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News Briefs

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  • | 4:00 a.m. August 23, 2012
  • Siesta Key
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+ Construction project delay favors Classic
The Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master SandSculpting competition will now have about 200 additional parking spots for the Nov. 9 event.

Sarasota County Public Works Director Jim Harriott said Aug. 21 the Beach Road drainage improvements, set to start this summer, have been stalled by the permitting process.

The construction, which would temper the heavy flooding that occurs on Beach Road during rainstorms, would keep Crystal Classic stakeholders from using a lot near the main public beach access for overflow parking during the three-day event that benefits Mote Marine Laboratory sea-turtle research.

But, questions remain about work impeding on Siesta’s spring tourism, which contributed roughly one-third of the amount of Sarasota County tourist development taxes in the first six months of 2012.

+ Driver in hit-and-run bridge case arrested
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested the man suspected in the Aug. 1 hit-and-run incident that sent a 60-year-old construction worker tumbling 15 feet over the Siesta Key north bridge.

Gary O’Callaghan, a 35-year-old Sarasota County resident, was charged Aug. 21 with leaving the scene of a crash that caused serious bodily harm and property damage. He is being held on $50,000 bond for the combined charges.

A sheriff’s office deputy interviewed 16 of O’Callaghan’s co-workers Aug. 9, after the suspect instructed officers to contact his lawyers during an Aug. 3 confrontation. Witness statements and the damage on O’Callghan’s red Lexus led to the arrest.

+ Randall Reid taps former colleague
Sarasota County Chief Financial Officer Steve Botelho Aug. 13 selected Suzanne Gable, director of office management and budget for Alachua County, as the new strategic and financial planning director, according to a memo sent to Sarasota County Administrator Randall Reid.

Gable, who is a certified public accountant, worked for 10 years with Reid, who was the county administrator in Alachua before accepting his current position earlier this year. Reid in an email to Sarasota County commissioners said adding a CPA to Botelho’s staff aligns with the effort to promote fiscal accountability.

The position pays $107,000 annually, Botelho said.

Meetings & Agendas
• Criminal Justice Commission meeting — Noon Monday, Aug. 27, Administration Building, Third Floor Think Tank, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
• Sarasota County Commission and School Board joint meeting — 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
• Siesta Key Village Association meeting — 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, 5250 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
• Siesta Key Association meeting — 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, St. Boniface Episcopal church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key