Greetings from the Gulf: January

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Go ahead and rat ‘em out! … or, an SOS for a SIS … or, time to shine once again

By John Morton


That’s right, 2024 is going to be the year when you make the headlines. And you don’t need to propose a skyscraper hotel to do so! In fact, at this rate, that will only get you a few sentences next to the obits — you know, right where Siesta Key will soon be as far as many of you are concerned.
No, as we continue to celebrate life in a place named in honor of daytime napping, the Siesta Sand is going to break character and get to work. We’re going to put more of you characters in the local newspaper.
That’s right, we’re asking the community to stop harboring the family and friends we know darn well are guilty of great things. If you believe that everyone has a story to tell, this is the perfect place to tell it. Whether it be our Community Spotlight, or a regular feature story, or a scathing exposé (just kidding), we are ready to write.
Now, we could start knocking on doors with a U.S. Census form in hand, asking for your background and reminding you how your participation is required by federal law, but we’d rather get an email ( with an idea, a suggestion, a name of someone whose story belongs in your community newspaper.
A quick story about doing well-intentioned things — ahem — behind someone’s back: It was in a church pew in Tampa where I discovered a notecard that invited folks to fill-in a request for “guidance” from the pastor. I glanced at my older sister and maniacally smiled — she sheepishly smiled back — and seconds later her name, address and phone number graced the card that would join the contents of the offering plate.
Sure enough, she received a call that night. And it remains my most diabolical achievement to date.
Please join me among such lofty ranks of evil. We want to showcase the people here who deserve it … so to speak. Feel free to be a tattletale, and we’ll take care of the telling of the tale.
This place is loaded with incredible residents. Time to tip us off to those who we have all yet to meet.
(By the way, my church prank was 30-years-later revenge for her insisting to me during my toddler years that I was adopted. She even had a name selected for my real mother: “Mrs. Louis Parchner.”
(Sadly, when Facebook first arrived, that was the first name for which I searched. After all, I couldn’t possibly be related to these people I had called family, right?)
Anyway, don’t hesitate. Contact us right now. Reporters are standing by.


The robust pelican action is sure exciting and downright heartwarming. It means fish are thriving and the water is clean right now. In fact, we haven’t seen any red tide impact since March.
Fingers crossed for more of that in 2024!
My favorite limerick highlights the pelican — which just so happens to be featured in Section 2 of this issue. It’s our “Tweet Life” subject.
In case you haven’t heard it, it goes like this:
A wonderful bird is the pelican, his bill will hold more than his belly can
He can take in his beak, food enough for a week
I’m damned if I know how the hell he can


Who’s the poor soul who has the task of knocking down the Crystal Classic masterpieces after the festival? It’s county employee Pete Sauchinitz.
I think I’d rather be an executioner.


Speaking of the county …
Nothing makes you feel more forgotten than posting a message board on Stickney Point Road, warning of a Turtle Beach project IN AUGUST, and leaving it sit there until the following year.
Unless, of course, you count closing the north bridge on Nov. 8 for repairs and providing NO WARNING WHATSOEVER.
And more on the county …
You may notice that our esteemed commissioner, Mark Smith, continues to be a lone vote on many Siesta Key matters. Two more of them are chronicled in this issue.
It’s too bad that Joe Neunder, our other Siesta Key rep, wasn’t at the meeting when the Benderson vote went 3-1 in his absence. It might have been at least a somewhat revealing moment on where he stands on the hotel front.
And speaking of commissioners …
Had we not gotten a new one for District 2, the onslaught of news about our old one would have likely resulted in this being a double issue. Check that, a triple issue.
Will it hurt his career? Help his career? Make no difference? I guess there are three ways of looking at this. Snicker, snicker, and snicker.


Finally, on a more sincere note, page 18 of this month’s issue showcases the bright lights at the Fisherman’s Cove condo. What do you say we bring back the annual Holiday Lighting Contest?
If you hold some sort of leadership role with one of the island’s condos — you know, like Your Royal Happy Hour Highness — and you think you’d like to get involved with the comeback of this bright and shiny tradition, once again send us a note at
We want to see you, it, everyone, everything, shine bright in 2024.

(John Morton is managing editor of Siesta Sand.)

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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