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SRQ DAILY Jul 9, 2014

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"I just think elections should be won and not bought."

- Velton Hodges, Sarasota County School Board candidate

[Politics]  School Board Seat Draws Crowd of Hopefuls
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

An open contest to fill a vacancy on the Sarasota School Board turned into one of the hottest contests in the region when Gov. Rick Scott appointed one of the candidates to the job. Now, incumbent Bridget Ziegler is defending her new job against challengers Ken Marsh, Velton Hodges and Paul Schafer.

Ziegler, named the District 1 School Board member in June, said she is running to provide a voice for people outside of professional education circles. "I have always wanted to passionately represent the voice of parents," she said. Ziegler, an insurance agent with Al Purmort Insurance, said the School Board needs to be diversified with business voices, and is also running on a promise of good stewardship with tax dollars.

Marsh retired this year as director of long-range planning for the Sarasota County School District, where he spent 20 years in various leadership roles. "I actually participated in writing many of the policies in place now," he said. "School assignment, redistricting, many other policies, I'm familiar with all of those. My 35 years working in two school districts is a great advantage; I'm really ready for this type of position right now."

Schafer has his own background in education, as a school board member in New York. There, he was part of a board for a smaller district in a nonpaying position, and he plans to run a campaign down here that does not rely at all on campaign donations. It's his experience with education policy that he hopes sets him apart. "Schools have taken on so many responsibilities, from lowering highway fatalities to reducing racial prejudice… Every problem that comes along is deemed a school problem," he said. "But the School Board should not be that political. We can argue about Common Core and charter schools, fine, but those are things that really matter."

Velton Hodges, who also plans to run without taking donations, comes with experience representing the needs of teachers. President of the Sarasota Education Association for 12 years, Hodges retired as an educator in 2012 and now is looking to the board post.  His focus is on campus safety. "I hate to leave our most vulnerable population unprotected," he said. Hodges has hopes to redirect financial resources back toward keeping student resource officers on all campuses. He also wants to make sure teacher have a stronger voice in setting curriculum.

This seat was vacated earlier this year by the resignation of School Board member Carol Todd. The nonpartisan School Board District 1 election is scheduled for Aug. 26 and is open to all voters; if no candidate gets a majority of votes, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff in November. 

[Fine Art]  A Few Words On Some Great, Big Pictures
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

The Mona Lisa, celebrated as one of Leonardo DaVinci’s few surviving paintings and famous for its elusive smile, is also notorious for being somewhat underwhelming in person. Ignoring the logistical issues of pressing hordes of photo-snapping tourists, the famed portrait is surprisingly diminutive (77cm by 53cm) and Louvre policy (not to mention their velvety ropes) keeps spectators at a safe distance of about 3 meters. For the exact opposite experience, head on down to A Few Great, Big Pictures, the latest themed exhibition from the Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery.

“It takes courage to buy a strong work of art, no matter what the size is, but it takes more courage to buy a bigger piece,” said Allyn Gallup, founder and operator of the gallery, who hand-selected the plus-size paintings on display. “It’s just my attempt to put things in front of people that they find compelling.”

Bold and beautiful, the work showcases artists at their most assured, crafting grand landscapes and surrealist portraits in vivid colors and audacious style.

Whether it be the pleasing and nigh overwhelming geometric creations of Juri Morioka, whose The Room with the Tree draws the viewer into its ordered but strangely maze-like canvas of vibrant blues and greens, dotted with whimsical, half-hidden trees, seemingly adrift and lost in urban isolation, or Dolores Coe’s “dream-like” expressionist scenes made of rich purples, reds, yellows, blues and pinks, that read like a magical and muddled memory of a vision long past, Gallup’s selections for A Few Great, Big Pictures are all akin in their dauntless abandon.

“There are a lot of prominent artists in the show,” said Gallup. “Between Syd Solomon, Craig Rubadoux and Leslie Lerner, you’ve got some of the best known artists in recent history in Sarasota.”

A Few Great, Big Pictures will be on display in the Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery through July 28. 

[Opening]  Bass Pro Shops To Open New Sarasota Store

Bass Pro Shops, an outdoor retailer specializing in hunting, fishing, camping and other related outdoor gear, has announced plans for a new store in Sarasota County, Florida. The Bass Pro Shops retail attraction will be the primary anchor for the new 260,000-square-foot, planned mixed-use Fruitville Commons development. The 80,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops Outpost store is slated to open in 2016 and will hire approximately 200 full- and part-time associates from the area. 

Bass Pro Shops

[Recognition]  Syprett Meshad Attorneys Earn Statewide Recognition

Sarasota law firm Syprett Meshad's President, Michael L. Resnick, and Partner Teresa D. Jones, were selected to the Florida Super Lawyers list, and Managing Partner Nancy E. Cason was named a “Rising Star” for the second straight year. Only 5 percent of Florida lawyers are selected for Super Lawyer honor; less than 2.5 percent are selected for Rising Star (reserved for age 40 or younger). Resnick was selected in the Family Law category, Jones in Personal Injury-General Defense, and Cason in Real Estate. 

Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer

[Upgrade]  Mote Marine Expands Fleet

The animal rescue and recovery team at Mote Marine Laboratory recently received funding from the Sea Turtle Grants Program to purchase a new boat that will enhance Mote’s response to distressed marine wildlife and enable new research about the threats they face. Between 2003 and 2013, Mote responded to 697 sea turtles — the most common stranded marine animals locally — and 30 percent of cases during the past year required a marine vessel. 

Mote Marine Laboratory

Karen A. Taddeo, "Red Canyon," Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 36", Art Uptown Gallery, 1367 Main St., Sarasota, 941-955-5409

[SRQ SB2]  SRQ hosts Political Landscape Symposium at IMG Academy

On Wednesday, June 18, SRQ | The Magazine hosted a panel discussion on trends in politics and policy in the region. Wes Roberts, Executive Publisher, Owner of SRQ Media moderated the discussion as audience received a collaborative mix of perspectives from panelists Mike Bennett, Manatee Supervisor of Elections, Patricia Benson, Chair of the Manatee Democratic Party, Robin DiSabatino, Manatee County Commissioner, Joe Gruters, Chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota, and Charles Hines, Chair of the Sarasota County Commission. Panelist Charles Hines Said, “Events like this are beneficial for the public and its elected officials in that they provide a forum to openly discuss the various issues that are pending in our community. This open dialogue allows all parties to become better informed and thus can make more balanced decisions for our community.” 

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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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