Thursday, June 30, 2011

Clean-Up Coming

Just a Reminder that Lake Sarasota's annual big dumpster Clean-Up is coming up July 23 - that's a Saturday, and it will take place from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Dumpsters will be at the Fire House and near the dog park.

July Nature Events

Emergency Preparedness

The County has assembled a set of resources to help you be prepared for emergencies and what happens after them.

FOSCP Newsletter is out

The latest FOSCP (Friends of Sarasota County Parks) Newsletter is out - read it here, and subscribe!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Workday Postponed

The workday that had been scheduled for Sat. June 25 - to plant trees in the medians - has been postponed. Some details remain to be worked out with grant monies, watering schedules, etc.

When a new date is known, we'll post it here and on our Facebook Page.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Community Connections for the week

Sarasota County News UpdateJune 17, 2011

We hope that you will share this eNewsletter with family, friends and neighbors. Contact us if you have questions, ideas for featured articles, or feedback on the system at e-mail

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Terry Lewis formalSarasota County names Terry Lewis
interim administrator

Terry Lewis, former North Port police chief, has been named interim Sarasota County administrator. Lewis also served as interim North Port city manager. Lewis replaces Jim Ley, whose contract as county administrator for the county ended May 25. View Mr. Lewis' agreement here. (MORE)

SCAT BusSCAT fare increases proposed

A proposed Sarasota County Area Transit increase in fares was brought forward by the Sarasota County Commission at its budget workshop June 14. SCAT is proposing to increase the regular fare from 75 cents per trip to $1.25. Rate increases are also being proposed for the SCAT DAY, 7-Day Pass,
30-Day Pass and fixed-route fares for seniors and persons with disabilities. If approved, the rate increases would go into effect Oct. 1, 2011. (MORE)
Statue of LibertyPanel discussion to close out Emma Lazarus exhibit at Jacaranda Public Library

"Emma Lazarus - Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience" a traveling exhibit on display at Jacaranda Public Library chronicling the life of the pioneer author and poet concludes with a local expert panel discussion. Wednesday, June 22, 6 p.m. at jacaranda Public Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice. (MORE)


Free HIV testing in Venice and Sarasota

Testing will be available to the public from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at the Walgreens store, 1490 U.S. Highway 41 Bypass South (corner of U.S. 41 and Center Road) in Venice. .In addition to HIV, testing and screening will be available that day for syphilis, gonorrhea, blood pressure, glucose (blood sugar) and cholesterol.(MORE)

Upcoming Events

Kids 'Summer Beach Runs'

Beginning June 14, held every


Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.

Runs at 6:30 p.m.

Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road on Siesta Key

Kids 'Summer Beach Runs'

Beginning June 15, held every


Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.

Runs at 6:30 p.m.

Venice Fishing Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sarasota chosen for JFK Center Arts Education


Sarasota, FL: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has chosen Sarasota, Florida as the sixth partner city for Any Given Child, a program that creates a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8. The program will incorporate existing resources of the Sarasota Public Schools system, along with those of local arts organizations and the Kennedy Center to create a plan for arts education specific to the city. The city joins partnerships in Sacramento, California; Springfield, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Any Given Child seeks to bring access, balance, and equity to each child's arts education, using an affordable model that combines the resources of the school district, local arts groups, and the Kennedy Center. With the assistance of expert consultation services provided by Kennedy Center staff and other professionals, community leaders develop a long-range plan for arts education that is tailor-made for the school district and community.

"Sarasota is home to a wealth of vibrant arts organizations, and I commend Mayor Suzanne Atwell, Superintendent Dr. Lori White, and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall for their commitment to enhancing the lives of Sarasota students," said Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser. "A strong arts education improves students' intellectual, personal, and social development. The Kennedy Center wants to ensure that every child receives a solid, meaningful arts education from kindergarten through eighth grade."

"Sarasota is honored to join in partnership with the Kennedy Center's Any Given Child Initiative, said Mayor Suzanne Atwell. " This is an extraordinary opportunity to enhance the value of arts education in our schools and in our community."

"The Sarasota County School District faculty and staff are very excited to have been selected to participate in the Any Given Child initiative along with the City of Sarasota and the outstanding organizations representing the local arts community," said Superintendent of Schools Lori M. White. "The partnership with the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will help us expand our longstanding commitment to ensuring that every child in our district shares in the rich cultural and artistic opportunities the Sarasota community has to offer."

By working with other local arts organizations and using existing resources, the program aims to create little administrative overhead, remaining affordable. The first phase of the program, a comprehensive audit of existing arts education resources and needs assessment by Kennedy Center staff and consultants, is the first step. A review of the community and the school system will reveal what arts education resources currently exist, and what arts organizations and other community groups offer. Based on this information, a plan is created. The audit process takes approximately six to nine months.

During phase two of the program, a community committee makes recommendations to the school district and local arts groups on how best to implement the recently created long range plan, focusing on increasing arts opportunities for K-8 students. In addition, educators and artists can take advantage of a wealth of resources available from the Kennedy Center, such as supplemental lessons with online interactive learning modules and videos available at<>, professional development for teachers and teaching artists, and many others. The goal of this second phase is to provide a tapestry of arts education, strategically weaving together existing arts resources within the schools with those available from community providers and the Kennedy Center in order to reach every child.

In 2009, the Kennedy Center and Mayor Kevin Johnson announced the first formal Any Given Child program in Sacramento, California and immediately began phase one of the program in October of that year. Now in the implementation phase, Sacramento has added artist residencies in select schools and provided performing and visual arts experiences for all students K-8 in the two participating school districts. In February 2010, Springfield, Missouri became the second school district to participate in the program. Portland, Oregon joined the program in June 2010, and Las Vegas, Nevada joined in December 2010. Tulsa, Oklahoma joined the program in May 2011. The Kennedy Center is accepting applications from other cities around the country.

About Education at the Kennedy Center
For more than 35 years, the Kennedy Center Education Department has provided quality arts experiences for students, teachers, families, and the general public throughout the United States. In the past year, the Center's education programs have directly impacted more than 11 million people. The resources of the Department focus on producing, presenting, and touring performances and educational events for young people and their families; school- and community-based residencies and other programs that directly impact teachers, students, administrators, and artists through professional development; systemic and school improvement through the arts and arts integrated curricula; partnerships; creating and providing educational materials via print and the Internet; the development of careers in the arts for young people and aspiring professionals; and strengthening the management of arts organizations. For more information, visit the Center's web site at<>.

Any Given Child, part of the Rubenstein Arts Access Program, is generously funded by David and Alice Rubenstein.
Additional support is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts.
The U.S. Department of Education supports approximately one-third of the budget for the Kennedy Center Education Department. The contents of this document do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

For more information about Any Given Child, please visit<>

For more information about the Kennedy Center visit<>.

More here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Real Estate Sales in the Neighborhood

An update on recent home sales in Lake Sarasota from Sandy Allen:

We didn't get a chance to talk about what's going on in LS with real estate so I thought I would email it too you in case you wanted it for the blog.

There are currently 16 homes for sale in Lake Sarasota from $75,000 to $195,000. Of those, 11 are short sales. The average cost per square foot under air is $93.02. There are 13 homes pending sale (have contracts on them to buy). Twelve of those are short sales. Twenty-four homes have sold in the past 3 months. Two were REOs and 9 were short sales. Those sales ranged from $55,000 to $159,900 and averaged $81.08 per square foot under air. If you would like to find out an average of what your home would sell for in todays market, take your homes air conditioned space and multiply it by the average. If you're not sure how many square feet you have, you can look it up at .--
Just in case anyone is interested:)

Sandy Allen
Your neighborhood expert

Have time to pitch in?

If you're looking to be useful, here's a site with volunteer opportunities within 25 miles of 34241.

Birding, Bicycling, Boarding & Boot Camps

Enjoy parks? You might enjoy our story of a recent morning at the Celery Fields.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Solar Rebates, New Traffic Tools, more in Community Connections for the coming week

Solar panels on a houseSave energy and money with FPL rebates on solar panels
Sarasota County officials are encouraging local Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) customers to take advantage of limited-time rebates on energy-saving photovoltaic solar panels. FPL is offering an annual total of $15.5 million in rebates under five programs. (MORE)
Sarasota County SealSarasota County celhebrates 90th anniversary

The Sarasota County Commission this year is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the establishment of Sarasota County. A commission proclamation notes that the anniversary is an opportunity for citizens to "celebrate the role of history in our lives and the contributions made by dedicated individuals and groups to help preserve the heritage that has shaped us as a community and as a progressive county."

Free and low-cost health services provided at 16 Sarasota County sites
The Sarasota County Health Department's Health In Motion Mobile Medical Unit staff will provide free and low-cost health services at 16 sites around the county during June. (MORE)
CCBalloonNow you know ...
You may be wondering why new traffic signal controller cabinets are being installed at some intersections throughout the county. It is not related in any way to red light running cameras! What you are seeing is the beginning of construction on Phase 1 of the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) to update 123 intersections throughout Sarasota County.

ATMS uses a variety of detectors, cameras and communication systems to optimize signal timing, monitor traffic and manage incidents such as major traffic accidents. ATMS also can be used during emergencies such as hurricanes to help improve the traffic flow on evacuation routes. ATMS connects signalized intersections along major corridors into a single, unified network that will be operated out of the Regional Traffic Management Center jointly operated with Manatee County. Manatee County also is upgrading its traffic signal network.

Intersections being upgraded include: along University Parkway from Airport Circle to Interstate 75 (I-75) east; U.S. 41 from Woodmere Park Boulevard to General Spaatz Boulevard; Fruitville Road from Cocoanut Avenue to I-75 east; Clark Road from Gulf Gate Mall Drive to I-75 east; Venice Avenue from Grove Street to Auburn Road; State Road 776 from Virginia Court to Jacaranda Boulevard; and John Ringling at Sunset Drive. Switching out the cabinets will be done during the hours of 8 p.m.-6 am. Other work associated with this project includes conduit installation and fiber installation, which will be done during the daytime hours. Phase 1 is expected to be completed by the spring of 2012.

Eventually, when all three phases of ATMS are completed, 173 signalized intersections in the county will be upgraded.

Upcoming Events

Kids 'Summer Beach Runs'
Beginning June 14, held every Tuesday
Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.
Runs at 6:30 p.m.
Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road on Siesta Key

Kids 'Summer Beach Runs'
Beginning June 15, held every Wednesday
Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.
Runs at 6:30 p.m.
Venice Fishing Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice

Thursday, June 09, 2011

LSCG Meeting Notes: Workday set for New Trees Update: Postponed

"We have to get serious about Citizens Patrol," said Ted Cover. He was speaking at the June 9, 2011 meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group (LSCG).

Ted should know, he's been getting the crime reports for the neighborhood from the Sheriff's Office for several years. Last month the number of incidents in Lake Sarasota spiked - and it was serious -- six burglaries, along with 5 thefts, and a report of vandalism.

Three of the burglaries were on Mauna Loa, and were reported in daytime hours. Three more -- two on Lanai and one on Lago -- occurred in the evening (one was reported at 10:45 pm).

Most of the rest of the incidents were reported between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. These included some car break-ins. One person at the meeting noted that there's been a pattern of cars being struck by eggs.

"We should be patrolling," Ted said. Those at the meeting agreed. Ted will be calling everyone who ever signed up for Citizens Patrol, and he'll be organizing a schedule. If you want to get involved, you can reach Ted at 379-0758, or at


In other developments:

The treasury is currently at $321.09, with no outstanding obligations.

LSCG also has about $530 in grant funds from the county.

The group voted to apply the grant funds to purchase median trees to replace about 10 that have died.

Work Day for Trees: UPDATE: This is postponed.

A work day was set for Saturday, June 25, 8 a.m. to replace the dead trees. Meet at 6641 Mauna Loa.

Certain members are in charge of purchasing, others will be involved with organizing mulch, watering. Anyone is welcome to join us. One suggestion: "Adopt-a-Tree" - Put your name on a tree, and keep it watered until it's established. We're hoping to catch the rainy season with the workday. If it's raining, we'll still be out there.

The next scheduled meeting will be Thurs. Sept. 8, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Lake Sarasota Meeting Thursday - UPDATE

The Lake Sarasota Community Group will hold its quarterly meeting this Thursday, June 9, at Sarasota Alliance Church, on Bee Ridge Road.

There has been a flurry of interest surrounding the dead and dying trees in the median - a few options for removing and replacing are being explored. Care to join in? Have some suggestions? Join us.

Other business might include: update on the Bee Ridge Road widening, Ted's report on crime patterns, and whatever else comes up.

***UPDATE:*** Ted will report on latest data from Sheriff's Office showing a marked increase in daytime break-ins.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Supercross World Cup coming to Sarasota

A while back we learned that a number of kids in our neighborhood were big BMX fans and riders. They might be interested in seeing what's coming to Sarasota in September:

SCVB BMX Video from Creative Motion Inc. on Vimeo.

These are pre-Olympic qualifying races - there will be racers from all over the world, and TV coverage. Tell the kids!

Sarasota Patch - a new online resource

Have you patched yet? Sarasota Patch - the Sarasota node of the AOL-based system of highly localized sites that bridge the space between news and social media. They have news updates, features, a very useful event calendar, readers' comments, and now, your humble editor is blogging there. Our first post went live today - it's about tubing down Rainbow River and Social Media. If you have a react, I'll be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

County Community Connections

One Book One Community 'Hunger Games' wins landslide victory in 'One Book' vote
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins is the winning title for the 2011 "One Book, One Community" program for Sarasota County Libraries and its partner organizations.
A young-adult science fiction novel, "The Hunger Games" received 84 percent of the 4,667 votes. The best-selling novel has remarkable cross-over appeal with adults and is the first book in a trilogy. The popularity of the book has led to a movie set for release in 2012. (MORE)

Volunteers2Training session set June 8 for volunteers in disasters
Sarasota County Emergency Management, in conjunction with the Friendship Volunteer Center, is looking for people to coordinate the work of community volunteers during emergencies such as hurricanes. Training will be offered on managing new volunteers and placing them in the community. (MORE)
Green YardGreen training offered for home energy efficiency
Building professionals, architects, engineers and contractors can benefit from a series of residential energy education classes being offered starting in June.

The classes will provide local building industry professionals with the latest building science for cost effective energy, and water retrofit home remodeling strategies to help homeowners save money. Training is also available to prepare participants to become a certified energy rater in Florida. (MORE)
aia logoLocal firm wins award for design of county park pavilions
ToTems Architecture Inc. of Sarasota has won a statewide award for design of three Sarasota County beach park pavilions. The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects gave the firm a Merit Award for design of the pavilions at Caspersen Beach Park, Manasota Beach Park and Blind Pass Beach Park. The Caspersen pavilion is now under construction. The Manasota project is expected to start this summer. There is no estimated construction date yet for the Blind Pass pavilion.
Now you know ...
Some residents have wondered why silt fencing is installed at Red Bug Slough Preserve. The fencing marks the start of a construction project to build a new restroom facility and sidewalks, make water and wastewater service connections and install a sewer grinder pump station at the preserve. The restroom facilities will be built just north of the existing gravel parking lot off Beneva Road. The work is being done by Coral Sands Construction Inc. of North Port, which was awarded the $185,670 contract in April. Construction is expected to be completed in late October. Funding is provided through Surtax III revenue bonds to be repaid with the infrastructure surtax (penny sales tax).

Upcoming Events

Public meeting on Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) Transit Development Plan
Saturday, June 4, 10-11:30 a.m.
Youth Activities Room, Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice

Kids 'Summer Beach Runs'
Beginning June 14, held every Tuesday
Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.
Runs at 6:30 p.m.
Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road on Siesta Key

Kids 'Summer Beach Runs'
Beginning June 15, held every Wednesday
Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.
Runs at 6:30 p.m.
Venice Fishing Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice

Animal Services shelter offers reduced
cat adoption fees during June