted on any developments.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Urfer Park Opens Nov. 14

Sarasota's newest park, Urfer Family Park, will open on Nov. 14th. From the county's site:

The grand opening ceremony for Urfer Family Park, 4000 Honore Ave., Sarasota from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will showcase Sarasota County’s first foray into all-ages physical fitness with outdoor exercise equipment stationed a various places on a paved one-mile walking path. In addition, the park boasts separate playground structures for toddlers, youngsters and teens.

The park’s namesakes, Jack and Thelma Urfer will be on hand during the grand opening celebration, which will feature live entertainment, guided nature walks, food, and activities for the whole family.

Home to cattle, tortoise and scores of native Florida plants, the 55-acre Urfer Family Park will continue to serve as a refuge for flora and fauna while providing recreational amenities for young and old alike. Continued preservation along with an enjoyable experience for families will fulfill the vision of the Urfers, who in 2008 made a $1 million gift to the county to develop the park.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New spate of vandalism

There's been some new vandalism in Lakeview Park. It's been a while since we've had any significant issues. This time, a picnic table bench has been broken:

And benches that face the lake on the point and near the pavilion have had their backs broken. This took some doing, as they are very sturdily made.

Also, there's black spray paint on the door of the men's restroom, also near the pavilion.

If anyone has positive information, contact

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Flag Replacement

The flag that greets those entering Lake Sarasota at Mauna Loa has become a bit tattered. A new flag has been ordered, and sometime this week, it will replace the existing one.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Help needed for Yard Sale

A note from Sandy:

Hello everyone....
In getting everything in order for the garage sale on Saturday, I have a few requests. I need volunteers to hand out maps at Bee Ridge and Mauna Loa. If you can or hand out maps for an hour or so or you know someone who could help, please let me know. Also, if you have time to make a Craigslist (if you don't already see it on there) post advertising the garage sale between now and Saturday that would be great.

Contact Sandy at, or at 321-5582.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Neighborhood Yard Sale Nov. 7

Nearly 50 homes are already on the Lake Sarasota Mega Yard Sale Map:

The Lake Sarasota neighborhood garage sale is coming up on November 7. Please email Sandy at asap to be included free of charge on the map that will be handed out on the day of the sale.

View LS Garage Sale 11/7/2009 in a larger map

If you can help defray the costs of advertising, that would be great. Donations can be sent to:

Lake Sarasota Community Group
PO Box 21983
Sarasota, FL 34276


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Commission approves Low Impact Design for Bee Ridge

After hearing a presentation from engineer Jeff Roberts, the Sarasota County Commission today approved, by a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Low Impact Design option for Bee Ridge Road east of I-75.

That means Bee Ridge Rd. will be four lanes from Mauna Loa Blvd. to Bent Tree, then two lanes from there out to Iona.

About 40 properties on the south side of Bee Ridge (many of them in Lake Sarasota) will be acquired - hopefully at reasonable and realistic market prices - in order to develop a broad corridor with community features such as meandering sidewalks, ponds, bio-swales, and a good deal of buffering between the road and communities that abut it.

(click to enlarge)

It's a wise and timely decision, given that new projects that will increase density, traffic, and noise along Bee Ridge are on the drawing boards.

Besides protection from noise, dust, pollution and sirens, the buffering and attractive landscaping will give the area east of I-75 a "Gateway" quality. Eventually the Bee Ridge Corridor will be extended through Rothenbach Park, and become a major link between the city and future development east of the park. In the long view, it is likely that the investment in quality will support and raise property values, in time repaying the County many times over in higher tax revenues. Current estimates for the whole Low Impact Design (LID) put it at $35.5 million, with construction to begin in 2014.

A 14-acre parcel north of Bee Ridge that was to have been used as a retention area if a simpler, less community-friendly design had been chosen may be sold and the funds used to help pay for the difference between the LID and the basic 4-lane project, which would have cost $31.5 million and involved the destruction of over 300 "significant" trees, not to mention offering virtually no buffer between homes and road. Indeed, the cheapest design would have had driveways coming directly on to Bee Ridge, causing slowdowns, and increasing the chance of accidents.

Much of the work behind getting the county to focus on the LID option was done by the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee, led by Joe O'Hara and Don Schultz.

One aspect of the overall project that still will need some attention is the stretch from Mauna Loa Blvd. west to Cattlemen Rd., which lacks sidewalks. Given that children and others often do need to walk from Lake Sarasota along busy Bee Ridge to reach shopping on Cattlemen, it's a no brainer to make sure safe walkways, if not bikeways, are built into that segment, given that they will adorn every other segment from Mauna Loa to the east. Some of this work might come under FDOT and state planning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bee Ridge Road Public Hearing: Update

On Wed., Oct. 28, at 1 p.m., the Sarasota County Commission will hold a public hearing concerning plans for Bee Ridge Rd. east of I-75. Engineers will explain plans and probably answer questions, and presumably public comment will be invited. The hearing will be in the Commission chambers on Ringling Blvd. For more background on Bee Ridge projects, click here.

Important update from the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee: The Public Hearing is still at 1 pm, but the actual presentation from the Engineers has been moved to 4:30 pm on Wed. Oct. 28:
County Staff has met with Commissioners earlier this week to secure their input and questions in preparation for the Wednesday, Oct 28 Commissioner meeting. This meeting will begin at 4.30 PM. Bee Ridge Road Construction will be the third agenda item. The County Administration Building is located downtown on Ringling Boulevard, across from the Post Office, just east of Orange Avenue. Come early to secure parking, located behind the building at Morrill Street. All BRNC members should attend. We also encourage you to invite a few of your Association Members who would support Bee Ridge Road construction.
Reason for the widening

Bee Ridge is at a level of service of F between Mauna Loa and Bent Tree, and traffic will only get worse as development east of I-75 increases. For example, an adult congregate living facility is planned on the Ansin property opposite Mauna Loa. It would generate an estimated 765 trips daily.

What's the difference in the plans?

Essentially, there are two ways to go (with a few minor variants). One plan calls for for a standard four-lane road from Mauna Loa out to Bent Tree (or to Iona). The second approach would allow for four lanes with much more buffering along the way, including ponds, meandering sidewalks, bio-swales and more, as far as Bent Tree. The second plan would cost more, because it entails buying right of way - acquiring a total of 50 properties on the south side of Bee Ridge Road - most of which are in Lake Sarasota. This plan would also enable the design to save nearly 300 healthy valuable trees.

Regardless of which plan, construction would not begin before 2014.


Standard four-lane to Bent Tree: $25 million (to Iona, $31 million).

Full buffered four-lane to Bent Tree: $35.5 million (to Iona, $41.5 million).

The County Commission could decide on this matter on Wednesday, according to Joe O'Hara of the Bee Ridge Neighborhood Committee, who urges residents to come to the County Commission chambers (1660 Ringling Blvd.) on Wednesday to voice their support for the buffered option to Bent Tree ($35.5 million). For more information, contact the Committee.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Update from LSCG President Bill Pitts

Hello Residents of Lake Sarasota:

We had a very interesting and informative meeting on Tuesday night. We had guest speakers from Florida Power & Light who discussed how we can lower our electric bills. It was valuable information.

We will be having another guest speaker on November 10, 2009 (7 pm). A representative from the Sarasota Fire Department will be at the meeting to discuss a program they have to replace batteries in your smoke detectors or actually provide you with a smoke detector free of charge. YOU MUST BE AT THE MEETING TO SIGN UP FOR THE FREE BATTERIES OR THE FREE SMOKE DETECTORS!

At Tuesday's meeting we had a treasury report, a report from the citizen's patrol (which was very positive), and we chose 3 new homes for the Yard of The Month Award.

Please be advised that we will be having a community garage sale on November 7th. For information on the sale and to be included in map, please call Sandy Allen at 321-5582, or email her at

At our meeting on December 8th, we will be having a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to Walmart. Be there so that you have a chance to win!! It could come in handy for Christmas!!

We have also found out that Santa Claus will be visiting Lake Sarasota on December 20th. Please step outside and say hello to Santa as he rides by on the fire truck.


Bill Pitts
Lake Sarasota Community Group

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Got bedbugs?

Ted reminds us that Sarasota's branch of IFAS has a whole Autumn calendar of programs to help with landscaping, bug control, Florida yards, bees, spiders, organic gardening, even bedbugs and retirement planning.

Get the complete brochure here.

IFAS is UF's Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, a terrific resource. The local office is right in Twin Lakes Park.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

FPL was highlight of October LSCG Meeting

The main part of the October meeting was given over to a very useful presentation by two representatives from FPL, covering energy saving tips (also here) home energy surveys, and rebates for certain improvements.

Did you know, for example, that it's possible to get a rebate of up to $1,100 from FPL towards your home's next AC system?

To schedule a home energy survey, call 1-800-DIAL-FPL. (1-800-342-5375)

In other business:

The Treasury's current total is: $1262.19

Citizens patrol:

Sheriff's crime report covered only 4 incidents - three thefts, 1 burglary
  • Times: 10 am - 8 pm
  • No juvenile disturbances
  • No vandalism reported
  • Ted reminds us to keep an eye on vacant houses.
To learn more about Citizen's Patrol, call Ted (379-0758) or email him at

One person asked about who to call to get certain streets repaved. It was suggested they go down the street and tell everyone to call the county and bug them until the work is done.

Santa will appear on a fire truck on Sunday, Dec. 20, time to be announced.

Keep an eye on your cat - apparently someone recently found a cat that had been clubbed to death.

Three homes received Yard of the Month and will be hearing from Renee.

On Wed., Oct. 21 4:30, there will be a meeting of Friends of the Park, at Rothenberg Park.

Planning needs to get underway for the next big Community festival, which will probably be set for either March 27 or April 3 for OctoberFest. Contact Sandy

The next Garage Sale will take place on Nov. 7. There will be maps, and it will be advertised. Contact Sandy ( to get on the map!

Our next scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 7 pm. At that meeting, the Fire Department will be discussing a program they have where they go into your home and replace the batteries in your smoke detector, or your smoke detector itself for free. You will need to be at the meeting to sign up for the free batteries or the free smoke detector.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Shocked by High Electric Bills?

IF so, come to the next monthly meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m, when an FPL rep will talk about

Managing Electric Use
Explains FPL's energy-efficiency programs and tips to help residential, business or special-needs customers manage their bills and energy use.
The brief presentation and Q & A leads off the agenda (7 to 7:30 pm) which will also include:
  • A brief summary of the most recent Bee Ridge Committee Meeting (Ray)
  • Garage Sale and upcoming events, holidays. (Sandy)
  • Yard of the Month, Citizens Patrol Crime Report, Treasurer's Report (Renee, Ted, Ellie)
  • Updates on Current Business: Lakeview Park (Tom)
  • New Business, if any

Sunday, September 27, 2009

OctoberFest shall be MarchFest, or possibly AprilFest

At the organizational meeting for OctoberFest on Saturday, it was determined that there was not enough time to plan the event everyone wanted to have, with lots of ingredients for all comers.

A new date remains to be set, but it will most likely come in March or April, 2010. More on this as plans gel. Contact Sandy if you wish to get involved:

Friday, September 25, 2009

OctoberFest Planning Meeting Saturday at Noon

Anyone wishing to help plan and prepare for OctoberFest '09, the Lake Sarasota Community Gathering we're having on Saturday, Oct. 24, please come out tomorrow, Sept. 26, to the pavilion in Lakeview Park for an organizational chat.

Sandy Allen is coordinating the planning and will be there. We're hoping to have activities for all ages -- games for kids, some informative resources for adults, along with food, music, folks from the county, and maybe some raffles and prizes.

It's a chance to meet your neighbors and learn more about what's happening here. Try to make it tomorrow if you can, at noon, at the pavilion. If you can't but wish to be involved, contact Sandy at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Citizens Patrol Crime Update for August

From Ted:

Here is the breakdown of the August 2009 Sheriff's Dept. Crime Report for Lake Sarasota.

There were a total of 17 incidents (5 burglaries, 9 thefts, and 4 juvenile disturbances). There were no reported incidents of vandalism.

Most incidents occurred between Aug. 14 and Aug. 29.

  • Time Frame of most activity: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Days of most activity: Sundays (6), Tuesdays (4), Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (2 each), Mondays and Thursdays (1 each).
Streets with most incidents:
  • Jarvis Rd. (4 (all four in the 7000 block);
  • Java Dr. (3);
  • Mauna Loa, Brentford, and Palau (2 each);
  • other streets with one incident each (Berkshire, Molokai, Fiji, Santo, Parry.

As a guide for scheduling Citizens Patrols, most incidents occurred between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays, between the 14th and 29th of the month. Streets most affected were Jarvis Rd., Java Dr., Brentford, Mauna Loa, and Palau

Please contact Ted (941 379-0758) to arrange for Citizens Patrol.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Organic local produce leads off Monday night's CONA meeting

A note from John Krotec of Fruitville 210:

Monday, 14 September marks the first CONA meeting of the season at 7:00 at the Sarasota Garden Club.

Our speaker will be Rob Kluson, Ph.D., who is our Sarasota County Extension Agent. Rob has been working tirelessly and creatively to reinvent and to reinvigorate one of our county's oldest
"industries": Agriculture.

Rob has been working with farmers, restaurants, and grocery stores to develop a market for locally-grown produce (especially organic produce). If you have dined at some of our good restaurants lately, you will have noticed that many of the vegetables on the menus are identified by the local farm or area in which they were grown.

Rob will be able to teach all of us about the many new techniques, opportunities, and markets for our local agricultural products, so make it a point to come to the Sarasota Garden Club at 7:00 pm this coming Monday! Find out about opportunities for local economic development, creating jobs and income for our county, as well as fresher, healthier food for our families!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Join the Health Conversation Sept. 14

Attend in person, via cable, or on the net

Mulching in the park

The loud, abrasive sounds emanating from Lakeview Park today came from the mulcher. Parks and Rec used the 120-horsepower device to grind up a lot of dead wood and some invasive bushes:

As a result, more park grounds are accessible and free of dead trees, always a potential fire hazard.

The next step will be treating the highly invasive Potato Vine with a chemical to make it go away.

The contractor on the job was emphatic in saying the chemical is in no way noxious to pets or wildlife.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Highlights of Sept. 8th Meeting

A crowded agenda and an unusual group of guests made the Sept. 8th meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group a memorable one.

The official business included:

Treasurer's Report: LSCG has $1,337.19 in the bank.

Citizen's Patrol: Ted is always seeking volunteers. Reach him at He advises neighbors to keep an eye out for any unusual activity at houses they know to be empty, and to never have their garage door openers visible in their cars.
Saved by the dead battery

One couple present told of how their daughter's car was nearly stolen - thieves jimmied open the door, pulled out the ignition, and would have been on their way, only the battery was dead.

Lakeview Park and Canals: The Sarasota Sky Pilots and some Lake Sarasota residents did another clean-up, pulling lots of debris out of the canals.

The lake itself has risen since water began pumping through the canals, thanks to rainfall. Many who use the park have remarked on how much clearer and cleaner the canal waterways look thanks to the pump circulating the water and the clean-ups. The county has indicated it is looking into additional aeration of the canal waters, as well as some further measures to reduce algae and mosquitos. (More as this develops.)

Abandoned House: A dilapidated, abandoned house is considered by nearby residents to be a fire hazard, a haven for pests (Sandy actually saw a hawk snag a large rat from the yard), and a danger to children thanks to the gaping hole in the front, and the potentially hazardous, junk-filled interior. The county was contacted, and has set in motion certain procedures, sending letters to the owners. One neighbor who wanted to mow the lawn said she was warned not to by a county official, who told her she could be opening herself to being sued. Similarly, people who wished to board up the front of the building -- to keep kids and pests out -- have been told they could be exposing themselves to legal liability. So the house sits, pending "procedures":

In contrast to the slow pace of county procedures vis a vis the eyesore, a few hundred feet away from it, a BMX track built and used by some boys was razed by the county despite community interest in it, as reported here. About a dozen of the BMXers and a dad or two came to last night's meeting, under the impression they had been invited by County Natural Resources Manager Demetra McBride, with whom they expected to hold a "community conversation."

BMXers giving thumbs up

The boys expressed an interest in having this conversation. However, whether through some mishap or miscommunication, McBride was not at the meeting, to the surprise of the boys who had the impression they'd been invited to it by her.

The boys say they'd like to work with the county to find another site, and to speak with any homeowners who might have concerns. The site served as jumping practice for the boys, some of whom train and race at the BMX track at 17th St. and Tuttle. One boy is second in the state in BMX racing, and a Lake Sarasota girl has been a national champion. (More about BMX bicycle racing here and here).

Members of the Lake Sarasota Community Group indicated they are willing to help with site search, community contacts, or as liason with the county. More to come.

Yard of the Month: No yards were selected this month, as all three "Yard of the Month" signs have been stolen. The Group voted to purchase three replacement signs.

Upcoming Events: Sandy is working on lining up speakers for future meetings. More immediately there are plans afoot for an "OctoberFest" in Lakeview Park on Oct. 24, a Saturday.

The event will be a community identity building day -- a chance to meet neighbors and get to know the community. Tentative plans call for free food, maybe a Bud truck, games, raffles, bands, arts and crafts booths, possibly a climbing wall, bungee jumping, representatives from the county, free ice cream, and who knows, perhaps a BMX demo!

Sandy will be holding a planning meeting soon. Let her know if you are interested in taking on a task. She can be reached at

A typical BMX event

Thursday, September 03, 2009

September Meeting Tuesday Sept. 8 at 7 pm

The September general meeting will take place at Sarasota Baptist, Room 100, on Hand Road, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

Among the items that are being considered for the agenda:

1. Update on abandoned House on Jarvis

2. Flat ex BMX track on Jarvis - other sites possible?

3. Grant Money proposals

4. Upcoming planned meeting events

5. Planned Social events.

6. Lakeview Park update

Regular matters: Treasury, Cits Patrol, Yard of Month.

Anyone with ideas about how to spend the remaining grant money please come. We need to decide, and we have sufficient money to do at least one good project.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BMX Gone

The BMX track built by some neighborhood boys over the summer has been flattened. It was on Jarvis St. next to the home of one of the boys, and had been getting lots of use by some 15 or more BMXers.

A recent picture of how it looked (click to enlarge):

Here's how it looks today:

Demetra McBride, a forester with the county, had explained in an email (click here for full text) why the county looked on the track in an unfavorable light. However, to the best of our knowledge, notification of the county's intention to raze the track this week was not communicated to members of the Lake Sarasota Community Group.

Ms. McBride did say in an addendum to her email:

I spoke with Mrs. ___ about inviting her son Michael to be a "neighborhood spokesperson" when we open the community conversation on this project. From his work, it appears that he is motivated, organized and a good youth ambassador. As this potential project is intended to serve that demographic, we feel it is important - if not critical - for those voices to be heard. I hope Michael takes me up on the offer?
One hopes it's not too late for that community conversation to begin.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hotline for Swine Flu (H1N1) Updates

The Florida Department of Health will be launching a toll-free number to provide public health information and updates on H1N1 Swine flu. The information line will be available from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern, 7 days a week. Information is available in English, Spanish and Creole.

Details are as follows:

Time: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, beginning Monday, August 24, 2009

Telephone Number: 877-352-3581

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Update on the Entrance

By now it's not news: As previously reported, HealthSouth Corporation, which is developing the healthcare facility on the north side of Bee Ridge Rd. opposite the entrance to Lake Sarasota, graciously paid the cost of stamped bricks in the new, narrower concrete median at the entrance to the neighborhood:

With the addition of a third, right-turn lane, there have been a few inattentive drivers who go to the right and attempt to make a left-hand turn, despite the new signals indicating what one can and can't do at the intersection. Word to the wise:

The flagpole is now safely (we hope) ensconced in the next median:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Invasive Plant Treatments to begin in Lakeview Park

A message from the County Parks and Rec Dept:

Could you post on your neighborhood webpage that we are about to begin work in Lakeview Park treating invasive plants (air potato) with herbicide and mulching fallen melaleuca. We do not have an exact date yet. The work is being performed by Rick Richards, Inc.

Water Moccasin or Water Snake?

At the Lakeview Park Clean-Up, some residents were picking up some branches of a tree when a dangerous Water Moccasin slithered out and dashed into the water.

It might be useful to know one when you see it, but the differences between the venomous Florida Water Moccasin (or Cottonmouth) and the wholly harmless Water Snake can be subtle. Here are a few images and links that might help.

First, here's a Water Moccasin

Another shot of a Water Moccasin (click for a huge image):

Here's the plain old harmless Florida Water Snake:

Another clue (thanks Ray):

When in water, Water Moccasins move on top of the water - almost as if they were gliding on the surface, like this:

Water Moccasins are to be met with extreme caution. "When a moccasin is nesting or has her young in their nest it will aggressively defend that area," says Ray. "Moccasins have aggressively attacked people."

Water Snakes tend to be partly submerged, partly out of the water, more like this:

Click for more about the differences between Water Moccasins and Water Snakes.

More about Florida snakes here, here.