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Awards and Recognition
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2017 Healthy Weight Community Champion
The Florida Department of Health recognized Venice as one of 98 communities designated 2017 Healthy Weight Community Champions. Venice’s program highlights include: The City of Venice has recently been recognized as a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists for the second time. This award was earned based on the multiple bike/pedestrian enhancements made throughout the city. Multi-use trails and bike lanes provide access to downtown shopping, restaurants, festivals and parks and recreation facilities. The City maintains a system of 37 parks complete with beach access, playgrounds, jogging paths and nature trails. 
The Community Champions program is part of the department’s Healthiest Weight Florida initiative. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living.

2016 Employee of the Year Award
Mike Wisdom, Municipal Service Worker II with the Venice Public Works Department, was named the city’s 2016 Employee of the Year. Wisdom is a 3 1/2-year employee. “In many of the nominations we got describing Mike, phrases start with ‘always,’” City Manager Ed Lavallee said. “Always compassionate, always considerate, always respectful, always meticulous. Not sometimes — always.” One nomination stated that Wisdom’s work “goes above and beyond standard landscape maintenance, resembling quality only found at some of the best botanical gardens.”

2016 Bicycle Friendly Community - Silver designation
Four years ago, the League of American Bicyclists also named the City of Venice a Bicycle Friendly Community with Silver status. The City received an Honorable Mention in 2008. The application for the honor covers five principal sections — education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning, and the biggest measure, engineering. Venice has come a long way toward being bicycle-friendly and has made a lot of improvements since the last application submission, including installing new bike racks around the city, restriping bike lanes and crosswalks, resurfacing roads, and hiring a part-time bicycle pedestrian coordinator, Darlene Culpepper. Venice was part of the largest application round in the BFC program’s 13-year history.

2016: No. 1 Best Place to Travel in November
Venice ranked #1 on a TripAdvisor list of “10 Best Places to Travel in November to Stay Warm & Save Money” nationwide. The weekly rental rate in the city is listed as $813, which reflects the average cost for a weeklong stay in a two-bedroom property during November 2016, according to TripAdvisor.

“The Gulf Coast destination boasts beautiful parks, green spaces and public beaches — including Venice Beach, a family-friendly spot known for good shark tooth hunting and an offshore reef popular with scuba divers,” the listing reads. “Spend the day by the waves, then hop on a bike or lace up your running shoes and hit the trails at Venetian Waterway Park. Visit during November to watch artists transform pavement into 3-D paintings during the International Chalk Festival, which attracts talent from all over the world.”

Congressional Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award

Venice Fire Battalion Chief Scott Blanchard was presented the Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan Sept. 19, 2016, part of Florida's 16th District Congressional Fire and Rescue and EMS Awards. Blanchard helped save a man who was preparing to jump from the ledge of a three-story building. In 2015, Blanchard was the recipient of both the Venice Fire Department's Officer of the Year Award and the Valor Award. He has been with the city for over 15 years

 

2016: 11th Best Small Town to Visit in Florida

Venice ranked  No. 11 in an online listing of 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in Florida, done by thecrazytourist.com

2016: Southern Living Magazine’s Best Places to Retire

Venice made Southern Living Magazine’s list of the South’s Best Places to Retire in August. The magazine focused on areas with unique amenities, a low cost of living, opportunities for volunteering, part-time work, continued learning, a stable housing market, access to medical care, and an airport or train station close by for visits from family and grandkids. Venice is one of 15 cities named by the magazine as a best place to retire.

2016: 2nd Most Affordable Florida West Coast Beach

Venice made a TripAdvisor listing of 24 Most Affordable Florida West Coast Beaches, coming in at No. 2. TripAdvisor averaged the prices of the 10 most affordable destinations on each of the two coasts and discovered that west coast Florida beaches are more budget-friendly overall for vacation rentals.

2016: 10 Safest Mid-sized Cities in Florida

Venice ranked among the 10 Safest Mid-sized Cities in Florida in a ValuePenguin.com study. The ranking is based on a variety of crime metrics sourced from the FBI across 201 Florida cities.

Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the Fiscal Year Ending 2016

Venice Finance Director Linda Senne received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the 2015-16 budget, given to her from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). According to GFOA, the award represents significant achievement by the City of Venice and reflects the highest principles of government budgeting. The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving more than 18,000 government finance professionals with offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C

 

4th Best Town to Live in Florida 2016

RentApplication.com, a website devoted to all things real estate, named Venice one of the Best Towns to Live in Florida 2016. Ratings were compiled by combining census, education, wealth, happiness and internal RentApplication data to create a unified rating system for all of the towns in the state. In a listing of 34 areas in Florida, Venice ranked No. 4.

2016: 16th Most Affordable Small Sunny Town

Venice was identified as one of the 50 Most Affordable Small Sunny Towns in the United States in a ranking by www.light-therapy.net. The ranking considered the top sunniest towns in the country and was narrowed to include the most affordable of these locales. With 266 sunny days annually, Venice was ranked No. 16

2016: Venice 3rd Happiest City in America

The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA, which includes Venice, made No. 3 on a list of Happiest Cities in America in a ranking conducted by 24/7 Wall St. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed polling company Gallup’s 2015 Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures the well-being of Americans in each metropolitan statistical area based on interviews conducted over the last two years. The index incorporates a range of metrics grouped into five categories: the purpose, social, financial, community and physical elements of well-being.

50 Safest Cities in Florida 2016

BackgroundChecks.org, a website devoted to public safety and open government, named Venice one of the 50 Safest Cities in Florida 2016.


2015 Employee of the Year Award

Marine Patrol Officer Paul Joyce, a nearly 25-year city employee, received the Employee of the Year Award. Joyce weighs in on the procurement of vehicles, along with installation of electronics and helping arrange for maintenance. In addition, he is an FDLE-certified driving instructor as well as the principal driving instructor for city employees. Joyce also volunteers all the time. The officer is a liaison to groups including the West Coast Inland Navigation District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and U.S. Coast Guard, and assists with many of the city's signature events, such as the Holiday Boat Parade and Shark’s Tooth Festival.

2015 Model Agency Award to Venice Police Department

City of Venice School Resource Officer Program received the 2015 Model Agency Award from the National Association of School Resource Officers, This prestigious award is presented to agencies that exemplify the NASRO TRIAD concept in training, policies and standards and that demonstrate creative and innovative approaches
to school based policing. The award was presented on July 7, 2015 at the 25th Annual NASRO School Safety Conference in Orlando. School Resource Officers
Ruth Terry and Sean Hammett were there to receive the award on behalf of the department

Venice: Second Happiest Seaside Town in U.S. 2015

Venice was named the second happiest seaside town in the United States by Coastal Living Magazine in June. The firstplace city went to Southport, N.C.

 

2014 Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Award

The Venice Police Department received the 2014 Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Award, a testament to the professional accomplishments of the sworn and civilian personnel. The award, presented by the Florida Police Chiefs Association, recognizes quality and innovation in municipal policing.

November 2014: Venice 13th Best Place in Florida to Raise a Family

Nerd Wallet named Venice the 13th best place in Florida to raise a family. The selection was based on quality of schools, home affordability, growth and prosperity, and median income. The article may be seen at:
www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/economics/best-places-for-youngfamilies-in-florida/.

2014 Florida Accreditation Manager of the Year

Venice Police Department Accreditation Coordinator Lee Lyons was named 2014 Accreditation Manager of the Year by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation. According to CFA, Lyon’s nomination was based on her passion, integrity, dedication, experience and knowledge as an accreditation manager, distinguishing her as an outstanding role model.

2014 Employee of the Year Award

Planner Roger Clark received the Employee of the Year Award. The 12‐year city employee who grew up in Venice was selected because of his exemplary customer service skills, extensive duties performed at a high level, and outstanding ethics.

2014 Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting

Finance Director Jeff Snyder received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. The award is presented by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for the city’s comprehensive annual financial report.

Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for Fiscal Year Ending 2014

Venice Finance Director Jeff Snyder received the Distinguished Budget Presentation
Award for the 2013-14 city budget, which he received from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). According to GFOA, the award represents significant achievement by the City of Venice and reflects the highest principles of government budgeting. The GFOA is a nonprofit professional
association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals with
offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.

2013: Great Beach

MSN Living named Caspersen Beach in Venice as one of 25 top beaches to visit before the end of summer.

2013: Venice is a great place
Venice was named number 10 among the 15 best retirement hot spots for real estate investing in the United States by Realty Trac. Venice is among seven cities in
Florida to make the list.

2013: Great Place to Retire

Market Watch, a Wall Street Journal website, named Venice one of 10 top cities in the United States to retire in. The article may be found at:
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-10-best-us-cities-tore t i r e - i n - 2 0 1 3-0 2 -23?siteid=yhoof2.

2013 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting

Finance Director Jeff Snyder received the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for citizens budget guide.

2013 Employee of the Year Award

Lee Lyons received the Employee of the Year Award. Lyons is a civilian employee at the Police Department, where her work was instrumental in getting the department reaccredited. She was nominated by her peers.

2013 Earle B. Phelps Award
The City of Venice Utilities Department is the recipient of the 2013 Earle B. Phelps Award, presented by the Florida Water Environment Association to recognize the wastewater treatment facility that has maintained the highest removal of major pollution causing constituents prior to discharging the treated effluent to the receiving water. The award was presented at the association’s annual conference
April 8, 2014. Operations supervisor, Jim Petrosky, received the award on behalf of the department.

2012 Bicycle Friendly Community - Silver designation
In 2012, the League of American Bicyclists named the City of Venice a Bicycle Friendly Community with Silver status. The City received an Honorable Mention in 2008.

The application for the honor covers five principal sections — education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning, and the biggest measure, engineering.

 

2009 Firefighter of the Year - Steve Worobel

Steve Worobel's nominator wrote, "Steve has shown over the years to be a sound and reliable firefighter both on and off duty. He continues to excel as a fill-in officer and a firefighter. He is well respected by the department. Steve shows he is knowledgeable at the scene of emergencies and does an outstanding job on a day-to-day basis. He puts in many off-duty hours planning fund-raising events for those in need. Steve is a true asset to the fire department and is well deserving of the 2009 Firefighter of the Year Award."

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2009 Emergency Medical Technician of the Year - Justin Cammarata

Justin Cammarata's nominator wrote, "We approached the paramedics on our shift and asked for a nomination for EMT of the Year. One name came up by all and it was Justin Cammarata. Professionalism and bed-side manner were the first characteristics mentioned. No matter the situation or the severity of the call, Justin always exhibits those two characteristics. Justin is a reflection of what the city is trying to promote with good customer service and a high standard of patient care. This is why Justin Cammarata is deserving of the 2009 EMT of the Year Award."


Communications Crystal Award
 
Public Information Officer Judy Gamel received a second-place award for Venice City E-News in the external publication category at the 2008 Crystal Awards sponsored by Florida Government Communicators Association.

Picot B. Floyd Public Service Leadership Award
 
Venice City Manager Martin P. Black is the recipient of the Picot B. Floyd Public Service Leadership Award from the Suncoast Chapter of American Society for Public Administration presented on June 29, 2007 in Dunedin. 
 
The award recognizes a public administrator in the Tampa Bay area who demonstrates the ability to provide for the effective functioning of a unit or agency; manages conflict resulting in positive outcomes; delegates authority and encourages subordinates to assume responsibility for decisions and actions; provides leadership and vision; makes difficult decisions in times of adversity or opposition; generates new ideas; listens to others who may hold contrary ideas; and sets high standards of personal integrity and moral character.

Robert N. Clark Memorial Award
 
Venice City Clerk Lori Stelzer received the Florida Association of City Clerks Robert N. Clark Memorial Award recognizing the city clerk who has significantly promoted and advanced the ideas and goals of the city clerk profession. The award was presented in June 2007.

Venice Mainstreet Awards
 
The City of Venice received two Venice MainStreet Design Awards for new construction in May 2007. One was in honor of Michael Biehl Park on the corner of U.S. 41 Business and Tampa Avenue. The design includes a mural, water feature and a granite stone engraved with the John Nolen plan for the city. The second award, given jointly to the city and Venice Area Beautification Inc., was for the newly opened Venice Arboretum in Blalock Park in the 300 block of Nassau Street. The arboretum is an educational showcase for various types of palm trees. A bronze statue of a sea turtle is a special feature.

Beautification Awards
 
The City of Venice was presented with two beautification awards at the annual Arts and Culture Alliance Muses Awards banquet on April 10, 2007. One of the awards was given in recognition of the newly created Michael Biehl Park. The other was presented to jointly to Venice MainStreet and the city in recognition of Centennial Park Interactive Fountain.

Communications Crystal Award
 
City of Venice Public Information Officer Judy Gamel received a first-place Crystal Award in the category of annual report publications from the Florida Government Communicators Association in December 2006 for the City of Venice 2006 Calendar and 2005 Annual Report.

City Manager of the Year Finalist
 
City Manager Martin P. Black was one of five finalist for the Florida League of Cities 2006 City Manager of the Year Award. He received the recognition on Nov. 17, 2006 in Orlando. The annual award is presented to a city manager for exemplary efforts made in the past year to benefit the city. Black’s nomination by Venice City Council was unanimous.

 


City Awards and Recognition Timeline

April 2001: Florida Trend Magazine featured Venice as one of eight cities in its article, “Florida Small Town Gems,” by Stacie Kress Booker.

November 2001: Where to Retire Magazine named Venice one of the top 100 places to retire in its article, “America’s Best 100 Retirement Towns,” by Richard Fox.

May 2002: Venice presented with the Accessible America Award by the National Organization on Disability.

April 2003: Muses Award for community beautification as a result of the purchase of civic banners and downtown lighting presented by the Arts and Culture Alliance.

April 2003: Muses Award for historical preservation as a result of the historic video, “Imagining Venice,” presented by the Arts and Culture Alliance.

November/December 2003: Where to Retire Magazine named Venice one of eight great walking towns in an article by Jay Clark.

2004: “Relocate-America.com 2004 List of America’s Top 100 Places to Live!” named Venice as the number one location.

2004: Venice Beach was certified as a Blue Wave Beach by the Clean Beaches Council’s Blue Wave Campaign and National Healthy Beaches Campaign for 2003-2004.

2006: Distinguished Project of the Year Award for Envision Venice, 2005 Evaluation and Appraisal Report Project, presented by the Suncoast Section of the American Planning Association.

2006: Project Achievement Award for Outstanding Innovation to Envision Venice 2006 Evaluation and Appraisal Report Project, presented by the Florida Planning and Zoning Association.

May 2007: Venice MainStreet Design Awards for new construction given by Venice MainStreet in recognition of a new park, Michael Biehl Park, and an improved park, the Arboretum at Blalock Park.

2007: Life and Safety Achievement Award for 2006 presented to the Venice Fire Department by the Residential Fire Safety Institute, in recognition of fire prevention programs.

2007: Venice was featured on Retirement Living TV as one of the best places in the nation to retire. The one-hour television show premiered on Oct. 12, 12007.