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SRQ DAILY Aug 21, 2014

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"There are a number of reasons [for this decision], but the No. 1 reason is these are palms on Palm Avenue."

- Susan Chapman, Sarasota City Commissioner

[Government]  Palms Staying On Palm
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A plan to remove 26 palm trees from Palm Avenue as part of a change in streetscaping was scuttled this week when Sarasota City Commissioners send the idea back to planners for further study and made clear they thought the plan was "horrendous."

"There are palms on Palm Avenue," said City Commissioner Susan Chapman. She noted other projects in town where beloved trees were pulled to make room for new development to the chagrin of many. "We can have something beautiful but at the cost of the soul of the city."

The plan to pull the trees, which were located on the western boulevard of North Palm Avenue, was part of an effort to stop regular street flooding and to mirror the look of the eastern boulevard. The development of a city parking garage and other ongoing projects has led to the planting of canopied trees on one side of the tree while the older palms stand on the other side.

Chief Planner Steve Stancel said flooding is also a major problem, which hurts businesses and creates a public safety hazard. "Anybody wanting to go in and out of those spaces will have to go ankle deep," he said. Stancel suggested the current landscape make the street less inviting to pedestrians on the palm side of the road.

But the plan inspired significant public pushback. Jono Miller, a retired New College of Florida professor and conservationist, researched and found some of the palms have stood since at least the 1920s. He showed overhead views which indicated more shade was being offered by the aged palms than the younger canopies on the other side of the road. "This proposal disrespects the people who did this in the 20s or earlier," he said. It disrespects our state tree. It disrespects Palm Avenue."

Commissioners voted unanimously to send staff back to research how to reduce flooding in the area while saving some or all of the palm trees. 

[Music]  Random Encounter Preps for European Tour
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Who says playing video games is a waste of time? For the band Random Encounter, video games form the central uniting theme of their music and it’s a theme that’s taken them on national tours and, in the near future, all the way to Europe.

Formed nine years ago in Sarasota by the lead singer and accordion player, who goes by the nom de rock Careless, Random Encounter writes music steeped in video game mythology and harmonies, with a bit of Russian folklore thrown in for good measure. But while video games supply the impetus for their music and the inspiration for the band, Careless is quick to point out that the music is also accessible to non-gamers.

“We don’t directly cite video games and tell you ‘This is about a video game,’” said Careless, referring to the song 72 Hours, inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. “It’s a love song and the context is the video game, but if you don’t know the context, you understand the world’s coming to an end and it’s about friendship.”

Rounding out the present lineup are Rook, a Sarasota bassist and veteran of the circus life (daughter of the famed Human Comet), Konami, a former NASA scientist from Clearwater who hung up his white coat to play guitar and sing, and Kit and Moose, two Orlando musicians who play the guitar and drums respectively.

Veterans of the rock scene, Random Encounter has released two albums (Unavenged and LET ME TELL YOU A STORY) and an EP entitled 72 Hours in the Ocean With Your Mother, with an additional EP scheduled for an October release while the band tours Texas with party-rocker Andrew W.K.

Often donning black paramilitaristic outfits for their shows, Random Encounter paid its dues around town at places like The Blue Owl and The Closet (now defunct), as well as playing yearly at the Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences, which Careless attended as a child and now hosts an annual anime convention.

Today, Random Encounter plays shows across Florida (Orlando being another regular haunt) and the United States. The band was voted the No. 1 rock and indie band by Orlando Weekly two years in a row and stands on the verge of its biggest tour yet.

“Every year we’ve gotten bigger and bigger,” said Careless with a touch of disbelief. “Now we’re about to go on tour in Europe.”

The big break for Random Encounter came this past year when they crossed paths with none other than Tommy Tallarico. For the uninitiated, Tallarico is perhaps the premier video game composer working today, with a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for most video games composed by any one individual. Tallarico has spent the last seven years touring nonstop with an orchestra, performing his music in a show called Video Games Live.

During a recent leg through Florida, Tallarico met Random Encounter and invited them on stage. After successful shows in Miami, West Palm and Orlando Tallarico offered them a spot on his upcoming European tour. 

“It was a really amazing experience,” said Careless. “We play small shows – we played Hard Rock Live once for 3,000 people and it was mind-blowing – and then Tommy brought us along and had us play with the orchestra and gave us time on our own in his show and the crowds were like 5,000 people.”

In case you can’t make it out to Europe any time soon, you can catch the latest Random Encounter this October when they release the pay-what-you-want EP The Big Blue EP, featuring remastered versions of tunes from their first album. 

[Exec Moves]  Brnovich Joins RE/MAX

Shawn Brnovich has joined the Englewood office of RE/MAX Alliance Group as a listing coordinator and sales associate with the Bob Firth team. Brnovich has more than 12 years of real estate experience, specializing in new construction, residential, land and investments. Prior to her new career in real estate, she worked for American Airlines, Chase Bank and Mercedes Premier Homes, winning awards for performance and customer satisfaction. 

RE/MAX Alliance Group

[Exec Moves]  Bailey and Moran Elected to SCF Board

In its annual organizational meeting held Tuesday, August 19, the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) District Board of Trustees elected Palmetto resident Edward Bailey, finance manager for Sarasota Ford, as chair. Sarasota resident Lori Moran, business owner, was elected as vice chair. 

SCF Sarasota-Manatee

[Expansion]  Lee Wetherington Breaks Ground on New Model

Lee Wetherington Homes, a luxury homebuilder based in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., recently broke ground on the Windsong model, in Seacroft, the newest section of Country Club East at Lakewood Ranch.The Windsong is a new one-story design featuring 3,677 square feet, with three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. The great room floor plan is geared toward outdoor entertaining with a West Indies style architectural design. 

Lee Wetherington Homes

[Dog's Best Friend]  Talking To Your Dog
Gregg Flowers

It's not the threat of "being in trouble" that will motivate Fluffy, and this is why using an "I mean business" tone of voice when you call her to "come" is likely to be counterproductive. Your message should be: "You're not in trouble, I just want you to do this thing. And if you do it, there will be a reward." Which of course, there always should be. Not necessarily a treat. It might just be a pat on the head or verbal praise. So using that "do this or else" tone is a weak training protocol. What motivates her is the promise of being rewarded on some level every time she complies with what you want. It's simply a conditioned response. Dogs that search for drugs or accelerants in a fire investigation after a house burns down don't do it because their handler used a mean "you better do this" tone. They do it because they're going to get to play with their favorite ball... or eat!

If you tell your dog to sit and he doesn't do it, the next word out of your mouth should be "no!", obviously using a stern tone. [Note: repeating cues over and over and over teaches Fluffy she doesn't have to do it the first time]  But your tone when you give her the sit cue should be upbeat and positive. This actually encourages her to complete the task so you can reward her. And rewarding her is how you condition her to repeat the task. 

Another huge mistake most of us make is to use our dogs' name by itself, AS a correction, i.e.: "Fluffy! Fluffy! FLUFFY!!". Her name is not a correction! It's her name. And used properly, is the best tool for getting her attention. More on this next time. 

A native of Louisiana, SRQ Daily Columnist Gregg Flowers owns Dog's Best Friend Dog Training Services here in Sarasota, where he "teaches dogs and trains people." Gregg became fascinated by our relationship with dogs as a boy in the '60s, and by 1985 had

Dog's Best Friend

[Breakfast Symposium]  SB2: Elected Mayor

The constituents of the City of Sarasota have long wrestled with the topic of an Elected Mayor: from a directly elected mayor to a change from the city manager form of government to a strong mayor form of government. Join SRQ | The Magazine for a discussion on the issues revolving around this controversial topic to deconstruct the why, the who, and the what now, on Thursday, September 25, 2014 from 7:30-9AM at The Francis. Symposium tickets are $35/person and include breakfast buffet.   

Get Tickets

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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