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North Port touts canals over beaches

North Port touts canals over beaches

NORTH PORT, Fla. -- North Port may not have beaches, but city leaders want to capitalize on the waterways the city does have: canals.

More than 80 miles of canals wind through North Port, and people like City commissioner Jim Blucher believes they can become a draw to the area.

Paddlepalooza brought crowds to North Port for everything from rowing and kayaking to dragon boat racing. City leaders hope the result will be greater awareness of North Port's waterways and, therefore, an increase in tourism.

Keynote speakers announced for county's Sustainable Communities Workshop

Keynote speakers announced for county's Sustainable Communities Workshop

Sarasota County, Florida -- Keynote speakers have been named for the sixth annual Sustainable Communities Workshop from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6. The workshop will be at the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Event and Conference Center, 4740 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota.

Hal Knowles III, a research associate with the University of Florida Program for Resource Efficient Communities, will be the morning keynote speaker. His topic, which is also the theme of the workshop, is “Investing in Our Future: Green Economic Pathways and Partnerships.” Knowles is lead author of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium’s recent report, “Green Jobs: What, Why, How, When & Where.”

The afternoon keynote speaker is Dr. Anne E. Keller, senior sustainability advisor in the Office of Policy and Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4. Her topic, “Encouraging Sustainable Communities,” will focus on how the EPA is supporting economic, social (health) and environmental sustainability while working with communities of all types, including some Florida examples.

County to kick off program to help residents lower energy costs

County to kick off program to help residents lower energy costs

Sarasota County residents seeking lower energy bills will have access to a free county program designed to guide them through the process of making home improvements that will save them money.

Energy Upgrade, Sarasota County’s new community education program, will be unveiled at 2 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3, in the Gelbart Auditorium in Selby Public Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota.

While interest in saving energy grows, the greatest challenge continues to be connecting consumers with information about products, programs and services that can help them get started on a path to becoming more energy efficient. The Energy Upgrade program will connect residents to a one-stop online shop for home energy-efficiency information and resources at www.energyupgradetoday.com.

Watching water in Sarasota Bay

Watching water in Sarasota Bay

Sarasota, Florida - Scientists from a variety of agencies and groups are teaming up to study the water of Sarasota Bay and they now have some new equipment to help.

A new water monitoring system known has HABMON has been installed at Mote Marine Laboratory. The unit contains a variety of data recorders, which provide continuous measurements of water quality.

In the past, researchers have had to rely on monthly water samples that were sent to a lab for analysis, but HABMON provides scientists with immediate information about changing water conditions.

Sarasota's New College and Water Atlas Team Up

Sarasota's New College and Water Atlas Team Up

Sarasota, Florida-As part of the upcoming 2012 Sarasota Bay Watershed Symposium, to be held at New College of Florida February 15-17, New College is boosting the utility and performance of the Sarasota Water Atlas (Sarasota.WaterAtlas.org) to help better integrate coastal watershed science, policy and education for Sarasota Bay. 

The Sarasota Water Atlas was developed by the University of South Florida to provide an online, accessible and comprehensive resource to help scientists, policymakers, educators and interested citizens alike make informed decisions about our vital water resources.

The Atlas is a real-time, up-to-date, partner-funded resource, covering watersheds along the Gulf Coast from St. Joseph Sound to Estero Bay. Sarasota County Government has long recognized the importance of this resource to its environmental mission and is a core partner.

Gov. Scott backs off oil drilling in the Everglades

Gov. Scott backs off oil drilling in the Everglades

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- In a statement Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Scott said the governor "has not called for an expansion of drilling in the Everglades. That discussion is not on the table."

The respons followed quick criticism of the Governor's speech at the Economic Club of Florida. Gov. Scott responded to questions about Republican Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann's call for expanded oil drilling in the Everglades and Eastern Gulf.

WATCH: "Floridians upset over Bachmann's call for more drilling"

Precautionary boil water advisory issued

Precautionary boil water advisory issued

The water is back on and a precautionary boil water advisory has been issued after repairs were made to a water main break in the area of Coronado and Cross Creek drives. The break interrupted services to approximately 300 Sarasota County Utilities customers. The break occurred around 7 p.m., Aug. 31, and water service was restored about 5:30 a.m., Sept. 1.

Two-way traffic has been restored on Coronado Drive, and one lane that was closed last night will be reopened this morning.

While the county has no reason to believe the drinking water was contaminated, Florida law requires that drinking water providers issue precautionary boil water advisories to customers affected by pressure losses in water mains.