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Siesta Seen UNDERAGE DRINKING DURING SPRING BREAK, 'WHEELCHAIR MAN' AND JULY FOURTH PREPARATIONS ALL IN THE SPOTLIGHT By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office issued 89 Notices to Appear for underage drinking on Siesta Key during its Operation Dry Spring, Deputy Jason Mruczek reported to Siesta Key Association members this month. Altogether, he said, officers wrote 141 Notices to Appear for that offense during the spring break weeks. Referring to the unexpectedly cooler weather in March, Mruczek added, "I think that kept some of the crowds down." Deputy Kevin Blakely, who joined Mruczek at the May 2 meeting, explained that those notices allow a person between the ages of 18 and 21, who has been found to illegally possess an alcoholic beverage, to pay a $284 civil fine before the court date to resolve the case. That way, if the person is from out of town, he or she does not have to return to Sarasota to appear before a judge. "Most people just pay the fine," Mruczek pointed out. County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who was a guest at the meeting, told the audience Sarasota County has been unable to enforce a no-smoking regulation at its beaches since December 2012 because of a judge's decision in a Sarasota court case. Photo by Norman Schimmel

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