Siesta Key Association September 2013 Meeting
By Diana Colson
It’s a great time to clean out the pantry! Kevin Cooper of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce said they would soon be building a site for the upcoming FOOD DRIVE, with COMFORT KEEPERS being the recipient of the collection of non-perishables. A web site is being built for the drive, and food will be collected at the Chamber of Commerce.
Cheryl Gaddie of Siesta Key Village Association pointed out that Halloween was almost upon us. “We will light up the Village. Anybody who wants to help, please get in touch with us.”
Sgt. Scott Osborne of the Sheriff’s Office addressed the issue of urgent and non-urgent calls. When dealing with the Sheriff’s Office, he said it is simplest to call 911. “There are just a bunch of dispatchers sitting in the same room. It does not matter which line you call. If it’s not an emergency, 911 will route you to the proper place.” When asked why dispatchers now ask a caller so many questions, he replied: “After the murder of the woman in Charlotte County, they have to try to get all the information they can. Be aware that they will take 300 to 400 calls in a single shift.”
One member of the board described calling in a complaint to 911. He expressed concern about the dispatcher asking him to leave his home late at night to meet the sheriff at the site. Sgt. Osborne was straightforward: “If you don’t feel safe leaving your home, just tell the dispatcher. Feel free to tell the dispatcher you do not feel comfortable doing this.” He assured the board member that a report would still be filed whether or not the person actually went to the site to meet the sheriff.
Another member of the board asked how to respond to noise. It seems that drivers parked in a residential area have been leaving their car radios on and going swimming. Sgt. Osborne said the answer was simple: “It’s illegal to leave your car running, even if it is locked. It is as $116 fine for a non-moving violation. We have to find out who has control of the vehicle.” A county ordinance restricts loud music.
Sgt Osborne said there had recently been some beach thefts. “We targeted some people we thought were responsible for stealing bags. Two arrests were made, and there were no more beach thefts.” Both men arrested were also homeless. One had stolen a car while intoxicated. He had crashed the car before lying down on the seat and going to sleep.
Part of the meeting was devoted to recognition of Volunteers and Law Enforcement. The Board expressed gratitude to many who monitored the imperiled beach nesting birds. Especially noted was the Sheriff’s Office (Sgt. Scott Osborne) and the FWC Officers. Their help was instrumental for enforcement of legal protections for the Snowy Plovers and Least Terns, both state protected species found on our beach. SKA also awarded T-shirts to several volunteers: Joy Turner, Pat Sharp, Alan Worms, Dick Miles, and Bob Luckner for outstanding service. From the Audubon prospective, 2013 had been a big success: 80% of the chicks had hatched! Luckner also pointed out that SKA Audubon volunteers contributed 1200 hours during this nesting season which ran between March and the end of August. Twenty of those hours generated $1500 corporate matching dollars for Sarasota Audubon.
Catherine Luckner sadly reported that many birds were sickened and some died on the beach during September because we had so much rain. It appears this was caused by fresh water pooling between the dunes which may have created an avian toxin. Birds feeding in this standing water can become paralyzed. If you find a bird struggling, call SKA at (941) 364-4880. The phone contacts for Bird Rescue through Venice Wildlife Center and Save Our Seabirds are also located on the SKA website. (www.siestakeyassociation).These wildlife rescue centers will pick up the birds for treatment. She urged people not try to do this themselves.
Michael Shay reported for Peter van Roekens on the issues of Inlet Management. Concerning the dredging of Big Pass to re-nourish the beach at Lido, the Army Corps of Engineers has said that if groins were taken out of the project, they would have to redo the project. SKA will be hosting a public meeting for the Army Corps of Engineers to present their design for the project on Thursday, December 5. It will be held in the Community Room of St. Boniface from 5-7PM. Mark your calendars and attend this important event. SKA is against anything that would harm the coastal environment of Siesta Key.
Catherine Luckner said that SKA has not yet taken a position on the use of Low Speed Vehicles or on Speed Reduction for Midnight Pass South. The Board does not want vehicles on the road that would not be safe. They have been sent a great many things to read and review before taking a position. Nora Patterson pointed out that such vehicles have to be licensed by the State of Florida.
Low Speed Vehicles are currently allowed only in the Village on Ocean Blvd. Currently these slow-moving vehicles are illegal on Midnight Pass because they cannot travel over 25 mph.
Michael Shay said that the Beach Drainage Project had to be stopped because of all the rain. As soon as the rainy period is over, it will start up again.
He also said 7 pedestrian intersections in the Village are completed with LED lighted bollards. Additionally, the crosswalk at Beach Road and Beach Way will have ‘wig wag’ lights installed by mid-November.
SKA holds a meeting on the first Thursday of each month. The meetings start at 4:30 PM at St. Boniface in the St. Francis room.