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15 local stores cited for underage alcohol sales

15 local stores cited for underage alcohol sales

Sarasota, FL -- Fifteen local convenience store clerks were cited for selling alcohol to a minor.

The undercover operation was conducted by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Juvenile Alcohol Task Force on Dec.

New downtown parking garage set to open tomorrow

New downtown parking garage set to open tomorrow

Sarasota, FL -- After nearly 20 years of community discussion, the Palm Avenue parking garage in downtown Sarasota will be open to the public just in time for New Year's Eve.

The six story garage, designed by Sarasota architect Jonathon Parks, will not only feature approximately 840 parking spaces for vehicles, bicycles and motorcycles, but a 12,000 square foot retail and restaurant space on the ground level. The top parking deck offers beautiful views of Sarasota Bay and downtown Sarasota, and City administrators are considering the possibility of renting the space for special events.  

“It’s really a beautiful job,” said Mayor Kelly Kirschner in a statement.  “This was a truly ‘hyper-local’ project and we should celebrate all of the local talent that worked on it.”

DUI checkpoint in Sarasota County

DUI checkpoint in Sarasota County

Sarasota County, FL -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is pairing up with The Florida Highway Patrol to crack down on holiday drunk driving this New Year's Eve.

A comprehensive roadside safety checkpoint will be conducted on Dec. 31 starting at 10 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. at 3740 Bee Ridge Road.

According to the sheriff's office, there were 11 alcohol related crashes in Sarasota County in 2009 that resulted in 12 deaths.

Deputies hope the checkpoint will help deter DUIs, intercept impaired drivers before a crash occurs, and ensure the safety of motorists and officers on the road.

Candidate qualifying for City Commission seats begins next week

Candidate qualifying for City Commission seats begins next week

Sarasota, FL -- For anyone interested in being a part of the City Commission, the qualifying period is quickly approaching.

The candidate qualifying period for the City Commission elections for the three district seats is next week, starting at noon on Jan. 3 through noon Jan. 7. The qualifying period is two weeks earlier than previous elections due to changes made by the City Commission to comply with Florida election law.

Three district races are being held. Candidates, including those who pre-qualified, must qualify during the time frame next week in order to have their name placed on the ballot on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

Hospital briefly locked down after reported threat

VENICE, Fla. (AP) - A southwest Florida hospital was briefly locked down after police were alerted to a possible threat.

Police were called to the Venice Regional Medical Center around noon on Tuesday.

Det. Lt. Ron Solanes says a third-party told police she had overheard a former employee tell another person the hospital had taken his job and insurance.

He reportedly made a threat against the facility.

Solanes says the caller has not been identified, and it's unclear whether there was an actual threat.

The hospital was locked down for about 45 minutes as a precaution. The individual in question was located at his residence. Solanes says he is being evaluated.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)








Venice hospital reopens after lockdown

Venice hospital reopens after lockdown

Venice, FL -- About 750 patients, employees and visitors were barred from leaving Venice Regional Medical Center today after a former employee made a threatening phone call, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Police located the former employee in South Venice and after questioning decided it was safe to reopen the hospital, according to police spokesman Tom McNulty.

This isn't the first time the hospital has had a lockdown situation. In August, a suspicious electronic box was found by a nurse in a a parking lot stairwell.

For more on this story visit the Herald-Tribune.

Deputies searching for man who sexually assaulted teen walking home

Sarasota, Florida - Sarasota Sheriff's Deputies are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a teen while she was walking home.

According to deputies, the 17-year-old victim was walking home from a party at around 2:30 a.m. through Northeast Plaza when she was confronted by a black male in a white, newer four-door vehicle.

Deputies say at first the suspect called out to her from his car and told her to get in. When the victim changed direction to avoid him, the suspect exited his car and forced the victim into the backseat where he sexually battered her. The victim was released from the car and the suspect drove away.

The entire offense occurred at the rear area of the plaza. The victim called family and deputies from that location after the incident.

The suspect is described as a black male approximately 30-40 years old, heavyset, 5'8"-5'10", with a dark complexion.