From next month customers of the Dollar Tree store at 543 S. Tamiami Trail in the Venice Shopping Center will have to go to North Venice or other locations in Jacaranda Plaza, South Venice and Osprey. The island store closes permanently on Monday, March 4.

The good news is all the staff will be transferring to the new Dollar Tree store opening at 3520 East Laurel Road at the junction of Knights Trail in the former CVS Pharmacy which closed two years ago. The official new store opening will be on Thursday, March 7.

Vote for your teacher essay contest

Applebee’s restaurants will award a deserving teacher in Sarasota county a $500 sponsorship check for their classrooms and participating students receive a free ice cream certificate. There will be an end of the year party for the class. Winners will be announced on April 8.

To enter the contest middle and high school students nominate their teacher with a 500-word essay on why their teacher deserves to be Applebee’s Teacher of the Year. Elementary school students nominate with a half page essay. Essays to be submitted in person to Applebee’s at 4329 S. Tamiami Trail and the manager selects top 3 essays by March 17. For details call, 941-497-7740.

Public Safety Day

City of Venice is offer free family fun at the annual Public Safety Day. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 at the Venice Community Center. Events include children sitting in and learning about fire, police, forestry and first responder vehicles.

Demonstrations, including a helicopter, extrication, ladder truck and Police K-9. Free photo ID cards for kids, hot dogs and snacks, hands-on activities, two bounce houses and giveaways.

Matching neighborhood grants

Sarasota County has for 15 years provided matching grant opportunities to help improve communities and neighborhoods. Last year, the Sarasota County Commissioners awarded nearly all of the Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program’s $99,000 to 14 neighborhoods located throughout the county.

Applicants must attend a 2-hour seminar offered during February, March and April. Projects relate to Florida-Friendly landscaping or pond improvements, said program coordinator Miranda Lansdale. Participants are recommended attending the Manasota Neighborhoods Summit Friday, Feb. 22. Registration for the summit is available online at or call 941-861-5000.

Neal sponsors YMCA project

Lakewood Ranch-based homebuilder, Neal Signature Homes recently contributed $5,000 as a grand-level sponsor for the SKY Family YMCA’s Hometown Partners program in Venice.

Blood Drive helps students

Donate blood at 8 a.m. on Tuesday Feb. 12 at The Student leadership Academy, 200 Field Ave., and receive two volunteer hours and their student receives one casual day. For details call 941-485-5551.

Venice Art Walk

Thursday Feb. 7 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. stroll through 11 unique galleries and enjoy creativity of local artists. Pick-up maps at galleries including Tangi & Jess, Collectors Gallery & Framery, Gray Fox Gallery and more, call 941-485-7136.

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