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SRQ Daily May 19, 2017

Friday Weekend Edition

Friday Weekend Edition

"These great surroundings will never change as long as we don't lose sight of who we are."

- Jeffrey Mayers, Resort at Longboat Key Club

[SB2]  Hospitality Leaders Bracing But Ready For Cuts
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Tourism leaders in the region have braced for serious budget cuts to Visit Florida’s marketing budget, but remain confident the assets on the Gulf Coast will attract visitors from around the globe. At the most recent SB2 panel, Good People: The Tourist Economy, panelists spoke to the impact of cuts in the budget but also to ways the shortfall can be made up in the region.

Alfredo Gonzalez, vice president of International Sales and Market Development for Visit Florida, says budget cuts will make it more difficult to reach out to potential tourists around the world, but said the state’s de facto tourism bureau will maintain strong partnerships overseas and domestically to ensure destinations in the Sunshine State won’t be overlooked. “Last year we had a $75 million budget,” Gonzalez said about Visit Florida during a keynote address. “If things don’t go well over the next couple days, that $75 million will drop to about $25 million. That will make things very difficult for us, but nothing is over. In 2010 we had $31 million and we still broke records.”

The Florida Legislature, which just concluded its regular session earlier this month, budgeted just $25 million for Visit Florida after Gov. Rick Scott requested $100 million. Gonzalez noted a new budget won’t go into effect until July, and, so far, Florida has seen tremendous visitation, with about 30.2 million visitors recorded coming into the state in the first quarter of 2017.

Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, says the Gulf Coast in particular boasts improving infrastructure, something that may set the area apart from built-out destinations like Miami and Orlando. With the impending opening of a diverging diamond at Interstate-75 and University Parkway, the exit that connects the highway and the airport, traffic issues should ease up for visitors and make for a better impression of the region. “Our airport infrastructure is in excellent shape,” he says. “This is a boutique community, and I look at the airport as a boutique airport. I tell people we are Whole Foods to Tampa’s Publix and Punta Gorda’s Save-A-Lot.” 

Elliot Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, notes how local marketing efforts have worked to complement exactly what visitors expect in the region as a destination, which is an improvement over past years when surveys showed most couldn’t place Anna Maria relative to Tampa, Sanibel or Key West. “Our brand is now penetrating against competitors really well, and that’s with the second smallest budget on the West Coast of Florida aside from Port Charlotte," says Falcione.

Jeffrey Mayers, general manager for The Resort at Longboat Key Club, made an appeal to SB2 goers to contact lawmakers and state leaders and let them know how vital Visit Florida funding remains for the region. But even absent that, he stressed the Gulf Coast still benefits from a tremendous environment and world-class amenities. “We have such great bones here as far as the beaches,” Mayers says. “Those of us who live here know the arts and culture and restaurants and community. These great surroundings will never change as long as we don’t lose sight of who we are.” 

Pictured: Alfredo Gonzalez. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Arts]  FASS Passes Million Dollar Milestone
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Raising and awarding $52,500 in scholarships for young artists this year, The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota (FASS) crossed a major giving threshold in bringing the accumulated sum of scholarship funds presented to a grand total of $1,011,760 and crossing the million dollar milestone. Dedicated to educating the community regarding Sarasota’s rich artistic history and the artists currently residing and working in the area, FASS has granted scholarships to students pursuing the arts since 1969.

“It certainly is amazing for a small group of people to be able to give that much,” says FASS President Vern Livingston Weitz of passing the million dollar milestone this year. FASS scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,000 a year per student, but undergraduate artists are permitted to reapply each year.

The organization also supports local artists through community education, programming and even purchasing work from area artists for a curated collection held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The collection provides a sort of historical view of Sarasota’s artistic contributions, says Weitz, and some paintings in the collection date back to the 1930s. But with a career in the arts being forever a risky endeavor, Weitz sees the scholarship offerings as one of the most important aspects of what FASS does for the community. “Sarasota is full of talent,” she says. “It’s important that [the students] get their opportunity to show who they are and what they can do.”

Awarding scholarships to 19 students in a ceremony yesterday where many of the young artists also performed, Weitz was blown away—and reassured of purpose. “We have never had such a talented group as we have this year,” she says, noting an exceptionally strong showing from the musical comedy crowd. “I can see them on Broadway in just a few years.” 

[Technology]  SMH Introduces Wayfinder App
Jasmine Respess, jasminer@srqme.com

Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s (SMH) new app, Wayfinder, will assist about 900,000 patients, as well as their families and loved ones, in finding their way in the 1.5 million-square-foot, 91-year-old hospital. Wayfinder, which was created by the Cleveland-based software company LogicJunction, implements a smartphone compass and the hospital’s magnetic footprint so that the GPS can be used indoors, and it also uses existing Wi-Fi beacons to increase accuracy. The app addresses the stress that many people face when attempting to navigate the hospital and is an addition to kiosk and hospitality employees who are there to guide. SMH will be the first US hospital with an app of this kind.

“Signage alone isn’t enough to help people navigate,” says Sarasota Memorial Chief Executive Officer David Verinder. He explains that when people visit the hospital, it is usually because there is a problem, which is anxiety inducing. The Wayfinder app will help alleviate any extra and unnecessary stress in a potentially already trying time.

The app features blue dot guidance that shows the user’s exact location on an animated path and plots the best route to their destination on an interactive map, using landmark references on each floor and automatic re-routing if they go off track or if an area or elevator is closed for maintenance. Location-based notifications offer information about the surroundings, such as cafeteria hours. “We hope the app will make a visit more pleasurable or at least less stressful,” Verinder says.

The app is meant to mirror GPS systems that are commonly used, such as Google Maps. “We want the app to be very usable,” says LogicJunction Director of Special Projects Tricia Mazzola. Verinder describes the app as another step towards superior patient care.

The app is available for free download in the app store now or at smh.com/smhwayfinder 

[Good Bite]  Brisket to Beat
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Having just opened this Tuesday, Sarasota foodies are already clamoring for more brisket from Brick’s Smoked Meats. Beginning with USDA Prime meat—the standard for any serious barbecue joint, says Brick’s Owner Mark Gabrick—the meat is trimmed and then only lightly seasoned with some salt and pepper before going into the smoker for anywhere from 14 to 20 hours, sometimes even longer. “The goal is to allow the meat to shine,” says Gabrick, “not mask it with sauce or seasoning.” Removing the brisket from the smoker, he wraps the meat in butcher paper and allows it to rest and reabsorb its juices before serving it up on a simple metal tray. With sides ranging from the traditional—potato salad, baked beans—to the twisty—pimento mac ‘n’ cheese, Lone Star caviar—Brick’s lets the food do the talking. 

Photo by Phil Lederer.

Brick's Smoked Meats, 1528 State St., Sarasota, 941-993-1435.

[Expansion]  Single Stream Recyclers to Bring 80 Jobs to Sarasota

A growing recycling company is expanding to Sarasota County, hiring 40 new employees later this year and ramping up to nearly 80 when it reaches capacity in 2018. At the same time, it will be recycling more materials that are now going into local landfills. Single Stream Recyclers is a private company that sorts, bales and ships paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastics, metal, glass and other recyclables from residential curbside and commercial recycling collection. It currently has a facility in Cocoa, Florida. Single stream recycling is a concept where residents put all of their recyclables in a single, large rolling cart. This is in contrast to the current collection for most residents who have small bins and must separate the paper goods from their containers. This method helps to increase participation within the population, therefore increasing recycling. The new facility will be located in Sarasota County at 3901 Orange Ave., in the greater Newtown area. It will be just under 100,000 square feet, which is substantially larger than the companies 63,750-square-foot facility in Brevard County. The larger size will increase efficiencies and double the capacity of Brevard plant by using state of the art recycling technologies, and will become one of the most advanced such facilities in the United States. 

Single Stream Recyclers

[Synergy]  Construction Company Presidents Launch Radio Show

Jack Cox, president of Halfacre Construction Company, and Jeff Charlotte, president of J.E. Charlotte Construction Corp., are launching Business Spotlights with Jack and Jeff, a weekly radio show that will broadcast on Sarasota News Radio’s 1320 AM, 1450 AM and 103.9 FM every Tuesday from noon–1pm. Business Spotlights with Jack and Jeff will focus on business and community topics affecting Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The inaugural show will air on Tuesday, May 30 with Dave Beesley and PJ Brooks from First Step of Sarasota and recovering former addict Justin Halas to discuss the heroin epidemic locally. The radio show’s June 6 show will highlight the state of Sarasota County Schools with BJ Ivey, Sarasota County’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, and Superintendent Todd Bowden. Future guests on Business Spotlights with Jack and Jeff include Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight, Manatee County Sheriff Ricky Wells, Mireya Eavey, Ron Dipillo, Mike Quillen, Troy Syprett, Michael Klauber and District 71 state House candidates Will Robinson and James Buchanan. Listeners can stream the audio online every Tuesday through the Sarasota News Radio website. Each show will also be archived on the website for podcasting after it has aired each week. 

Sarasota News Radio

[Recognition]  Jacobs Awarded Voice of Sarasota Award

Circus Arts Conservatory co-founder and performer Dolly Jacobs has been awarded the 2017 National Travel and Tourism Week Voice of Sarasota Award from Visit Sarasota County. Through her career as a performer to the work she does with the Conservatory to promote the circus arts, pass along those traditions and bring newcomers into the fold from around the country and the world, Visit Sarasota County has recognized the impact Jacobs has made on Sarasota county, not only with regards to its cultural reputation but also tangible tourist-related benefits. A star aerialist performer and veteran of multiple circuses, including the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Jacobs got her own start as a Sarasota native at the Sailor Circus Academy. 

Circus Arts Conservatory

"Rouge Totem" by Daniel Steiner. State of the Arts Gallery.

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Amazing Acts of the Greatest Show on Earth , May 19 – September 11

Explore the history of the Greatest Show On Earth, from the days of P.T. Barnum to the later partnership with the Ringling brothers, up to the contemporary shows from Feld Entertainment. The exhibition features original posters spanning the history of this singular brand, giving visitors the opportunity to marvel at a few of the amazing talents that have performed for the Greatest Show on Earth. Free with admission. For more information visit www.ringling.org.

The Ringling, 5401 Bayshore Rd., Sarasota

[WEEKEND]  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

[WEEKEND]  THEATER: Rich Girl , April 5 – May 26

Held at the Gompertz Theatre, Rich Girl by Victoria Stewart is a clever and contemporary comedy about women and their relationship to men, mothers and money. This play asks to consider two of the most important goals in life: love and money. 

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 North Palm Avenue

[WEEKEND]  THEATER: Dearly Departed , April 19 – May 27

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will have you “die laughing” in their delightful and heartwarming comedy about the dysfunctional Turpins who gather in their rural Southern home for the patriarch’s funeral. The family’s laugh-out-loud, zany antics may remind you of people you know, but are, hopefully, not your relatives. As replicated in the 2001 film version, Kingdom Come, starring Whoopi Goldberg and LL Cool J, family situations are seldom tidy, but often extremely funny. 

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe , 1343 Main St. Suite 402 Sarasota

[WEEKEND]  THEATER: Once on This Island , May 16 – May 21

From the Tony Award-winning songwriting team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (SeussicalRagtime) comes the Olivier Award-winning Once On This Island. This highly original and theatrical Caribbean adaptation of the popular fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” garnered eight Tony nominations for its Broadway run, including Best Musical, Book and Score. Directed by Brad Wages. Tickets: $24 for adults, $14 for college students, and $11 for children.

Venice Theatre , 140 W. Tampa Ave. Venice

[WEEKEND]  THEATER: Fences , May 4 – May 21

Winner of the Tony, Drama Desk, and Pulitzer, Fences is one of August Wilson’s most famous dramas. Troy Maxson, a former baseball player in the Negro Leagues now reduced to collecting trash, must deal with his wife and his headstrong football-player son when his past comes back to haunt him. Directed by Kristofer Geddie. Tickets: $27 for adults, $17 for college students, and $15 for children

Venice Theatre , 140 W. Tampa Ave. Venice

[WEEKEND]  MUSIC: Joy of Jazz at Centennial Park, Venice , May 21

Free concert at the Centennial Park Gazebo. Reschedule of concert from January 22 that was cancelled due to weather. Marc Mannino Sextet featuring vocalist Shari Morningstar, Pete Carney, George Mancini, John Miller and Bob Lunergan.

Co-sponsored by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation


Centennial Park , Centennial Park Gazebo, Venice Ave, Venice, FL

[WEEKEND]  FOOD: Men Who Cook & Brew , May 21, 6pm

This year's event will feature craft beer from local vendors, along with Sarasota and Bradenton's finest guest chefs who will prepare a dinner filled with their favorite recipes. The final fundraiser of Asolo Rep's 2016-17 season will also feature a raffle for gourmet cooking classes, awards for best table décor and “People’s Choice” best chef, live music, the parade of chefs and more. Individual tickets are $200 and are available online or by contacting the Asolo Rep Special Events Department.

Mattison's Bayside at the Van Wezel, 777 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota.

[SOON]  SPORTS: Golfing for our Veterans , May 25, 8:00am

At a shotgun start, you are playing for cause! All proceeds for The SRQ Beer Invitational go directly to SRQ Vets, a local foundation. There is a 4 man scarmble offered for $200. This includes golf, beer, cart, tip and meal provided at JDub's Brewing company. Single players are $50 each. For more information visit the SRQ Beer Invitational website.

Rolling Green Golf Club, 4501 North Tuttle Ave, Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bookstore1 Host Creepy Book Club , May 25, 11am

Thursday, May 25th at 11:00 am. Mysteries to Die For Book Club. Led by Elsie Souza. Meets at Bookstore1, 12 South Palm Avenue.  Elsie is our mystery guru and she always chooses intriguing books. This month it’s Little Face by Sophie Hannah. Little Face is a creepy, fast-paced psychological thriller about a mother’s worst nightmare, a missing child. Hannah is the author of The Wrong Mother and The Other Woman’s House. Purchase of the book at Bookstore1 required for participation. More event info at www.sarasotabooks.com or 941-365-7900

Bookstore1, 12 South Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: 10X10 Ten Slides Ten Speakers , May 25, 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm

The 10x10 events showcase and introduce a diverse group of leaders and creative minds from our community. A graphic designer, a chemist, two architects, a dancer, a writer, an editor, the director of the Sarasota Museum of Art, and the founder of the Community Within will be giving presentations at The Francis Thursday May 25. These 10 speakers are invited to present 10 images of their work, interest, or inspiration. Slides will advance automatically every 30 seconds with brief introductions between speakers.  Admission is $10 at the door to cover appetizers and room reservation.  A cash bar will be hosted by Louie’s Modern.  Please RSVP at 10slides10speakers to help us estimate the number of attendees.   

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

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Cuban Ballet End of Year Performance , May 27, 7pm

The Sarasota Cuban Ballet will present its annual end-of-year performance, Students will perform variations, pas de deux and ensemble pieces, with choreography by the SCBS staff. The public can come and see everything our dancers have learned throughout the year. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students 18 and under as well as $65 and over. Tickets can be purchase in advance by calling the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School from 2pm to 6pm or tickets can be purchased at the door for $30.  For more information please visit www.srqcubanballet.com

Booker High School, 3201 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: "Celebration of Color and Life" , May 31 – June 3

Art Uptown Gallery will be hosting "Celebration of Color and Life" at the Bird Key Yacht Club May 31- July 3. Arts featured will be: Kasia Bruniany, Jill Krasner, and Elisabeth Trostli. The show will primarily be made up of a collection of oil, acrylic, and digital paintings on canvas, in addition to a jewerly display by Jill Krasner. 

Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Dr. Sarasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: 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. 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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