+ Beach stormwater project grant extension likely
County staff members last week won preliminary approval from representatives of the Southwest Florida Water Management District for the extension of a grant designed to cover about half the cost of the new Siesta Beach stormwater drainage project.
“It looks like (SWFWMD is) ready to extend the grant so we can have a more realistic construction date,” Project Manager Spencer Anderson said.
He was uncertain at this point, he said, whether the Sarasota County Commission would become involved in the process.
The $975,000 grant was set to expire March 31, 2012, but Anderson had reported it was unlikely the construction of the project could begin until January or possibly February. Without a grant extension, he had said, the county risked losing the SWFWMD funding.
The 30-minute discussion Nov. 10 involved four Sarasota County staff members and seven officials from SWFWMD.
+ PALS training bolsters students
Volunteer tutors from North Port to north Sarasota County say the training they received from PALS Partners in Education, the county school district’s volunteer office, helps make their time with students more rewarding.
Although a group of active volunteers works throughout the school district, the need remains great for more tutors to help at-risk and struggling students succeed, district staff say.
PALS has provided reading tutor training to volunteers in elementary schools for more than 15 years. Volunteers participate in programs specifically designed by curriculum specialists to enable them to work one-on-one for 30 minutes with students in kindergarten through third grade.
PALS offers additional training to help volunteers feel better prepared to work with students from low-income homes and to help students improve their mastery of skills.
In addition to elementary reading tutors, PALS is seeking volunteers for a middle-school reading program and a math skills-mastery program.
Community members interested in registering for PALS Partners in Education volunteer training or learning more about the training sessions and volunteer opportunities in schools may visit www.SarasotaCountySchools.net/departments/PALS, email PALSoffice@sarasota.k12.fl.us or call 927-9000, Ext. 31500.
+ County to mark Honore improvements
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the two-year extension and improvement project for Honore Avenue, from Bee Ridge to Fruitville roads, will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the intersection of Honore Avenue and Webber Street.
The exact location of the ceremony will be on the north side of Webber Street, east of Mapleloft Lane and west of the bridge.
The 2.7-mile project was designed to protect the character of the neighborhood while providing greater mobility for residents and visitors, county staff notes. The project included construction of a two-lane, divided roadway with sustainable, environmentally friendly features. Those include Florida-friendly landscaping, bio-swales and rain gardens to treat stormwater runoff and vegetative buffers.