« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

SRQ DAILY May 22, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"My friend Dean is the manager at Stottlemeyer's and he was already putting together a webcam at the restaurant."

- Dana Lawrence, Front Man and Founder of Kettle of Fish

[Music]  Kettle of Fish Swim New Waters with Virtual Happy Hour

Lost in the heartbreak of temporary bar and restaurant closures is the loss of another industry that operates tangentially: live music. The relationship between bands and bars is symbiotic, with bars providing the space and booze while bands help bring in a crowd and extend their revelry for another round of drinks (or two). This dual relationship is fruitful enough that many musicians make a living as full-time performers. Dana Lawrence, front man and founder of Kettle of Fish, is one such musician. Since 2001, Lawrence steadily built up his repertoire and reputation to the point where he and his band’s core members perform six nights a week at venues like The Blue Rooster, Siesta Key Oyster Bar, Marina Jack and Stottlemeyer’s Smokehouse. And as these venues were forced to relinquish their sit-down services, the entire live music economy found itself in a world of uncertainty.

“Some days I would leave my house at noon and not get home until 11 at night,” says Lawrence of life before COVID-19. He and his band would average six gigs a week, sometimes two in one day. As the pandemic ramped up, however, Lawrence got an early start in experimenting with other forms of performing. “I actually tested out the live stream thing as things were getting weird,” he says, “I did a couple Facebook Live shows from SKOB and Marina Jack.” Then, when Governor DeSantis announced the closure of restaurants and bars, Lawrence turned to a venue that was already ahead of the curve in adopting the ability to stream and record. “My friend Dean is the manager at Stottlemeyer’s,” says Lawrence, “and he was already putting together a webcam at the restaurant.” The venue has since become something of a production studio, with the ability to stream from as many as five different cameras on platforms like Switcher Studio. So, even as customers were no longer allowed to sit at the restaurant, live stream shows were offered six nights a week.

“We weren’t always getting paid,” says Lawrence, “but they’d feed us, and it helped keep us focused on music and our fingers moving.” The live stream format also offered Lawrence a bit of a surprise. “There’s actually more interaction in the virtual format than when you play live,” he says. Rather than wrap up a song and begin a new one amidst fading applause, the band would take time in between songs to respond to comments flooding in on the live stream. And, the production value and scope of live streams has not yet reached its peak.

Kettle of Fish is set to collaborate tonight at 6 pm with the Van Wezel for another edition of the venue’s Virtual Happy Hour. The band utilized the tropical-tiki vibe and recording ability of Stottlemeyer’s to record a set, and that recording will be edited into a live stream hosted by the Van Wezel that will include food preparations by Chef Greg Ische of Boar’s Head and signature cocktails from Christian Hershman of The Overton that viewers can make at home (recipes available online). The stream and others like it are just one way that live entertainment has tried to make do with the unprecedented times in which we find ourselves. “It’s all so new for us,” says Lawrence, “but I think it’s here to stay.” 

Pictured: From left to right, Robin Swenson (keys, vocals), Rob McDowell (bass, vocals), Dana Lawrence (guitar, vocals), Thorson Moore (guitar, vocals), Pat McDonald (drums), and Brian Byrd (pedal steel). Photo by Vicky Sullivan.

For more info.

[Online Performance]  WBTT Presents Family-Friendly Rockin' Down Fairytale Lane

While the stage in Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s brand-new theater building remains dark due to COVID-19, the show will go on(line) in late May. In an effort to lift spirits as well as generate critically-needed revenue, WBTT is proud to continue to offer entertainment options virtually, with the family-friendly musical, “Rockin’ Down Fairytale Lane.” The show will be available online from May 26 through June 8. The book and music were written, and the production was directed, by WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. An abbreviated version of “Fairytale Lane” was performed by summer campers at WBTT’s Stage of Discovery musical theatre intensive in 2016; the full-length production was featured as WBTT’s summer show in 2018. While Jacobs has written scores of musical revues, this was his first show featuring all-original music. The cast includes a number of WBTT favorites, including Ariel Blue, Ashley D. Brooks, Earley Dean, Cherise James, Henry Washington and young phenom Samuel “Sammy” Waite. Talented dancers Derric Gobourne, Jr., Joshua Thompson and Topaz von Wood are featured as well. Musical director/co-arranger and bass player is James “Jay” Dodge II; other musicians include Todd Bellamy on piano, Tanmart Selby on auxiliary keys, and Trevoris Scott on drums. Access to the show online costs $15 per household (including $2 processing fee). 

Click to visit for details and a link to purchase tickets to watch the online performance.

[Cancellation]  Summer Circus Spectacular Canceled Show Will Return Next Year

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art announced today that the Summer Circus Spectacular will be canceled this year due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 virus. The Summer Circus Spectacular, in its 14th year, is a joint production by The Ringling and Sarasota’s Circus Arts Conservatory. The show is held in the Historic Asolo Theater inside The Ringling’s McKay Visitors Pavilion and, in past years, played to two sold out crowds daily. Steven High, The Ringling’s Executive Director said, “It saddens us to not be able to showcase our community’s long and celebrated circus history by presenting the Summer Circus Spectacular. However, the health and safety of our guests and staff is of paramount importance at this unprecedented time. We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with the Circus Arts Conservatory next year.” Pedro Reis, CAC Founder and President also issued a statement, “We believe that it is our civic and moral duty to support the global effort to reduce transmission and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 therefore making the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Summer Circus Spectacular presented annually in partnership with The Ringling. As for how people can support arts organizations and the arts when events and performances are being canceled, I'd like to suggest supporting our organizations in new ways - through social media and the internet now. Everyone can still continue to share our passion for the Circus Arts through the virtual programming being produced currently by The Circus Arts Conservatory and The Ringling until we return again to the stage at the Historic Asolo Theater next summer.” 

Click for Museum From Home opportunities.

[Tourism]  State Approves Manatee County Vacation Rental Reopening Plan

Manatee County received state approval for its plan to allow local vacation rentals reopen safely and quickly under a set of health and safety protocols.

Under the plan, vacation rental agencies may now accept bookings from residents of U.S. states with an overall COVID-19 Case Rate within the state of less than 700 cases/100K residents as of May 15, 2020. Reservations from COVID-19 hot spots identified by the Governor are to be avoided for the next 30 - 45 days. Reservations from international travelers will not be accepted.

Other guidelines spell out protocols vacation rental owners must follow to implement social distancing and still others that address the cleanliness standards of the property. County Administrator Cheri Coryea said the guidelines will be mostly self policing but if people spot potential violations they can report them as with other violations during the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.

Other guidelines spell out protocols vacation rental owners must follow to implement social distancing and still others that address the cleanliness standards of the property. County Administrator Cheri Coryea said the guidelines will be mostly self policing but if people spot potential violations they can report them as with other violations during the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.

“Because vacation rentals have been closed during the pandemic, we're asking that vacation rental managers take extra precautions to make sure their renters have access to and follow the guidelines in the approved plan," Coryea said. "(Owners) should ensure that their renters are aware and abide by the approved plan, but also any municipal restrictions in the city where the rental is located. Opening vacation rentals has been accelerated by the state recently and having a smooth transition in all cities and across the County is extremely important for our success.” 

Pictured: Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island.

[Appointment]  Sarah Lodge to Fill a Vacant Position on the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board

The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board has appointed local financial advisor and civic leader Sarah Lodge to fill a vacant position on the nine-member board, which governs Sarasota Memorial Health Care System.

At its May 18 public meeting, the board selected Lodge to fill Seat 1 of the Central District. The open seat on the elected, unpaid board was vacated in February by Bill Noonan, who relocated out of state for personal reasons. Lodge’s term on the Hospital Board will begin in June, pending approval from the governor’s office, and continue until the general election in November 2020.

A certified financial planner, Lodge has extensive experience in long-term strategic planning and financial problem-solving. She currently serves as associate vice president for RBC Wealth Management in Sarasota, a position she has held since 2015. Previously, she was a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley from 2006 to 2015.

Known for her passion for volunteering and giving back to the community, Lodge has served in leadership roles for several local civic organizations. As the current president of the Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, she has provided stewardship for the organization’s Rotary Reading Project, which supplied kindergarten readiness bags to local children and books to more than 12,000 students this year. In 2019, she was named the Rotary Club of Sarasota’s Rotarian of the Year.

Lodge also served as non-profit director and a founding board member of Impact 100 SRQ, which empowers women to collectively fund transformational grants to non-profit organizations in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. A past president and current volunteer with the Junior League of Sarasota, Lodge also was a member of Leadership Sarasota’s class of 2014-15 and the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute in 2012.

She has worked closely with the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation and its efforts to support critical hospital services and programs.

Lodge moved to Sarasota with her husband, Ryan, a few years after graduating from the University of Florida in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in health science. Her three children all were born at Sarasota Memorial. “I strongly feel that health care is at the center of our community’s success,” she said. “Having a place on the board will provide me with an avenue to make meaningful contributions to the community that will affect generations to come.” 

[Announcement]  E.J. Ledesma Named CEO for 360 Orthopedics

360 Orthopedics is pleased to announce the appointment of E.J. Ledesma as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective May 4, 2020. E.J. brings over twenty years of healthcare leadership experience and a diverse set of management skills in operations, finance, business development, and marketing.

Known for his collaborative management style, E.J. has been able to drive accountability while maintaining a culture of continuous improvement. In his leadership roles at private hospitals, he learned the value of balancing the needs of an excellent patient experience with fiscal responsibility. “Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to lead and learn from wonderful people. I am excited to be a part of the team and look forward to making 360 Orthopedics the provider of choice for patients in the Bradenton, Sarasota, and Venice markets,” says Ledesma.

“We are excited to have E.J. lead 360 Orthopedics. Healthcare is continuously changing and it is becoming more challenging for physicians and patients to navigate.  With E.J.’s experience and leadership, we as physicians can continue to focus on patient care and serve our community orthopedic needs,” says Dr. Jeffrey Silverstein

At 360 Orthopedics our mission is ‘to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.’ 360 Orthopedics offers a full range of orthopedic services, pain management, physical therapy, aquatic therapy, and other ancillary services. Their offices are located in the former Doctors Hospital building on Bahia Vista Street, Lakewood Ranch and Venice.  

For more info.

[Beach Advisory]  No Swim Advisory Issues for Brohard Beach in Sarasota County

The amount of enterococcus bacteria found during water quality testing on Monday, May 18 was outside acceptable limits. The beach remains open; however, wading, swimming and water recreation is not recommended as long as there is an advisory in place. Some bacteria are naturally present in the environment. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found a link between health and water quality. Signage advising the public not to swim or engage in water recreation will stay in place until follow-up water testing results meet the EPA's recreational water quality standard. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County expects to have the next round of test results available Friday, May 22.

Enterococcus bacteria can come from a variety of natural and human-made sources. These include pet waste, livestock, birds, wildlife (land-dwelling and marine), stormwater runoff, and human sewage from failed septic systems and sewage spills.The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County expects to have the next round of test results available Friday, May 22. No sewage spills have been reported within one mile of the posted beach in the past two weeks.

The rapid response teams from Sarasota County and the City of Venice have determined that the elevated bacteria levels were likely caused by the natural environment. Recent rainfall may also be a contributing factor as it washes pollutants such as bacteria from birds and pet and wildlife feces into local water bodies.DOH-Sarasota Environmental Administrator Tom Higginbotham emphasizes that the Florida Healthy Beaches program protects beach goers when conditions are unsuitable for swimming. We do this by testing beach water and providing up-to-date explanations of the results.

"When these bacteria are found at high levels in recreational waters, there is a risk that some people may become ill. People who are very young, elderly, or who have a weak immune system who swallow beach water can get stomach or intestinal illnesses. If water comes in contact with a cut or sore, people can get infections or rashes." says Higginbotham. Local health officials emphasize that beaches remain open. However, residents and visitors are urged not to wade, swim or engage in water recreation at these beaches until the advisory is lifted. In addition, you should not eat shellfish such as crabs and shrimp collected in the immediate area of any beach with a no-swim advisory in place. Finfish caught live and healthy can be eaten if filleted.

"Our coastline of over 30 miles of world-class beaches is a wonderful asset to our community," says Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County. "Let's work together to help preserve this amenity." To help keep beach water safe for swimming and recreation, do not allow pets to roam on beaches and in park areas and pick up pet waste. Additionally, children in diapers and people of all ages with diarrhea should not go into the water.

The Department of Health reminds everyone to stay safe from COVID-19. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person. All beach visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others and avoiding crowds and gatherings of more than 10 people. Stay home if you do not feel well or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. Wash your hands often and take hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol with you. 

[Crisis Support]  USDA to Provide $1 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Rural Businesses and Ag Producers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the Department is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees to help rural businesses meet their working capital needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans may receive funding under USDA Business & Industry (B&I) CARES Act Programprovisions included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural businesses and agricultural producers and being a strong supporter of all aspects of the rural economy,” Secretary Perdue said. “Ensuring more rural agricultural producers are able to gain access to much-needed capital in these unprecedented times is a cornerstone of that commitment.”

B&I CARES Act Program loans must be used as working capital to prevent, prepare for or respond to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The loans may be used only to support rural businesses, including agricultural producers, that were in operation on Feb. 15, 2020.

USDA intends to consider applications in the order they are received. However, the Department may assign priority points to projects if the demand for funds exceeds availability.

USDA announced the expanded B&I CARES Act Program authorities in a notice published in the May 21 Federal Register (PDF, 217 KB). Program funding expires Sept. 30, 2021.

Eligible applicants may contact their local USDA Rural Development State Office in the state where the project is located.

USDA is developing application guides for lenders and borrowers on the B&I CARES Act Program. The Agency also will host two webinars to provide an overview of program requirements. 

Click to register for the webinar on Wednesday, May 27 at 3:30pm EST

[Giving Back]  Community Members Brings Meals to Families in Need

As part of the agency’s efforts to address continued food insecurity amongst its families, local members of the community teamed up with Paradise Grill restaurant in Nokomis to bring chef-prepared meals to each of the children and families who attend Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services.

1,700 meals were distributed to families in need across Sarasota County thanks to the generosity of six local couples and an individual supporter of Children First along with Paradise Grill restaurant in Nokomis. In a two-day effort, meals were individually prepared and packaged on-site at the restaurant and delivered to five distribution sites by Children First front line workers. The meal distribution sites included the Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center and Helen R. Payne Annex in Sarasota, Our Mother’s House (a partnership site with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice) and the Children First main campuses in Venice and North Port.

“When I heard that my long-time friend and client, Mary Beth Hansen, was offering meals for local residents in need, I decided to reach out to Children First. Knowing the challenge we are all living through with this virus, but especially for those who are already vulnerable, everyone quickly got on board. Before we knew it, there were vans being loaded with 1,700 dinners going out to families. We truly believe in the outstanding work provided by this agency and are so pleased to help keep its mission moving forward each day,” says long-time Children First supporter and Commercial Realtor Stan Rutstein.

He, along with wife Jo, a former Chair of the Board of Directors, realized an opportunity to activate their friends in support of children and families living at-risk. Current Board Chair Mike Keebaugh and wife Andree, Carol and Richard Kalikow, Faith and Michael Goldman, Norma and Al Cohen, Ginny and Ravi Akhoury, and Ernest ‘Doc’ Werlin joined the Rutsteins to provide support and within days, the chefs at Paradise Grill were in the kitchen cooking up delicious meals and the Children First staff mobilizing to distribute the food.

Annually, the agency provides full wrap-around services for more than 900 children and their families, including infant and toddler care, early childhood education, nutrition and health care, emotional & behavioral support, and parenting classes through the Families First Institute. 89% of families served were already living below the Federal Poverty Level, and with the economic strain from COVID-19, more than 70% of those families are now seeking additional necessities such as food, financial assistance, and supplies like diapers, wipes, and infant formula.

“In these times of great uncertainty, our families are the first to get hurt and the last to recover. We are truly grateful to Paradise Grill and our incredible supporters who teamed up to make sure that not just every child, but every family member received a hot meal,” says CEO Philip Tavill.

“We’re doing our best to feed as many in our community as possible because we believe no one should ever have to go hungry,” says Mary Beth Hansen, owner of Paradise Grill. “Our team also believes deeply in the Children First mission of strengthening children and families, because we are stronger together.” 

[Testing]  DOH Sarasota Set to Host Community COVID-19 Drive Thru Testing in Venice Next Week

DOH Sarasota is set to host two by appointment only COVID-19 drive-thru testing opportunities for Sarasota County residents next week. This community based COVID-19 testing is for anyone who is currently experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) or who works in a health care setting.

To date, DOH Sarasota has tested more than 2200 community members for COVID-19 during our community-based testing events.

To make an appointment, please call 941-861-2883, Tuesday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. DOH Sarasota will be closed Monday in recognition of Memorial Day.

Callers will be screened using current CDC testing criteria. Appointments are limited however more testing opportunities may be scheduled in the future.

Additionally, while this is primarily a drive-thru site, DOH Sarasota can accommodate walk-ups, and people on bicycles.

Venice: Wednesday, May 27, 8 am to noon - Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Avenue South on the island of Venice.

Venice: Thursday, May 28, 8 am to noon - Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Avenue South on the island of Venice.

All patients must have an appointment to be tested, please call 941-861-2883 to be evaluated and scheduled for an appointment. 

[Brain Health Initiative]  Social Connections Make a Difference

COVID-19 has changed just about everything in our lives, and yet, our children continue to grow, learn, and build the architecture of their brain during this time. For the last several weeks the Brain Health Initiative has offered resources and activities that focus on ways to support the healthy brain development of your child. In part four, we talk about the importance of building and maintaining social connections.

Connecting Socially in the Era of Social Distancing

Florida’s safer-at-home measures helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of our families. But, while we are staying apart from each other physically, it’s even more important to connect socially, in order to protect the emotional well-being of ourselves and our children. Youth, young and older, need quality time with the important people in their lives. Social connectedness improves their chances of showing resilience to adversity.

Physical distancing may be keeping us at home, but it also gives us more opportunities to spend time together as a family. By spending more time together, we can build relationships with our kids and create lasting memories. It can also help our children feel happier, safer, and more relaxed during this experience. If we’re working from home, we might not always have a lot of time during work hours, so make the most of that time during off hours by giving children positive attention.

Staying connected with extended family and friends is an important part of maintaining young people’s well-being and staying positive during this period of uncertainty. We are used to meeting up at school, sports, church, barbecues, and neighborhood activities. We may need to get creative, but we can still give our children positive attention and turn everyday moments into quality time.

What you can do today to protect your brain health.

Try some of these suggested activities to help your child stay socially connected to friends and family:

  • Schedule virtual play dates so your children can see and talk to friends.
  • Call or video chat with grandparents and other extended family members — kids and grandparents will both enjoy the time together.
  • School-age children, with adult guidance, can use apps to set up group chats to talk to friends and share funny videos.
  • Playing online multiplayer games can provide a social outlet for older children and teens.
  • Celebrate birthdays and special events with e-cards or video messages, or maybe organize a drive-by parade.
  • Sending cards and letters the old-fashioned way can also help children stay connected and practice their writing skills.

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

Copyright © 2020 by SRQ Media Group, 331 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Powered by Sarasota Web Design | Unsubscribe

Read More

UnMasked: Electronic Caregiver

UnMasked: Electronic Caregiver

Ariel Chates | Jun 30, 2020

Pets We Love

Pets We Love

Ariel Chates | Jun 19, 2020

Feeding the Region

Feeding the Region

Jacob Ogles | Jun 12, 2020



Ariel Chates | Jun 12, 2020