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After news about an overflowing Village garbage can reached Interim County Administrator Terry Lewis, county staff wasted little time in tackling the problem. Photo by Chris Kernan.
Siesta Key Thursday, Sep. 8, 2011 10 years ago

Island Beat: Lewis stays true to promise to keep Siesta Village clean

by: Rachel Brown Hackney Managing Editor

Siesta Key Realtor Chris Kernan found out last week that Interim County Administrator Terry Lewis is serious about keeping the Village clean.

After reading the Aug. 25 Pelican Press article about the county’s handling the maintenance until a new vendor is hired this fall, Kernan emailed me to say he took issue with the headline, “So far, so good.” He wrote, “Unfortunately, it’s not so good for my office at Coldwell Banker at 5145 Ocean Blvd.”

A green garbage can between his office and Sun Garden Café on Avenida Madera had not been emptied since JWM Management concluded its contract Aug. 15 with the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., Kernan wrote.

“(The can) has been overflowing with garbage, and I’m sure is a great attraction for all sorts of critters,” he wrote.

Kernan added that he had placed numerous calls to Sarasota County, including one to Lewis, but he and his staff were told Lewis was not available. That was especially disappointing, Kernan wrote, because of Lewis’ assertion in the article that he and staff would empty garbage cans themselves if necessary.

“We were shuffled between one employee and another,” Kernan continued. “Then we received a call back (from) another county employee who said it wasn’t the county’s responsibility and that we should arrange to have (the garbage can) emptied ourselves. I cannot believe that for something as seemingly simple as this, it has turned into a fiasco that no one at the county wants to take responsibility for.”

Because Kernan also sent the email to Lewis, I heard from Lewis the following morning. Lewis wrote that he had emailed Kernan for more information about when Kernan and his employees had called the county and with whom they had talked, “so we can see the breakdown in communication.”
Lewis added that he had found no record of Kernan or anyone else from Coldwell Banker leaving him a message.

The next day, Kernan sent me another email saying he was happy to report that the county had “sent someone out promptly (Aug. 30) to empty the overflowing garbage can.”

Bowling gold
It took me a while to track her down, but when I did, Beth Owen-Cipielewski had lots of good news: As a member of Team USA in the Tournament of the Americas international bowling competition in early August, she won two gold medals.

“It came down to the last bowler, the last game,” she said. “That was more intense than any other tournament I’ve won.”

International competition is a far cry from the events she has competed in since she was a child, she said. Foreign bowlers all throw the ball differently, and the lanes are different. It was an eye-opening experience, she said.

“I was a true team player … I did not do well in (all) parts of the event,” she said.

Owen-Cipielewski had been determined to win two gold medals, because she wanted to send one to her son, Justin, who had seen military duty in Iraq, for his Aug. 12 birthday.

“My poor kid had to endure so much so his mom could be a bowler,” she said. “He was like the little ball-getter” as a child.

That was all the more reason she felt she owed it to him to surprise him with the medal.

“He just kept saying, ‘I can’t believe you sent that through the mail,’” she said.

Justin and his wife, Erin — also a veteran of Iraq campaigns — live in Lawton, Okla.

Owen-Cipielewski also wanted to extend heartfelt thanks to the staff of Siesta Key Oyster Bar, of which she is a co-owner.

“It was amazing how supportive everybody was,” she said.

Her husband, Keith, posted all of her tournament results on Facebook.

“There was a lot of amazing interest … That was pretty cool, to see that excitement for Team USA,” she said.

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