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Siesta Key Island Chatter August 2018

Staff report

A bit of better property value news

With the release of the July 1 county ad valorem tax values — as required by the state each year — owners of property in the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District ended up with a bit of a break.

The preliminary figure the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office reported in late May was $72,814,878. The July 1 number was $72,793,969.

Still, those property owners will pay about 7.25% more in taxes than they did last year.

That revenue covers the upkeep of Siesta Village.

Connie Lewis moves down the street

Connie Lewis, LMT Aesthetician, formerly of Massage Experience Siesta Key, is pleased to announce she is now located at The Spa at Calle Minorga, just 900 feet from the original spa she has owned and managed for over 20+ year in Davidson’s Plaza, in the Village.

She continues to offer therapeutic massages, facials and facial sculpting and expects to celebrate her new digs with a grand reopening later this year.  In the meantime, you can still book online at www. SpaExperienceSiestakey.com or call 941-350-7495 to receive the high-level service her loyal customers have come to expect.

The Spa at Calle Minorga is located at 5032 Calle Minorga, in the Village.  MM37967  MA17596

Remember we live in Florida with alligators


On Saturday, July 7, around 1:30 PM, a six foot alligator was spotted in the Grand Canal in the 5100 block of Oxford Drive on Siesta Key.

On June 30 at the Shamrock Park & Nature Center located at 3900 Shamrock Drive in Venice a large 13 foot alligator killed a German Shepard when the owners were walking their two German Shepard pets off leash. Rio, the male dog was attacked and later euthanized because of his injuries. The other dog Lucy was never found.

The 13 foot alligator was captured on July 8 and will be killed for its meat and skin. According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, alligators over four feet long that are considered a threat are deemed a nuisance and must be terminated.

According to Drew Winchester from Sarasota County, dogs are allowed at the 80 acre park, as long as they are on a leash.

Checking the beach for Red Tide

Some of our beaches are experiencing red tide and fish kill. So before you head out to a beach you may want to visit the following website for the most up-to-date conditions: https://visitbeaches.org/

Illegal parking tickets and garbage volume illustrate a busy July Fourth

A period of stormy weather leading up to July Fourth evidently did not deter people from making a beeline to Siesta Key for the holiday.

The post on Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Twitter about 9:30 a.m. July 4 said: “It should come as no surprise … the lot at Siesta Key is officially FULL! If you’re headed that way, consider a ride sharing app like Uber or Lyft.”

One Siesta Isles resident praised deputies for diligence in ticketing people who had parked illegally on her street, which is not far from the public beach.

As Sgt. Jason Mruczek, leader of the Sheriff’s Office substation on the Key, has reported, the tickets have risen to $75.

Asked in an email how many tickets officers wrote on the Fourth, Mruczek replied, “About 55.”

And in spite of efforts once again by the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department staff and volunteers to encourage people to collect their trash and dispose of it properly,  one volunteer with the Liberty Litter Cleanup on July 5 reported that conditions were quite awful.

The volunteer said that even before he made it to the beach shortly before 7 a.m. on July 5, he had heard from a friend who walks the beach around 5 a.m. each day that the shoreline was a disaster area, littered with tents, chairs and coolers.

Last year, county Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) staff reported during the July Siesta Key Association meeting that a bad storm that blew up the evening of the Fourth prompted many people to flee, leaving belongings behind. Again this year, a nasty storm arrived early in the evening of the Fourth. At least it blew over in time for the traditional fireworks show, as the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce directors and staff work so hard to raise sufficient funds to cover the expense of that production.

The Liberty Litter Cleanup volunteer who discussed the cleanup, worked three sections of the public beach parking lot, where — he noted — no garbage receptacles are available. Among the types of debris he had to deal with were baby diapers; beer bottles; cans; beer cases; an “untouched ziti pizza, still in the water-soaked box; and a soft cooler full of plastic containers and food.

In response to a request, Keep Sarasota County Beautiful provided the following results for the Liberty Litter Cleanup this year, which covers many of the county’s beaches:

  • Total number of volunteers for all venues: 176.
  • Total number of volunteers for Siesta Key: 44.
  • Total number of hours of service for all venues: 330.5.
  • Total number of hours of service for Siesta: 88.
  • Total number bags of trash collected at all venues: 122.5.
  • Total number of bags of trash collected on Siesta: 36.

The Keep Sarasota County Beautiful staff added that 60 additional volunteers, “coordinated by the owner of The Beach Club, The Hub, The Cottage and Summer House restaurants in Siesta Village,” put in 120 hours of service to help clean up Siesta Beach on July 5.

Chris Brown is the owner of those Village establishments. Last year, Brown and his business partner, Mike Granthon, organized the same type of initiative for July 5.

On a related note: Michael Shay, who manages the Village upkeep for the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., said that on July 8, he had assistance in collecting the garbage from all the cans in the Village, since Sunday is not one of the regular pickup days for the firm that handles that responsibility.

“We filled the dumpster,” he said, referring to the structure in the Municipal Parking Lot between Avenida de Mayo and Avenida Madera.

The July Fourth holiday, Shay added, marked the busiest period for the Village since the week-and-a-half that included Easter.

Alpine Steakhouse special offer

Alpine Steakhouse offers a “Stay Healthy my friends” with handcrafted all natural Bone Broths. The Broths are high in glucosamine, magnesium, collagen, phosphorus and amino acids. For the month of August you can buy 3 and get one free.

If you must have meat, Alpine is offering a special, ½ lb. Sirloin Burger or Philly Cheese Steak for $6. See the coupon on page 13 for this offer. Alpine Steakhouse is located at 4520 S. Tamiami Trail, located between the bridges.

Plaza Mexico coupons

If you love Mexican food, it’s time to visit Plaza Mexico. Plaza Mexico is offering two discount coupons, $5 off for Dinner and $3 off for lunch. Take advantage of the coupons located on page 5 of this month’s edition. Plaza Mexico is located in the Southbridge Plaza, 1894 Stickney Point Road.

Beach University at Siesta Public Beach

Beach University, a free environmental education program, continues at Siesta Beach Pavilion through December.

The classes are held on the first Saturday of each month. The classes cover a variety of environmental topics that provide a hands-on opportunity to learn how to care for the environment. The following classes and topics are scheduled: Saturday: Creatures of the Intertidal Zone; Aug. 4: Local Talk About Sea Turtles, presented by Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium; Sept. 1: Native vs. Exotic Plants on our Beaches; Oct. 6: The Sand and Shells Found on Siesta Key, presented Sarasota Shell Club; Nov. 3: Native American Technology, presented by Around the Bend Nature Tours; Dec. 1: Slither and Hiss-Snakes of Florida.

Classes are 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the main pavilion at Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. Registration is not required, but seating is limited. For more information call Sarasota County at 941-861-5000 or visit scgov.net.

Bridge maintenance project

SR 72 at the Stickney Point Drawbridge: Crews are working on the bridge. Expect nighttime/overnight east and westbound intermittent right lane closures from 9 p.m. each night to 5 a.m. each morning Monday, July 23 through Thursday, July 26 and again Sunday, July 29 through Thursday, August 2. Use caution and expect possible delays.

New office sites for REMAX Alliance and Waterside Realty

REMAX Alliance Group has a new home in the village. They moved into the old Waterside Realty office located at 5221 Ocean Blvd in the Siesta Key Village.  The REMAX office was in the Davidson’s Drugs Plaza for years. The new “Local Chill Ice Cream Shop” is being constructed to occupy the old location.

Waterside Realty resided in the Village at 5221 Ocean Blvd. since 2002. Their new location is 6629 Midnight Pass Road next to Miguel’s Restaurant in Crescent Plaza.

Could I have a scoop of ice cream?

A Taste of Germany Bakery & Deli famous for their Rum Cakes is now serving ice cream. On their June 10th Facebook page the following was posted, “We have a BIG announcement to make, if you love our Liquor Cakes, you’ll love our Liquor Ice Cream, come check it out. We also have something for the kids.” The restaurant is located at 6575 Midnight Pass Rd.

Crystal Classic dates announced

Organizers of the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival have announced their dates for this fall.

From Nov. 9-12, 24 of the premier master sand sculptors from all over the world will be competing in the ninth installment of the event, a news release says.

Something new this year, the release notes, will be four additional sculptures created through doubles and solo competitions.

Since it began, the Crystal Classic has hosted more than 260,000 visitors on Siesta Public Beach, the release points out.

“In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery,” the release explains. “The Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota.”

The visual arts are not the only feature, the release adds. Live music and a large village with shopping and food and drink vendors are part of the festivities. Among other activities are “the popular three-day ‘Quick Sand’ competition, sand sculpting lessons and an amateur sculpting competition,” the release points out.

The festival this year will be open on Saturday and Sunday until 9 p.m., with live music by Reverend Barry & The Funk on Saturday night and No Filter on Sunday night, the release says. “The party tent will be open and the sculptures will again be lit through a fabulous light display,” the release adds.

“In 2017, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic generated some 16,000 hotel room nights,” the release notes, along with an economic impact on the county that exceeded $9 million, based on research undertaken for Visit Sarasota County. More than 60,000 attendees came to the event over the four days in 2017, the release adds.

For people worried about finding parking spaces at Siesta Public Beach during the event, the release explains that Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) provides Route 11 service daily to the Key. Attendees also may park at Turtle Beach Park and take the free Siesta Key Breeze open-air trolley to the public beach park.

For more information and to purchase advance tickets and parking passes, visit the website at www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com.

Online ticket pricing is as follows, the release says:

  • Multi-day passes: $30 per adult and $15 per child.
  • One-day passes: $8, ($2 off gate pricing) per adult and $5 per child.
  • Reserved parking passes: Friday through Monday, ranging from $29 to $59.