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SRQ DAILY Mar 21, 2018

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"I don't care about how good your beaches are. If you don't have excellent schools, a CEO won't want to bring his family here."

- Dan DeLeo, Citizens for Better Schools

[Politics]  School Measure Passes in Sarasota and Manatee
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

School leaders in both Sarasota and Manatee counties celebrated the passage of tax referenda. In Sarasota County, a special 1-mill tax got renewed with broad support. And a new tax in Manatee County passed more narrowly.

The Sarasota tax passed with ease, as about 49,000 voters came out in favor of the referendum and less than 14,000 voted against the measure, according to unofficial final results. With 78.58 percent of voters supporting the measure, that makes a record mandate for the school tax. “Every four years, we build more institutional support,” says Dan DeLeo, president of Citizens for Better Schools, the political committee campaigning for the Sarasota tax. “We have slowly over time, through argument and reason and public attention, caused those opposed to [the tax] to either switch to being for it or to be too ashamed to use their public voice to oppose it.”

In Manatee County, where voters weighed in on implementing a tax for the first time, a referendum passed more narrowly. Nearly 29,000 voters came out in favor of the tax, while more than 27,000 came out opposed to it. The measure passed with 51.38 percent according to unofficial final results. 

"Now it's up to the School Board and district to demonstrate we can make the best use of these dollars and make a return on the investment to the taxpayers," says Scott Hopes, Manatee County School Board chairman. "We have to deliver."

In other election news, Longboat Key voters came out for a town election and returned two incumbents to the Town Commission. Commissioner Irwin Pastor won in his at-large district, beating opponent Jack Wilson. District 5 Commissioner Ed Zunz won over challenger Randy Langley. Ken Schneier will also join the commission after winning the District 3 election over opponent John Weber. 

[Education]  Why Booker Middle Built a City... And Then Had to Save It
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Thanks to a school-wide immersion grant from the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, with funding from United Way Suncoast, the sixth through eighth grade students at Booker Middle School have had a whirlwind few weeks—first planning and designing their own city, and then having to defend it from a sudden outbreak. Managing the herculean task with the help from Booker staff and faculty, the students also received quite a few helping hands, and useful words of wisdom, from several professionals throughout the community who stopped by the school to talk with them about all the different ways to contribute to their city.

The project began one month ago, when students began building their city from balsa wood and pure imagination. Each classroom selected a particular building to study and design, based on what could most readily be adapted to the curriculum. One geometry teacher focused on architecture, using the discussion to talk angles and volumes and measurements. The drama class took the fire station, acting out scenes showing the many roles of the firefighter, from putting out fires to engaging the community. Surprisingly, the classroom that picked the hospital eschewed the obvious and invited not a doctor but an architect, who spoke about the differences between designing a hospital versus a home. Other speakers included Bill Waddill, newly hired managing director of The Bay planning process, who asked students to design their perfect park, anchor Stephanie Webb from ABC7 and a pilot who talked about her path to the skies.

“The whole premise behind the immersion grant was career exploration,” says Michelle Young, director of communications and strategic engagement at the Education Foundation. “It’s really part of our overall goal of college and career readiness, and getting students prepped for a post-secondary pathway.” Importantly, this includes more than the typical career day stereotypes—doctor, lawyer, etc—and runs the gamut to include electricians, HVAC installers and more. “It’s not just the typical four-year and eight-year degree careers,” says Young. “We’re also looking at certifications and trades and technicians.” The more opportunities and pathways revealed, the earlier students can really start thinking about how they want to spend their time as they grow up

And part of being a professional means thinking on one’s feet, which the students had to do this past Monday, when they arrived to find hazmat suits on campus, and their principal, Dr. LaShawn Frost, and the Sarasota County School District Superintendent, Todd Bowden, announcing a bacterial outbreak in their newly constructed city. Working quickly, the students who ran the school news network had to scramble to get their cameras and microphones in place, providing regular updates to the school, while the rest of the student body got to work learning how to identify bacteria, how they behave and how to manage a city fearing a deadly epidemic.

As the project continues, students will have many more opportunities to hear from local professionals, as the speakers continue to arrive in classrooms throughout the week, and then in the week following Spring Break. Bringing the parents into the mix, the project will also take over Booker Middle’s Thursday evening Parent University, taking a page out of the 2Gen approach to bring parents and students onto the same wavelength to encourage greater performance from all.

Bolstered by the success so far, plans are already in the works for the next project, and rumor abounds that a meteor may hit in Venice. 

Pictured: Booker Middle School students arrive to find hazmat suits on campus and their city in jeopardy. Photo courtesy of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

[Community Foundation]  Home Sweet Harvest
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County gives $21,553 in funding to support local human services organizations that hold an emphasis in the advancement of women, specifically disadvantaged women. The grant came from the Margaret L. Bates Fund, established by former professor and provost of New College of Florida, Dr. Margaret Bates. Each year the Community Foundation allocates a number of grants to support organizations working in this field through the endowed fund. Grantees are selected through a review process by a committee of Foundation staff and community members. One of the recipients, a supportive homelessness program dedicated to the mission to help the vulnerable feel safe again. The Harvest House placement services provide stable housing and the opportunity to renew hope for young adults who have been given an unlucky hand. Designed for 18 to 24 year olds who are experiencing homeless in Sarasota to seek shelter in a shared, comfortable and dorm-like setting, which was newly renovated in 2015.

Community Foundation’s recent funding will go towards Harvest House’s New Heights Program, which specifically serves disadvantaged young women—transitioning them off the streets and into a safe home of their own, while guiding them responsibly into adulthood. New Heights provides progressive stability services as well, helping these young adults reach new heights in important areas of life despite many of them experiencing abandonment, domestic abuse, substance abuse, toxic stress and discouragement to succeed. Key areas in which New Heights focus on are vocation, education, social, financial, health, leadership and dreams.

Harvest House has proved to be a pioneer in the transitional and permanent housing movement throughout the community, being one of the only organizations in Sarasota who purchase run-down apartments and recreate them into vibrant, affordable housing within a revitalized neighborhood. This model is becoming the standard for affordable housing throughout the country. You can learn about Harvest House and all their programs first-hand at their Open House today. A multi-campus tour and lunch with the Directors will be provided, 12:00-1:30pm.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is proud to partner with SRQ Media Group to highlight stories about community impact powered by philanthropy in our region, thanks to the support of donors and our local nonprofit partners. The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org 

The Harvest House

[Merger]  Premier Merges Into National Commerce Bank

Bradenton-based Premier Community Bank and Bank of Florida National Commerce Corporation, the parent company of Alabama-based National Bank of Commerce, jointly announced the signing of a definitive agreement providing for the merger of Premier with and into NBC. Subsequent to the merger, the current offices of Premier will continue to operate as “Premier Community Bank of Florida, a division of National Bank of Commerce” under Premier’s existing management team. The transaction is expected to result in a combined institution with approximately $3.4 billion in assets. Under the terms of the definitive agreement, each share of common stock of Premier issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the merger will be converted into the right to receive 0.4218 shares of NCC common stock and $0.93 in cash. Each outstanding option to purchase shares of Premier common stock will be assumed by NCC and become an option to purchase shares of NCC common stock, with the exercise price and number of shares underlying the option adjusted according to a conversion ratio of 0.4440. 

Premier Community Bank

[Exec Moves]  Chamber Names Eavey as Chief Workforce Strategist

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce announced the hire of Mireya Eavey to fill the newly created role of Chief Workforce Strategist.  The hire reaffirms The Chamber’s long-standing strategic posturing to support education and workforce development in the community.  In her role with The Chamber, Eavey will greatly broaden and expand the organization’s education and workforce support programming. Prior to joining The Chamber, Eavey was Sarasota Area President for United Way Suncoast where she provided strategic and operational direction for all Sarasota and DeSoto area United Way community programs. During her tenure with United Way Suncoast, Eavey maintained her service as managing the team of CareerEdge Funders Collaborative. In the capacity of her new position with The Chamber, Eavey will continue her leadership role with CareerEdge, to provide an exceptional labor force to the region’s growing industries by leveraging community assets and forming high-performing workforce partnerships.   

Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[Recognition]  Sarasota County Wins Best Tasting Drinking Water

The best tasting drinking water can be found in Sarasota County. That's according to the results of this year's Best Tasting Drinking Water contest, held by Region X of the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FS/AWWA) earlier this month to promote water resources and the importance of safe, clean drinking water. Region X of FS/AWWA represents the four-county area including Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Six other public water suppliers within the region competed for the honor of being selected as this year's best tasting drinking water: Charlotte County Utilities, Manatee County Utilities, City of Punta Gorda Utilities, City of North Port Utilities, Englewood Water District and Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority. Judges for this year's contest, held this March in North Port, included Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio; Brian Armstrong, executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District; Christopher Brantley, ABC 7 news reporter; Terry Cerullo of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's South District office; and Marissa Veith, a student at Haile Middle School in Bradenton. The first week of May is also recognized as National Drinking Water Week by the American Water Works Association. 

Sarasota County Government

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Craig Rubadoux: Magical, Mystical, Fantastical , March 2 – March 31

Craig Rubadoux has been described as a “Sarasota master" and his mastery of figure and form, composition and gesture are plain to see in every work. His paintings are intensely personal glimpses into particular emotions. Greatly affected by his environment and a love of nature, Rubadoux focuses on line, color, and spatial relationships. He references both surrealist automatic drawing and biomorphic figuration. His art is included in many public and private collections, including the Guggenheim Museum, the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, and The Ringling.

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, 1288 North Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Mike Solomon: Native Shore , March 15 – April 14

Mike Solomon's exhibition "Native Shore" focuses on the artist's return to his native shore and hometown of Sarasota after 40 years of living away. His work is inspired by Sarasota's shoreline.  The resplendent light of the neotropics radiates from the paintings and editions, drawing viewers into vibrant aqueous colors and translucent depths, the rhythmic rise and fall of the horizon. 

Alfstad& Contemporary, 1419 5th St., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  THEATER: The Things They Carried , March 21 – April 13

Based on a classic book, this production is a powerful telling of Tim O'Brien's personal journey from his innocent years in rural Minnesota to the jungles of Vietnam. A one-person Tour-de-force this play explores the lines between truth and reality as fact and fiction blur in this unforgettable soldier's journey.

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

[TODAY]  THEATER: The Four Phantoms , March 21

Former leading men from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera Brent Barrett, Ciarán Sheehan, Franc D’Ambrosio and Marcus Lovett bring the Sarasota Premiere of The Four Phantoms to the Van Wezel. A glorious new show that celebrates the legendary work of the many composers and artists who have made Broadway an American art form, The Four Phantoms will hold you spellbound as they revisit the passion of the masked man and honor the musical legacy of Broadway.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  MUSIC: The Sound of Music , March 21 – March 24

This concert will future music from a wide array of classic, beloved movies. Prepare to Strike up the Band for our Flight to Neverland as we travel Over the Rainbow. Enjoy a Star Wars theme from a new movie and the classic score from To Kill a Mockingbird. The Pomp and Circumstance of this concert will remind us all of some of our favorite things

Holley Hall, Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Sarasota World Affairs Council Speaker Series , March 22, 6:30pm

Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council for a series of high–profile foreign affairs lectures covering current international issues ranging from foreign intelligence to peace negotiations to immigration and trade. This month, CEO and Co-founder of Manifold Technology, Chris Finan will explain how the government has been challenged to keep pace with changing technology. Each lecture is followed by a wine and cheese reception for members.

Mildred Sainer Pavilion, New College , 5313 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  THEATER: Little Women , March 22 – April 8

Based on Louisa May Alcott's American classic, this Civil War story of love and family stands the test of time. Come and see this classic reproduced on stage for a limitied time only. 

Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 3rd Ave West., Bradenton.

[SOON]  THEATER: Lewis Black , March 23, 8pm

Lewis Black, Grammy-Award-winning, stand-up comedian, is one of the most prolific and popular performers working today. He executes a brilliant trifecta as a stand-up comedian, actor and author. He is one of a few performers to sell out multiple renowned theaters, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Main Stage at the Mirage in Las Vegas and most recently, a sold-out Broadway run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City. His live performances provide a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audience. He is a passionate performer who is a more pissed-off optimist than a mean-spirited curmudgeon. Black is the rare comic who can cause an audience to laugh themselves into incontinence while making compelling points about the absurdity of our world.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Women & Medicine Luncheon , March 23, 10:30am-1:30pm

This year marks the 6th Anniversary of Women & Medicine educational luncheon featuring informative presentations and discussions from Sarasota Memorial Physicians. This event has raised more than $225,000 to date and this year will help support the Sarasota Memorial Comprehensive Stroke Center.

Michael’s on East, 1212 S East Ave, Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  GALA: Party on the Pass , March 23, 6:30pm

Join Mote Marine Laboratory to support Mote’s hospitals for sea turtles, dolphins and whales at Party on the Pass. This casual evening of good food, good fun and good will, will take place at 6:30pm in the Aquarium courtyard.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium , 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell , March 24, 8pm

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is one of the world’s greatest chamber orchestras, renowned for fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s most-loved classical music. Led by Music Director and virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, the Academy retains the collegiate spirit and flexibility of the original small, conductor-less ensemble, which has become an Academy hallmark, while pushing the boundaries of play-directed performance to new heights.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Indian Classical Music and WAHH! World Fusion , March 24

‘WAHH’ is a popular word in India that is similar to the word ‘Wow’. WAHH World Fusion Band is a spectacular blend of ‘East meets West’ in true Fusion Music style. Trailblazers of a unique and multiform sound, WAHH is rooted in India’s rich traditional musical culture and enveloped in an artful weave of Jazz, Rock and Funk. 

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

[SOON]  MUSIC: Hyman in the House , March 25, 3pm

Dick Hyman's background as a pianist, composer, arranger, music director and organist have helped him establish a fruitful career spanning decades. He has won numerous awards, including an Emmy and an MVP from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Pops Orchestra is proud to share the stage with this Hall of Fame musician for an evening of jazz tunes and original compositions.

Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The History of Jewish Humor , March 26

Why are so many comedians Jewish? What is the background and origins of Yiddish wit and comedy? Was it a coincidence that the movie industry was founded by Jewish immigrants and that much of early “Broadway” was inhabited by performers, directors, producers, musicians, and lyricists who were Jewish? We will talk about the depth and breadth of this unique ethnic humor: from the Russian shtetl to American television; from the Wise Men of Chelm to the heyday of the Borscht Belt. You are invited to join in and laugh as you add to your repertoire and knowledge of Jewish humor.

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

[SOON]  MUSIC: Motown Musical , March 27 – March 30

It began as one man's story, became everyone's music and is now Broadway's musical. Motown the Musical is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Featuring classic songs such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” experience the story behind the music in the record-breaking smash hit Motown the Musical. Purchase quickly as tickets are nearly sold out.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: American Modern Architecture: Frame + Character in Hitchcock's Cinematic Spaces , March 29, 5:30pm

Buildings played a pivotal role in Alfred Hitchcock's groundbreaking works. For Hitchcock, modern buildings both visually and metaphorically represented the future in contrast with the past. Hitchcock utilized modernism's essential elements as cultural shorthand to convey society's views on anonymity and one's place in increasingly complex urban environments. Christine Madrid French, an advocate for the study and preservation of American architecture, will discuss in this visually-rich presentation of Hitchcock's penchant for filming suspenseful scenes against the backdrop of American modernist architechture. 

Ringling College of Art and Design's Alfred Goldstein Library, 2700 Bradenton Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Funny Girl , March 29 – April 15

Fanny Brice is a nobody who dreams of being famous, and through sheer guts and determination, fulfills her dream and becomes a star of the Ziegfeld Follies. Set in New York City just prior to and following World War I, it’s the songs and story that generations have grown to love including: “People,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”  The original cast recording was even inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame!

The Players Theatre , 838 N Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Little Bit Country Little Bit Rock n' Roll , March 30

Grab yer guitar and boots, tilt yer cowboy hat and got ready to “Yeee Hawwww” your way through this country romp mixed with a healthy serving of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Jimmy Mazz takes you back to visit great country classics like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, then crossing over to rockers like Bobby Darin, Jerry Lee Lewis and of course, Elvis plus many more!

The Players Centre of Performing Arts, 838 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Femmes Fatales , March 31 – April 27

In this exhibit, Elisabeth Trostili's digital paintings celebate the power of women. Each painting in Femmes Fatales could be described as a digital photographic collage that captures beauty, diversity, gender roles, spirituality and the richness of woman. New work by all of Art Uptown's 25 professional artists will be shown along with Trostili's featured pieces.   

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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