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Venice Beach remains closed to swimmers

Venice Beach remains closed to swimmers

Sarasota, Florida - Venice Beach will remain closed to swimmers at least until next Tuesday, the county health department said today..

New tests showed a continued elevated level of enterococcus bacteria. The next testing will not occur until next Monday. Results will not be known until the next day.

Update: Turtle Beach water deemed safe; warning remains for Venice Public Beach

Update: Turtle Beach water deemed safe; warning remains for Venice Public Beach

Sarasota, FL -- Health officials say it is once again safe to swim at Turtle Beach.


Lab tests from beach water sampled on Monday indicate the water quality is good. However, a water quality warning remains for Venice Public Beach.


Both beaches were the subject of advisories last week, after tests showed high levels of fecal coliform, bacteria found in human or animal waste.

Progress Energy solar rebate program begins on March 15

Progress Energy solar rebate program begins on March 15

St. Petersburg, FL -- Progress Energy has announced they will be giving out rebates to those customers, both residential and commercial, who install solar systems, either solar PV (photovoltaic) systems or solar water heaters.


However, the rebate money is limited and given on a first-come, first serve basis.  About $1 million has been allocated to residents, and another million to businesses, and another million to solar water heaters.  The program begins on March 15, and the application process is online.


Companies like Sarasota-based Eco-Technologies install the systems, and say time is of the essence.

Local consultant awarded for "green" building tips

Local consultant awarded for "green" building tips

Sarasota, FL --  A local building consultant is recognized nationally for his "green" approach to construction.


The National Association for Home Builders named Drew Smith its 2010 Green-Certified Professional of the Year at the recent International Builders Show in Orlando.


Smith opened Two Trails Inc. in 1999, a purchasing company for luxury-home building. He has seen a rise in requests for greener buildings.


Smith has three-fourths of his clients going green or greener. He consults with builders, homeowners and commercial building owners plus architects on how to build green or retrofit existing buildings.

County expands accessibility to Deer Prairie Creek Preserve

County expands accessibility to Deer Prairie Creek Preserve

Sarasota County, FL -- Sarasota County’s Deer Prairie Creek Preserve now allows vehicular access at the south entrance at 10201 South Tamiami Trail, Venice. The south entrance does not accommodate equestrian access or use. Equestrian access remains available only at the north entrance at 7001 Forbes Trail, Venice.

Opened to the public in 2007, the 6,400-acre preserve, located along the wild and scenic Myakka River, has more than 70 miles of primitive trails that are popular with hikers, bicyclists and equestrian users. The project to provide improved access to the southern portion of the preserve includes:

  • a parking lot with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessibility
  • picnic shelters and tables with ADA accessibility
  • park benches
  • portable restroom
  • hiking trails
  • canoe and kayak launch and trailer parking

Prescribed burn on Deer Prairie Creek today

Prescribed burn on Deer Prairie Creek today

North Port, FL -- The City of North Port reports that staff from the Southwest Florida Water Management District will be conducting a prescribed burn on the Deer Prairie Creek Preserve today, Thursday, January 27, 2011.

The burn is located in the north central portion of the preserve. A total of 164 acres will be burned directly south of I-75 around the 188/ 189 mile markers, and approximately 3 miles north of US 41. It is 2 miles west of the city of North Port.

The fire and smoke will likely be visible to motorists on I-75, so we may get some calls.  The National Weather Service is forecasting winds from the north and northwest between 6 and 10 mph. (Sections 10 & 15, T39, R20E) 

Grants available for energy-efficient home improvements

Grants available for energy-efficient home improvements

Venice, FL -- The City of Venice was awarded funds from the Florida Energy and Climate Commission to be used for residents of single-family homes in the city who participate in the county-wide Get Energy Smart Retrofit Program. 

The program is a joint initiative among Sarasota County, the City of Sarasota, the City of Venice and the City of North Port that will provide energy audits and rebates to citizens who use pre-qualified local contractors to make home energy improvements.

Categories for improvements include: