Sunday, January 20, 2019

Englewood To Get Festive

Venice & Englewood Sun Weekly
Jan 16, 2019
Staff Report

Enjoy a variety of seafood and live music Jan. 25-27

Seeking fun and relaxation for the weekend?  Delicious foods, live music and shopping through a marketplace of arts, crafts, and fine products?  One option is to attend the second annual Englewood Seafood & Music Festival, Jan. 25-27 in Pioneer Park.  The event starts Friday (4-10pm) and continues Saturday (11am-10pm) and Sunday (11am-6pm).

Admission is free.  The event is produced by Paragon Festivals.

For food, choose from a variety of seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes all cooked fresh on site.  Seafood dishes are prepared using only the freshest local and sustainable ocean resources from the Florida Gulf Coast.  Select from a diversity of side dishes and dessert.  Liquid refreshment includes
alcoholic, non-alcoholic, and fruit drinks.

While enjoying the food and drink selections, listen to top musical groups from genres such as R&B, blues, jazz, rock and Caribbean sounds.  Friday night performers are:  Mike Tozier (country, folk, Delta blues), Sarasota Steel Pan Band (calypso, reggae, Latin, Brazilian) and the Kate Keys Band (blues, rock, variety), Saturday performances are:  Kettle of Fish (rock), CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion (blues, soul, roots,), Reverend Barry & The Funk (funk, soul) the Billy Rice Band (country rock) and the Caribbean Chillers (Jimmy Buffet Tribute Band).

Sunday performances are by: The New Rulers (ska, reggae, soul rocksteady), The Whole Band featuring Callie Chappell (American, rock, bluegrass and R&B), Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio (rock, soul), and the Shindigs (Beach boys Tribute Band).

During breaks between performances, enjoy shopping a marketplace of fine arts, crafts, and select fine products and food items.

Contact:  Bill Kinney, event director for more information, by email at: or phone at:  941-487-8061.

Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Venice earns 'tree'-mendous honor again

By Bob Mudge, Venice Gondolier Sun, January 12, 2019
Venice has been named a Tree City again by the Arbor Day Foundation, just in time to celebrate the state Arbor Day, Jan. 18.
The national holiday is April 26.
It’s the ninth year the city has earned the honor, which the foundation — with its partners, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters — awards to recognize a municipality’s commitment to effective urban forest management.
More than 3,400 cities nationwide, and more than 170 in Florida, have Tree City status.
A city qualifies by satisfying four criteria: having a tree board or department; having a tree-care ordinance; having an annual forestry budget of at least $2 per person; and holding an Arbor Day observance with a proclamation.
Since being named a Tree City last year, Venice has seen the creation of an urban forest along the Intracoastal Waterway by Venice Area Beautification Inc. and has hired its first staff arborist.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, the benefits to a city from protecting and enhancing its trees include reducing costs for energy, stormwater management and erosion control; increasing property values; and building stronger ties in neighborhoods.
Trees yield three to five times their cost in overall benefits to a city, it states.

Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Rotary Fine Arts Festival

City of of events

Rotary Fine Arts Festival

  • 01/19/2019 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Location:Venice Airport Festival Grounds

    27th Annual Fine Arts and Crafts Festival presented by the Venice-Nokomis Rotary
    Featuring the City of Venice Road-E-O
    Jan. 19-20
    Saturday | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Sunday | 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Admission $3

    Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    Decades Rewind

    city of of events

    • 01/19/2019 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Location:Venice Performing Arts Center
      1 Indian Ave.

       At the VPAC on the grounds of Venice High School
      Tickets, $18-$66. Call 941-218-3779 for tickets
      It’s not just the music, it’s memories. Take a journey back in time with Decades Rewind. Disco, Funk, Rock, Motown, and all the hits of the '60s, '70s, & '80s take center stage in this theatrical music production. Featuring over 60s songs, 100 costume changes and nostalgic video.

      Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate

      Sunday, January 13, 2019

      Library Opens To Fanfare, Big crowd checks out new Venice library on first day

      Larry Evans
      Venice Gondolier Sun

      More than 1,500 people turned out Dec 15 for the opening of the new William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library.

      "This is the greatest day of my life," Jervey told an audience of about 500 people who came at 9 a.m. for an opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting.

      Most of that crowd filled all 330 chairs in an open-sided white tent in front of the library.  Other people stood shoulder-to-shoulder just under the protective tent, while others stood in a light rain.

      By noon, 1465 people had walked through the double glass doors of the library.  Others arrived throughout the afternoon.

      Jervey, a philanthropist who lives in Venice, told the audience he was an almost daily visitor to the former library building that was on the same site at 300 N Nokomis Ave., from 1965 until 2017 after Sarasota County officials determined the building had a mold problem.

      "I loved that old library" and, like hundreds of other city residents, he opposed the decision to tear it down.

      He told the crowd that, after a recent advance tour of the gleaming, new, $8.8 million library, he now has a different opinion:  "I think this might be the ultimate lemons-to-lemonade story."

      Jervey was a college professor who retired in his 30s to devote full time to investing.

      When county officials two years ago resisted public pressure and said the Venice branch library would be replaced, Jervey donated $1 million to the project.  He did so, he has said, because, beginning as a child in his native Hawaii, he has been a lifelong user of public libraries - which he credits for his financial success.

      He expected nothing in return for that gift, but the county government responded by naming the building for him.

      Sarabeth A. Kalajian, the county's director of libraries and historical resources, said during opening remarks that the Venice library "has always been a community hub" that brings together people regardless of any differences they have.

      There is a large, colorful section for children, as well as a separate story-time room. 

      "This is just beautiful.  The kids are really going to enjoy coming here," Casey Clinch said as she walked through with her husband, Jim, and their children Cora and Casey.

      The facility also has a teen center.

      Other sections of the library include:  a community conference room that seats 135-people; a Friends of the Library bookstore; a reading garden; and a display near the entrance way that honors the late Walter Farley, who wrote the children's classic "Black Stallion" and was a founder of the original Venice Public Library.

      A large compass rose is among the design features that create a colorful place.

      Floor-to-ceiling arched and tinted windows, as well as a skylight over the center of the main room,bate the library in natural light.

      Awaiting funding are solar panels for the room that will make the library powered by the sun.  Under way is a $250,000 fund drive called "Light Up Our Library".

      There are electric-car-charging stations in the parking lot.

      The library was designed by Sweet Sparkman Associates and constructed by Ajax/Tandem Construction.

      Architect Todd M. Sweet stood quietly Saturday and listened as hundreds of people came into the library, milled around and used words like "wonderful," "spectacular" and "beautiful" when voicing their first impressions.

      Sweet said designing the Venice library has been a rewarding professional experience because there was "so much involvement by people in the community and so many people were interested" in voicing their opinions about what the library should include and how it should look.  He said many public workshops and meetings were held before his architectural firm sat down at the drawing board.

      That could be both good and bad from an architect's perspective, right?

      "No, it's all good," Sweet said.

      Jervey wore a yellow baseball cap emblazoned with the word "Venice".

      "We have created a wonderful, wonderful library" because Sweet "listened to what the people of Venice wanted," Jervey said during his opening remarks.

                                        Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate

      Friday, January 11, 2019

      Rookery: Where birds are seen when people aren't heard

      Larry Evans
      Venice Gondolier Sun
      January 2, 2019

      The Venice Audubon Rookery is a remarkable pocket of natural Florida a few hundred yards off U.S. Highway 41 and just north of Walmart in South Venice.

      Photographs taken at the rookery can look like they were shot deep in the Everglades, but the place - and the birds - are easily accessible.

      "Photographers all over the world come there" said Brenda Bossman,, president of the the Venice Area Audubon Society.

      And yet, she said, local residents gather there a little before sunset and sit in lawn chairs on the grassy lawn and along a gravel path as they sip cocktails brought from home and watch egrets, herons, and a variety of other species of birds return to the rookery as the sun goes down.

      "It's a wonderful place to see birds.  Wading birds.  Nesting birds," she said.

      And at sunset, she said, bats come out of the bat boxes and soar and dip in the air as they feast on insects.

      There are a couple of alligators there too, because the rookery is essentially a pond with a small island in the middle. (Any raccoon that attempts to swim out and eat eggs can easily become dinner for a gator.)

      Birds seem to appreciate that the island provides them a protected area to sleep at night and a place to build nests, lay eggs, and raise their young to self-sufficiency.

      Sunset is the peak viewing time, Bossman said, and the most birds can be seen from November through April.

      "The rookery is a place people can get close to birds," she said.

      The Venice Area Audubon Rookery is located on Annex Road, which is on the west side of U.S. 41 behind the South County Administration Building and just north of the Jacaranda Boulevard intersection.

      Hours are sunset to sunrise.  There is no admission charge.   An unobtrusive donation box is in an open-sided shelter at the entrance to the rookery.  Picnic tales in the shelter provide cover from rain and sun.  The rookery has a parking lot and a gravel path that extends around part of the pond.

      The Venice Area Audubon Society has an office building on the property.  Information about this organization, including meeting times and programs, can be found at

      Don Gettys arrived at the rookery just after sunrise on a recent Saturday morning.  "I come here almost every morning around 7:30 and stay a couple of hours," said Gettys, who lives a 10-minute drive south near Warm Mineral Springs.  "Some days you come her, like today, and there aren't many birds."  He nodded toward the island, where there were a few herons and egrets perched in the brush.

      "And then you come back the next day and there are 200 birds.  I don't know why there are more birds some days than others.  The number of birds does not matter to Gettys.  "This is a nice place to relax," he said.  "It's so quiet and pretty.  And I enjoy watching the birds."

      Like many visitors to the rookery, Gettys carried a camera with a long lens.  Some people shoot pictures with their smart phones.  There are bird-watchers who simply use binoculars.  Some people just use their eyes.

      Gettys and his wife moved from York, Pennsylvania, to Sarasota County last summer after he retired.  They had been seasonal residents for years.

      There are other regulars who show up at the rookery a few mornings a week.  Getty talked to a couple of them that Saturday morning.  They all kept their voices low.

      The Audubon Society encourages people to visit the rookery, and volunteers work hard to make the place inviting for them.

      However, as Gettys and his friends understand, the rookery is a place for birds, so people should be seen and not heard.

       Ali H. Johnston, MBA in Real Estate
      REALTOR®, Lic. Broker #BK3284964

      West Villages Realty LLC
      19503 S West Villages Pkwy
      Stes A2 & A11 (by Appt)
      Venice, Florida 34293
      Office: 941-460-3179