+ Town should enforce backflow deadline
The town of Longboat Key must stand strong on its twice-extended backflow deadline. It is the right thing to do and demonstrates fairness to the almost 3,000 customers who are complying.
This now becomes a question of town credibility. Two years is a sufficient amount of time for everyone to measure up to all requirements without any further delay.
Casa del Mar spent more than $5,000 in October 2007, installing and testing its backflow preventers. Other full- and part-time residents have done likewise.
It’s about time the town stands tall and fulfills its duties.
+ Taxpayers should not pay for roundabouts
It’s hard for me to believe that the elected officials of Sarasota are so out of touch that they would contemplate installing roundabouts on U.S. 41. I have a condo on Longboat Key but, more importantly, I reside in New Jersey. Anyone who has read the national news or has ever been up North knows of the horrors of “traffic circles.” These outdated and dangerous traffic devices have been the cause of untold accidents, injuries and many deaths. During the last 15 years, New Jersey taxpayers had to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to remove roundabouts that were installed during the ’40s and ’50s. They don’t work in today’s urban settings.
Please stop this folly — before it’s too late — for the safety of the driving public and especially our senior citizens who are most often involved in accidents at these circles. Please don’t waste our taxes on this outdated and dangerous scheme.
+ The town should help, not hinder, the Key Club
I am disappointed to read about the town’s continued torturing of the Longboat Key Club in its attempts to invest $400 million for redevelopment. Now the town is opposing the removal of the Islandside tennis facility and, thus, joining the Islandside Property Owners Coalition’s opposition to the Key Club’s capital investment.
Not everyone on Longboat Key opposes capital improvements and redevelopment, as some writers would have Observer readers believe. The Key Club should be commended and supported in its efforts to improve its property and the club’s continued support of our community.
Longboat Key is a beautiful place to live. However, it needs to thrive, or it will die as we are seeing with the shuttered commercial establishments dotting Gulf of Mexico Drive. The town should assist the Key Club in its capital improvements, not hinder it at every turn.
Gary L. Bender
+ Thank you to all who helped on Fourth of July
I want to express my deep appreciation to all of those who worked hard and contributed their funds and resources to make this year’s three fireworks celebrations a great success.
The Mar Vista Restaurant hosted its first Independence Day celebration on July 4. This celebration would not have been possible without the co-sponsorships provided by Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant & Marina and The Longboat Observer, as well as volunteer support from the Longbeach Village Association.
The BeachHouse celebrated our 15th annual event this year, on July 3, and the Sandbar celebrated its 25th annual show on the Fourth of July. Three shows in two days marked a new high- water mark for the Chiles Group. Our management and staff put a great deal of effort into making these three events run smoothly and efficiently. I appreciate all of their hard work.
Creative Pyrotechnics did an excellent job putting on the fireworks show in the Jim Taylor tradition. We also want to thank Harry, Steve and Lee Blenker for supplying and operating the barge.
Finally, I want to thank the cities of Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Longboat Key, as well as the respective police departments, Manatee County Sheriff’s Departments, fire departments, emergency medical services personnel and the Coast Guard and Marine Patrols for everything they did to make sure that all three events were safe and orderly.
The staff and management of the Sandbar, BeachHouse and Mar Vista Restaurants look forward to continuing to celebrate our country’s independence in a spectacular fashion for many years to come.
Owner of The Chiles Group
+ Town should back up SCAT bus driver
To Mr. (Bruce) St. Denis and the people of Longboat Key. First, let me say this is not a complaint about Longboat or SCAT management. This is a plea for justice. About 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, traffic was at a standstill on Gulf of Mexico Drive, due to a fire at a mansion that was up for sale. During that backup, a SCAT bus driver had some words with a woman directing traffic. This lady called SCAT to report him. He wound up being fired for the incident.
We all know emotions run high in a situation like this. Let me tell you something about the bus driver who got fired. He is devoted to his job and helping people. Phillip Wagg lives in an apartment, along with his 90-year-old father. He cooks for him, does his wash, takes him to doctors’ appointments and takes care of his every need.
During this traffic standstill, he left his bus to escort an elderly gentleman on his bus across Gulf of Mexico Drive, who was returning from Publix. The man was concerned his ice cream was going to melt. This is one example of how Wagg goes through life. Wagg was two days short of completing his probationary period when this incident took place.
Now, due to this complaint from the lady directing traffic, he got fired. I ask the people of Longboat and Mr. St. Denis to back this man up. In this economy, we don’t need a man caring for his 90-year-old father to be unemployed. Mr. St. Denis, I think a word from you or your staff to SCAT would put this man’s life back on track.
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Mote-tagged shark swims toward Sarasota
A 14-foot, 2,300-pound great white shark is currently heading eastbound toward Sarasota.
Police get a wheel deal from anonymous citizen
An anonymous citizen recently contacted the town with an offer to buy the Longboat Key Police Department a new bicycle.
Surprise daytime turtle encounter
On his evening beach walk, Longboat Key resident Mike Haycock was in for a big surprise when he spotted a sea turtle coming out of the water Sunday.