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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending October 12, 2018

Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: letters@lbknews.com or mail to PO Box 8001, Longboat Key, FL 34228. We also print letters sent to Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues. We reserve the right to edit.

Re: Letter “We should rethink fiber burial plan” by Gene Jaleski

To: Editor

Approximately two years ago, after owning and visiting a home part-time for four years, we moved permanently into our home on Longboat Key. In our early 60s, we engage with many people who are around our age, as well as those much older. Perhaps because of the nature of our current/previous jobs, or because of our interests, almost everyone we come in contact is both savvy about internet use and social media, and cognizant of what is required when they are visiting or living here on a regular basis.

That’s why I take issue with Mr. Jaleski’s assertion that “Longboat Key is a three month seasonal elderly community, where people make calls during the winter, but are too elderly to use texting and data on their phones.” I’m not sure who Mr. Jaleski is referring to, and perhaps there is a significant portion of the community that conforms to those criteria (although if it was me, I’d be deeply offended about the ageism inherent in that response). However, those we live among full-time are on their phones all the time, texting to friends and grandkids, Skypeing with long distance friends and family, and using data like there’s no tomorrow. In addition, there are a lot of people who live full time on LBK who NEED good internet service. All the businesses, the services, the organizations, the churches – and the visitors and owners- deserve to have the best of what’s available in internet service. After all, this is Longboat Key.

It is these kinds of dated and misinformed comments that keep LBK from attracting people who wish to do more than “live out their golden years.” Today’s retirees – and almost retirees these days- are vital, informed, professional, and contemporary movers and thinkers, and they want the same service on LBK that they had in their former location. And that’s not to mention those who retire early, those who work here, those who visit here, and so on and so on.

I’m not a technical engineer, and I don’t understand the intricacies of the fiber optic networks and what we need here. All I can say is that insufficient and spotty cell service continues to be a critical concern for us on a daily basis. Anything we can do to improve that is welcome – including the addition of a high fiber network that will attract Xfinity and others. We spend our tax funds on things like parks and pickleball courts. This time, let’s put it where it will be an enhancement for everyone who lives, works, and visits us.

Kathleen Rinaldi

Longboat Key

 

Alternative North End Fiscal Models

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom, looking at possible numbers and cost projections, based on recent historical events, I wonder if small, close interval, beach replenishment at the north end might not be a viable solution to erecting four groins at an initial cost of $12 million.

As you probably know, in 2014, WCIND had Cavache Dredging place 110 cu/yds of white sand on the north end beach. The project was a speedy low impact operation costing less than $6 cu/yd or around $650,000, creating a good beach profile for more than two years.

The just concluded emergency sand placement at the north end groins cost $1.1million, or 40% more, for a little more than 1/4th the amount of sand.

Since the north end groins were erected in 2015, the town has had to replenish sand at the groins three times, including the last island-wide beach renourishment, at a cost of millions over a three year span.

It would have been less expensive to have Cavache dredge 75,000 cu/yds every year ($450,000), and Beer Can Island and the Longbeach Condominiums would not have been ravaged by the down-drift erosion caused be the groins.

If the town could create a program of yearly small dredge projects, just like the WCIND Cavache dredging, wouldn’t that be less expensive, create a more consistent beach profile and maintain the natural ambiance of the north end, as compared to erecting four more groins at a cost of $12 million, and likely requiring frequent renourishing, just like the current groins have required, only more expensive?

Looking at the track record for the cost of maintaining any semblance of sand at the groins, it might be less expensive to do small periodic dredge projects than maintaining six groins.

Wouldn’t a cost benefit analysis be desirable before spending $12 million, only to create a possibly even more costly maintenance problem than the current two groins?

The above beach profile improvement, put forth by the town’s beach engineers, didn’t happen. Instead millions have been spent to place more and more sand at the groins, that washes away in a matter of months, or even days, while beaches north and south of the groins have suffered continuous severe erosion.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Venice Resolution on Fertilizer

To: Mayor George Spoll

Per Mayor Holic’s request during the October 11, 2018 Council of Governments meeting, I am attaching a copy of the resolution passed by Venice City Council on September 11, 2018.  The intent of each governmental unit passing this resolution is to have a unified front when approaching State Legislators with the hopes of removing the pre-emption currently in place regarding fertilizer. The mayor asks that you please consider this request as high priority so that the entire county is able to approach the State Legislators this coming session as a unified county.

Mercedes Barcia for Mayor John Holic

Recording Secretary II/Office Assistant

City Clerk’s Office

Venice

 

Hurricane Michael Advisory 21

To: Town Commission

Commissioners,  FYI- Update on Hurricane Michael. It is expected to make landfall in the panhandle early afternoon as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. We expect some continued wind and rain in our area but not of a sustained tropical storm strength.  Our ongoing concern is beach erosion and flooding in the traditional low-lying areas.  High tide today is expected to occur around 2:30 p.m. Projections have indicated that we could experience a high tide approximately 2 feet above normal. Police and Public Works Staff are monitoring the conditions.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Beach Advisories Posted

To: Town Commission

Commissioners- FYI, we have been notified that the Health Department will be issuing a “no swim” advisory press release for a series of beaches in Sarasota County including Longboat Key.  See email below.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Beach Advisories Posted

To: Town of Longboat Key

This is to inform you that a press release is being prepared regarding “no swim” advisories being issued for 13 beaches. The samples that were taken on Monday, 10/9 have come back with unsatisfactory results for enterococcus. Please see the sample results below. Signs are being posted at the beaches to notify the public of the bacteria advisory as well as the presence of red tide. The advisories will remain in place until resample results are back within acceptable limits. Resamples will be taken when weather and surf conditions permit.

Longboat Key 188 #CFU/100ml

North Lido >800 #CFU/100ml

Lido Casino >800 #CFU/100ml

South Lido 124 #CFU/100ml

Siesta Key 212 #CFU/100ml

Turtle Beach 120 #CFU/100ml

Nokomis Beach 316 #CFU/100ml

North Jetty 168 #CFU/100ml

Service Club 196 #CFU/100ml

Venice Fishing Pier 448 #CFU/100ml

Brohard Park 188 #CFU/100ml

Caspersen 136 #CFU/100ml

Manasota Key 140 #CFU/100ml

(Note: Results for enterococcus are given in “CFU”, or “colony forming units” and a number of 71 or greater is considered “poor”.)

Enterococcus (CFU per 100 ml)

Good Moderate Poor

0-35 36-70 71 or greater

Jennifer Clemente

Environmental Specialist III

Florida Dept. of Health in Sarasota County

 

Visit Sarasota County August Tourism Stats

To: Town of Longboat Key Commission

Our August report is showing the impact from the new hotel inventory and the impact of the red tide crisis.  The number of visitors for the month of August dropped by -6.3% and their spending dropped by -9.3%.  Hotel occupancy dropped to 50.9%, a -16.3% decrease over August last year and the room rates dropped to $128.27, a -11.1% decrease.

We will be presenting our recommended red tide crisis recovery plan to the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council on October 11.  VSC has been awarded two Visit Florida emergency red tide crisis grants – one for a Sarasota County-exclusive digital campaign and the other a regional Google campaign with our destination colleagues in Southwest Florida.

Virginia J. Haley

President

Visit Sarasota County

 

Statewide Mutual Aid- Firefighter Deployment

To: Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI- as part of the statewide mutual aid system the Town is sending two firefighters to assist with the anticipated impact of Hurricane Michael in the Panhandle.  They are part of a larger task force that is being deployed from the area. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Hurricane Michael Update

To: Town Commission

Commissioners,  FYI- the Town continues to coordinate with the both county’s emergency management offices regarding the status and preparations associated with Hurricane Michael.

The intensity at landfall has increased from the last update but the forecast tract has not changed.  The early effects of the storm could be felt after midnight this evening and the storm is expected to clear out of our area after Wednesday.  At high tide earlier today we did see some minor street flooding in the north end and the tides are expected to be 1-2” above normal high tide as the storm passes. The staff is monitoring and placed signs as necessary. They have also placed sand and sandbags at the Broadway Beach Access for the public. We have been advised that this storm has some undertow characteristics that could increase the expected beach erosion.  We will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates as the conditions may change.

I listed below the message we are sending out to the residents:

Hurricane Michael Prompts Advisories – Posted Monday, October 8, 2018

The National Hurricane Center and Emergency Management officials have issued a coastal flood advisory, with warnings of high surf, and rip currents for Longboat Key beaches beginning this afternoon through Wednesday.

Beachgoers are advised to take precautions while on our beaches, be aware of very dangerous rip currents, and high surf.   Swimming and surfing are not advised.

Hurricane Michael will bring water levels 1-2 feet above our normal +2 high tides over the next two days.  For Longboat Key residents and business owners, in low-lying and flood prone areas, sand and bags will be available at the Broadway Beach Access Monday afternoon.

Although Longboat Key is not forecast for landfall, high winds (with potential for tornadoes), and rainfall of 2”-4” will impact this area consistent with tropical storm features, through Wednesday.  Please exercise extreme caution with driving through standing water, and do not drive through any posted flooded streets.

Please monitor local weather in the event of changes to forecast on storm track and intensity.  Town staff continues to monitor and coordinate response with both Sarasota and Manatee Emergency Management Officials.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

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