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SRQ DAILY Jun 17, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Are commissioners asking for reports for accountability and productivity on staffing increases they have given in the past few years to see if those positions should be maintained?"

- Christine Robinson, The Argus Foundation

[Gulf Coast]  A Shared Roadmap for Our Region's Future
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

Today, we have more data than ever about our community and world. But how do we best make sense of it—how do we turn that barrage of information into actionable intelligence to benefit our region and residents? Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s latest regional scan is one approach.

Every few years, we analyze data and interview community leaders to better understand what’s happening in our region and what challenges we face. From there, Gulf Coast identifies regional priorities that we must address together to build a better future. For example, our last scan in 2013 led to initiatives to diversify our economy, improve the skills of our workforce and help homeless families find opportunity after the Great Recession.

What does our latest scan tell us? With our region earning individual accolades for things like “best beach,” grade-A schools and “top 10” retirement havens, you might think we’re doing just fine. In fact, we see challenges across the big picture. The strengths and assets we consider our greatest—our beautiful natural resources, reasonable cost of living, good schools and more—are at risk. Things like growth, diversity, technology, globalization and climate trends will have real impacts on our region, real soon.

But like Churchill said, there is opportunity in every difficulty. That’s why we use our scan to identify priorities for action. It’s also why we titled our report “Moving Forward Together.”

Together, we have vital opportunities to address chronic homelessness, improve foster care, stem the opioid crisis, provide mental health options and help young children read.

So how can you use our new report? For policymakers and other leaders, the data in our scan (and on its companion website, www.GulfCoastIndicators.org) say a lot about our community, but the voice of that data will only come from choosing to put it to use. For our nonprofit partners, you can see a variety of issues on our region’s horizon and how you can partner with Gulf Coast to address them. And for philanthropists and volunteers, you can learn more about areas where your help is needed most (and we can even connect you to them).

The economic cost of social issues and the resources dedicated to helping others in our region are substantial. And many of our most pressing needs are not new or unique; they are recurring issues and enduring enigmas. Now more than ever, we must establish new partnerships, pursue lasting solutions, and invest in people. When historian David McCullough spoke in Sarasota earlier this year, he stressed that data and information alone are not learning. So, let’s learn from this data and then use it, together, to move our region forward. 

Mark Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[Argus]  Budget Time Demands Accountability
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

“Wants” and “needs.” It is budget crunch time in local government. Budget workshops are happening now and the most important decisions about the future of our area gets decided during these workshops. These are happening at the county level and on the municipal level. Many are happening next week.

If you are concerned about taxes, projects, services, now is the time to participate. The formal final budget meetings in September are too late, there is little to no opportunity to change what has been worked on for the six months up to those final meetings. You need to voice your concerns and preferences now. These workshops are admittedly boring to watch, and monotonous at times. But they govern where we are going for the next year and beyond.

We should all tune in and watch to see if priorities are adhered to, to see if the plans we have all paid consultants millions of dollars for are actually taken off of the shelf and used in the decision-making process, to see if our elected leaders are questioning administration and using data to decide the requests for additional staffing. Are commissioners asking for reports for accountability and productivity on staffing increases they have given in the past few years to see if those positions should be maintained?

Many local governments produced department master plans last year. Are those plans being specifically used in decision-making for new projects and services?

The most important question is, are we going to prioritize “wants” and “needs” and make funding decisions with health, safety, and welfare being our quality of life beacon? No doubt, “wants” are important to quality of life here, our ability to provide “wants” make Sarasota County the special place it is. But we need to make sure we focus on funding the “needs” first, remembering the lessons from the recession and that growing government because you can is not necessarily the best way to provide a great quality of life.

These workshops are full of recommendations from staff and many times reflect staff priorities. As you watch, ask yourself, are commissioners making sure their budget decisions are data-based, plan-driven, justified, and efficient?

If there is any time to watch local government, it is now. Tune in, write in and make sure you observe your local government in action. These days are the ones you will be able to point back to next year when you decide whether your “needs” are being met.

Christine Robinson is executive director for The Argus Foundation. 

[Education]  Enduring Strength
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

My husband and I visited The Ringling Museum of Art to preview its newest temporary art exhibit, Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I was fascinated as I walked through the gallery learning about the various pieces, many of them ornate vessels that exemplify the creativity of its designers, the technological advances of that time period (5th Century BCE), and the enduring strength of the bronze metal itself. As I immersed myself in learning as much as I could about Chinese ritual bronzes, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to the 20 students we recently recognized at the Most Improved Student Luncheon.

The Most Improved Student awards program was established by Jack and B.J. Hunkele in 1998 to celebrate the achievements of students often unrecognized. Hosted by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County in partnership with Sarasota County Schools and Northern Trust, the annual event recognizes students who have made significant turnarounds in their lives, demonstrated community involvement, shown potential for service as role models to others, remained drug-free and are on the pathway to pursue a post-secondary education.

Educational attainment is much more than academic achievement alone and hearing the compelling stories and personal journeys of each of these 20 students validated that the pathway each student takes is as individual as the child. These students are uniquely and wonderfully made and they demonstrated the enduring strength to persevere through serious illness, a parent’s death, loss of home, language barriers, personal disabilities, family tragedies and much more. Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states “when you keep searching for ways to change your situation for the better, you stand a chance of finding them.” Sasha, Madeline, Harrison, Brian, Briana, Joey, Corey, Maria, Courtney, Markus, Jacob, Kevin, James, Josh, Stephanie, Rosemon, Dimeonanna, Jorge, Tyler and Sheila committed themselves to such a search and in doing so not only inspired the attendees but also affirmed that they, too, are ornate vessels—precious, valuable pieces of art built with the enduring strength to stand the test of time.

As one student commented, “I may have a sad chapter but I’m not a sad story.” Indeed, each of these students has a compelling story of achievement and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County is honored to recognize them for unlocking their potential. As Angela Duckworth reminds us, “our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[From Chris Laney]  Students Prep for Success with Career Academy
Chris Laney

For many students, a summer is a time to unwind, relax and hang with their friends. However, for a select few students, they’ve decided to work towards earning the skills to be successful after high school. Last Monday, CareerSource Suncoast kicked off its Career Academy, a five-week pre-college and career experience where students not only learn employability skills like interviewing and resume building but soft skills such as leadership development, communication, conflict management and personal branding. Thirty-five students were selected from an application pool of over 150 applications in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.

It’s not enough to teach students how to build resumes and interview well. We need to provide them with the opportunity to understand themselves as a brand and develop the skills necessary to be successful. Employers on the Suncoast are constantly telling me how our graduates whether high school or college do not have the soft skills necessary to be successful in the business environment. Our goal is to provide instruction that’s far more valuable then job obtainment. The first week was titled “Foundations” because we believe it’s the foundation for any professional successful story. Valeria, a 12th grader from Sarasota Military Academy, said this week, “I’ve learned more this week preparing for life then the last few years of high school.”

We have incredible school systems in both Manatee and Sarasota counties with outstanding higher education institutions. At CareerSource Suncoast, we believe we’re filling the gap between the instruction students receive during their K12 and college experiences, and what skills are needed to not only reach job obtainment but job retention.  

Over the next four weeks, students will utilize their skills developed in the first week as they create a business concept and presentation for leaders in our community. As teams, they develop their project while learning the basics of business finances, marketing, and human resources. In addition, students will visits over a dozen employers on the Suncoast including Design Concepts, SAFRAN, Adams Group, PGT, Tervis, Feld Entertainment, Plymouth Harbor, SouthTech, Voalte and ShareCare just to name a few.

At the end of the five-week experience, students will earn college credit from State College of Florida along with a First Aid Certification, and an opportunity to receive scholarships from CareerSource Suncoast. These students spend years asking to go to the bathroom, now they’re required to make $50,000 purchasing decisions like going to college or what career they’re interested in. We believe the Career Academy is preparing these students for success.

Chris Laney is director of Education & Community Investment at CareerSource Suncoast. 

[From Tony Stanol]  We're Throttling Back More
Tony Stanol

Maybe turning 60 causes introspection. Maybe I’m more attuned to how to better take care of myself. But I’m seeing the convergence of a lot of trends, which you could roll up and label “Throttling Back”.

Here’s the evidence.

1. Sleep More: Healthcare experts, article, fitness gurus and news reports suggest that getting plenty of sleep is a key to longevity, less stress and of course, feeling less tired. This is antithetical to the go-go ‘80s and humble bragging about getting by on a few hours of sleep.

President Trump is reported to sleep only four to five hours a night. Good for him. I’ll stick to my preferred eight hours. On other thing: please don’t sleep shame me just because you sleep fewer hours than me or I’m not up when you are.

2. Meditation: Many of those same experts and news sources report an uptick of mindful meditation practitioners. It supposedly has similar benefits to getting the proper amount of sleep. I myself meditate 10-15 minutes several times a week. I heard someone compare it to defragging a computer and I like that analogy. It certainly clears the head and calms you for what you face next.

3. Breathing: Who has to be told to breathe? Now there is a body of evidence that proper breathing, taking cleansing deep breaths and practicing breath holds also contributes to lowering of blood pressure and increased energy. The breath is one way the body eliminates toxins along with sweating and excretion. Performers and athletes have known the value of controlled breathing for some time. I practice breath holds when I take my morning walk or bike ride. The rest of the day I definitely have greater lung capacity.

4. The Law Of Attraction: This tells us not to be so hard on ourselves. Stressing over something, worrying about it and expecting the worst seems to attract that which we’re trying to avoid. Instead, expect a positive outcome and good things happen because you’re open and more receptive. It’s the path of least resistance. The vortex and vibrations talk around this topic sounds kind of woo woo to me. But I’ve tried expecting positive results instead of negative several times this year with business deals and they seemed to magically happen in my favor.

I’m going to keep practicing this.

5. Work/Life Balance: As a Baby Boomer, my work ethic did not contain the phrase work/life balance. But I started hearing this a lot in my executive recruiting business from millennial age candidates some 10 years ago. One of them took a year off from work to chill and called it her “radical sabbatical.” When she was ready to re-enter the workforce I placed her at an ad agency where she stayed for several years. It was a place where the CEO also subscribes to that balance.

6. Forget No Pain No Gain: My yoga instructor, Lynn Burgess from Yoga From the Heart, came back from a conference in New England recently where she was advised not to push so hard. One of the advanced yogis was actually offered a chair in class because she had some difficulty with a pose. Another example is popular fitness trainer Ben Greenfield who has competed in Ironman triathlons, bodybuilding, Spartan races and other extreme sports events for years. On a recent podcast, he announced that he, too, is planning to throttle back to more leisurely endeavors such as bow hunting. And he’s not yet 40!

Chances are, we’re going to see a lot more throttling back as time goes on. It’s time to sit back and relax.

Don’t worry, be happy and all that.

Tony Stanol is a former advertising executive-turned-executive recruiter in the advertising industry. He writes feature articles and performs on the improv team Early Bird Special. 

[[SCOOP]]  International Day of Yoga at Selby Garden

Calling all yogis! Celebrate International Day of Yoga at Selby Gardens on Saturday, June 24th. Yogis of all ages and levels, studios and instructors are warmly welcomed. Head to the gardens with 10 of your yogi friends and at least one newbie at 8am to register for an 8:30am hour-long yoga session with DJ Neon Tiger mixing the tunes. This free donation-based yoga experience will benefit Selby Gardens and after you’re done with your downward dogs and warrior poses, participants will have free access to the gardens. 

Pineapple Yoga Studio

[[SCOOP]]  FST's Extends Summer Production of Burt and Me

The sweet sounds of Summer continue to sing from the stage with Florida Studio Theatre's Summer Mainstage production of Burt & MeDue to popular demand, FST has added additional performances, for even more Burt Bacharach and Hal David fans to enjoy on June 21, 23 and 25. With the growing excitement and enthusiasm seen from audiences, Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins comments on the decision to add performances, giving theatre goers even more chances to sing along to these sweet summer melodies. “The production reflected such strong audience response that there was no alternative but to add more performances. I’m delighted to be running for a fourth week. It’s a testament to the excellent performances and musicality of the cast and a band. It’s also a testament to the music of Burt Bacharach.” Whether you are an actor on stage, or an audience member in the seats, Burt & Me is proving to be a night of summer fun and joyful celebration featuring songs such as “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “I Say A Little Prayer,” and “Wishin' and Hopin'. 

Florida Studio Theatre

[KUDOS ]  Gulfcoast South AHEC Honors Awardees at Inaugural HEAL Awards

Gulfcoast South Area Health Education Center (GSAHEC) held its first annual HEAL awards to celebrate the organizations work in health education, advocacy and leadership at Michael’s Wine Cellar on June 8. Heidi Godman, host of Health Check on WSRQ 106.9 FM and 1220 AM received the Mission Possible award for her work in promoting health education and GSAHEC’s mission through public media, personal and professional contacts. Dr. Kirk Voelker, Director of Clinical Research at Sarasota Memorial Hospital was also recognized for his work and dedication to GSAHEC’s goals. SRQ Magazine’s Executive Publisher, Wes Roberts emceed the evening centered around the organization’s mission to provide health education that improves the well-being of the community.

Photo Credit: Cliff Roles  


[[KUDOS]]  SMH Named Center of Excellence for Hip and Knee Replacement

Sarasota Memorial Hospital has been named a Center of Excellence for hip and knee replacement by DNV-GL Healthcare USA, Inc., one of the nation's leading hospital accrediting organizations. The prestigious certification recognizes the hospital's excellence in orthopedic surgery within the scope of hip and knee replacement and related procedures. The certification process included a recent site visit from a DNV surveyor and comprehensive review of Sarasota Memorial’s procedures, quality indicators and patient outcomes ranging from mortality and readmission rates to prevention of surgical infections and complications. “Our highly trained orthopedic staff and specialists are dedicated to providing the most advanced, exceptional care to patients, and this designation demonstrates the team's commitment to meeting the highest standards for quality,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder. To earn the designation, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with DNV standards and guidelines of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons. The certification is valid for three years, although hospitals must undergo an on-site survey annually to maintain the designation. Sarasota Memorial’s Total Joint Center offers the latest surgical and nonsurgical treatments, earning quality rankings that consistently place the program among the nation’s best. 

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System

[[SCOOP]]  Goodwill Launches Kindness at Work Speaker Series

In 2016, Goodwill Manasota partnered with the previous mayor of North Port, Jacqueline Moore, to launch a community-wide campaign called Kindness Community. The effort was designed to make a positive impact by bringing the community together and encouraging acts of kindness. More than 10,000 people have signed the Kindness Pledge. To enhance the effort, Goodwill has engaged leaders in the local business community to share their experiences at work and beyond, to make our community a better place through a speaking series. The talks will take place monthly throughout the summer with three speakers at each event. Tickets are $20/person or $150 for tables of six with lunch included. The first talk will be held on June 23 at the Goodwill Corporate Campus in Bradenton, speakers will include; Jaime DiDomenico of Cool Today/Plumbing Today, Brian West from Publix, and Margarita Valenzula of Culver's.  

Experience Goodwill

[[SCOOP]]  Summer at Selby Gardens

Stay cool at Selby Gardens as the summer heats up. Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams continues through July along with related music and children's activities. Splashin' Saturdays returns with watery fun for the kids and Garden Music Series offers up a Turkish delight. There will also be beginners watercolor classes and entries are now being accepted through August 3 for their annual photography competition. Selby has fun summer activities for all ages and offers a delightful and engaging environment for the whole family.  

Marie Selby Selby Botanical Gardens

[[SCOOP]]  City Commission Moves Toward Supporting 100 Percent Renewable Energy Pledge

The City Commission unanimously authorized proceeding to join the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign to transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources. With community input, staff will draft a resolution calling for City of Sarasota municipal operations to be powered by renewable energy sources by 2030.  A community-wide target to convert to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 also will be included.  The City Commission is scheduled to give final approval to the resolution during its next regular meeting on June 19. Environmental preservation and sustainability are top priorities in the City Commission’s 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, including establishing a climate adaptation plan and supporting renewable energy generation within City operations. "Signing on to “Ready for 100” will solidify Sarasota's commitment to sustainability and to implementing concrete, local solutions that decrease our carbon emissions,” said Stevie Freeman-Montes, Sustainability Manager.  “It will provide structure for the City to look seriously at how we can transition our community to 100 percent clean energy.  We look forward to working with community members to identify strategies to reach this ambitious goal.” 

Sarasota Government

[[SCOOP]]  Adopt A Team

Embracing Our Differences and the 2017 World Rowing Championships partnered on a new initiative called Adopt a Team. Students at 39 schools throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties have spent the past two months creating artwork that represents 54 of the countries participating in this year's World Rowing Championships. Billboard–sized enlargements of the students’ art will be displayed at the competitive event this September. “Embracing Our Differences uses the transformational power of art to create awareness and promote diversity,” says Michael Shelton, executive director of Embracing Our Differences. “Thanks to this initiative, students learned about diverse cultures, religions and experiences; in the process, they became a vital part of the larger global community. It’s a natural extension of our core mission.” He adds that student artists will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from participating countries during the 2017 World Rowing Championships. An estimated 40,000 spectators and 1,700 athletes will see these Billboard-sized enlargements of the students’ art on the grounds of the athletic event this September in Sarasota. 

Embracing Our Differences

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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