Showing posts from 2010

Parking Garage opens in time for New Year's Eve

After nearly 20 years of community discussion, the Palm Avenue parking garage, located northwest of the Palm Avenue and Main Street intersection, will open to the public tomorrow Friday, December 31 at noon. The contractor, Suffolk Construction, will receive a temporary certificate of occupancy allowing the facility to open in time for New Year's Eve celebrations in downtown. Parking will be free for the first month. The garage will be open daily 6 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Sarasota Nature Activities in January

Nature Events for all ages in January 2011 here. Click on anything that looks interesting for more info.

Lakeview Park Fish Have a Very Merry Christmas

Those of you who know Lakeview Park may be aware that ever since a pump was installed about 18 months ago, the canals have retained a steady water level. This has nurtured a lively population of bluegill, tilapia, a few bass, frogs, wading birds and other creatures.
A few weeks ago, that mini-ecosystem was threatened when the pump gave out. As it's been dry, the water level in the canals began to drop - slowly at first, then precipitously. A plea to the Parks Dept. resulted in an incredibly rapid response. First, a temporary pump was installed to halt the draining. Then, within a very short time, a new submersible pump was installed. The new system is quiet but strong: within 36 hours it brought the water level of the park's entire canal-and-pond system back to where it had been, without appreciably lowering the lake.
To the Santas at Sarasota County Parks and Rec, on behalf of the water creatures, the neighborhood and all who enjoy the park, our deepest gratitude, happy holida…

Why no loan modification?

At the last meeting of LSCG, Sandy Allen spoke about how low-priced homes in Lake Sarasota are being snapped up, but banks refuse to work with families who live in them. In line with that, here's a story from NPR about Wells Fargo foreclosing on homeowners, then selling their home to "an investor" for 1/5 of their mortgage, who flipped it two weeks later.

Another cold one

Latest Severe Weather Alert
For: Sarasota County Emergency Management -- Sarasota County, FLCondition YellowFreeze
Issued: 12:25 PM EST Wed, Dec 15, 2010.

Valid:06:00 AM EST Thu to 09:15 AM EST ThuTemperatures30 - 32FDiscussion:
For tonight, areas near the coast will stay above freezing early Thursday morning, but inland areas could see a light freeze. A low of right near or just below the freezing mark is anticipated inland of the coast.

Weather alert

Latest Severe Weather Alert
For: Sarasota County Emergency Management -- Sarasota County, FLCondition YellowFreeze
Issued: 1:37 PM EST Tue, Dec 14, 2010.

Valid:03:00 AM EST Wed to 09:30 AM EST WedTemperaturesAt or Below 32FDiscussion:
A light freeze is expected in the area overnight, with lows ranging from the upper 20s to low 30s. Areas right along the coast could stay just above freezing.

Beginning to look a lot like...

Got a nominee for most dazzling house of the season? How about outstanding blocks or streets in Lake Sarasota? Send locations of your nominations and we'll post them. Send pics too if you can!

December 2010 Meeting Notes

At the Dec. 9th meeting, the Lake Sarasota Community Group (LSCG) now has $442.14 in the treasury after making a donation of $1000 for our Adopt-a-Family project.

In other business:

1. No Santa Claus:The group decided not to ask the local Firehouse to do a Santa visit this year, since the time to advertise the event was very short.

2. Meeting Schedule: The group decided to move to a quarterly meeting schedule, with other meetings possible if circumstances dictate. The next meeting will be the second Thursday in March: 3.10.11.

3. Real Estate: According to Sandy Allen, there are now fewer homes in foreclosure in Lake Sarasota than there were. Also, an investor is said to be interested in purchasing homes on a short sale basis. Sandy says any homes listed for $100K or less are drawing numbers of interested would-be buyers. Sandy promised to update us on the situation at our next meeting in March.

4. CrimeWatch: According to Ted, there were fewer incidents in November. 3 burglaries, 1 theft, …

Santa visits Lakeview Elementary

Members of the Lake Sarasota Community Group delivered $1,000 in gift cards to Lakeview School on Wednesday. The cards will go to 10 children from five eligible Lake Sarasota families designated by the school. The funds were raised at the Nov. 6th Adopt-a-Family Festival at Lakeview Park. Thanks again to all who helped make the event a success.

Final Meeting of the Year

Lake Sarasota Community Group will meet for the final session of the year tonight, Thursday, Dec. 9, at 7.p.m. at 7221 Bee Ridge Rd.

The agenda so far consists of the usual items, and a $20 gift card to a very nice seafood restaurant will be raffled off at the meeting. Come out and get involved!

Light Freeze on the way

From County Emergency Services:

Latest Severe Weather Alert
For: Sarasota County Emergency Management -- Sarasota County, FL Condition Yellow Freeze 
Issued:  12:13 PM EST Mon, Dec 06, 2010. 
Valid:06:00 AM EST Tue to 08:30 AM EST Tue Temperatures 30 - 33F Discussion: Cold air continuing to spread through the Southeast will lead to a a risk of a light freeze over portions of your region tonight. Inland of the coast, a low in the lower 30s are expected by sunrise Tuesday.

County events this weekend

Via the Community Connections newsletter:

Holiday Arts and Crafts Show at VCC Saturday
Holiday shoppers looking for a one-of-a-kind gift should visit the Holiday Arts and Crafts Show at the Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice, Saturday, Dec. 4, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Vendors will offer a variety of arts and crafts including unique hand-crafted jewelry, quilts, paintings, handbags, holiday ornaments, and much more. Food vendors will be available and parking and entry are free.
For more information, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000. Weekend holiday events at the libraires Saturday, Dec. 4
Family Holiday Party, a Jacaranda Library tradition. There will be songs, refreshments, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Make some special holiday take-home crafts. Saturday, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Call 861-1275.
Sunday, Dec. 5 1800s Christmas at North Port Library from 1-5 p.m.
Treat yourself to an evening of music, adult and children's crafts, stories, and celebration set …

Scam Warning from the Sheriff

Scam Warning Those of you who signed up to receive our press releases have already heard this warning but the information bears repeating. Transient criminals return to Florida this time of year to victimize residents, often using the ruse of home repair work to gain your trust. You can read more here, but one scam that wasn’t discussed is someone offering to repair your roof and asking to come inside to show you the signs of damage. When they do, they direct you away from the door so a second suspect can enter the house and take your valuables. Anyone offering to do unsolicited work should provide a business card so you can check out their credentials. Regardless, never hire anyone on the spot. If you sense something is wrong get a description of their vehicle and a tag number if possible, and call the Sheriff’s Office.

Thanks to our advertisers

The Lake Sarasota Community Group would like to extend a special thanks to advertisers who supported our recent Community Garage Sale. Click on the image to make it larger. All are community-based businesses.

Sarasota Events with Nature in December

To see this in a larger frame, do a right click and hit "open in new window":

Insurance questions answered on Tuesday, Nov. 30

Insurance experts coming to Sarasota
Sarasota County residents who have questions about insurance will have an opportunity for experts in the field to answer their questions at seminar hosted by the office of Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. The Insurance Roundtable will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30,  at M&I Bank Training Center, 7020 Professional Parkway East, Sarasota.
The Florida Department of Financial Services is offering the roundtable discussion for residents currently shopping for insurance or need assistance with a current insurance-related issue. Topics on the agenda include homeowners insurance, life insurance, reverse mortgage products, long-term care and more.
For more information visit, or call 877-693-5236.

Holiday Hours for County Facilities and Services

Government offices close for Thanksgiving holiday All Sarasota County government offices, including libraries, the History Center and recreation centers will be closed Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Libraries will be open Saturday, Nov. 27, and other county offices will reopen Monday, Nov. 29. Sarasota County Parks and Recreation's two pools will be open on Friday, Nov. 26, with Arlington Pool and Aquatic Center open noon-5 p.m. and Lido pool open 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m.Payne Park Tennis Center will be closed on Nov. 25 and open 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Nov. 26Bus service will not be offered by Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) on Thursday, Nov. 25; however, full service will resume on Friday, Nov. 26.
Residents who live in unincorporated areas of the county will not have yard waste, recyclables or garbage collection on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25. For residents whose regular collection day is Thursday, yard waste, recyclables and garbage will b…

Free vaccinations at Clark Rd. Animal Clinic: 12.11.10

Compassionate Care Clinic 12.11.10
On Saturday, Dec. 11, dogs and cats being cared for by owners in financial need can receive FREE vaccinations and routine healthcare from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clark Road Animal Clinic.
Note:  Owners must apply by filling out a form; referrals are mandatory.
Information and app forms are available at, or call 941 922-5007.
All forms must be received by Dec. 1, 2010. Owners are encouraged to make a donation for services received.

$100 reward for missing ferret named Jack - UPDATE!

UPDATE: Welcome news, Jack has been found and has been returned to his happy family.

A male ferret, named Jack. Jack is dark brown in color with a
distinct mask and black nose. He is very friendly and playful and loves
people. He is gentle and can be handled safely. He managed to pull a
corner of a screen away from the window and wiggled out on Saturday

Please help us find our beloved pet. If you see him, but can not catch
him you can call us at home 941-377-1569 or the cell 941-373-5153.

We love Jack very much and are distraught that he managed to escape. Reward $100.

Jim and Michele Mackey

Yard Sale Map with Participating Lake Sarasota Homes

Here's the Community Yard Sale Map for the Lake Sarasota Yard Sale on Nov. 20th - this coming saturday. Deadline for inclusion on the printed maps that will be handed out at the Mauna Loa Entrance is this Wednesday.

Sandy is looking for volunteers to hand out the maps Saturday morning. Also, there are still spots available on the back of the map for advertisers - get in touch with her,, or 321-5582.

View LS Community Garage Sale - November 20, 2010 in a larger map

Urfer Family Park is great for lots of things

Check out the pictures from the birthday party for Urfer Family Park on the new Civics 101 blog. The event also marked the opening of the C.B. Wilson House, an historical landmark.

Community Connections Urfer Park Celebration Saturday

Refurbished Wilson House featured on Green Homes Tour  The historic C.B. Wilson House at Urfer Family Park, 4000 Honore Ave., Sarasota will be featured on the 2010 Green Homes Tour, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Nov. 13 and 14. The tour will feature homes in Sarasota and Manatee counties that are energy efficient.
Relocated from its original site in downtown Sarasota, the house has undergone extensive  renovation over the last year. Newly installed features include low-energy consumption light fixtures and air conditioning systems, plumbing fixtures that minimize water use, and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) products used in the interior for better air quality. The landscape was designed to represent typical plants available in southwest Florida during the early 20th century. The C.B. Wilson House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
To sign up for the tour visit,  or visit the Florida House, 4454 Beneva Road, Sarasota.
Operation Medicine Cabinet scheduled …

Meeting of 11.11.10

The Nov. 11 meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group took the following actions:

1. Heard an interesting talk by Sandee Rains of on the various forms of Identity Theft, and ways to prevent it from happening.

2. Ray Bresciani reported that $1000 will be divided among five Lake Sarasota families with a total of 10 children this holiday season. Nearly all of that total was cleared from the Adopt-a-Family Festival held last weekend at Lakeview Park. Lakeview School will deliver the gifts (this year in the form of gift cards) to the families, which were selected by the school's staff. The board acknowledged Ray and Connie's extraordinary work in making the Festival a fantastic day for all.

3. The number of incidents reported to the Sheriff rose to 19 in October, according to Ted Cover. There were 6 burglaries, 10 thefts and 4 juvenile disturbances reported, the bulk of them in the middle of the month, tending to cluster around the noon to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-8 p.m…

Workshop on Identity Theft at Meeting Thursday

The Lake Sarasota Community Group has its regular monthly meeting this Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7 pm. In addition to the regular agenda items, the agenda includes these special items:

A report on the results of the Adopt-A-Family Festival, and how to allocate the proceeds (i.e., should we "adopt" one family, or more than one, for the Holidays?)A proposal to do something for a family for Thanksgiving.Any other holiday event planning (e.g., Santa on Firetruck).Citizens Patrol: Sheriff Office reports uptick in incidents.Reminder: Community Garage Sale is Nov. 20th.A Workshop on the dangers of Identity Theft and how to protect yourself. Sandee Rains from -- formerly the Consumer Credit Counseling Service -- will speak. 

All are welcome. The meeting is at Sarasota Alliance Church, 7221 Bee Ridge Rd., just opposite the intersection of Chaucer Lane and Bee Ridge Rd.

Thanks and More Pix from the Festival

We want to acknowledge with our sincere thanks the many volunteers and Sarasota County businesses who came together to make our Adopt a Family Day a terrific success. Many are in the photos below, and we've tried to remember everyone below -- please let us know if we've overlooked anyone, and again, we're deeply grateful.

Artfully Yours (Cindy Cook)

Randy and Cheryl Burr



Debbie Marks, Sarasota County Neighborhood Services

Direct Buy

Economy Tackle

Extra Innings

Gary Kennedy (All Weekend Bounce)

Heavenly Cupcakes

The Hobson Family

House Cleaning by Alessandra (301-1643)

Kaufman Family Chiropractic Center

Kelly Dickerson

Kevin McGuire

Madfish Grill


NextAge Realty -- Chris Westphall

Pressure Monkey Pressure Washing


Sam's Club

Sandy Allen

Saporito's Cleaning Service

Sean McDonald



Tangerine Salon

The Lake Sarasota Community Group

The Muscle Repair Shop

Winn Dixie

A special thank-you to the numerous, ener…

Thanks for a great day

Today's Adopt-A-Fam Fest was everything we'd hoped -- beautiful day, lots of kids, fantastic food, prizes and people, and above all, a very classy group of volunteers who came early, stayed late, and did what they said they'd do. The result was a fantastic community event. A massive and heartfelt thank-you to all of you - we'll follow up with all the names we can gather very soon. Meanwhile, some glimpses of the event:

Safety Tips from Sarasota Community Connections

Change smoke alarm batteries when you turn back the clock on Nov. 7
With the daylight savings time change on Nov. 7, Sarasota County fire officials say this is a good opportunity to replace smoke alarm batteries.
Approximately 70 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in the home with no smoke alarms, or no working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms can save lives - but only when they are working properly. A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm will provide an early warning signal to a household, providing the chance for occupants to escape. (MORE)

Shop safely this holiday season The Sheriff's Office works cooperatively with shopping center management and increases patrols in high traffic retail areas this time of year, but shoppers are encouraged to keep the following tips in mind when heading out to hit the stores: Park in a well-lighted area.Avoid shopping alone.Carry your purse close to your body, don't reveal large amounts of cash.Don't carry too many packages at o…

Our Adopt-a-Family Fundraiser Fest Is Two Days Away

The Adopt-a-Family Festivalis this Saturday -- two days away! A Lake Sarasota Community Fundraiser, the festival will raise money to help a few families during the coming holidays. The staff at Lakeview Elementary will help identify neighborhood families that can use the help, and volunteers from the Lake Sarasota Community Group (a not-for-profit association) will buy and wrap presents.

All are welcome to come for Food, Fun and Fundraising:


We have contributions so far from BJ's, Sam's, SweetBay, Winn Dixie, Publix and McDonald's. Sarasota County is providing a popcorn popper (thanks Debbie!).

Fun: Music and Games!

Sarasota folk and Irish music singer and guitarist Kevin McGuire will be on hand.

There will beGamesfor the kids and Contests with prizes. If you have a kids' game that you'd like to share with us for the event, please let us know. You can email, or call Ray and Connie at 371-1180.

Here are some of the games we'll have (…

Green into Gold: Sustainability Incentives for Homeowners

Friends and residents of the Fruitville 210 Community Alliance,   You are cordially invited to the following neighborhood meeting: Who:  Betty Alpaugh, Education Specialist, University of Florida/IFAS Sarasota County Extension. What:Incentives for Home Energy Improvements-Federal, State, Local and Utility Rebates for Homeowners- "Green into Gold" Where: Sabal Palm Bank, 5101 Fruitville Road (next to Comcast). When: Tuesday evening, November 9th from 6:30-7:45 pm. Why:  It's no mystery that we live in a world of limited resources.  This is an opportunity to learn about incentives and tips that can SAVE you$$$$ by going green!!! Thanks for your continued support.  Hope to see you there.... Sincerely, John Krotec Chairman, Fruitville 210 Community Alliance
5373 Fruitville Road  PMB 101
Sarasota, Florida 34232

This just in!

Thanks to Gary Kennedy of (the site is not yet live, but should be in a few days), we'll have a 15' x 15' Bouncy House at the Adopt-A-Fam Festival! Thanks to Gary and to all who are helping make this a great day. (Note: above is just an illustration - not the actual house we'll have)

Come out to the Pavilion at Lakeview with your kids on Saturday from 11 am - 2 pm - you'll be glad you did.

The latest Community Connections

Extension open house offers tips for a sustainable holiday season Find out how to go green for the holidays and learn more about Sarasota County Extension.
From 1-4 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, Extension agents will provide tips for a sustainable holiday season during the open house at the Extension office at Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota. Among the demonstrations planned are:(MORE)
Phillippi Farmhouse Market celebrates grand re-opening Nov. 3
Phillippi Farmhouse Market opens its second season on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota with a grand re-opening celebration from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. with music, speeches and product giveaways. The market specializes in fresh, local produce, including fruits, vegetables, cut flowers, herbs and organic and hydroponic produce. Prepared foods are available to eat at the market picnic-style or take home. There are also sustainable, specialty and Florida agriculturally related products. (MORE)
Growth vision ap…

Go green for the holidays.

Sustainability Open House
Find out how to go green for the holidays. Plan to attend free classes and volunteer opportunities with Sarasota County Extension. Participate in how to care for holiday plants, create safe and sustainable home cleaning products and how to be energy efficient during the upcoming holiday season.(MORE) 

Vote then get Flu Shot -- available thru Oct 31 in Sarasota -

Flu season is here…Your best defense against the flu is to get vaccinated --

Get your flu shot after you vote
Outside the Sarasota Early Voting Location through Oct. 31 Sarasota County Terrace Building 101 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota
Weekdays: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays: 1-5 p.m.
Cost: $20-$35, depending on the provider Cash or check Seniors: Present your Medicare B card for a free vaccine.
Vaccine Providers: A Familiar Face Home Health Services, Inc., Sarasota Health Care Services, Inc., Visiting Nurses Association (VNA), CVS and Walgreens
Some providers may offer pneumonia and tetanus shots as well. Ask about their availability.

Floating wheelchairs...

Floating wheelchairs to debut at Sarasota County beaches People who use wheelchairs and other assistive devices for mobility can now enjoy the waters at some of Sarasota County's award winning beaches. Sarasota County Parks and Recreation will debut its new floating wheelchairs at a press conference, 10 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010 at Siesta Beach Pavilion, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. The Mobi-Chair will be available free of charge at Siesta Beach, Lido Beach, Lido Beach, Nokomis Beach, Venice Beach and Manasota Beach. No advanced registration will be required to use the chairs.  (MORE) The first international street-painting festival in the United States comes to Sarasota Never before has such talent in street-painting come together into one location in America, until now for the Sarasota Chalk Festival.  More than 250 street-painters from the United States, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands and Slovenia will work on their hands and knees for two days along south Pineapple Avenue…

Sanborn turns Sarasota to ... Sollywood?


Sarasota, FL: The City of Sarasota is coordinating with Sanborn Entertainment, a new Sarasota County based television production company, to facilitate filming a portion of a TV pilot over the weekend. Motorists and pedestrians should expect intermittent traffic delays from U.S. 41 and the John Ringling Causeway to the Bird Key/Coon Key Bridge. Message boards will be posted alerting drivers to the delays. "We're very excited the City of Sarasota was selected for this shoot," said Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown. "It will cause some brief driving inconveniences. But, we're working with the production crew to minimize traffic congestion, while ensuring they're able to film."

Just three weeks ago, Sanborn Entertainment announced its collaboration with Sarasota County to bring a television production studio to the area along with 117 jobs over the next three years. To learn more about the economic development…

County Commission Candidates Debate Tuesday Oct. 12 - UPDATE rough transcript

What: An important neighborhood meeting of the Fruitville 210 Alliance:Who: District 2- Joe Barbetta (Republican) vs. Cathy Antunes (Independent-Challenger)District 4- Nora Patterson (Republican) vs. Mark Hawkins (Democrat-Challenger)Why: Candidate Debate for Sarasota County CommissionWhere: Sabal Palm Bank, 5101 Fruitville RoadWhen: Tuesday, October 12th from 6:30-8 pm (if attending, PLEASE be on time)For those unable to attend, but who are interested in the issues, here is a live-blogged, rough trasncript of the debate.

Mark Hawkins (above) makes a point during the debate as Cathy Antunes (facing) and Nora Patterson look on.

Antunes speaks, Joe Barbetta to her right.