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SRQ DAILY Oct 31, 2015

"We are bigger and better together. We all have an important part in the economic engine of our region."

- Suzette Jones, BuzzPrizeExpo

[The Report]  Pro-Birth Vs. Pro-Life
Susan Nilon, susan.nilon@gmail.com

A young pregnant woman one week ago went into our local health department for care. Homeless and unemployed, her options were limited. One week later, she is now receiving regular prenatal care at the clinic and is enrolled in a housing program through Trinity Without Borders. Her baby now has a better chance of survival because of the care that we can offer her in our community.  

There are only two places people who cannot afford health care can go to without a chance of being turned away.  One is our local health department and the other is Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood has not received any funds from the state of Florida since 2001, when then-Gov. Jeb Bush declared himself to be the "most pro-life governor of modern times" (Associated Press). Spawned by a media frenzy over allegations of fetal tissue sales, this year Gov. Rick Scott picked up the “pro-life” torch and launched an investigation on Planned Parenthood. The investigation came up short, proving the only thing nefarious was how the Governor’s Office tried to manipulate the media and the report on the findings. Not happy with the investigation results, the Florida Family Policy Council has asked Gov. Scott “to terminate Florida's Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood as well as the subcontracts of Title X funds with Broward and Collier counties. The FFPC is asking the state to redirect those funds to the more than 600 community health clinics in Florida” (Broward/Palm Beach New Times).

The irony is that this year alone, the Florida Department of Health’s budget was cut by $155.8 million. Vetoing $9.5 million set aside for the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, Gov. Scott has been pushing hard to have our local clinics become privatized and to stop offering anything beyond a flu shot. The Florida Department of Health wants Sarasota County to privatize its prenatal care in the next three years.    

There is nothing “Pro Life” about any of this. 

In 2013, the Census Bureau reported that in Florida, 17.8 percent of working-age women (ages 18-64) and 24.2 percent of children under 18 are in families who live below the poverty line. Additionally, 36 percent of people under age 65 and below did not have health insurance at any time in 2013.  

One of of every five babies in Sarasota County is born at the Sarasota County Health Department. With the closing of prenatal programs, the entire burden of our maternity care will fall upon Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the only hospital in our county that offers a maternity/obstetrical services for the poor.   

It becomes a circular argument when one proclaims to be “pro-life” and then does everything they can to remove any support that a life will need in order to live. You can’t cut off access to birth control, sexual education, prenatal care, food programs and the overall health care of a mother and child for those that can’t afford it on their own and still consider yourself living up to your Christian values.  Those that deny themselves the understanding of what the Bible says about the poor need to know this: 

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17).

Susan Nilon is the president of Florida Talk Radio and owner of WSRQ Radio. She hosts The Nilon Report on WSRQ Sarasota 1220AM/106.9FM weekdays 4pm-6pm. Email her at susan@sarasotatalkradio.com. 

[Entrepreneurs]  Building Up Positive Buzz
Suzette Jones

Twenty years ago, I moved to Sarasota from Washington, D.C. to start a business in the golf tournament industry. I didn’t want to move to Florida. I didn’t even play golf. But there was an opportunity and I needed to go where the business was strong.

A lot has changed in the area since 1995. I’m now on my seventh startup since arriving. Technology has broken geographic boundaries. The region is attracting a demographic that is not limited to ‘just retiring.’ Innovation, new ideas and creativity seem to be exploding on the Gulf Coast.

While Southwest Florida has always attracted wealth, I’m seeing a growing  category of what I call “Renegade Investors.” These are the individuals who were the innovators of their time—and they’re not done! They have the experience, the network and the resources to invest in ideas they believe in. These aren’t the typical Angel or Venture Capitol groups. I see passion and gut instinct based on years of experience attracting their attention.

There are a great number of organizations trying to capture these assets. Each one helps to strengthen our economic ecosystem. From government bodies to incubators, educational institutions to makers-spaces, the Gulf Coast is booming with people who see the importance of supporting the entrepreneur and innovative business. Most of these groups have a ‘focus’ in order to make an impact: technology, innovative health, sports performance. Some groups have emerged to link the resources. Some have emerged to link the people. This ‘linking and collaborating’ is where my passion exists. 

Maybe it’s my big Western family’s influence, but I see strength and unlimited possibilities in cheerleading the whole shebang: students, entrepreneurs, institutions, small business, big industry, investors and policy makers. It’s all about playing well in the sandbox, collaborating with and supporting the efforts at home. We are bigger and better together. We all have an important part in the economic engine of our region.

To uncover and learn about some of the area has to offer, everyone is invited to attend BuzzPrizeExpo, a free one-day event that brings entrepreneurs, customers and business owners together with investors, industry experts and elected officials to showcase opportunities and resources that can grow the region’s economic footprint and power.

You can register for free Expo tickets and learn more here.

Suzette Jones is founder and CEO of The Economic Buzz 

Buy tickets here

[Real Estate]  Positive Presage For Fall Activity
Michael Moulton

While the summer months in the Sarasota Real Estate Market tend to produce softer activity than our traditionally higher seasons of winter and spring, the summer real estate market here clearly didn't take a break from its record setting pace.  Third quarter sales were 10 percent higher than last year and 44 percent improved over five years ago.  Pending sales increased 6 percent for the quarter over 2014 and were 36 percent higher than the same quarter five years ago.  And with tight inventories and fewer distressed properties for sale, median prices were 12 percent higher than last September and 42 percent greater than they were in 2010. 

Given the healthy pace of pending contracts signed over the last few months, it is a great presage as we enter the final quarter of 2015.  Economists and real estate experts are projecting that by year's end, Sarasota Real Estate will see a 10-year record of activity.

The following data reflects reporting through the local, state and national Realtor associations, as well as a number of other statistical providers nationwide.  In the real estate industry, there is no shortage of analysts and resources to be sure.  As one of the nation's most important economic indicators, everyone like to keep their eye the housing market.

Nationwide the real estate market is outpacing inflation by almost three times. Some economists call it the "silver lining" in the economy.  As sellers have recovered equity in their homes and real estate continues to be the No. 1 choice for building wealth, the market is expected to continue its healthy growth. While the last few years have seen remarkable increases in pace of sales and prices, looking forward I believe the Sarasota Real Estate market will likely hit the record sales pace projected for 2015, and also see continued modest growth through 2016. 

  • Total sales in September in the Sarasota Real Estate Market were consistent with the same month a year ago but have increased 8 percent year to date from 2014.
  • Sales in the U.S. were 8.8 percent more than last year, the highest number since 2007.
  • In Florida, condo sales rose 8.4 percent over the prior year and single-family home sales increased 13.4 percent.
  • September was the first month in the past six months where the closed sales activity did not surpass 1,000 closings. Though it is noteworthy that a six month run in excess of 1,000 transactions has never happened before in Sarasota.
  • Distressed sales (short sales and bank owned) as a percentage of total sales have continued to fall.  In September those sales were 12 percent of total sales in Sarasota, considerably below the 50 percent mark at the bottom of our housing market, and 20 percent of sales a year ago. Most of the sales of distressed properties are in price points below $500,000.
  • Nationally, 7 percent of all closed transactions in September were considered distressed properties. 

Pending contracts are an excellent predictor to activity in the months ahead.  The pace was nearly equal in September with previous year.  With many of these contracts set to close in October, it appears that The Sarasota Real Estate Market is primed to achieve similar sales to last year's record-setting month. 

As Sarasota finds itself at or near the top of every "best places to retire" lists, I see the Baby Boomer age group assiduously seeking their vacation and/or retirement homes here. The younger generation has seen skyrocketing rents, making home ownership a more affordable choice for them. In addition, in studies, Millennials have been found to consider home ownership one of the most desired forms of equity.  Though the majority of my business is in the Baby Boomer age group, I am seeing more young professionals coming to me looking for homes to settle their families into. 

Yes, Sarasota is definitely growing.  And to some, I understand growth is something to fear. From my perspective, all that makes Sarasota one of the finest cities in which to live, work and play can only get better as more and more passionate new neighbors join us on this great evolutionary journey our community is experiencing.

Michael Moulton is a certified residential specialist broker-associate with Michael Saunders and Company. 

[TODAY]  Howl-A-Ween

Bring your four-legged best friend to J.D. Hamel Park this morning for the 18th Annual Howl-A-Ween. New this year is a family-friendly, pet-friendly, fun walk across the Ringling Bridge! Pets of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite “Howl-O-Ween” costumes. Registration is at 9am, Walk begins at 10am and Pet Costume Contest starts at 11:30am. 

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[SCOOP]  Halloween Fit Tips From Sarasota Music Half Marathon's John Korff

Sarasota Music Half Marathon is almost here and John Korff, one of the race's founding partners and running guru extraordinnaire, will be providing his invaluable Yoda-esque tips each month to help you get into perfect shape for the 'moving party' coming to SRQ this spring. Here are Korff's tips for keeping lean this spooky weekend: "Weight watchers beware this Halloween. A small bag Skittles means nine minutes of jumping jacks, a 3 Musketeers bar is 26 minutes of Pilates, and you’re down for 25 minutes of  yoga for a Peppermint Patty. If you run to eat, then the Sarasota Music Half Marathon is for you.  You can a eat girl scout cookie at mile 8 in Cherokee Park (80 cals/cookie), a handful of M&M’s at mile 10 in Selby Gardens (25 cals/grab), drink a beer at mile 12 (75 calories per cup) or feast on the post-race brunch (700 calories).  But you’ve earned it and burned it so enjoy," notes Korff. 


Sarasota Music Half Marathon

[SCOOP]  Sarasota Opera Seeking Male Bodybuilders for Verdi's Opera Aida
Sarasota Opera is seeking volunteer male bodybuilders to appear as supernumeraries (non-singing extras) for its winter season production of Verdi’s opera Aida. This is the first time Sarasota Opera will present Verdi’s Aida and will be the biggest production in the company’s 57 year history.  Rehearsals will be in the evenings in January 2016 and will not be every night. There will be 12 performances total beginning on January 30 and concluding on March 19. This is a volunteer position. Interviews will be on November 3rd from 6:30-7:30pm at the Sarasota Opera House. Contact Greg Trupiano at gtrupiano@sarasotaopera.org to schedule an interview. 

Sarasota Opera

[SCOOP]  Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors Form Mariash Lowther Wealth Management

Financial Advisors Brian J. Mariash, CIMA and J. Barton Lowther have joined together to form Mariash Lowther Wealth Management in the Merrill Lynch Sarasosta branch office. Mariash, a native of Bergen County, New Jersey, joined Merrill Lynch in 2008 and has been in the industry since 2001. Lowther, a native of Sarasota, joined Merrill Lynch in 2011. Stephen Fancher, a native of Connecticut, joined Merrill Lynch in 2013. Mariash Lowther Wealth Managment is located in the Sarasota  Merrill Lynch office at 1819 Main Street and can be reached at 941.364.5678. 

Mariash Loather Wealth Management

[SCOOP]  Camp Provides Comfort To Grieving Children

Last weekend over 35 children attend the first ever Florida-based Comfort Zone Camp for children who have lost a parent, sibling or guardian.  Comfort Zone Camp along with The Mark Wandall Foundation hosted the free camp to give children tools and resources to help them cope with grief in their daily lives.  The Foundation is working to continue this program to bring a 3-day camp back to Bradenton/Sarasota and are reaching out to the community for support.  $25 provides healing art projects, camp shirts and take-home memories for one camper, $50 provides a therapeutic challenge course for two children, $100 Provides travel assistance to a local child, $250 provides clinical intake and prep for one child, $500 provides a three-day camp weekend for one child, $1,200 provides a child with the entire weekend experience plus therapeutic services.  Children facing grief are highly vulnerable and often adopt negative coping skills.  The Mark Wandall Foundation and Comfort Zone Camp provide positive support for youth in grief. To help click on the link below. 

The Mark Wandall Foundation

[KUDOS]  Hotel Indigo Sarasota Employees Win the IHG 2015 Best Of The Best Awards

Leslie Power, Ben Rublee, and Mary Norman from the Hotel Indigo Sarasota have received the IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group) 2015 Best of the Best General Manager of the Year, Food & Beverage Director of the Year, and Team Member of the Year Awards respectively. Of more than 350,000 employees, the Best of the Best designations are comprised of an elite group of only 67 winners from the Americas. Winners were selected based on performance that goes above and beyond normal job responsibilities, by providing outstanding and unique service to the property, to the guests and to the community. These winners will be further recognized and honored during a Hotel Indigo conference in the spring of 2016. 

Hotel Indigo Sarasota

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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