+ Sheriff’s Office nabs 22 fugitives
Nearly two-dozen wanted offenders were arrested Dec. 21. During Operation Holiday Street Sweep, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office targeted suspects whose crimes include hit-and-run, burglary with assault or battery and drug possession.
“These criminals know they are wanted and try to run under the radar,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “Operations like this … enable us to get more offenders behind bars at once to keep citizens and our community safe.”
The Sarasota Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Corrections and Parole assisted in the operation.
+ ‘Sunshine’ groups to pay court costs
The two groups that sued Sarasota County over its baseball negotiations were ordered Dec. 22 to pay the county’s court costs.
Judge Robert Bennett decided that Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government and Citizens for Sunshine must reimburse the county $19,611 — a portion of its legal fees in fighting the lawsuit.
Bennett ruled in July that county commissioners inadvertently violated Sunshine Laws by discussing baseball negotiations in e-mail exchanges with each other. He did not order any sanctions against the commissioners.
The Florida Supreme Court affirmed that ruling in October.
The county had asked for about $30,000 to be awarded, but the judge ruled that the county could not be reimbursed for video and shipping services related to the lawsuit.
+ City urges recycling during holidays
City Hall is asking residents to keep an eye on sustainability during the holiday season.
Citizens are asked to take a number of steps to “reduce, reuse and recycle,” including:
• Reuse boxes and shipping materials.
• Put holiday lights on timers.
• Use decorative tins as gift boxes.
• Give a gift of a donation to a charity.
• Contribute to a child’s saving account instead of giving a wrapped gift.
• Buy holiday cards made from recycled paper.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day last year, Sarasota residents generated 8% more household waste than normal. The national average is 25%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
During the same period, Sarasotans increased their recycling by 11%.
The normal trash, recycling and yard waste pickup schedule will remain in place throughout the holidays.
+ Government offices closed for New Year’s
All city and county government offices will close Friday, Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday. The offices will re-open Monday, Jan. 3.
+ Siesta Key Chamber seeks nominees
The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for its Business of the Year Awards.
Each year the chamber recognizes two businesses and one businessperson for outstanding achievements and contributions.
A Shining Star Award is also presented to an exceptional employee, who their employer nominates.
All nominations are due by Jan. 19. For a nomination form, go to www.SiestaKeyChamber.com or visit the chamber office at 5118 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key.
+ Meetings & Agendas
- City Commission — 2:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 3 at City Hall, 1565 First St.
- Festival Steering Committee — 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan 6 at the Sarasota County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd.
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27 Thanksgiving Free Public Talk & Veggie Potluck
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
29 Light Up Siesta Village and Holiday Parade
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
30 Advent Procession
3 Rachel's Challenge Anti-Bullying Event hosted by The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
The gift of music
Riverview High School received a donation of $5,000 during a break in the Kiltie Band Fall concert on Nov. 20.
Coming together for the community
All Faiths Food Bank called on volunteers to help distribute 7,000 Thanksgiving dinners Saturday.
Observer on the hunt for displays
We’re making our list of the best holiday lights displays in Sarasota and checking it twice.