BUSINESS BRIEFS: Chamber recognizes firm's support

April 11, 2013 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday lowered its estimate of the 2012-2013 Florida orange crop by 1 million boxes to 138 million boxes.

The Valencia variety accounted for the decline going from 72 million boxes in March to 71 million this month. Early-mid varieties remained at 67 million boxes.

The USDA makes its initial estimate in October each year and revises it monthly as the crop takes shape until the end of the season in July. The USDA's October orange estimate was 154 million boxes. During the 2011-2012 season, Florida produced 146.6 million boxes of oranges.

"This is not unexpected," said Michael W. Sparks, executive VP/CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual. "We have experienced unprecedented fruit drop as a result of dry weather and severe disease challenges from HLB, or citrus greening. Those factors have contributed to the current situation."

The 2012-2013 Florida grapefruit estimate held at 17 million boxes. Tangerines decreased to 3.5 million boxes while tangelos stayed at 1 million boxes. The yield from concentrate orange juice remained at 1.61 gallons per 90-pound box.

The Florida citrus industry creates a $9 billion annual economic impact, employing nearly 76,000 people and covering about 550,000 acres.

Chamber recognizes firm's support

SARASOTA -- Kerkering, Barberio & Co., certified public accountants, was selected as the April 2013 Insignia Award recipient from The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. The award is given in recognition of the company's customer relations reputation and long-term support of the Chamber of Commerce.

"We are only able to achieve such recognition through the hard work and efforts of each and everyone of our staff," said Rob Lane, managing shareholder.

Kerkering,Barberio & Co. is one of the largest independent certified public accounting firms in Southwest Florida and offers a wide range of services to businesses, organizations and individuals. Kerkering, Barberio & Co. has two locations: at 1990 Main St., Suite 801, Sarasota, and in Lakewood Ranch at 6320 Venture Drive, Suite 203.

Wetherington Homes to build at The Concession

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Lee Wetherington Homes joins the lineup of builders at The Concession, a gated golf course community between Sarasota and Manatee counties, as The Concession launched a second 113-homesite phase to coincide with the region's recovery in the luxury home market.

"We are pleased to see this market recovering quickly in Sarasota and Manatee," said Lee Wetherington, founder and president of the Lakewood Ranch-based new-home

building company.

Lee Wetherington Homes will break ground on a new model at The Concession this summer.

The Concession offers one-half acre to one acre single-family estate home sites featuring lake and preserve views, all within 1,232 acres, covered with centuries old live oak trees, towering pines and protected wetlands. The Concession is adjacent to the Concession Golf Club with a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course designed in association with Tony Jacklin. The Concession is just 6 miles east of 1nterstate 75 at University Parkway and Bourneside Avenue.

Whitaker Park set for development

SARASOTA -- Ashton Woods Homes has started land development of Whitaker Park, off Richardson Road with 91 single family home sites.

Michael Roche, vice president of sales and marketing for Ashton Woods Homes in the Tampa Bay region, said two model homes at Whitaker Park will get under way in June.

Ashton Woods will build homes at Whitaker Park that range from 1,700 square feet of living area to 3,200 square feet with prices starting in the high $200s, Roche said.

Ashton Woods Homes is one of the nation's largest private homebuilding companies.

ABC-7 general manager, Benninghoff, promoted

SARASOTA -- Jeff Benninghoff, vice president and general manager of Calkins Media's Sarasota television station WWSB will become vice president over broadcast for Calkins Media Inc. Benninghoff will oversee the day-to-day operations of Calkins Media's three television stations -- WAAY in Huntsville, Ala., WTXL in Tallahassee and WWSB in Sarasota. He will continue to serve as general manager of WWSB.

Benninghoff will continue to report directly to Calkins Media Chief Executive Officer Mark G. Contreras.

"We're making this move to accelerate our efforts to share best practices among all of our television stations as well as our other media properties and digital resources in Pennsylvania and New Jersey," Contreras said.

Benninghoff has spent nearly 20 years with Calkins Media.

Benninghoff has a degree from La Salle University and earned an MBA from University of South Florida. He and his family will continue to live in University Park.

-- Herald staff reports

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