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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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Homeowners, county play blame game over fish kill at Venice lake

Venice, Florida -- A Venice neighborhood is dealing with smelly mess in their backyard at a lake off of Ginger Road.

Faun Lake in Venice attracts families like Gavin Hornberger and his friends. But on Sunday, Gavin and his friends were stunned with what they found.

"I saw a whole bunch of dead fish and then I saw a whole bunch of birds trying to eat the fish," he says.

Instead of playing, Gavin and some of his neighbors have been scooping up more dead fish bass and tilapia. And it's not just the fish, residents say, dozens of turtles have disappeared too.

Cold weather shelters open in Sarasota County tonight

Sarasota County, Florida -- Sarasota County and Charlotte County Emergency Management have coordinated with the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and community faith-based partners to provide cold weather shelter tonight for those in need.

The following shelters will open at 6 p.m. today, Jan. 18: 

Sarasota

Salvation Army - Center of Hope, 1400 Tenth St., Sarasota, FL 34236   

Venice

Sheriff's office sharpens its crime fighting eyes in the sky

Sarasota, Florida -- Sarasota deputies now have sharper eyes in the sky when fighting crime or helping someone in need, and a mother of twin girls is grateful for the new technology.

When Sarasota Deputy Brent Wineka steps into the cockpit he has a new crime-fighting tool -- the latest in infrared technology.

"It has its own GPS, it's a smarter camera," says Wineka.

Wineka says with a full 360-degree view -- unlike the previous camera -- this one offers more details, has better contrast, double the range and is more accurate.

Cold weather shelters open in Sarasota County

Sarasota County, Florida -- The National Weather Service Tampa Bay Office is issuing a cold weather
advisory tonight, Jan. 16, and Friday night,
Jan. 17.

As a result, Sarasota and Charlotte County emergency managers have coordinated with the
American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and community faith based partners to
provide cold weather shelters for those in need. 

Shelters will open at 9 p.m. on Thursday night at the following locations: