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SRQ DAILY Sep 14, 2019

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"As the Plan approaches consideration by the Planning Board and City Commission, all of us at Selby Gardens are striving to ensure that everyone has the correct information about this undertaking."

- Jennifer Rominiecki, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

[Under The Hood]  Margaret Good's Brand of Friendly Dissent
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

No one asks your political party when you give blood. It seemed somewhat poignant, then, when state Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, encouraged colleagues to give blood themselves. And of course, they agreed to do so. State Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, praised the great bipartisan idea.

Not long afterward, as Good gave the last report from a House member to close up the meeting, she also reminded her colleagues they all have wives, daughters, mothers. So in addition to giving blood, she suggested another nice gesture. “Join me in helping to pass the ratification the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida,” she said.

“Oh,” laughed state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, “We’re going to miss you up here.”

He’s serious. Despite a predilection to publicly undermine her fellow lawmakers’ political values, she boasts a good relationship with her peers. Maybe it’s that she’s still usually on the losing side of major votes, even if she comes out looking sharp in these sort of tête-à-têtes.

It’s not just the ERA, a constitutional argument that’s wallowed in political morass now for longer than most members of the Sarasota Delegation have been alive.

Good has developed a bit of a reputation for shaking hands, putting a smile on, and then delivering counterpunch arguments to conservative dogma with enough force to make up Democrats’ weakness in numbers. At a post-Legislative Session Tiger Bay, she nodded as Republican representatives boasted about their tremendous achievements during session before explaining that Session had, in fact, been a disaster. Bad for schools. Less good for the environment than advertised. Devastating to voter rights.

Good this week took her spot as the only woman representing the region. With state Rep. Newt Newton, D-St. Petersburg, attending a different county’s Delegation meeting, she also stood as the only elected Democrat on the dais.

Make no mistake, though, Good remains popular with her peers. She’s a freshman lawmaker named as a Deputy Democratic Leader, a Democrat from a pro-Trump district ready to make liberal appeals on the House floor, But she also has worked closely on regional issues like red tide research, and held a town hall with Gruters at the height of red tide blooms to seek out solutions, despite knowing full well the political opportunity presented by an ecological disaster on Republicans’ watch.

Now, she’s looking for a job in Washington, where Democrats and Republicans infamously don’t work as well together as in Tallahassee. Moreover, she’s trying to take out incumbent in U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, to do it.

Still, there she was, sitting beside state Rep. James Buchanan, R-Venice, hearing about local bills and funding needs for circus academies and workforce scholarships. James happens to be the son of the man Good now says should be fired, and he also served as the first casualty of Good’s brand of fierce and friendly femininity. While James quickly recovered from a special election loss last year, and now serves in a neighboring district where he won in November, he’ll get to read about that initial loss nonstop this year thanks to Good’s ambitions.

It remains to be seen if Good can truly get her message across in the 16th Congressional District. It’s a constituency that’s more expansive, more conservative and spread across two media markets. And she’s running against a guy who’s won seven Congressional elections, not a first-time candidate.

Win or lose, and rest assured her friendly colleagues at the Delegation meeting will chip in heartily to ensure her defeat, she’s not going to be at next year’s delegation meeting. So I’m sure Gruters means it when he says she will be missed when she’s gone, even if it’s unlikely come September 2020 that Republican officials will so anxiously stand with her in line for the bloodbank.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor of SRQ Media Group. 

Photo by Jacob Ogles: State Reps. James Buchanan and Margaret Good at this week's Sarasota County Legislative Delegation meeting.

[Community]  Selby Plan A Gift For Entire Community
Jennifer Rominiecki

The proposed Master Site Plan for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a tremendous gift to our entire community from the private sector. As the Plan approaches consideration by the Planning Board and City Commission, all of us at Selby Gardens are striving to ensure that everyone has the correct information about this undertaking.

This thoughtfully-designed, three-phase plan was crafted with significant community input and has three key goals: preserve 15 acres of garden and key historic structures along the bayfront; protect the world’s best scientifically-documented collections of orchids and bromeliads in hurricane-resistant infrastructure; and sustain Selby Gardens--both environmentally and financially--into the future.    

Today, Selby Gardens is facing a number of challenges that must be solved to achieve long-term survival. Our world-class collections are at risk from their current ground-level location in the flood zone within poor facilities. Selby Gardens turns away hundreds of visitors due to lack of parking and amenities.  In addition, our land is privately-owned and at any time our Board of Trustees could choose to sell parcels for high-density development. This Master Plan will tackle all of these challenges, while also adding 50% more garden space, nearly 50,000 square-feet of free public access, significant traffic improvements, and diversified revenue streams for optimum fiscal health. Selby Gardens will also become an international model for the latest green building technology while preserving Marie Selby’s beloved property to be just as it was when she lived there.

To learn more I encourage you to go to https://selby.org/about/selby-gardens-master-plan/

Jennifer Rominiecki is president and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 

Visit the Selby Gardens Master Plan Website

[Higher Education]  Living Well at New College
Barbara Feldman

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” - Buddha

It seems so obvious that good learning would require good health. Yet, college students (and faculty and staff) often ignore their health in the name of learning. By health, I refer to physical, mental and emotional health. Our physical health suffers when we fail to make time for physical exercise, adequate sleep, or healthy food choices, etc. Our mental and emotional health suffers when we procrastinate, discount mounting stress or anxiety or depression and fail to prioritize downtime and restorative activities. We often compound matters by overusing caffeine, alcohol, junk food or other substances. 

New College of Florida provides an environment and resources to encourage our campus community to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Our Counseling and Wellness Center is staffed by professionals equipped to work with the entire NCF community to address individual needs and create personalized wellness plans. Students, faculty and staff can work out at our fitness center, swim in our pool, and play tennis on our outdoor court. We also field a recreational softball team that plays in a local league here in Sarasota during the summer.

During the school year, students can join a variety of sports and recreational clubs, including sailing, powerlifting, rock climbing, scuba diving, basketball, soccer, beach volleyball and flag football. They can also participate in yoga classes and guided meditation. Our students’ interest in healthy living is also apparent in the rapid growth of two of our residential living-learning communities: Outdoor Adventure and Health & Wellness.

Recognizing that college can be hectic and stressful at times, we offer workshops on time management and positive study habits, as well as providing peer tutors and coaches to help students study and prioritize assignments. We are committed to providing healthy meal options that can be tailored to individual dietary needs. 

We also care for each other. Our faculty and staff look out for students and watch for early signs of stress. Faculty follow up with students who miss classes or assignments. Staff, particularly residential staff, know students well and pay attention to what is happening with them, particularly if they are showing indicators of stress, anxiety, depression or illness. Our RAs and Counseling & Wellness Center staff also encourage students to look out for one another. If their friends or classmates are struggling, we want to provide resources and offer support to help them get back on track. 

At New College we consider wellness holistically. We think in terms of physical health, mental and emotional health, academic health, financial health and healthy interpersonal interactions. These aspects of one’s well-being are interconnected. Just as we aspire to have our students leave New College academically prepared for further education or a career, we also aspire to prepare our students with the skills to take care of themselves throughout their lives so that they may continue to achieve their dreams, be happy and healthy. It is why and how New College educate students for lives of great achievement.

Barbara Feldman is provost for New College of Florida Provost. 

[On County]  Siesta Promenade A Poor Place
Louise and Stu Mathewson

We are very unhappy with the proposed development of Siesta Promenade, proposed by Benderson. As full year residents of Siesta Key, south end by Turtle Beach, we are extremely concerned about traffic, especially in February, March, and April.

Right now traffic at that time of year is a nightmare.

Here is our story: Twice, at mid morning, while sitting STILL in a line of traffic on Midnight Pass heading north, we have had to cancel doctor appointments. We were unable to get off the Key, had to turn around and return home.

During those months when I did get off the Key to shop for groceries, traffic was backed up on Stickney Point and Tamiami both directions, completely blocking the intersection. It took us 45 minutes to make a 10-minute trip home from that corner. Consider the waste of gas and the pollution of the air.

This is our personal experience NOW, before more development on a corner where infrastructure does not support current seasonal traffic, no matter what any traffic study has shown. 

There are more issues concerning traffic on MPR: difficulty in making left turns onto the road into and out of shopping areas and rental units; construction trucks blocking traffic north and south when doing work in season; and driving north from the south bridge on the island… we feel for those owners and renters who must endure the nightmare.

We foresee more accidents and more frustration on the roads, which could affect our insurance rates.

We believe Sarasota County Commissioners should consider full time residents’ personal experiences living on the Key, surrounding areas, and the experience of tourists, before deciding on this project which will add more traffic to an already overly stressed driving situation.

Louise and Stu Mathewson live on Siesta Key. 

[On Planning]  Vision Critical For Not-For-Profits
Christie Nolan

In recent weeks, questions have been raised about funding sources pursued by nonprofit organizations in our region. In particular, arts and cultural organizations, like Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, that have long been a source of pride for residents and attracted thousands of visitors.

For two decades, I have had the privilege of working with nonprofit organizations. In my experience, two critical interdependent issues face all charitable organizations, sustaining financial health and achieving mission impact over time. Nonprofits build their organizations for mission impact—the financial health supports and enables high impact programming. Mission impact is the greatest indicator of a nonprofit’s success—everything else is secondary to achieving an organization’s fundamental purpose. Financial health and mission impact comprise the organization’s business model. Keep in mind that not-for-profit is an IRS designated tax status not a business model. Nonprofits with the capacity to diversify their revenue sources particularly those sources recognized as more sustainable and reliable, such as earned revenue, tend to benefit from unrestricted financial surplus that can then better sustain their mission.

Unrestricted funds can be invested in strengthening operations and impact over time. Organizations that have adequate working capital to deliver high quality programs and services while continually investing in their infrastructure and capacity to deliver over time are certainly better positioned to thrive rather than just merely survive. As philanthropists, we want the causes we care about and the organizations we trust to address those issues to be more than mediocre; we want them to be exceptional and this takes resources.

The three most common types of nonprofit income are earned revenue; government grants and contracts; and charitable giving. The National Center for Charitable Statics reports nearly 48% of revenue generated by nonprofits comes from fee for service or earned revenue; 33% from government contracts and grants; and only 13% from private charitable giving. In 2018, U.S. private charitable giving was a record $427.71 billion, according to Giving USA.

Arts, Culture, and Humanities, as a category, received only 5% of the total giving pie. The top recipients of charitable dollars were religion (29%), education (14%), and human services (12%). Nonprofits have the behemoth challenge of raising their operating budget every year while being expected to demonstrate measurable, evidence-based results. The struggle for sustainability—working capital and demonstrable impact—is even more challenging today when the demands on our charitable organizations are at an all-time high. That’s why acquiring and maintaining an array of funding sources, earned and contributed, helps to limit the potential impacts of being overly reliant on any one-single source of revenue.

I applaud the visionary leadership of Selby Gardens’ board and staff for building a thriving, internationally recognized botanical garden. With a strong business model of 74% earned revenue, Selby Gardens’ financial viability and mission potential is limitless. Over the last few years, visitors to the gardens have increased by more than 50% providing exposure to Selby Gardens’ important mission to an even broader audience.

We need more tenacious champions for environmental conservation and sustainable practices. This living museum model uniquely captures the attention, hearts, and minds of all generations while promoting the critical imperative that we all must be better stewards of our natural environment. This critical transformation has laid the groundwork for Selby Gardens to pursue its ambitious Master Site Plan.

Let’s celebrate the achievements and potential of Selby Gardens and all of our nonprofits; they represent what we value as a community.

Christie Nolan. 

[SCOOP]  The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab Launches Youth Program

The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab is launching new youth programs this month for elementary and middle school students. After school middle school programs include a five-week “Brainbenders” course, centered on shifting students’ perception of mathematics and preparing them for success in high school Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes. A ten-week “Coding & Game Design” course will teach Python programming language as well as computer science fundamentals. A five-week “Physics Fun” course will teach physical science principles to students through hands on challenges and projects. STEM Saturdays take 4-5th grade students on an interactive exploration of various science, technology, engineering and math concepts. Weekly themes include Robotics, Makers Day, Electronics, Art Lab, Rocketry and Chemistry. The programs range from $150-300 and limited spaces are available. 

Suncoast Science Center

[SCOOP]  People with Parkinson's Are Dancing

The Sarasota Ballet and Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's are partnering to provide “Dancing Through Parkinson's", a dance-movement program for people with Parkinson’s and their care partners. Parkinson’s is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. According to Robyn Faucy-Washington, Chief Executive Officer of the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's, “Numerous studies show that dance helps improve mobility, balance, and gait by addressing the motor symptoms of PD which include resting tremors, slowness of movement, and difficulties with balance as well as non-motor symptoms such as anxiety, pain, and sleep disorders”. 

Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's

[SCOOP]  Opening This Month: Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures

Stories of mythical beings have fascinated us for thousands of years. Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature's newest special exhibition, traces the natural and cultural roots of some of the world’s most enduring mythic creatures. Opening September 21, this family-friendly exhibition features unique cultural objects to highlight the surprising similarities and differences in the ways people around the world envision and depict mythic creatures. This new exhibition will be open through January 5, 2020 and is organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

The Bishop Museum of Science

[SCOOP]  All Faiths Food Bank Receives $150,000 from Publix Super Markets Charities

All Faiths Food Bank has received a $150,000 grant from Publix Super Markets Charities to help end hunger for children and their families. The donation will provide funding to support the Backpack Program which provides students with nutritious food for the weekends, the School Pantry program which provides access to fresh produce, meats and groceries, and an after-school snack program. The grant is part of a $5 million donation to Feeding America member food banks and other nonprofit organizations across the Southeast as part of Publix Super Markets Charities’ ongoing support of hunger relief efforts and in recognition of September being Hunger Action Month. 

All Faiths Food Bank


In the past several months, Patricia and Peter Estes, the owners of PECKY, a design services boutique in Sarasota, have raised nearly $5,000 to support All Star Children’s Foundation. In April 2019, they launched the “PECKY Gives Back” campaign to raise funds and generate community awareness of All Star’s mission, which is to transform foster care through innovation, science and compassion. A host of PECKY’s artists and designers have made this campaign possible by donating original works. One hundred percent of the proceeds from these items are directed to All Star. 

All Star Children's Foundation

[SCOOP]  Arnold and Romanoff to Speak at Regional Summit on Substance Use

This week, Kelly Romanoff, Innovation and Impact Officer for Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Chelsea Arnold, a nurse practitioner at Sarasota Memorial who serves as program coordinator for First 1,000 Days Sarasota County, will present at the Summit on Substance Use Disorder in the Pregnancy Patient and Substance Exposed Newborn. The four-county summit, hosted Thursday and Friday at Keiser University, draws professionals from the medical, addiction treatment, social work and public health communities who treat mothers and infants impacted by substance use. 

Barancik Foundation

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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