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North Port considers consolidating 911 center with county

North Port, Florida- North Port Police handles its own 911 emergency calls...more than 4,300 calls each year. 

"It's beneficial having someone familiar with the area...that's a given," says Kevin Vespia, North Port Police Chief.

It's one benefit some in North Port don't want to give up if the city consolidates its 911 center with Sarasota County's new Emergency Operations Center opening next year.

"Two things you look at- savings versus control," Vespia says. 

Sarasota detectives looking for man missing since November

Sarasota, Florida -- The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help to locate a man who has not been seen for a couple of months.

The brother of 43-year-old Brian Krach reported him missing on Sunday after driving from Ohio to Florida to try to make contact with him. The two hadn't spoken since December 2012  when his brother requested a welfare check on him. 

Krach is described as:

Sarasota PD to host third 'Tweet from the Beat'

Sarasota, Florida -- The Sarasota Police Department is taking you on another virtual ride-along on Friday, January 31. 

Sarasota Police will 'Tweet from the Beat' from 6:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.  

To join the Sarasota Police Department in the virtual ride along:  If you already have a Twitter account, follow the Sarasota Police Department. Their handle is @SarasotaPD.

Artist exhibition depicts black-on-black youth violence epidemic

Sarasota, Florida -- The images are powerful. Twelve charcoal drawings each depicting black-on-black violence with their weapon of choice -- a gun.

These real life images too often repeated are now being illustrated by artist James Pate.

"It's my own private protest," says Pate.

A protest that's become a traveling art exhibit in the series Kin Killin' Kin. Pate compares what young African-American men are doing to each other today to the Ku Klux Klan.

Manatees make their Super Bowl predictions

Sarasota, Florida -- Before you place your bets for Super Bowl XLVIII, make sure you consult the experts -- a pair of manatees.

Hugh and Buffett swam to special targets with the logos of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

Hugh picked the Seahawks while Buffett picked the Broncos. 

But before you write them off, note that Buffett has an advantage: he's picked the winning team the last six times! 

...Although it should also be noted that manatees generally have terrible eyesight.

Sarasota grassroots group petitions for mayor-run government

Sarasota, Florida -- Sarasota's rapid growth into what is described as a "world class city" has some community members calling for change at City Hall. 

"We continue to believe we can have a better form of government, but we lack leadership," says Linda Holland, chair of "It's Time Sarasota" political committee.

The grassroots group has spent about the last six months rewriting the city charter that would change the city leadership from a commission/city manager-run government to an elected mayor.

Siesta Beach Park improvement project kicks off

Siesta Key, Florida -- Sarasota County celebrated the start of the two-year-long project to give Siesta Beach Park a facelift.

The $21.5 million improvements include more parking spaces, lush landscaping, bigger and more modern restrooms, and better access to and from Beach Road.

Even though Siesta Beach will have to keep its decades-old facilities for a little bit longer, it's not stopping people from visiting.

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