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SRQ Daily Sep 15, 2018

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Private stakeholders insist on quantifiable results and key performance metrics CareerEdge has been able to meet time and time again."

- Christine Robinson, The Argus Foundation

[Gulf Coast]  Brief Thoughts on a Lingering Problem
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

We have no silver bullet to stop red tide. Let’s get that out of the way from the get-go. What’s more, because red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon, one that’s been documented in our Gulf of Mexico for centuries, we should be wary of messing with the complex process that causes it.

But the disgusting experience and more devastating effects of the current bloom that’s plaguing our coast are not independent of human influence. That intersection of nature and man is where we can focus energy and initiative.

Science suggests red tide has been part of the Gulf’s ecological balance since before Europeans settled our Eastern seaboard. We know blooms start well offshore, as far as 40 miles, beyond the area impacted by land-based, human-induced nutrients. Research also suggests that iron-rich dust from Sahara Desert sandstorms might be contributing to this year’s unusually intense red tide bloom. Trying to reverse a natural process that starts miles offshore or stem dust storms that blow up an entire ocean away is neither practical nor affordable.

What is possible, though, as well as cost-effective, is stemming the human-caused pollution that can make natural red-tide blooms more severe, widespread and long-lasting. Like the one beleaguering our region right now. When water current and wind conditions combine in a certain way, naturally occurring red tide blooms drift closer to land, and it is here where they first encounter human influence in the form of nitrogen-enriched seawater. The microorganism responsible for red tide is known to thrive in nitrogen-rich environments, especially those forms of nitrogen that come from urban and agricultural fertilizer, storm-water runoff and sewage effluent.

The current red tide outbreak is well past the nuisance phase. Several of our nonprofit partners in human services have reported a spike in need because of the growing economic effects. National and international news reports of “apocalyptic” conditions at our world-renowned beaches surely will dent tourism further. This red tide has gone from noxious to devastating for many residents—and deadly for much marine life.

Eventually, the tide will turn, just as it did after past long-lasting episodes. When that happens, we also can’t afford to become complacent, to let today’s visceral feelings fade into dull memories. Acting on red tide and bacteria-induced beach closures should not be limited to times of crisis; it should be part of our everyday decisions and policymaking.

I’ve always loved JFK’s phrase “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” Likewise, we should act on red tide even when the water is blue.

Dr. Mark S. Pritchett is president/CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[Argus]  The Great Collaborator on Workforce Development
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Sarasota County just received a presentation of the 2018 Citizen’s Survey. Survey participants were asked what they thought could be the single biggest contributor to the county’s economic growth. The top answer was “Workforce Training or Re-Training”. 

Luckily, we have a wonderful resource here in Sarasota County that was started by Gulf Coast Community Foundation and is now appropriately housed with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. 

CareerEdge has been an innovator in labor training and meeting the workforce needs of the private sector since 2010. Having trained close to 5,000 workers and having had 2,845 workers earn raises as a direct result of their work, it is an administratively small workforce powerhouse that turns on a dime to meet the needs of our employers.

The mission of CareerEdge is “to provide an exceptional labor force to a region’s growing industries by leveraging community assets and forming high-performing workforce partnerships.” Designed to work on both sides of the labor market, both the supply and demand side, CareerEdge is the ultimate collaborator of organizations, educational institutions and employers.

We are in a demand market right now, and CareerEdge is making its way through the red tape and systematically changing the way we look at workforce training to meet that demand. 

CareerEdge has clear demonstrations of their impact on our community. A catalyst, convenor and connector, CareerEdge has worked hard to meet the demands of our manufacturing industry with the machinist program at Suncoast Technical College. In lightning speed, CareerEdge put the private sector together with multiple governments for a program where 100 percent of the machinist students have jobs or have been accepted into higher education. 

CareerEdge innovates with Express Training in areas like automotive, plumbing and electrical programs and created a program where employees can earn certifications while also working. They have fostered leadership training with their Healthcare Leadership Consortium Training, and they have worked on 2Gen projects at our schools, helping parents receive their CNAs while their kids learn how to read. 

How does this dynamic nonprofit do this? With less than 10 percent public funding. That’s right, over 90 percent of their funding since inception comes from the private sector and foundation grants. These private stakeholders insist on quantifiable results and key performance metrics CareerEdge has been able to meet time and time again.

I would like to give a special thank you to Gulf Coast Community Foundation for having the vision to birth this wonderful resource at a time when no one understood how badly we would need it. The community certainly understands that need now according to the 2018 County Citizen’s Survey.

Those survey participants were dead-on in their evaluation of what can fuel our economic growth. We are in a good place to do just that with CareerEdge and the Sarasota Chamber. 

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[SCOOP]  Suiting up the Community's Veterans

On July 4th, Elaine Mellon lost her father, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Robert "Bob" Mellon had just recently celebrated his 85th birthday and 66th wedding anniversary when he passed; Elaine wished to find a suitable way to honor his life and legacy. She remembered information she had heard during a Goodwill Manasota "Lunch & Learn" program about its Veterans Services Program – how veterans are helped to reintegrate into civilian life – and decided to collect men's and women's business suits for veterans seeking new or better jobs. Recently, she dropped off numerous large bags of clothing to the Veterans Services Program offices. 

Elaine promoted the donation drive through the “Nextdoor” site for her community, River Strand; the donations of suits and accessories poured in so generously that Elaine extended the duration of the collection to accommodate her neighbors who gave.
Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program, which is staffed by veterans, provides full case management and vocational services that address barriers to employment, disabilities, mental health issues, housing, education and training. The program, which was created in 2013, helps veterans navigate the wide array of available programs and to secure the benefits to which they are entitled. Goodwill also works with the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans who are seeking educational assistance.
For more about Goodwill's Veterans Services Program, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721, ext. 451.


[SCOOP]  Feeding the Community with All Faiths Food Bank

All Faiths Food Bank is thrilled to announce they recently received grants from the following organizations:

Publix Super Market Charities

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

King Logie Foundation


Walmart Community Grants

These generous grants will help provide more than 66,000 people throughout Sarasota and DeSoto counties with fresh produce, meats and groceries. 

All Faiths Food Bank

[SCOOP]  New Location for Local Orthopedic Group
Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is excited to announce the relocation of their Lakewood Ranch facility to the future Lakewood Ranch Healthpark, currently under construction. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates will occupy 10,000 square feet on the first floor of the medical office building located within the C.O.R.E. project of Lakewood Ranch. The new SOA office at Healthpark will replace their existing location while doubling in size to better serve patients. The Collaboration Opportunities for Research and Exploration, or CORE, is a 300 acre development located at the intersection of SR 70 and Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. CORE is projected to focus on health sciences, higher education, biotech, research and related retail and hospitality uses. Already developed is The Greene at Lakewood Ranch occupied by Earth Fare and LA Fitness with Starbucks, Verizon Wireless, Chipotle Grille, Panera Bread, and others to follow. Healthpark at Lakewood Ranch will be a 46,000 square foot Class A medical office building developed by Optimal Outcomes based out of St Petersburg. The project will incorporate a double-lane covered drop off for patient access and convenience. Situated on five acres, the two story building will be the first Class A medical building constructed in Lakewood Ranch since the development of the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Additional space on the first floor is designed to accommodate a surgery center or diagnostic imaging center. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is a multi-specialty physician orthopedic practice with offices in Sarasota, Venice, and Lakewood Ranch. They were recently named the #1 choice for orthopedic care in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Along with specialized orthopedic care, SOA provides physical and occupational therapy as well as imaging services at all locations. The commitment of Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is to get patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.

Sarasota Orthopedic Associates

[SCOOP]  NFL Legend Tony Richardson Joins Selah Freedom's Immersion Tour

The Selah Way Foundation has announced that NBA World Champion Trent Tucker and NFL Legend Tony Richardson will join Elizabeth Melendez Fisher, President/CEO and co-founder of Selah Freedom and Al Reynolds, COO of Selah Freedom on an Immersion Tour on Wednesday, October 10, 2018. This tour will provide insight into the journey of a survivor of sex trafficking. It provides a tangible glimpse into how innocent American children are sold on the streets, as well as how they connect with law enforcement and Outreach team liaisons, eventually bringing them into one of Selah Freedom’s safe homes. Also joining the tour is NYC entertainment attorney, Cabot Marks, Partner Marks Di Palermo and singer & actor, DeeMo.

 “I admire the work that Elizabeth and her team are doing and to have a survivor in the Selah Freedom Residential program testify against her trafficker in court and put him behind bars, makes me want to use my voice and platform to put many more offenders behind bars. This is a huge issue that effects young girls and boys from all ethnicities,” says Trent Tucker. “I am beyond thrilled to have Trent Tucker, Tony Richardson, DeeMo and Cabot Marks join us on the Immersion Tour to see our work firsthand. For me, to be able to keep helping survivors gain step into the freedom and restoration that they deserve and put offenders behind bars, is what it is all about! I know that by having additional support we will continue to increase our impact on a national level and save lives,” says Elizabeth Melendez Fisher. 

Selah Freedom

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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