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SRQ DAILY Apr 24, 2017

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"We know we are operating well within the law."

- Kate Lowman, STOP Coalition

[Politics]  Elections Complaint Threatened on STOP
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A Democratic party activist threatened to file a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission alleging the STOP Coalition was operating as an electioneering organization without properly filing paperwork with the state. Gabriel Hament prepared a complaint against the Coalition and against six steering committee members, including Sarasota City Commission candidate Jennifer Ahearn-Koch, alleging the group sent out a mass communication and published several social media posts aimed at advancing Ahern-Koch’s candidacy. Kate Lowman, one of the steering committee members targeted in the complaint, called the action “specious” and a distraction.

Hament says his aim is to make sure all campaigns and political organizations adhere to the same requirements for transparency. “Everybody needs to play by the same rules,” he says. Hament says STOP needs to file as an electioneering communications organization. After preparing his complaints, he sent the materials out by email to political leaders and media.

His concern largely centers around a mass email publicizing answers candidates for Sarasota City Commission gave at a STOP forum earlier this year. To the question “Are you in favor of a city-wide traffic study that monitors and measures accurate and timely year-round traffic volumes?”, the email notes, Ahearn-Koch answered yes while the other candidates for office, Hagen Brody and Martin Hyde, answered no. Hament says that clearly falls under electioneering communications, which under Florida law include paid communication that “refers to or depicts a clearly identified candidate for office without expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate but that is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate.”

The three candidates are running for two at-large commission seats. The election is slated for May 9.

Lowman says STOP filed proper paperwork as a 501(c)4 nonprofit but does not need to file as an electioneering group partly because it has not raised more than $5,000. “STOP! has not seen $5,000, much less spent it—on political messages or anything else,” she wrote in an email response to Hament. Besides that, statutes governing electioneering communications apply to mailers sent out in the mail but not for email communications, Lowman told SRQ. “We haven’t put out anything in the category covered by the law,” she says. Lowman acknowledges a similar message to the STOP email would qualify as an electioneering communication if had been done by mass mail, a much more expensive process. But as is, there’s hardly any financial support the organization would need to report, says Lowman, who estimates STOP has spent about $100 on its digital platform including a Wordpress website and mass email service. “It’s a baseless accusation,” she says. “We know we are operating well within the law.” In her response to Hament, she went so far as to note a person who knowingly files a false complaint with the state would commit a misdemeanor.

While Ahearn-Koch remains a member of STOP, she has not been involved in anything related to the election, she says. She considered the complaint from Hament an intentional distraction. “It’s creating negativity and trying to be destructive without informing people what the real issues are,” she says. 

Hament, who supports Brody in the election but is not working with any campaign, says mass emails fall under the same guidelines as physical mail, and that the real issue and reason the group should file as an electioneering committee is so that they report where their financial support comes from. And he says there’s no way to check how much STOP has raised or spent because 501(c)4 nonprofits aren’t governed by the same transparency laws as electioneering groups. “The question is, who is financing this activity, and why was the decision made to create an opaque structure that might not be in compliance with the law,” he says. 

[Recognition]  Sarasota County Schools Earn FAFSA Awards

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership has announced that Sarasota County Schools has won the top award for FAFSA completion rate amongst large school districts in the state of Florida. The award is presented based on results of the 2017 Florida FAFSA Challenge, a campaign to increase the proportion of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Through focused community efforts, many having been led by Talent4Tomorrow partners, 45.5% of Sarasota County high school seniors have competed the FAFSA. This is a 9.1% increase over the previous application year, which equates to an estimated additional $513,180 in Pell grants awarded to Sarasota County students. As a result, the Florida College Access Network (Florida CAN) has named Sarasota County Schools MVP for Large School District for having the highest FAFSA completion rate through March 31, 2017 and Riverview High School as Biggest Boost for Large Schools for having the largest week-to-week change in percentage of students completing the FAFS, as well as naming the following organizations “All-Stars” for achieving an increase of FAFSA completion by at least 5% over the last year: Sarasota County School district,  Suncoast Polytechnical High School,   Sarasota Military Academy,  Booker High School, Venice Senior High School,  Sarasota High School, North Port High School and Riverview High School. 

Sarasota County Schools

[Expansion]  MTech Repair Opens Third Location

MTech Repair has opened its third and largest mobile device service center, the second in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Located at 8010 25th Court East, Suite 106, Sarasota, this location will also provide repair services for iPhones, iPads and other devices such as laptops and computers. The 4,000-square-foot space is also home to the MTech’s Mobile Device Management operation that services businesses and enterprises in the SRQ Commerce Park just north of University Parkway and US 301 in southern Manatee County. Consumers can get their iPhones and iPads, as well as other mobile devices, repaired the same day as they wait. The center will also provide businesses with the opportunity to speak to an onsite mobile specialist regarding a wide range of services from mobile consulting to helping deploy, support, and manage mobile devices for their employee workforce. MTech, which started in Jupiter, Florida, in 2012, has seen rapid expansion. The company opened a second retail center in Lakewood Ranch in 2014, expanded its Jupiter location in 2015 and opened its commercial facility in 2016. 

MTech Repair

[Exec Moves]  New Principals For Bayshore and Manatee High Schools

A move to a district-level position within the School District of Manatee County will lead to new principals for Bayshore High School and Manatee High School. The changes will become effective July 1, 2017. Don Sauer, principal at Manatee High School since 2012, is moving to the district office to take over the position of Supervisor of Student Demographics, Projections and Assignment. That job is responsible for developing all enrollment projections and FTE forecasts for the school district, as well as overseeing the school choice process and helping to design boundaries and zoning for new and existing schools. The current occupant of that position, Danny Lundeen, has been in that position for 20 years and is retiring in June 2018. Sauer became principal at Manatee High in July 2012. Prior to Manatee High, he served as an assistant principal at Lakewood Ranch High from 2005 to 2012.

David Underhill, the current principal at Bayshore High School, will replace Sauer as the principal at Manatee High School. Underhill has served as principal at Bayshore High since July of 2000, and is the Manatee District’s longest tenured high school principal. In March, Bayshore High School became one of just six high schools in Florida to become an AVID National Demonstration School. Manatee District Executive Director of Secondary Schools Jim Pauley said the series of moves will be good for the individuals and the school district, as well as Bayshore and Manatee High Schools. 

School District of Manatee County

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Marc Chagall, Flowers and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams , February 12 – July 31, 10am–5pm daily

A first-of-its-kind, immersive exhibition of Marc Chagall’s nature-inspired artwork, on display in Sarasota’s world-renowned botanical garden. As the first botanical garden to exhibit Chagall’s work, “The Color of Dreams” also marks the first time that the profound influence of nature on the great artist is examined in-depth. Tickets and more info at www.selby.org.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota

[TODAY]  MUSIC: Monday, Monday , April 23 – April 24

Monday, Monday pays tribute to one of the most harmony-rich pop groups of the ‘60s: The Mamas and the Papas. Hear legendary songs made famous by The Mamas and the Papas as well as sure-fire hits from other legends of the Woodstock era. Tickets are $32. Show times April 23- 8pm, April 24- 3pm and 8pm. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit https://venicestage.com/portfolio/monday-monday/

Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice

[SOON]  THEATER: Boeing Boeing , April 26 – May 14

It’s the 1960s and our swingin’ Bachelor Bernard couldn’t be happier as he juggles 3 gorgeous stewardesses in his gorgeous Paris flat. His perfect world and careful planning comes to an end when his friend Robert appears and the Boeing Corporation creates a new and speedier jet. In true classic farce style, all 3 stewardesses come into town simultaneously and Bernard’s perfect life gets bumpy in this door-slamming and groovy play based on the 1965 American film starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit http://www.theplayers.org/shows/2016-2017-broadway-series/

The Players Theatre of Sarasota, 838 N. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: 2017 Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon , April 27, 10:30am-1:30pm

SRQ | The Magazine will host the third annual Women in Business Hear Me Roar Leadership and Awards Luncheon on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at The Francis in downtown Sarasota. We will recognize this year's nominees, our judges, keynote speaker, past Leadership Circle ambassadors and the "Hear Me Roar" Trailblazer Award recipient and announce the finalists and winners who will be inducted into this year's esteemed 2017 WIB Leadership Circle. 

The Francis , 1289 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Glass Onion Beatles band , April 28, 6-8pm

Benefitting Friends of Manatee County Animal Services. The Glass Onion is dedicated to faithfully reproducing the songs of the Beatles. They use many of the same instruments and amplifiers that the Beatles used to create that “classic sound,” including Rickenbacker, Gibson, and Epiphone guitars, a Hofner bass, and Vox amplifiers. The Glass Onions play all the Beatles most loved classics, as well as songs rarely performed by bands. For more information please visit www.realizebradenton.com

Bradenton Riverwalk , 452 W. 3rd. Ave., Bradenton

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: SARTQ Print Party , April 29, 11am-7pm

Bring t-shirts, shorts, skirts, baby clothes, dog shirts… anything that you can lay flat and will absorb ink! Choose from 20 different original screen-printing designs made by 10 unique artists, as well as a special Mandeville silkscreen just for the event! Bring the kids, and have creative fun with your choices! Blank t-shirts will be available for purchase. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/399314987091010/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1490206860082111

Mandeville Beer Garden, 428 N. Lime Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  HEALTH: Yoga and Empowerment - A Fundraising Event for Girls Inc. , April 29, 1-3pm

Join Christie Rosen, local yoga instructor, wellness coach and author of the new book empowering the Sensitive Soul for a donation based gentle yoga class and book signing event. All donations will directly support Girls Inc. Sarasota. The yoga class will take place from 1-2pm and will be suitable for all levels. Afterward there will be a book signing, time to mingle and complimentary snacks and drinks. Join us in supporting the life-changing work of Girls Inc. while also experiencing the wonderful healing benefits of yoga and relaxation. For more information please visit www.pineappleyogastudio.net

Pineapple Yoga Studio , 517 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Pink Kitchen , April 29

Work with nationally-renowned experts in key health and lifestyle fields at the Circuelle Foundation’s Pink Kitchen at the USF Culinary Lab . Cook alongside CA Health and Longevity Institute's Paulette Lambert, RD, CDE and get educated on anti-cancer health tips and recipes. Learn about the health consequences of sleep, meditation and mindfulness from UCLA researcher Dr. Marc Milstein. Move with new exercises and information about a healthy lifestyle. Your participation benefits Circuelle Foundation’s educational programs, dedicated to educating, engaging and empowering young adults to become self-advocates for their breast health and awareness.

USF Culinary Lab, 8130 Lakewood Main St d104, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sharky's Ride the Beaches Celebrates 15 Years , April 30

Enjoy a day of motor biking through the Venice Island, The Venetian Waterway Trail, and Myakka. This year the ride will support three local charities: Team Tony, Friends of Legacy Trial, and Livestrong Foundation. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at Sharky’s. This ride is suitable for most bikes. For more information please contact Emma Kate Silvestri at emmakate.silvestri@sharkysonthepier.com or visit the Sharky’s website at www.sharkysonthepier.com

Sharky's on the Pier , 1600 South Harbor Drive, Venice

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: A Celebration of Puerto Rico Now and Then , April 30, 7:30pm

Ancho Brother will be putting on a performance with special guests from the Cukiara Bomba Dance and Drum Group to celebrate Puetro Rico and their culture. Food will be available from Chef Richard’s Kumquat Kitchen. Tickets are $12 at the door and $15 doors at the door. For more information please visit www.wslr.org

Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 kumquat Court, Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Louie Louie and La Dolce Vida Play Reading By Frank Higgins , April 30, 3pm

A stage reading of Louie, Louie, and La Dolce. The series will take place in the Bowne’s Lab. This is a free event but reservations are required New staged readings are by The Contemporary American Playwrights. For more information please visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org

Florida Studio Theatre , 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Beatsville , May 5 – May 28

The Asolo Rep's Beatsville has its world premiere next spring, as one of the most highly anticipated new musicals of the season. It’s Greenwich Village, 1959 – the world of subterranean coffee shops, goateed artists, turtle-necked poets, and bongo-playing jazzbos. Tragically square busboy Walter Paisley wants nothing more than to be one of the beatniks, but he has no artistic talent whatsoever. When he accidentally kills a cat and hides it in a lump of clay, “Dead Cat” is declared a masterpiece, and Walter a genius.

The Asolo Repertory Theatre , 5555 North Tamiami Tr. Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Stage Reading of Honor Killing By Sarah Bierstock , May 7, 3pm

A stage reading of Honor Killing. The series will take place in the Bowne’s Lab. This is a free event but reservations are required New staged readings are by The Contemporary American Playwrights. For more information please visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org

Florida Studio Theatre , 1241 N. Palm Ane., 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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