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SRQ DAILY Apr 12, 2018

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"I feel Florida has grown up alongside me."

- Wesley Beggs, Democratic Primary candidate

[Politics]  New Faces Enter Rare Dem Primary
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A rare Democratic primary for Sarasota County Commission will test two new, young faces in local politics, only one of whom might go head-to-head with an incumbent in November. Retired police officer Jordan Letschert this week filed for the District 4 seat, where New College alum Wesley Beggs has already been rallying party support. Both candidates so far only have kind words for one another, but they bring different styles and stories to the race.

Beggs, a 24-year-old activist making her first run for office, says she’s closely watched the Sarasota County Commission for close to a decade and now wants to shake things up. Her final straw, she says, was watching Commissioner Alan Maio vote in favor of allowing a recycling plant near Celery Fields, and while that project failed to win approval, it came too close for Beggs’ comfort. “I refer to that as my tipping point, but for years I’ve been upset with what was going on,” she says, laying out other grievances including the county vacation of Beach Road.

Letschert, meanwhile, comes to the race focused on school safety, promising to donate half his salary as commissioner toward the hire of an additional student resource officer to guard county schools. “Hopefully once I get into office, that would maybe force others to do that as well,” he says. A Sarasota native who moved to Texas and served for four years in the Richardson Police, since returning to the Gulf Coast he also served on the City of Sarasota’s Police Complaint Board. He hopes that record of public service proves to voters he can move easily into elected office.

Letschert said for the past six weeks, he pondered entering a newly opened state Senate contest, but ultimately was drawn back to the local race, largely because he and husband Robby have a child at home now under the age of 2. The idea of telling his son goodnight over FaceTime seemed a daunting prospect. As a candidate, he wants to prove you can be pro-business while protecting the environment, and says he will support growth that’s justified and which doesn’t threaten natural resources or draw the intense protest of most neighbors.

For Beggs, she sees the race as a chance to improve the home she has loved her whole life. A native of Tampa, she came to Sarasota to attend New College eight years ago, and she’s watched the impact of over-development on Florida firsthand. “I feel Florida has grown up alongside me,” she says. The candidate hopes to fund her race with small donations in a grassroots campaign. She’s been hitting party get-togethers and neighborhood meetings in an effort to rally support.

Beggs and Letschert compete in a Democratic primary scheduled for Aug. 28. Incumbent Republican Maio faces challenger Lourdes Ramirez the same day. The winners of the primaries face each other in a general election on Nov. 6. Voters countywide cast votes in the race, but only registered members of political parties can vote in the primary contests. 

Pictured: Jordan Letschert and Wesley Beggs

[ShopTalk]  FLocal Headspace
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Put your party hat on because this local clothing company now has a FLossy line of caps that every FLoridian will want to covet. The headwear that’s got us feeling FLy, is FLomotion. The online retailer exudes state pride, with its branding/logo incorporating your distinguishable license plate citrus fruit—the all encompassing FLorida orange. The Sunshine State zeal stems from the adventures and memories found from “salt to fresh, and everywhere in between.” So if you’re simply trying to cover your cranium from the harsh southern beams, or seeking some swagger for your dome to take from day to night, take a gander at the selection—straw hats with the emblem of the state FLag, manatee trucker hats, stylish palm tree designs or retro flamingo printed snapbacks, and casual lids FLaunting a panther or funky fish on the front.

While showing your allegiance to the place we call home, FLomotion hats will easily become one of the coolest additions to your think tank collection. So hold your head high and revel in going with the FLow—Marsh, Vega, Core, Iris, and Blossom are some of our favorites. Ranging between $23-$26, you can collect them online or at local surf/swim retailers—Compound Boardshop, Beach Bazaar, Alvin’s Island and CaliFlorida Surf & Skate Shop.  

Images provided by Flomotion

Flomotion Collection

[Bijou Cafe]  Unbeetable On So Many Levels
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Dispatch to this classy downtown French milieu, because the Roasted Beet Citrus Salad will make your heart skip a beet. Chef Ryan Williams of Bijou Cafe tosses the taste buds with this beautiful dish of red and yellow beets. Accompanying the yummy and healthy root are juicy orange and grapefruit segments, chèvre, creamy goat cheese, marcona almonds and baby arugula for some added roughage before drizzling around a housemade balsamic vinaigrette. Turn up the beet for your lunch break today and meander over to Bijou Cafe for a salad packed with flavor and nutrition. Might as well hone in on your multitasking skills while you eat, and peruse the impressive list of continental wines too. À votre santé!

Bijou Cafe is a member of Nosh, SRQ media's content marketing program for local restaurants. 

Photo taken by Wyatt Kostygan

Bijou Cafe, $12, 1287 1st St., Sarasota, 941-366-8111

[Exec Moves]  Byron Named Director of Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension

Lee Hayes Byron has accepted a conditional offer to become the new director of Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability. Byron has served with Sarasota County Government since 2005, starting her career as a land manager in the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection program. The Sarasota native became the county's Sustainability manager in 2008 and has served in that position since. The Sustainability program merged with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County in 2014. As part of the national Extension system founded in 1914, UF/IFAS Extension provides practical education to help individuals and organizations make informed choices through community initiatives, classes and volunteer opportunities related to food systems, water and environmental resources and youth and community resource development. Byron previously worked in Washington, D.C., as the coordinator of the U.S. Climate Action Network, a coalition of environmental organizations working to establish climate change policies at the state, federal and international levels. In her previous role as Sustainability manager, Byron was responsible for the county's sustainability education and outreach programs and oversaw the addition of more than $4 million in grant funds to support those programs. 

Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability

[Community]  SBPO Announces Three Public Open Houses in April

As the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) continues working to fulfill the community’s vision for the Bayfront, three public open houses for additional community input have been announced for the month of April. More than 3,000 community residents have weighed in so far with ideas about what should happen at The Bay. In April, Sasaki Design Team will share three design options for The Bay’s future, building off community feedback in February and the desired future activities along The Bay. The dates and times for the three open houses are: one on Tuesday, April 17, from 5pm to 7pm at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex; and two on Wednesday, April 18, from 8:30am to 10:30am and from 11:30am to 1:30pm, both at the Van Wezel. 

The Bay Sarasota

[Synergy]  SHINE Providing Health Insurance Counseling at Goodwill

SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) counselors are now providing free, unbiased health insurance counseling at Goodwill Manasota community rooms at four locations in Sarasota County. Offered locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL), SHINE counselors assist clients with Medicare, Medicaid, prescription assistance, and long-term care insurance. SHINE counselors can help seniors and people with disabilities find programs which may lower their prescription drug costs, provide prescription drugs at no cost, or help with Medicare Part B costs. The SHINE counseling sessions are available at the following Goodwill locations from 11am-2pm on Thursdays: Goodwill Selby (1781 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota) the first Thursday of each month; Goodwill University (8490 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota) the second Thursday of each month; Goodwill Mecca (5150 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota) the third Thursday of each month; and Goodwill Honore (1740 N. Honore Ave., Sarasota) the fourth Thursday of each month. Sessions are by appointment only; to request an appointment with a SHINE counselor, please call the Elder Helpline at (866) 413-5337. Last year in Southwest Florida alone, SHINE assisted 9,400 people with counseling services. 

Goodwill Manasota

[TODAY]  MUSIC: Jersey Boys , April 10 – April 12

Jersey Boys is the Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. This is the true story of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30.  The show features their hit songs “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” 

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

[TODAY]  MUSIC: Mavericks of Rhythm , April 11 – April 14

This concert showcases the mavericks who defined the distinctive rhythms of American music. You’ll experience popular American composers such as Bernstein, Copland, Mancini and Ellington, as well as a few lesser known, but no less intriguing and accessible pioneers of the American sound.

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

[SOON]  MUSIC: Taking Flight , April 13 – April 14

Soar with Stravinskyʼs magnificent Firebird Suite and Korngoldʼs rousing The Sea Hawk Overture. Renowned piano soloist Orion Weiss takes command of Brahmsʼ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat Major and Bizetʼs crowd-pleasing Carmen Suite No.1 rounds out this program.

Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 20th Anniversary Sarasota Film Festival , April 13 – April 22

Held annually, The Sarasota Film Festival emphasizes the best in cinema alongside exciting programs and events, with more than 200 films screened each year including features, documentaries, shorts and kid-friendly picks. This year's 20th Anniversary Festival will run April 13-22.

[SOON]  HEALTH: SCADaddle 5k for Research , April 14, 8am

SCAD stands for Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection and is a little known condition in spite of being the leading cause of heart attacks for women under 50. When Tracy Murphy had a heart attack due to SCAD, doctors were not able to properly diagnose and treat Murphy right away. Now, Murphy is working with the Mayo Clinic to raise both awareness and money for their research study on SCAD. Come out and enjoy a fun run or walk for a good cause on a beautiful Saturday morning, kids can run as well. 

Payne Park, 2050 Adams Ln., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Wyonna and the Big Noise , April 14, 8pm

Wynonna and her band The Big Noise, led by her husband, drummer and producer, Cactus Moser, return to the Van Wezel this season. Respected by the millions of fans who are drawn to her music and undeniable talent, Wynonna’s rich and commanding voice has sold over 30 million albums worldwide spanning her remarkable 33-year career. As one-half of the legendary mother/daughter duo "The Judds," Wynonna was once dubbed by Rolling Stone as “the greatest female country singer since Patsy Cline."

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

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SFF Media Brunch Panel: Self Care and Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community , April 14, 12pm

Join us for a community conversation centered on issues of mental health and self care in the LGBTQ POC community with Tangina Stone sharing her own coming-of-age experience and growth. Canton, Ohio-bred and Brooklyn-based alternative-r&b artist Tangina Stone has been championed as a universal breath of fresh air with a purity in her sound and vulnerability in her lyrics that transcends the music scene. Stone will perform an acoustic set followed by a talk back/interview. Buffet style brunch included.

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

[SOON]  GALA: Art in the Dark , April 14, 6:00pm-11:00pm

Experience art in a whole new light at the Art in the Dark event at Michael’s On East to benefit Lighthouse of Manasota.  Lighthouse of Manasota is the only nationally accredited, private, non-profit agency providing rehabilitation training to blind and visually impaired individuals of all ages residing in a five county region.

Michaelís on East, 1212 S East Ave, Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  MUSIC: Chris Botti , April 15, 8pm

Returning by popular demand with an intimate live concert, trumpeter Chris Botti will again thrill you with his love for rich, evocative melodies and a treasure chest of jazz standards, famous classical masterpieces and soon-to-be instant favorites.  Whether he’s performing with illustrious symphonies or at renowned venues around the globe, his unparalleled crystalline and poetic sound transcends musical boundaries and has cemented his place as one of the most brilliant and inspiring forces of the contemporary music scene

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

[SOON]  MUSIC: Let It Be , April 17, 8pm

This is the show that you never got to see The Beatles ever perform.  Let It Be relives the past from Ed Sullivan to Abbey Road, with favorite hits including “Hard Day's Night,” “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Twist and Shout” and “Strawberry Fields,” and imagines the reunion that never was.

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

[SOON]  THEATER: Shakespeare in the Gardens , April 18 – May 15

Experience Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” during the Asolo Rep’s outdoor performances. The lawn behind Payne Mansion will serve as the backdrop to this comedy anchored by the entire ensemble of second year graduate actors of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: ABBA The Concert , April 18, 8pm

The audience and press all agree that this is the closest to ABBA you’ll ever get. ABBA The Concert brings one of the greatest pop phenomena back to life and continues to be the top ABBA tribute group in the world. Be dazzled by the performance of the most iconic hits from ABBA, including “Mamma Mia,” “S.O.S,” “Money, Money, Money,” “The Winner Takes All” and “Dancing Queen.” Come dance, come sing, having the time of your life at the ultimate tribute celebration.

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

[SOON]  GALA: Blue Ties and Butterflies , April 18, 6:00pm-9:00pm

On April 18 during Child Abuse Prevention Month, Child Protection Center will hold its 6th annual Blue Ties & Butterflies at Michael’s On East. This signature, event is beautifully designed to build awareness about CPC's mission in the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse. Child abuse is a difficult topic, but one we cannot ignore. At Blue Ties & Butterflies, we celebrate the healing and hope CPC provides to children and families in our community. We promise you an unforgettable evening full of hope and inspiration.

Michaelís on East, 1212 S East Ave, Sarasota, Florida 34239

[SOON]  THEATER: Soul Man: A New Musical Revue , April 18 – May 26

As the 1960s Civil Rights movement unfolded, black music evolved from the controlled Motown performances to fiery cross rhythms sound—a little gospel, a lot of soul. The passionate soloists, such as James Brown, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, added energetic movements and unique vocalizations that inspired many future performers. Soul Man will feature some of WBTT’s most popular male performers.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1646 10th Way., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Romantic Wonders , April 19, 5:30pm

Two quintessential Romantic era composers are the stars of our final soirée. Brahms' Clarinet Trio opens with a sense of longing as the clarinet and cello engage in a beautiful duet. The dance continues and expands with expressive interruptions from the piano until the final stormy movement. Mendelssohn's Octet cemented his legacy as one of the great prodigies and composers of all time. The work combines two string quartets with stunning melodies and a graciously balanced structure.

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

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma , April 19, 8pm

Since 2000, the Silk Road Ensemble has been redefining classical music for 21st-century audiences. Established by world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the musicians represent a global array of cultures while co-creating art, performances and ideas. They draw on a rich tapestry of traditions that make up our shared cultural heritage, creating a new musical language. A uniquely engaging and accessible encounter between the foreign and the familiar that reflects our many-layered contemporary identities. Their most recent album, Sing Me Home, won the Grammy this year for Best World Music Album

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

[SOON]  THEATER: Pageant , April 19 – April 21, 7:30pm

Back by popular demand! This is not your everyday beauty pageant. These “ladies” will fight for your vote to capture the crown of “Miss Glamouresse.” The six vivacious contestants include: Miss Deep South, Miss West coast, Miss Great Plains, Miss Bible Belt, Miss Industrial Northeast, and Miss Texas.Watch these lovely “ladies” compete in evening gown, talent, swimwear, and spokes-modeling. An evening filled with lots of laughs, where the audience actually chooses the winner!

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

[SOON]  GALLERY: Solo Blanco , April 19

Come out to Jorge Blanco's first solo exhibition in Sarasota. Blanco is a Venezuelan sculptor and illustrator whose art values a postive lifestyle. His work embraces scale, landscape, urbanism and technology while creating soaring testaments to the optimism of everyday life.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Swingin' at the Club , April 20 – April 21

This swingin’ night of musical sensations focuses on Harlem’s heyday when Duke Ellington’s orchestra was the house band, and Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Ethel Waters showcased the classics of the Great American Songbook. This production features the brilliant trumpeter, vocalist and conductor Byron Stripling, vocalist Carmen Bradford and tap dancer Ted Louis Levy.

Van Wezel, 777 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Suncoast Boat Show , April 20 – April 22

The 36th annual Suncoast Boat Show takes place in downtown Sarasota on April 20 - 22, 2018, at Marina Jack’s in Sarasota, Florida. Enjoy the great outdoors while pricing and comparing hundreds of boats from the Gulf Coast's leading boat dealers. See various types and styles all in one place. Cruisers, Runabouts, Bowriders, Sportfishers, Center Consoles, Motor Yachts, Inflatables and more. Shop tents full of electronics, accessories, jewelry, art and clothing all in a festive atmosphere with food, drinks, music and much more.

Marina Jackís, #2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FOOD: Garden to Plate Wine Dinner , April 20, 6pm

An evening hosted by Nora and Billy Johnson and Jenny and Ken Pendery will have one continuous table set on the Great Lawn. Guests will enjoy fine wines selected by Michael Klauber that compliment an extravagant, multi-course dinner personally designed by Phil Mancini.

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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