Sarasota

Going to jail can mean losing everything, including your identification card. Traffic tickets and fines can pile up, and bureaucracy can be tough to navigate. And sometimes, people can’t get jobs, or housing, and end up back in jail.

The Sarasota County Jail has a new program that helps inmates get proper identification before they are released. The hope is that these basic steps will cut down on repeat jail terms.

Sarasota County is under fire for the massive amount of treated wastewater that has spilled from its Bee Ridge treatment facility into local waterways. Three nonprofits have told the county they plan to sue if it cannot figure out how to stop the spillage.

Red tide seems to be retreating in the Tampa Bay area with the onset of a cold front. But further south, dolphins continue to die at an alarming pace.

There have been 39 dolphin strandings since November 21st. Two were reported this week. Most have happened in Lee and Collier counties in southwest Florida.

Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida is starting a new peer education program in January to help teenagers learn how to talk about healthy relationships.

A candidate with a difference is running for State Senate District 23 in Sarasota. And if she wins, this difference could make a bit of history.

It's been a long time since Florida's Gulf Coast has seen a red tide outbreak this severe.

The worst of the red tide in Sarasota County may have passed. That's the word from county officials, who say fewer dead fish washed ashore Thursday.

The City of Sarasota has declared a state of emergency over the toxic red tide bloom that began in November.

Todd Kerkering is the emergency manager for the city of Sarasota. He has lived there since the 1970s and said he doesn't remember ever hearing about an emergency declaration in Sarasota because of red tide. 

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Tourists weren't scattered on beaches in southwest Florida on Thursday, but hundreds of dead fish were.

The Herald-Tribune reports that visitors piled into the parking lot of Venice Beach, got out of their cars, started hacking, coughing and sneezing and then quickly left.

doctor's scrubs with stethoscope
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Florida’s top health-care regulator gave final approval last week to a pair of new hospitals for southern Sarasota County. 

An increase in whale shark sightings off the coast of Sarasota is helping Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium scientists learn more about them.

Though describing it as a “close call,” an appeals court Friday upheld a decision by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to turn down approval of new hospice provider in Sarasota County. 

All of Sarasota's emergency shelters have been closed down after Hurricane Irma except one.

The county's Chief of Emergency Management Ed McCrane says as of Monday afternoon, there were about 30 residents with special needs still staying in one shelter.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

As Health News Florida reported last week, the opioid crisis in Manatee and Sarasota Counties is putting a strain on their foster care system. But the situation isn't entirely bleak. Now we'll hear from one mother whose relationship with her son's foster parents helped her reunify her family and overcome her addiction.


More than 130 people turned-out in Sarasota last night to protest a concrete recycling plant. The idea was to place it next to a site that’s become a destination for bird watchers.

Sarasota Nurse Helps Deliver Baby In McDonald's

Dec 23, 2016
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A Sarasota nurse stopped in a McDonald's restaurant hoping to get a quick cup of coffee and ended up helping a woman deliver a baby.

Nurse April Jones heard the screams coming from the restaurant's bathroom and a man came out of the bathroom last weekend yelling, "She's pregnant!"

Sarasota television station WWSB reports that the pregnant woman, Cathy Jordan, already was in labor by the time Jones got to the bathroom stall.

Jones placed two jackets on the floor and prepared the mother to push.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

There is only one confirmed case of travel-related Zika in Sarasota County, but that didn’t stop a large crowd of people from bringing their concerns to a forum about the virus.

Sarasota County has become among the first counties in Florida to be able to accept text to 911 emergency messages. But Emergency Operations Manager Kris Adams stresses that if you can speak, it's still best to call though.

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Sarasota County has a higher percentage of people over 65 than any other large county in the nation. And some business leaders now say that all those seniors -- rather than a demographic drawback -- could be a valuable asset. 

They could actually help diversify the economy - even turn the county into what they're calling a "mecca" for those who want to learn what an aging population looks like.