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SRQ Daily Apr 17, 2018

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"Sen. [Greg] Steube is essentially the establishment candidate, and I'm the candidate who is going in there hoping to represent the will of the people in this district."

- State Rep. Julio Gonzalez, congressional candidate

[Politics]  Gonzalez, Steube Fight for Funding, Endorsements
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

While candidates from all around Rep. Tom Rooney’s congressional district have explored efforts to succeed the retiring lawmaker, two Sarasota legislators have set themselves apart with fundraising and endorsements. And with the release of first quarter fundraising figures, state Rep. Julio Gonzalez, R-Venice, surprised many by pulling in contributions from dozens of individuals and finishing the period raising $233,706. But state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, still feels confident in a district that substantially overlaps with his current constituency. He finished having raised $56,052, far more than any other candidate in the running sans Gonzalez.

While Gonzalez built his warchest with more than 60 contributions from individuals, predominantly smaller checks, Steube pulled in hearty loads from larger donors and groups. 

Gonzalez received a $1,000 check from a political action committee associated with U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo and also touted the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. He also got a $5,000 contribution from the American College of Radiation Association’s PAC and another $5,000 from a PAC for the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, groups Gonzalez knows would like to see more medical doctors in the halls of Congress. But he said his focus has been building enthusiasm within the district. “You will see a lot of different donors, and that’s because I’ve been reaching out to all sorts of people to share with them my vision and aspirations,” Gonzalez says. “I’m not interested in getting the support of the establishment as much as I am in getting the support of the people, who are not politicians or lobbyists.”

Steube stressed that his primary focus has not been on fundraising. He just announced the support of pro-life leader John Stemberger, and has touted his reputation as a pro-gun lawmaker. His donations include $2,500 from a U.S. Sugar PAC, $2,500 from a fund associated with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and $3,000 from the American Banker’s Association, among others. And the dozen individual contributions he received include checks from prominent donors like Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy. It’s his record over eight years in the legislature that will set him apart, Steube says, over Gonzalez’s four years in the state capital. “If you are a conservative, then I’m the type of person you want representing you in Congress,” he says.

Steube’s district now includes areas outside Rooney’s district, but he notes that he’s losing liberal parts of Sarasota to gain conservative inland areas like Okeechobee. He expects his vocal support for Trump will play even better in the ultra-conservative district, which went for Trump by 27 percent in 2016, over Gonzalez, who had supported Marco Rubio in the primary that year. “Based on the things I filed and bills I worked on, you will know as a voter where I stand on everything,” he says.

Gonzalez will need to reach more new voters, as he’s never run outside of Sarasota County and the House district spans parts of eight other counties. But he says he’s been visiting inland parts of the district and voters in Charlotte County extensively. And he does plan to do a fundraiser in Miami and to do more to rally state support. “Sen. Steube is essentially the establishment candidate, and I’m the candidate who is going in there hoping to represent the will of the people in this district,” he says.

Other potential candidates have discussed running but many have backed away as the May 4 qualification deadline looms. Steube says state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, will support his candidacy. Charlotte veteran William Akins raised $4,002, less than the qualifying fee, and conservationist John Sawyer has reported no contributions. On the Democratic side, Cape Coral film producer April Freeman raised $2,637 and Sebring sleep technologist Bill Pollard raised $7,043.

The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 28. The general election is set for Nov. 6. 

[GoodBite]  Take a Gamble on Chocolate Produce
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Place your bet on red at the roulette table, because you’ll come out lucky one way or another at this natural and organic food grocer. At Lucky’s Market, if something has the big red cursive 'L' on it, you’re looking at the company’s Private Label of selected goods. Lucky for you—they personally taste test everything to make sure it meets its high quality standards, at prices you can’t afford to miss. The edible treats that’s caught our eye specifically, are the specialty chocolate bars ranging in an array of artisan flavors. That’s an ace of hearts for us right there. But what we found even more intriguing, were these brussel sprouts dipped in chocolately goodness. It got us thinking—what other out-of-the-box concoctions could we hand dip for a uniquely satisfying (and healthy!) dessert?

It’s no high-stakes risk, but be prepared to make a little mess in the kitchen—experiment with a different fruit and veggie each night of the week to create delicious fondu-esque feasts for the family! From dark chocolate broccoli, cacao-covered strawberries, coconut black lava sea salt bananas, apples dipped in toffee pretzel and carrots in milk chocolate—the possibilities are endless. We know, it sounds weird. But really...it’s strangely addictive. So brave the wager and get your nutrient rich vitamins while satisfying your sweet tooth the next time you’re strolling the aisles at Lucky’s Market.

You’ll not only be supporting our local farmers’ organic-grown produce, but by purchasing one of Lucky’s Private Label products, 10% gets reinvested back into the community we share. Stack your chips—that’s an all around win for the taste buds and the good samaritan feels. 

Images provided by Luck'y Market

Lucky's Market, 3501 South Tamiami Trail #430, Sarasota, 941-260-1223

[Recognition]  2018 Greenfield Prize Winner Wins Pulitzer Prize

In January, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, along with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation announced playwright Martyna Majok as the winner of the 2018 Greenfield Prize for Drama. She joined a select three playwrights to have won the honor, including Craig Lucas, John Guare and Nilo Cruz. She is the first female playwright to win the award, receiving a $30,000 commission for a new work to be presented to an audience in two years, arranged by the Hermitage. Announced yesterday, Majok is now also the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, receiving the prize for her play, Cost of Living

Hermitage Artist Retreat

[Government]  Fitch, S&P Ratings Affirm Sarasota County Bonds

Two series of Sarasota County bonds recently had their credit ratings affirmed by two global agencies, and one agency also affirmed the county's "AAA" general obligation rating, the latest indications of the county's healthy financial position and stable outlook. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings each announced "AA+" ratings this week for the county's $16.9 million capital improvement revenue refunding bonds (series 2018A), while Fitch Ratings provided a "AA+" and S&P Global Ratings a "AA" on $23.2 million in infrastructure sales surtax revenue refunding bonds (series 2018). This is in addition to affirmations of ratings on similar outstanding bonds. The issuance of the bonds was approved by the Sarasota County Commission at its meeting last Wednesday. The proceeds will be used to refinance interim borrowings that funded the construction of the new Sarasota County Sheriff's Office administrative headquarters and various other capital improvement projects. 

Sarasota County Government

[Recognition]  Neal Communities Receives FGBC Builder of the Year Award

Neal Communities recently received a Builder of the Year award from the Florida Green Building Coalition, marking the fifth consecutive time the builder has earned this honor since 2013. At the March 23 ceremony, held in Orlando, Fla., Neal Communities was given the award for the most single-family homes certified. In 2015, the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) held a special 15-year anniversary celebration, and Neal Communities was named the No. 1 builder out of the top 15 builders from 2000-15. The FGBC is a leading certifier of green projects in Florida. To date, it has 15,000 residential, more than 24 million square feet of commercial and high-rise, 53 land developments and 86 local governments participating in its certification programs. FGBC-certified homes complete a technically rigorous building assessment and construction process to promote design and construction practices that reduce the negative environmental impacts of the building, improve occupant health and well-being and reduce operating costs for the owner. 

Neal Communities

[TODAY]  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.

[TODAY]  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]  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]  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]  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


Renowned for his colorful sculpture installations, this is Blanco’s first solo exhibition in Sarasota, where he has lived and worked for two decades. Exhibited will be large and moderately scaled works ranging from tabletops to the 14-foot “Zephyros.” Also, maquettes, a series of new “food” sculptures, his classic yellow bench and pieces from his acclaimed “Castaway” series.

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

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Chill Under the Stars , April 21, 6:00pm

Join the Sarasota Film Festival tonight and "Chill Under the Stars" as Chillounge Night makes its triumphant return to Sarasota and transforms Five Points Park into a magnificent outdoor lounge with all the chic and stylish vibes that it has become known for throughout Florida. The event starts at 6pm and will showcase live band performances, a sophisticated and fun fashion daybed parade, the signature and colorful Brazilian Samba Parade and much more. With hundreds of cool outdoor furnishings and fine food/drinks to complement the entertainment, this will be an intimate and magical evening for thousands to enjoy. Admission is $30 per person in advance and $40 at the door (must be 21 or older). Chillounge Night, founded in Sarasota 10 years ago, continues to bring a unique brand of "dazzle" with the ultimate outdoor lounge party.

Five Points Park , N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALA: Firefly Gala , April 21, 6:00pm-11:00pm

Experience the sparkling night of Firefly Gala with incredible auctions and delectable dining. Marvel at the full stage and light production at this intimate, private concert. Help children and families create good beginnings that last a lifetime. Enjoy cocktails and spectacular silent auction on the lawn followed by dinner and a concert featuring Jason Derulo. Dancing at the After Party will feature DJ Jeffrey Michaels of J2 Events.

The Ritz‐Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSIC: Garden Music Series: Enrique Chia , April 22, 1pm

The traditional sounds of Cuba are resurrected through the piano playing of Enrique Chia. Nominated for a Grammy Award in 2001 in the Best Classical Crossover category for his album the Music of Ernesto Lecuona, Chia weaves a dance-inspiring mixture of soft pop, Latin dance tunes, and boleros.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Bill Engvall , April 22, 8pm

Come see Bill Engvall, a Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum-selling recording artist and one of the top comedians in the country. He was a contestant on Season 17 of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and as a fan favorite, he made it to the finals. He also lent his voice to the animated comedy series Bounty Hunters, which aired on CMT. Bill was part of the enormously successful Blue Collar Comedy concert films, which sold over nine million units and received a Grammy nomination. He also starred on the WB’s hit sketch comedy show Blue Collar TV.

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

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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