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  • | 4:00 a.m. October 20, 2011
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+ Citizens Academy enrollment open
Applications are being accepted for the 2012 Citizens Academy conducted by the city of Sarasota.

The academy will be held Thursday evenings starting Feb. 9, and concluding March 29. City of Sarasota residents and business owners interested in learning about the inner workings of their municipal government are encouraged to submit an application to Neighborhood & Development Services by Friday, Jan. 27.

The Citizens Academy is an interactive eight-week course designed to educate residents about the functions of City Hall.

The sessions include behind-the-scenes tours of various city departments. Among them are Public Works, the Sarasota Police Department, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Neighborhood & Development Services, the Bobby Jones Golf Complex, the Office of the City Manager and the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk. An informal discussion with the city commissioners also will be part of the academy.

The Citizens Academy will culminate with graduation during the City Commission meeting Monday, April 2.

The course is free; however, participants are asked to commit to attend all eight evening sessions.

For more information, visit or contact Nancy Kelly with Neighborhood and Development Services at 954-2612.

+ Ford-Coates honored for finance operations
During a recent meeting of the Florida Tax Collectors Association, Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates was honored as one of only 12 tax collectors who earned the 2011 Excellence in Finance Operations Award.

A panel of finance professionals selected the honorees. Ford-Coates credited her staff and Fiscal Director Joe Garofalo for earning the distinction. 

In addition, Distinguished Service Awards went to staff members Diana Chadwell, Liz Klaber, Laurie Dupuy and Sherri Smith for dedication, service and commitment to the Florida Tax Collectors Inc. 

+ School district to host 2011 Fall College Night
Local high school students will have the opportunity to meet representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities from across the United States when Sarasota County Schools hosts its 2011 Fall College Night.

The event will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Robarts Sports Arena, 3000 Ringling Blvd., in Sarasota. Admission is free.

Among the schools scheduled to send representatives are post-secondary institutions in the State University System of Florida as well as public and private colleges and universities from around the nation, including Auburn, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Brown, Cornell, Mercer, Notre Dame, Penn State, Purdue and Southern Methodist.

More information is available by visiting or calling the Student Services department of Sarasota County Schools at 927-4036.

+ Sheriff’s Office receives forensics grant
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has received a $61,124 federal grant to purchase equipment for the Forensic Services Section, which will bolster its efforts to become nationally accredited. The grant is for the 2011 fiscal year.

With the increased focus on forensic evidence and processing in criminal cases, local crime labs are improving policies and procedures to ensure the integrity of the evidence they process.

The equipment purchased with the grant will be used for a number of purposes, including the development of fingerprints, examination of footwear marks, drug analysis and detecting prescription drug fraud.

“Finding outside funding sources that can help enhance our technology or crime prevention initiatives has been a priority for my administration,” said Sheriff Tom Knight.

Meetings & agendas
• Criminal Justice Commission — Noon Oct. 24, County Administration Building, Third Floor Think Tank, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
• County Commission — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 25; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct 26, Commission Chambers, County Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
• County Commission and Tourist Development Council — 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 26, County Administration Building, Third Floor Think Tank, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.


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