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SRQ DAILY Jun 3, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"All of this transportation planning is not only important for our residents but also for businesses, especially those with service trucks on the road."

- Mary Dougherty, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

[Community]  Embracing Differences, Celebrating Similarities
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

I recently had the privilege of joining a diverse group of 20 leaders and representatives from our community on an inspiring yet humbling trip to Israel. The Interfaith Community Leader Mission, organized by the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, took us on a terrific journey to explore the incredible history of Israel as well as experience it in the modern day to understand the importance of the land, culture, people and economy while incorporating the perspective of the world’s three predominant monotheistic faiths represented: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.    

The itinerary included a tour of the Old City in Jerusalem, a visit to Masada on the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea, hiking through Ein Gedi and its waterfalls that lay amongst the desert, visiting Northern Israel and the various Christian landmarks on the Sea of Galilee, and a poignant experience at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

It was incredibly moving to see the numerous ties Sarasota shares with Israel, as we visited Tel Mond, one of our Sister Cities and one that is strongly supported by our chapter of the Jewish Federation. I was particularly moved to witness first-hand the global reach of Betty Schoenbaum’s philanthropy as we saw the Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Library, which opens its doors to students of the region. We also met with business and educational leaders to share ideas and discuss the impact we are each making in our own communities. The universal commitment to making the lives of people in our communities better was shared amongst all in the room.

Attending an Embracing Our Differences – Israel opening reception in Tel Aviv showcased additional connections between Sarasota and Israel with its support by the our local Embracing Our Differences nonprofit and the Jewish Federation. In its fourth year, it is growing and highlights Arab, Jewish and Christian student artists, sponsored by the Daniel Centers, founded by Sarasotan Gerry Daniel. Visiting Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem highlighted efforts by this network of schools in Israel to understand each other better as it brings together Jewish, Muslims and Christian students in a school where each classroom is staffed by an Arab and Jewish teacher, speaking Hebrew and Arabic.

As I continue to process all I experienced and learned on the trip, I kept coming back to a philosophy former South African Ambassador James Joseph, a dear friend of the Community Foundation, has shared:  “I want to be me without making it difficult for you to be you.”  

At our Foundation, we believe each of us has the potential to impact another person, a cause a community.  As we value each other and search for ways to move our community forward, the ability for each of us to use all our influences for what we are passionate about will continue to make Sarasota even stronger and more vibrant. Ambassador Joseph also notes the ‘variety of capital’ we all possess for positive change, as I paraphrase:        

  • Social:  tapping into our networks to connect;
  • Moral:  being true to our values;
  • Intellectual:  using our smarts to problem solve;
  • Reputational:  utilizing our character and creditability;
  • Financial:  drawing on our monetary resources.

Witnessing the efforts happening in Israel to understand each other better, asking and listening, and the critical role of relationship building gives me hope for a brighter future in a complex and complicated local and international world. As we go about our lives, take some time to reflect and recognize the opportunities you have to use your ‘capital’ to encourage positive change to make our community and beyond even stronger. As always, thank you for being the one to make a difference.

Roxie Jerde is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[GCBX]  Diverging Diamond Sparkles
Mary Dougherty

By now, I’ve driven through our new diverging diamond at University Parkway and Interstate-75 about 30 times. Only once have I been among the first drivers at the light just before the diamond actually diverges, and it is at that point that you realize how truly innovative the design is. As I passed by other drivers stopped at the light on the other side but aimed directly at me, I realized how extraordinary it is that this intricate road system opened and continues to operate pretty much without a hitch.

But to really appreciate it, you have to go back in time just a bit. My time here dates back to the days when I-75 was being built around 1981. Honore Avenue was a dirt road, and only cows and farmland greeted the brave souls that ventured northeast of University. Since that undertaking, the diverging diamond is one of the largest projects I’ve seen. We have certainly experienced a huge transformation in our region that continues as hundreds of thousands of people move here each year.

Located between Manatee and Sarasota counties, Florida’s first diverging diamond opened on May 21—ahead of schedule and after a major rain storm. Other than some minor inconveniences when the exit lanes would change, for such a large construction project, it really went quite well. There were no major holdups or hazardous debris for drivers. With the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange offices located right off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, I’ve personally driven through the construction, and while there were some interesting moments, it’s been pretty cool to witness this massive conversion.

It was with great pride that I witnessed our new infrastructure going in, knowing that it took an enormous collaborative effort that will benefit drivers, tourists and residents for many years to come. The project is a testament to both the Manatee County and Sarasota County Commissions who partnered on this $74.5-million federally funded project. State Sen. Greg Steube and Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh lobbied fiercely for this initiative in Tallahassee, and I would definitely call this as a major win for our region.

It was also a success because it provided so many construction jobs—around 750 total.

The largest in the U.S., this diverging diamond will become a model for others in the state—with more to be developed at intersections throughout Florida. All of this transportation planning is not only important for our residents but also for businesses, especially those with service trucks on the road. Patrons to these businesses expect services prompt and on time. No one likes waiting around for a late A/C or plumbing contractor, after all.

There is not, nor should there be, a stop sign at the border for those hundreds of thousands of people flocking to Florida each year. As a proactive and forward-thinking community, it is crucial to provide infrastructure like this to support our growth. Think about that the next time you diverge on our new diamond. Oh—and also, please stay in your lane!

Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. 

[From Ray Iturrino]  Online Voting Anti-venom for Corruption
Ray Iturrino

I really do feel that voting the conventional way is outdated as of 1990, eith the younger generation being the most connected via electronics and those over 70 not knowing how to use these gadgets. If you those in their 20s to 40s to have better turnout, speeding up the lines won't do it. Someone needs to come up with online voting, or maybe an incentive such as a voucher for 50 bucks in free food or a 2-percent savings on property tax or something. In this age where everyone gets a medal or a trophy, win or lose, there are no longer plain lines cut into the sands of generations. Everyone wants something back. We all give and give but get nowhere because those that take, they take all. It’s worse than vultures picking bones clean. There's no better way to attract the youth than to make voting done without having to interact with the same people they want to separate from. I’m in my mid 40s and I’m even tired of all the government. We need to be a county of change even if online voting ends with local elections. Then maybe it will spread to state, then federal, like an anti-venom surging through SRQ’s veins. Maybe then we can neutralize the venom of corruption and the swelling of bad choices in this county.

Ray Itturino, Sarasota County. 

[From Claire Morda]  Fighting Heroin Needs New Approaches
Claire Morda

After reading your article on heroin in our area and the vague promise of combating it, I was left to wonder: almost all heroin in this country is used by white people who find it cheaper than opioids. In this article, it's mostly about money to "fight the spread" of drugs in the area. Perhaps the post office can stop fentanyl coming in from China, perhaps not—or there will be other ways of getting it. 

When are the doctors who liberally write scripts for opioids going to be charged? Studies across the country have shown that prescriptions are written in such abundance that it works out to an average of hundreds of pills per person in the county or state. 

The entire country is under siege from this scourge but since it's a white epidemic, we are greeting it with Naloxone, rather than the prison sentences historically given to blacks. And what doctor has had his license revoked or been sent to jail for over-prescribing opioids? It's almost always the user who is guilty and seldom the distributor. 

Yes, we can use the federal funds, but the thinking has to change to stop this plague; jail or saving a life here and there are not the response we need.

Claire Morda, Sarasota. 

[[SCOOP]]  Goodwill, ITN Work to Assist Seniors in the Community

Two organizations that work to help seniors in our community are teaming up. The Independent Transportation Network (ITN) will soon have more resources to support its mission to help seniors thanks to Goodwill Manasota, which is providing office space at its Honore location in Sarasota at a very low cost. Goodwill Manasota’s core mission is to help those with barriers to employment, including seniors who are entering or reentering the workplace, to find work. ITN provides a community-based and community supported quality transportation service for seniors. ITN helps older adults to retain their freedom and dignity by providing a wide range of amenities such as 24/7 availability, no limitations on ride purpose, private automobiles driven by trained drivers, and discounts if the rider applies to share a ride or gives advanced notice. 

Experience Goodwill

[[SCOOP]]  To Inform Families First

To Inform Families First (TIFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting emergency contact registration lead by Christine Olson, the mother of a young woman killed in a traffic accident in 2005. Christine did not learn that her daughter had died until more than 6 hours after the accident and has since dedicated her efforts to design an emergency contact database system that allows law enforcement officers to instantly retrieve information needed to notify loved ones in the event of an emergency. Over 13,000,000 individuals have registered in Florida alone, with 11 different states following suit. This Emergency Contact Information program is a highly effective way to enhance the lives of people, by providing contact information to law enforcement officers during critical emergencies, when every second counts. 

TIFFS Initiative

[[KUDOS]]  Local Company Celebrates 25 Years in Business

Curlie Joe’s, Inc. celebrated its silver anniversary marking 25 years in business. The family owned and operated company, which specializes in dumpster rental, demolition and trash clean-up, serves Manatee and Sarasota counties and has been featured on the TLC show, Hoarding: Buried Alive. Brad Latham and his wife Cynthia formed Curlie Joe’s, Inc. after seeing a need for dumpster rental and trash cleanup for commercial construction companies. The couple resides in Bradenton with their four children, ages 11 through 15: Grant, Hallie, Kendall and Trace. In 2005, in response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, Latham and a team traveled to Mississippi with the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief to volunteer their time and services in Mississippi. Latham and his crew were some of the first to arrive in Hattiesburg, and they stayed for a week working non-stop to provide aid. Curlie Joe’s, Inc. services include demolition, site cleanup and concrete removal in addition to dumpster rentals. 

Curly Joes

[[KUDOS]]  Manatee Memorial Hospitals Wound Care and Hyperbaric Treatment Program Receives National Awards

Leaders, physicians and clinicians from Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Treatment Program gathered together to celebrate the program’s receipt of the seventh consecutive Center of Distinction Award and the sixth consecutive Robert A. Warriner III Center of Excellence Award from the Healogics. Healogics is the nation’s largest wound care management company for highest level of quality standards and achieving patient satisfaction rates higher than 92 percent, a healing rate of at least 91 percent in less than 31 median days along with several other quality standards. Across the country, 334 Centers were eligible and 169 Centers were honored with this award in 2017. 

Manatee Memorial Hospital

[[SCOOP]]  Child Protection Center Receives $10,000 Grant

The Child Protection Center (CPC) was recently awarded $10,000 courtesy of the Jerome and Mildred Paddock Foundation. This grant will provide assistance for the Child Protection Team and medical exams. Each medical exam costs CPC $500 and with this grant, CPC will be able to now provide 20 medical exams for victims of child abuse. 

The Child Protection Center

[[SCOOP]]  Homeschooling Cooperative Donates Books to Goodwill Program

Recently, Goodwill Manasota received a generous donation of more than 200 children’s books from the Sarasota Cooperative Learning Project (SCLP) to fortify the Goodwill Good Readers Program. The Goodwill Good Readers are volunteers who read to students at area Title I schools and then present each child with a book to take home. Since 2013, the Good Readers have read to more than 400 students at Alta Vista Elementary School in Sarasota and have also read and given books to students at The Visible Men Academy in Bradenton. The Goodwill Foundation welcomed the opportunity to forge a new partnership with this community organization in order to support literacy efforts at area schools. 

Experience Goodwill

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. 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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