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bserver SARASOTA



Look inside for SEASON magazine, your spring arts guide.




sound logic




Lisa Fulk could teach grandma a lesson in pickling. INSIDE

Sarasota’s online presence increases with marketing. PAGE 3A

by David Conway | News Editor

Noise changes stir up feedback Commissioners will soon hear a proposal to revise the city’s noise ordinance. The changes are already drawing residents’ ire.

Courtesy photos

Event organizers Fred Heina, Sam Tucker, Dick Ulrich and Nick Pearse

+ Dinner date The Siesta Key Chapel’s Men’s Fellowship held its annual Valentine Dinner Feb. 13. The dinner, held at Mattison’s 41, invited members and their valentines to celebrate their love a day early. Attendees dressed in festive shades of pink and red.

The City Commission has not even begun to discuss a series of proposed changes to Sarasota’s sound ordinance, but it has already become a controversial topic among some residents. The revised ordinance was scheduled for consideration at the Feb. 18 commission meeting, but postponed to a later

date. The revisions were made after a September meeting, during which commissioners, residents and the Sarasota Police Department voiced their displeasure with the current regulations. The problems were twofold. The SPD said the ordinance was vague and often conflict-

ing, making enforcement difficult. Commissioners and residents said that some downtown businesses consistently flouted the rules, with some residents calling for stricter noise regulations. City Attorney Robert Fourni-



David Conway

Smokin’ Joe’s and Tequila Cantina were two of the establishments commissioners mentioned as frequent violators of the city’s noise ordinance.

by David Conway | News Editor

Michael Lynch, 64, is semi-retired — and spending his spare time as a member of the Sarasota Millionaires minor league football team.

Jackie Foster, of Canada

+ Bowl for the gold The Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club is hosting Canada and Scotland’s national lawn bowling teams Sunday, Feb. 23, through Friday, Feb. 28. The two medal-hopeful teams have been using the venue as their training camp for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which take place in July in Glasgow, Scotland. After the camp, each country will choose five men and five women to represent their respective countries during the games. The public may watch the teams practice. Hosting the international teams helps bring the Sarasota Lawn Bowling Club closer to its goal of hosting the 2016 U.S. Open.

As Michael Lynch took the field Saturday, the excitement was palpable on the sideline for the Sarasota Millionaires. “We got a mismatch over here!” one player yelled, just feet from where Lynch lines up at wide receiver. There were fewer than 4 minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, and the Millionaires were winning 41-8. Lynch was getting his first offensive snap of the game. Still, the rest of the team was rapt with attention, prepared to take in the end of the game with a fascination not usually found at the end of a blowout. As the teams huddled, an announcement came over the loudspeakers that explained the players’ sudden interest. “Give it up for one of the oldest players in Sarasota Millionaires history, Mike Lynch!” Lynch, 64, is in his first season with the Millionaires, a semipro football team that’s part of the Florida Football Alliance. A parttime resident who spends the rest of the

year running a softball league in New York, Lynch’s interest in an unlikely minor league football career began two years ago. He watched his nephew compete in a semipro All-Star game in 2012. As a spectator, Lynch said he felt the urge to return to his roots as a football player. He began training for football activities, as a 62-year-old, with an eye toward joining the Millionaires when he felt he was ready. It wasn’t always easy, but he persisted. “I blew three or four muscles training — I pulled my quad; I sprained my knee,” Lynch said. “But I had decided I was going to do it.” Lynch has always been willing to fight an uphill battle to


+ Hair raising NUOVO Salon at The Landings held its annual CutA-Thon Sunday. Customers had their hair cut and coiffed to raise more than $8,300 to benefit children with autism. Clients left looking and feeling their best — both inside and out.

Photos by David Conway

Michael Lynch, No. 19, stands on the sidelines during the Sarasota Millionaires game Saturday at Sarasota High School.

INDEX Opinion.................8A Classifieds ........ 12B

Cops Corner....... 11A Crossword.......... 11B

Permits................ 9B Real Estate.......... 8B

Sports................ 21A Weather............. 11B

Vol. 10, No. 15 | Four sections YourObserver.com




SOUND / FROM PAGE 1A er, who wrote the new ordinance, said his goal was to make it easier for police, businesses and citizens to understand the law. “The goal was certainly not to loosen the regulations, nor was it to make it more stringent,” Fournier said. Under the proposed changes, property owners with three or more violations in a year would be designated as chronic offenders. Those property owners would work with the city’s Neighborhood and Development Services division to mitigate the problematic noise. The commission prioritized a focus on repeat offenders, with Mayor Shannon Snyder going so far as to threaten cutting off downtown liquor sales at 11 p.m. if problematic businesses did not comply with current regulations. The new code would also establish restrictions on amplified noise between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays, and 11:59 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekends. Mattison’s City Grille received an exemption to play music to those hours in 2010 — which was supported by downtown residents — but other businesses must cut off music an hour earlier. Cheryl Walker is a resident of the condominiums at 100 Central Ave. who believes that a revised noise ordinance is necessary for the city. After seeing the proposed changes to the ordinance, however, she believes another revision is necessary. She said the proposed changes are too lenient. Fournier said the city sought to unify the standards and hours of enforcement for the benefit of officers. Walker believes that, in the process, it chose the least stringent regulations to use as the new, unified standard. “They changed all the hours to the grandfathered time that’s allowed at Mattison’s,” Walker said. Walker had other complaints, too. The proposed ordinance would change the location of sound measurements from the property where the noise is generated to the property where the complaint was made. Peter Fanning, president of the Downtown


CHRONIC OFFENDERS If changes to the sound ordinance are approved, property owners who violate the sound ordinance three or more times in one year may be designated by the SPD as a chronic offender. The city’s Neighborhood and Development Services department would be able to design a mitigation plan to prevent noise offenses. Mitigation plans may include: • Restrictions on days or hours of noiseproducing activity; • Placement of a restrictor on soundproducing equipment; • Structural changes to muffle the noise emanating from the property; • Requirements for self-monitoring and reporting of noise levels; • Non-cooperative chronic offenders would be fined $1,000 for a subsequent violation, and up to $15,000 for “irreparable and irreversible” violations. Sarasota Condominium Association, agreed with Walker’s assessment of the proposed changes. He said the new ordinance was not reflective of the changes downtown residents sought in September. “Certainly, the residents downtown would not be able to accept this,” Fanning said. Fournier said the changes were still fluid, and that the city attorney’s office would be open to revisions. Still, he said, he believes the changes were effective in clarifying the current regulations. “We had a lot of language where it was probably vulnerable because they were subjective standards,” Fournier said. “What’s unreasonable to one person might not be unreasonable to another.” Fournier acknowledged that this was a contentious issue, but said he was focused on clarifying current regulations. “I think the existing ordinance can be improved on, and this is going to be a very hard subject to please everyone on,” Fournier said. “But, you have to start somewhere.”

LYNCH / FROM PAGE 1A play the sport he loves. He played all four years at Bay Shore High School in Long Island, N.Y., but didn’t start until his senior year. He walked onto the football team at East Carolina University, where he played on the college’s first racially integrated team. After academic issues prevented him from staying on the team, he founded the school’s club football squad. He played on a Long Island semipro team for two years in the ’70s — and scored a two-hour tryout with the New York Jets — but his football career had been dormant since then. Even so, he has focused on saying in shape, which opened the door for him to recapture his youth several decades later. “Everybody would like to get in the time machine and go back 40 years and do something that they love to do,” Lynch said. “To be able to do that and relive it is just a wonderful thing.” After watching the Millionaires play and practice last year, Lynch was determined he could follow through on his dreams. He spoke with the head coach, former NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver Ernest Givens. Givens was open to Lynch playing, but offered a word of caution. “They didn’t know how old I was — they said, ‘Sure, you can come down and you’ll probably be 20 years older than everyone else,’” Lynch said. “I said, ‘Coach, I’ll be 40 years older than everyone else.’” Lynch was first put to the test at the team’s preseason combine last fall, a prerequisite for making the roster. During the first activity — two laps around the field — Lynch said he lagged behind the other players by 100 yards. If he had any doubts that he could keep up, they were quelled by the next segment of the workout. Tasked with bench-pressing 225 pounds, the 10 players before Lynch failed to complete even one rep. Lynch was able to do five. “From that point on, I’ve had my

mojo,” Lynch said. Lynch did get on the field before the final minutes of the game Saturday, serving as a blocker on the team’s punt and extra point units. The highlight of his season so far has been serving as the lead blocker on two fake punts that have gone for a first down. Still, he said, playing time isn’t essential to his enjoyment of the sport. His focus includes bonding with his teammates, some of whom have recent Division I football experience. He knows he’s not going to be a star — he ran a 7.1-second 40-yard dash before the season began — but he’s quick to offer his support to other players after a big play. “They’re not going to put me out there on the flank unless they’re up 25 or 30 points like today,” Lynch said. “To me, it’s just about being a great teammate.” The friendships, Lynch said, have been the most significant part of his time on the Sarasota Millionaires. He’s awed by the connections he’s formed with his teammates, often more than 40 years his junior, and his coaches, who he says have guided him as they would any other player on the roster. Though there are still four games left in the season, Lynch said he’s already thought about whether he’ll come back next year. His original plan was to play two years, but based on how this season has gone, he’s reluctant to push his luck. “This is almost like trying to capture lightning in a bottle,” Lynch said. “This has been too great an experience.” Still, it would be premature to assume Lynch is ready to step away from football at age 64. “I’m not saying I will, and I’m not saying I won’t,” he said.

YOUROBSERVER.COM // See a video of Michael Lynch on the field with the Sarasota Millionaires.

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