It’ll be nearly two years when the Oak Park Inn in downtown Arcadia informally re-opens on June 6 with a DeSoto County Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting. The historic structure dating to around 1905 had over the decades survived fire, storms and other calamities. But Hurricane Irma in September 2017 forced the previous owner to shut the bed-and-breakfast until repairs could be made. Funding became an issue, however, and the former owner, Christopher Brown, sold the 12-room inn to Sanjay Patel, a Port Charlotte businessman who restored and kept the structure’s charm. The chamber event runs 5-8 p.m., with ribbon-cutting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Public invited, 2 W. Oak St.
A tug-o-war over control of a DeSoto County home continues this week. Nancy Grant contends the property on SE Wilbur off State Road 31 was improperly deeded to Contractor Services LLC in Port Charlotte. A spokesman for that firm counters the property was obtained legally. A home and surrounding land on SE Wilbur had belonged to Grant’s son, but was lost in foreclosure. Nancy Grant contends title was obtained fraudulently and has filed paperwork for such claims. She has long represented herself in pro se proceedings. Grant will post signage along the disputed land to bolster her claim that will read: Stand Your Ground Ranch, she said. Back and forth over ownership of the Wilbur property included Grant’s arrest for blocking removal of a vehicle mired in mud (theft charges were declined by district prosecutors, however), obstruction/chaining of entryways, and petty vandalism by unknown culprits, according to Grant. She also placed a paid advertisement in the Arcadian to recall DeSoto County Sheriff James Potter, which is linked to the dispute. In a counter advertisement, the sheriff contended that Grant is a “19-time convicted felon, who often launches political propaganda and is the subject of a recent criminal trespass investigation.”
DeSoto County is scrambing to return its public transport buses to service. The two-bus DART fleet was struck with disabling repairs, prompting closure of service for the last month, said Mandy Hines, DeSoto’s administrator. One bus requires engine replacement, the other has drivetrain issues that have placed the vehicle in Orlando. Hines said service will be restored as the vehicles are repaired, which is good news for seniors depending on public transport to shop, visit and socialize.
The Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo Association Foundation is seeking a replacement for Katie Marks, its executive director who resigned in December. An advertisement seeking her successor looks for someone to run and market “a multi-faceted growing entertainment organization.” Agricultural experience is helpful, according to the ad. Resumes were due by May 10. Marks said family issues prompted her decision. Arcadia Rodeo saw big changes in Marks’s tenure, including a huge indoor arena partially funded by Mosaic Fertilizer.