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‘We want our beach back’

By ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH

COMMUNITY NEWS EDITOR

Instead of renting chairs on Englewood Beach, Mark Timchula spent Saturday on a street corner in Sarasota fighting for clean water and his livelihood.

Known as The Beach Guy, Timchula, is generally busy in the sunny summer months. It’s when tourists come from places like Germany and Michigan to Englewood, and rent beach accessories from him.

With red tide persisting since November, Timchula said he has seen far fewer people on Englewood Beach because they quickly develop problems breathing, or their children are leaving with blotchy rashes.

“The water isn’t clean and people can’t breathe,” Timchula said while holding a “We want our beach back” sign on the sidewalk in front of Robarts Arena during the GOP rally and straw poll in Sarasota Saturday.

Timchula’s partner Susan Bledsoe not only had a message for the politicians, but also for residents who live near Sarasota beaches or are associated with the tourism, restaurants, entertainment and other outdoor businesses.

Gov. Rick Scott, right, receives a pie from Yoder’s in Sarasota at the close of a candidate rally and straw poll event Saturday at Robarts Arena.

SUN PHOTO BY ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH

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