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SRQ DAILY Oct 5, 2015

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"It's incredible to get an award for your passion, for something you do because this is something that you love."

- Dolly Jacobs, The Circus Arts Conservatory

[Workforce]  Job Levels Continue To Grow

Job figures reported by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity show the state passed a significant milestone in August as employment levels statewide exceeded the peak employment levels before the Great Recession. 

[Recognition]  Jacobs Honored with National Heritage Fellowship
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The National Heritage Fellowship award since 1982 has been given to folk musicians, potters, tailors, welders and more. But never had the award gone to a circus performer until Friday night. Dolly Jacobs, legendary aerialist and co-founder of The Circus Arts Conservatory, now bears the distinction of being the first circus artist to earn this recognition for work done in the big top, but as she accepted the award, she felt it was the circus arts themselves that earned the accolade. 

“I accepted on behalf of all those that came before me,” said Jacobs. Of course, the circus played a particularly important role in Jacobs’ own heritage. Her father was famed circus clown Lou Jacobs, and her godmother Margie Geiger was an accomplished aerialist who taught Jacobs her craft.

Jacobs’ work as an artist has won recognition before; she was given a place on the Circus Ring of Fame in 1998, and in 2013 was inducted into The Gallery of Acrobatic Legends. But these days, her greatest accomplishments come not just from spinning in the air but in broadening the recognition of circus heritage. She and husband Pedro Reis made that a part of the mission of The Circus Arts Conservatory, which in addition to training young performers also champions circus as an art form. The work earned Jacobs the Florida Folk Heritage award for the Florida Department of State in 2012, and to win the National Heritage Fellowship is now chief accomplishment in her career. "This is one of the highest awards you can get in the field,” she said.

The award was given by National Endowment of the Arts chairwoman Jane Chu during a ceremony at the Library of Congress on Thursday, and on Friday, Jacobs performed at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University. Other recipients included Rahim AlHaj, an accomplished composer and oud player; Michael Alpert, Yiddish singer and instrumentalist; and to Mary Lee Bendolph, Lucy Mingo and Loretta Pettway, chief quilters from the oldest generation of quilters in Gee’s Bend, Alabama.

Of course, the award could also be important to the Conservatory as it seeks funding from the state this year. Board members from the Conservatory noted Jacobs’ award during a meeting of the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation in Sarasota on Friday. “It’s an accomplishment to have recognized the circus arts as part of the traditional arts,” noted board member Colleen Thayer. The Legislature has budgeted funding for the conservatory the last two years only to see the funding vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott. 

Regardless, Jacobs will hold the distinction of being the first circus performer with this award, perhaps opening the door to wider recognition for performers in years to come. “It’s incredible to get an award for your passion, for something you do because this is something that you love,” she said. “To receive an award for that is mind-blowing.” 

[Agenda]  Sarasota Talks Taxi Deregulation

Longboat Key Town Commission: The board meets today for a joint meeting with the Sarasota County Commission on beach projects, Bayfront Park, under grounding and public safety communications. The joint meeting begins at 1:30pm at the Sarasota County Administration Center in Sarasota.

Sarasota City Commission: The board meets today for a public hearing on an ordinance formally repealing regulations on taxi cabs and other vehicles for hire. The evening session begins at 6pm at City Hall.

Manatee County Commission: The board meets Tuesday to discuss creating additional speed limit zones throughout the county. The afternoon session begins at 1:30pm at the Manatee County Government Administrative Center in Bradenton. 

Sarasota City Commission

[Exec Moves]  Hudson Joins Trust Companies Board

Tramm Hudson re-joined the board of directors of Trust Companies of America, parent company of Caldwell Trust Company. Hudson began his banking career in 1981 with North Carolina National Bank, where he took on increasing levels of responsibility until his transfer to Sarasota in 1986. He left NCNB in 1988 to become a founding director and organizer of Enterprise National Bank of Sarasota. Upon the sale of that bank to Provident Bank, he continued to lead the company in its expansion in Florida and subsequently through its sale to Royal Bank of Canada. He then served as area president of Whitney Bank in Sarasota and Manatee County for over two years before joining Stearns Bank as Florida president. Although he announced his retirement from banking in 2011, he has remained active in the industry as special advisor to Tramm Hudson Partners. 

Caldwell Trust Company

[Exec Moves]  Howard Joins Atlas Insurance

Atlas Insurance announced the addition of Michael Howard to the firm’s commercial sales team. Howard joins Atlas Insurance after earning a bachelor’s degree in Risk Management/Insurance and in Economics from Florida State University. Howard was the youngest recipient in the history of the Certified Insurance Counselor program to earn the CIC designation. He is also a member of the Young Agents Council and is involved in Sarasota’s Miracle League, Community Haven and Upside Down Foundation. 

Atlas Insurance

[Recognition]  Fergeson Skipper Attorneys Make Best Lawyers

James O. Fergeson, Jr., J. Ronald Skipper and Richard R. Gans, shareholders in the law firm of Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron and Tirabassi, were selected for inclusion in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Fergeson was recognized in the field of Tax Law, and Skipper and Gans for Trusts and Estates Law. Gans was also recently named the Best Lawyers 2016 "Lawyer of the Year" for Trusts and Estates Law in the Sarasota metro area, which includes Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch.  

Fergeson, Skipper, Shaw, Keyser, Baron and Tirabassi

[Acquisition]  Insula Buys Tampa Apartments

Insula Companies, a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community acquisition and revitalization on behalf of private investors, announced the recent addition of Harbour Walk Apartments in Tampa to its portfolio of communities. The $29.5-million purchase is the company’s largest asset to date and marks the ninth strategic acquisition for Insula Companies in 2015 and the 24th since the firm began operations in 2009. 

Insula Companies

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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