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SRQ DAILY Jun 29, 2017

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"We've got the fantastic beach, but we're not limited to being a beach town."

- Virginia Haley, Visit Sarasota County

[Real Estate]  WalletHub: Sarasota Among Best Beach Towns
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A new WalletHub report released Wednesday ranks Sarasota as one of the best beach towns in which to live in the country, another superlative helping mark the Siesta shores as a magnet for the world’s positive attention. 

The report looked at 227 beachfront communities throughout the nation. Sarasota would appear to be the only Sarasota or Manatee county community ranked, but Florida as a whole scored remarkably well in WalletHub’s rankings, which listed eight Florida jurisdictions in the top 15 communities scores. Sarasota ranked No. 12. Naples and Key West took the No. 1 and 2 slots respectively.

“It makes sense since we do have a good quality of life here,” says Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County. “It shows the value of some of the early rankings that we pushed really hard. It seems to snowball as more people recognize what assets we have.” 

Indeed, Sarasota seemed to benefit in the report chiefly for its “Quality of Life” score, which ranked at No. 3 among beach towns, behind only Naples and St. Augustine and just ahead of Santa Monica, CA, Key West and Miami Beach. Sarasota also scored respectably in “Affordability (ranked No. 40) and “Education & Health” (ranked No. 55). Notably, the report also called out Sarasota for its high number of nightlife establishments, restaurants and coffee shops per capita.

Realtors say the report jives with how buyers treat the region. “No doubt about it, for people of affluence considering a vacation home or a place to retire, Sarasota is on everybody’s radar,” says Michael Moulton, a Michael Saunders & Company agent specializing in luxury homes. He noted that this area also suffers less storm risk than other parts of Florida. 

And both Moulton and Haley noted the cultural resources in the region help set Sarasota apart as a destination. “The beach is the component that gets people here to start with a couple weeks vacation, then they find out how beautiful the area is and that we have these cultural arts and they want to live here,” Moulton says.

Haley says the vibrant community ultimately helps Sarasota make a lasting impression. “As far as fantastic beach communities, I can think of a lot of places—I won’t name them—where they are great but I can’t imagine living there year-round,” she says. “We’ve got the fantastic beach, but we’re not limited to being a beach town.” 

[Ryan Flies]  From the Cockpit Part 26: Robinson R44
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Editor’s Note: This is part 26 of an ongoing series documenting the flights of active-duty US Navy Pilot Ryan Rankin on his journey to fly 52 planes in 52 weeks through the year 2017.

Rankin returns to Jack Edwards National Airport in Gulf Shores, AL this week, taking another stab behind the controls of a Robinson helicopter—the R44. He flew the Robinson R22 a few weeks back with the folks from Trojan Aviation (From the Cockpit Part 22), meeting the challenge head-on and making his first attempt at a successful helicopter hover, but this week lifts off with Erick Constantino of Lost Bay Helicopters to tackle its big brother.

Though made by the same manufacturer and retaining a similar look, the machines proved to be rather different flying experiences, says Rankin, with the R44 ultimately winning him over. “It’s definitely a more stable platform,” he says. Some of this is to be expected with the R44’s increased size (the R44 seats four as opposed to the R22’s two), but Rankin also highlights the addition of hydraulic-assisted flight controls and a reversal of the tail rotor direction. With much of piloting, especially helicopter piloting, being a balance of multidirectional forces, pinpointing how each affects the end result can be tricky, but behind the controls Rankin knows it just “felt easier.”

Rankin’s not alone in his assessment. Introduced in 1993, the R44 became the best-selling general aviation helicopter in 1999 and has held the title since. With more than 5,800 produced, it remains the most-produced general aviation aircraft of the 21st century, which includes airplanes.

Taking off with Constantino, Rankin again finds himself in friendly company. A Force Reconnaissance Marine, Constantino understands the service in his own way and the two fall into easy conversation. And as a Force Reconnaissance Marine, most of Constantino’s experience involves jumping out the back of a helicopter heavily armed. He figured he should know a little more about flying the machines he was operating out of, ultimately getting his pilot’s license and helping found Lost Bay.

Flying out over the Florida Panhandle, Rankin and Constantino soar for a bit before practicing hovering. Official guestimates offer nine hours as the time needed to become proficient in hovering a helicopter. Rankin has had considerably less, but feels like he’s getting the hang of it. “I knew what to expect and roughly what to do,” he says. It’s a matter of getting into the zone—that place where muscle memory, knowledge and intuition roll into one—and mastering the minute movements required while still keeping track of all the different forces at play. Rankin can hardly find the words. “You just have to feel the helicopter,” he says. “You get this feeling, and you know.”

For more about the flight in Rankin's own words and a video of the flight, follow the link below. 

Pictured: Ryan Rankin and Erick Constantino fly the Robinson R44. Photo courtesy of Ryan Rankin.

Ryan Flies

[Daily Shop]  Eye Spy
Shelby Schwartz, shelbys@srqme.com

When entering Ioptics it becomes clear that they combine sight with style, filling the room with little vignettes of conservative and offbeat frames. Veering away from the traditional and embracing different elements of quirky, a pair of Walter Wissing frames, handmade in Germany, steals the show. Walter Wissing specializes in making quality custom plastic frames proving this pair is truly one of a kind. Charmingly unconventional, the glasses are made up of square and circle lenses as well as different patters for the frame and arms. Whether an everyday pair or just for special occasions, these frames will catch everyone’s eye. Enjoy for $400.  

Photo by Shelby Schwartz.

Ioptics, 446 Burns Ct., Sarasota, 941-955-5133.

[The Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant]  Lobster, Grouper and Crab Oh My!
Phoebe Ray

Natives of the Pine Tree State know there’s nothing better in the heart of summer than Maine lobster steamed right out of the ocean and served piping hot with creamy, melted butter. Thankfully, the crew at The Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant gets it. Starting tomorrow, Chef Brian Lovesky will be rolling out delectable seafood specialties worth celebrating this Fourth of July. Not interested in seafood? The Crow’s Nest has you covered - also cooking up savory St. Louis Style BBQ Ribs. For those with a sweet tooth, a homemade Georgia Peach Cobbler calls your name. So run, don’t walk to Crow’s Nest Marina Restaurant this holiday weekend and catch them before they’re gone.

Photo courtesy of The Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant

The Crow's Nest is a member of Nosh, the SRQ magazine content marketing program for local restaurants. 


The Crow's Nest, 1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice, 941-484-9551

The Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant

[Recognition ]  Sarasota County School District Earns A grade Again

The Sarasota County School District has earned another A grade for 2016-17 and is one of only two of the state’s 67 districts to have earned an A every year since grading began in 2004. School and district grades were released today by the Florida Department of Education. The district is graded on 11 different criteria, including test scores in language arts, math, science and social studies, the graduation rate and the number of students in middle and high school that take accelerated and advanced course work. Those areas have been a focus, particularly on the success and learning gains of the students who score in the lowest 25 percent of the test results. This year, the district’s FSA scores were well above state averages at all grade levels, and the percentage of students who were proficient in English language arts and math increased at nearly all grade levels. 

Sarasota County School District

[Expansion]  Bows and Arrows Boutique Grand Opening Event

After four years, locally owned and operated Bows and Arrows Boutique will open the company's first brick and mortar location in the Market at UTC, the store's grand opening event will take place this Saturday from 10am to 7pm. Husband-and-wife team Matt Sluizer and Chelsea Havelka are both Florida State alums and Seminole football fans. Havelka began selling fashionable FSU and UF fan-wear online in late 2013. They were inspired by the team's 2013-14 national championship season. Havelka had always been disappointed in how difficult it was for female fans to find fashion-forward team gear. She decided to start a company that offered fashionable collegiate apparel, fair pricing, great service, accurate online sizing information, lighting fast turnaround on shipping and no hassle returns. For their new store, the couple has added regular fashion apparel while remembering their collegiate roots and are excited to bring Bows and Arrows Boutique to booming UTC. At the opening, every attendee will be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card and set of Bourbon and Boweties Bangles (no purchase necessary). Those who attend will also enjoy 25 percent off all licensed collegiate apparel and a complimentary glass of champagne for anyone over 21 years of age.  

Bows and Arrows

[Exec Moves]  Re/Max Alliance Hires Realtor and Broker Associate

RE/MAX Alliance Group offers residential and commercial real estate solutions throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, with offices in Sarasota, Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, University Park, Venice, Siesta Key and Englewood. Realtor Janet O'Leary has joined the Sarasota office of RE/MAX Alliance Group. O’Leary previously worked with Wagner Realty, where she earned the Rising Star award. O'Leary specializes in second homes and condominiums. Her attention to detail, interior design background, and attentiveness to her clients' needs and goals help provide a rewarding real estate experience. A New York native, O'Leary and her husband maintain homes in Sarasota and Buffalo. O’Leary has a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Constantine "Costa" Stratos has joined RE/MAX Alliance Group as a broker-associate in the Siesta Key office. He has 10 years of local real estate experience, specializing in residential and commercial properties in Sarasota, Siesta Key and the barrier islands. Stratos was a gift shop owner on Captiva Island and a longtime Florida resident.  

RE/MAX Alliance Group

[Synergy ]  Boys & Girls Clubs Receives Five-Year Grant for Newtown

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County was recently awarded a grant from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to provide high-quality after-school and summer programs to hundreds of children in the Newtown community through 2022. This five-year, $435,170 award will give Newtown Estates Park Boys & Girls Club members access to programs to help them succeed in school, become leaders and live healthy lifestyles. The Newtown Estates Park Boys & Girls Club, located at 2800 Newtown Boulevard, was created in 2015 with funding from the Barancik Foundation and in partnership with the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources after the North Sarasota County Public Library and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office approached the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County with a great need for positive youth development programming in the Newtown community. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County has played an integral role in the Sarasota County community for more than 46 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. 

Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Nocturnal Melodies , May 25 – June 30

Nocturnal Melodies is a multimedia group exhibition featuring the fairy tale narratives of four artists: Nathan Freda, Sooky Kim, Yanuary Narravo and Cheryl Webber (Jujmo)

Art Center Sarasota , 707 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[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]  PERFORMANCE: Naming True , June 2 – July 2

Amy, a transgender teenage girl from Seattle, and Nell, a dying woman who’s lived most of her life on the streets of Detroit, find themselves in an unlikely meeting in a Florida motel room to discuss publishing Nell’s childhood memoir. An intimate tale of survival, redemption, and the desperate need to share our stories, Naming True investigates how to persevere in the absence of hope. For more information please visit www.urbanitetheatre.com for show times and tickets.

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 Second St., Sarasota

[TODAY]  GALLERY: The Third Entity: Works by Amy Ernst and Amy Ragus , May 25 – June 30

This exhibit investigates the shared methods and subjects of Amy Ernst and Amy Ragus, two artists who work primarily in collage.

Art Center Sarasota , 707 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[TODAY]  FESTIVAL: Sarasota Powerboat 2017 Grand Prix Festival , June 24 – July 4

The 33rd Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival returns June 24-July 4 with events for the entire family to enjoy. Powerboat and AquaX Pro race teams will compete for the checkered flag on July 1 and 2 just off Lido Beach with televised coverage to over 100 countries beginning late July.  New events this year include a Grand Prix Comedy Night at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, a venue change for the Festival Kickoff Party to Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens, and a Grand Prix Fan Fest on July 1 and 2 in the Van Wezel parking lot.  The Fan Fest is free with Suncoast Charities for Children producing the entire Festival, including the July 4th Bayfront Fireworks.

[TODAY]  GALLERY: MASHterpieces , May 25 – June 30

In this collaboration with Goodwill Manasota 11 area businesses transform 
donated art into new masterpieces. 

Art Center Sarasota , 707 North Tamiami Tr.

[SOON]  THEATER: Just For Laughs , June 29 – July 28, 9:45am, 11:30am, 1:30pm

Join FST Children’s Theatre this summer for a one of-a-kind improvised experience that will tickle your funny bone! This improv and music extravaganza is completely made up on the spot every performance based on your suggestion and your participation. The cast will perform scenes, make up songs, and tell stories that will be appropriate for all ages. No two shows are alike! Best of all, those who want to jump on stage will have the chance to interact with us. Their show is ideal for family outings, birthday parties, and camp field trips. FUN for the whole family! Recommended for children ages 4+

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

[SOON]  THEATER: America the Beautiful: A Patriotic Celebration , July 1, 7:30pm

Just in time for the Fourth of July, join Brian Gurl and friends on a patriotic adventure as you experience a captivating, exhilarating show honoring the music of American Legends such as Irving Berlin, Woody Guthrie, Lee Greenwood, Elivis Presley, George M. Cohan, John Philip Sousa and more! For more information and to purchase tickets please visit http://www.theplayers.org/shows/snap/

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

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: 9th Annual Sarasota Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular , July 4, 11:00 am-10:00 pm

Join Marina Jack for their annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular on Independence Day between 11:00 am-10:00pm. Indulge in the decadent menus from the Dining Room, Blue Sunshine Patio Bar & Grill and Deep Six Lounge & Piano Bar all while enjoying the magnificent display of lights in the sky. Marina Jack II will host a three hour cruise featuring a buffet, live music and premier viewing of the fireworks display.

Marina Jack, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  BUSINESS: The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey by James Lecesne , July 5 – August 6

In this award winning southern regional premiere, tenacious and flamboyant 14 year-old Leonard Pelkey disappears. A small town New Jersey detective slowly unravels the mystery, portraying over a dozen eccentric characters along the way. A luminous force of nature whose magic is only truly felt once he is gone, the town’s citizens question how they live, who they love, and what they leave behind. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org

Florida Studio Theatre , 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Venice Summer Cabaret Festival , July 6 – August 27

Venice Theatre is delighted to invite audiences to its 5th Annual Summer Cabaret Festival. The popular event keeps music lovers and theatergoers entertained throughout the summer months with a variety of music in a nightclub setting. The irrepressible Eric Watters will kick off the festival on Thursday, July 6, 2017 with his tribute to Johnny Mercer, "My Huckleberry Friend." The festival will continue in “Pinky’s Cabaret” (the theatre’s black box Pinkerton Theatre) through Sunday, August 27, 2017. Tickets are $20 for each show and will go on sale June 6, 2017.

Venice Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave.,Venice

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: YPG After Hours at Escape Countdown , July 6, 5:30-7:30pm

Come join us YPG Thursday, July 6th at Escape Countdown for the area's largest monthly networking event, YPG After Hours! With an average of 80-100 young professionals gathering on the first Thursday of each month you're guaranteed to make new friends, secure new clients, and learn more about what Sarasota has to offer. Along with great drink specials, enjoy appetizing lite bites for the duration of the event.

Escape Countdown , 6525 S. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSIC: Madera Fina Brings Tropical Sounds to Sarasota , July 9, 7pm

The singer-songwriter Abraham Dorta and percussionist Delvin López give life to the Afro-Caribbean music duo Madera Fina that demonstrates the wide range of genres that unfold in the Puerto Rico independent music scene. In the hand of Abraham's guitar mastery, Madera Fina blends a broad amalgam of tropical styles including bossa nova, classical and Caribbean styles.  

Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center , 525 Kumquat Ct., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: The Marvelous Wonderettes , July 12 – July 23, 7:30pm and 2pm

This smash Off-Broadway hit whisks you away to the 1958 Springfield High Prom where four girls with hopes and dreams serenade you with over 30 classics from the 1950s and 1960s. Single tickets are $18.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts, 838 N Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr. , July 13 – July 17

Join the Blue Fairy, Stromboli and a lively cast of characters as Geppetto journeys beyond his toyshop to discover the meaning of family. When the Blue Fairy grants Geppetto’s wish to bring his beloved puppet to life, the new father quickly learns about the challenges of being a father.

Venice Theater , 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Blue Eyed Bettys , July 18 – August 20

With Daniel Emond on banjo, Sarah Hund on fiddle, and Ben Mackel on guitar, The Blue Eyed Bettys delight with their contemporary bluegrass sound. An original music group formed while performing in the hit FST Cabaret show Poems, Prayers, and Promises, audiences are snapped to attention with their powerful vocals, three part harmony, inventive storytelling, and natural onstage chemistry. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org

Florida Studio Theatre , 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  BUSINESS: SB2 GOOD HAND: Building Capacity in Our Philanthropic Sector , July 20, 7:30-9:00am

Join SRQ Magazine for the last SB2: Breakfast Symposium of the season on Thursday, July 20, 2017 from 7:30 am-9:00 am at The Francis, Downtown Sarasota. Keynote David Odahowski, President & CEO of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundationwill give us insight on building capacity in the philanthropic sector. Special guest panelists include: Roxie Jerde of The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Stacey Corley of Ringling College of Art and Design, Veronica Brandon Miller of Goodwill Manasota, Susie Bowie of Manatee Community Foundation and Heidi Brown of the Jewish Family and Children's Service. Moderated by SRQ MEDIA Executive Publisher Wes Roberts. Tickets are $35/per person and includes a delicious breakfast buffet provided by The Francis. Reserve your spot online at SRQSB2.COM.

The Francis, Downtown Sarasota, 1289 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236

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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