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SRQ DAILY Nov 3, 2018

"Even 'Dr. Beach, who named Siesta 'America's Best Beach,' commended the County Commission for closing Beach Road to cars!"

- Dennis Madden, Beach Road resident

[Community]  Turning Unrest Toward Opportunity
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

The pronounced violent acts across our country over the past few weeks were saddening and tragic. The families of those who lost their lives, or whose lives were threatened, are dealing with heavy burdens none of us should have to endure. These shocking acts also threaten our identity as a nation of hope and possibility. It is all too easy to get swept up in divisive rhetoric following these situations, further eroding trust and confidence among neighbors.  

I choose, however, to view this unrest as an opportunity for our local nonprofits, faith-based communities and charitable foundations to step up in creating a stronger sense of identity, belonging and higher purpose for the regions we serve. We are the ones working on the ground, identifying the reality our citizens face and rallying the passion of the public to create a more vibrant community together. At the heart and soul of our work are our community members, and I like to remind everyone that philanthropy means the love of humanity.

We saw this firsthand this week when The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee quickly assembled a vigil on Monday evening, A Community in Solidarity, for the Tree of Life and our fellow citizens in Pittsburgh. By being proactive and listening to people who wanted to declare our community as inclusive, the Federation was able to bring together more than 2,200 people to demonstrate harmony among different faiths. While the event came about through tragedy, I was buoyed by the hopeful, caring spirit of everyone who attended. I was especially moved so many in our area felt it was important for them to be part of such a public showing of support.  

From the space we work in, we see every day how it is individuals helping individuals that positively changes our world. In particular, philanthropy gives individuals the power to speak out and lead the way towards tackling tough subjects and making a brighter community for everyone. It serves as a tool for innovation, a purpose to gather people around a cause or passion, and philanthropy is inclusive for everyone who wants to be the one to make a difference at any level.

In the worst of times, I try to focus on what our special community has to offer.

Earlier during the day ahead of the vigil I was again reminded of just how proactive our community is in working to create opportunities for so many. For several years, the Community Foundation has supported a special 2Gen college campus at Alta Vista Elementary School for parents who wish to improve their family’s future by pursuing certificates and education in nursing, information technology and technical trade skills. As I do for each cycle of students, I was fortunate enough to visit and have lunch with a group of moms who are pursuing their Certified Nursing Assistant licenses.

This program is literally life-changing and being undertaken by young women for whom life has not ever been easy. But thanks to donors who wanted to make a difference, they are pursuing opportunities they know will make their and their families’ lives better. This type of transformative change comes through support and belief that we all have the power to change a life. I am always inspired by the resilience, commitment and optimism of both these women and those who provided the platform for their success.

At each Alta Vista 2Gen graduation I share a small quote—"every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”—and I think now more than ever we need to continue to try harder to embolden the love of humanity. Together, we have the expertise, knowledge, treasure and talent to address the issues facing the future of our region. Our success depends on building a genuine, honest sense of community, belonging and responsibility to answer a widespread feeling of insecurity. As a community, we can be the ones to make a difference and create positive, lasting impact. As I often  say, all of us are smarter than one of us!

Roxie Jerde is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[Education]  Coping with Student Anxiety in College Application Season
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

The fall season brings a minor but welcome drop in temperature to our area, but it also brings an unwelcome anxiety spike for many high school students.

In recent conversations with a couple of our professional partners, we shared our observations that more students seem to be experiencing higher levels of anxiety this fall than in previous years.

It’s no wonder that high school seniors, in particular, exhibit signs of increased stress. After all, they are preparing for a big life change in moving from a familiar high school campus to the adult world. Other factors contribute to pressures piling up on these students, and unfortunately, some worries, such as the nuances triggered by their social relationships, aren’t completely within parents’ and teachers’ ability to resolve.

But what can adults who care about our stressed-out students do to alleviate some of those other pressure points?

Consulting with my friendly experts, we drew up a list of frequent stress triggers and tips for helping students and their families cope during the senior stress season and emerge in good health—physically, mentally and emotionally.

1. Recognize that pressure, often inadvertent, comes from parents, peers, counselors, teachers and even students’ expectations of themselves. Parents can lighten the pressure by actively encouraging and empowering students through the process.

2. Watch for red flags in behaviors that signal help is needed for students in these and similar situations: a student from a high-achieving family who’s afraid he’ll “let down” his family if he isn’t accepted into the “right” college; a student who fears her university-bound friends will leave her behind if she goes to technical college; and the student who’s not sleeping because he’s working a part-time job, volunteering in the community and trying to earn top grades to qualify for a scholarship.

3. Be mindful of and help your student prepare for deadlines. The college application deadline was Nov. 1 for the University of Florida and Florida State University. Upcoming deadlines are Nov. 15 and Jan. 1 for other colleges, and some, including State College of Florida and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, have rolling admission. The application period opened Oct. 1 for FAFSA and Bright Futures Scholarships—both important sources of free funds for postsecondary education, and no funds will be awarded if the student doesn’t apply.

4. Assist with completing complex applications. The college admission process has grown more complex, time-consuming and individualized per institution. There is no “one” template that can be used for every application, and it is easy to be denied admission because a custom requirement was overlooked. Parents who don’t feel qualified to provide direct assistance can direct their students to resources at schools, such as the Student Success Centers at Riverview High School and North Port High School, the College Resource Center at Booker High School or the Rotary Futures Center at Venice High School just to name a few.

5. Help students focus and prioritize postsecondary options. It’s tempting to say, “The world is your oyster” and advise a young adult to explore all opportunities. But it takes a lot of time to complete applications for college, job training programs, financial aid and scholarships, and the senior year of high school is when students need to zero in on short lists. By talking with students, parents can help them figure out what’s most important for their postsecondary education. If college is their choice, what will make a certain college a good fit? Academic reputation? Social life? Size of campus? Internships? Study-abroad programs?

6. Most importantly, keep open the lines of communication. Students are vulnerable to internalizing stress until anxiety builds to unhealthy levels and they shut down. Parents can increase their students’ self-confidence with encouraging assurances such as: “I know you’re giving it your best.” “We’re here for you.” “You’ve got this.” “Just breathe.”

For additional information on tips and checklists, visit LaunchYourPlan.com.

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. Special acknowledgment to Peni Riedinger and Debra Landesberg for contributing to this article. 


[On City Politics]  Change The Future, Change The Date
Mary Anne Servian

As a former Mayor for the City of Sarasota, I’ve long since admired the pride residents take in their city. I believe that comes from the distinction in the city’s arts and culture, in its beaches and other natural amenities, in its character and its quality, and in its desirability and economic horsepower.

City residents not only have a sense of pride in their community, but also in how they engage with it. When I was a city commissioner, there was always such spirited involvement across both the city’s challenges and its opportunities. Because I think that’s true, it’s been difficult for me to watch as the community has failed to engage with one of its biggest challenges.

There’s simply no denying it – the city is challenged by its voter turnout. For a city that prides itself on awareness and engagement, and on distinction and refinement, it’s almost shocking that only around 20 percent of voters participate in city elections. I can’t see any pride in that, nor have I heard anyone claim that there is. I’ve not heard one argument that says only having 1-in-5 voters casting a ballot for city commissioners as being something that makes this community better.

Sarasota can talk about being world-class and award-winning across many areas, but voter participation is not one of them. It’s nice to be known for the Opera, the Ballet, the beaches, and baseball. It’s nice to read about being one of the best places to retire or one of the best small cities in America. Wouldn’t it be just as inspiring to be known as a community that leads the region in voter engagement? Isn’t that a headline worth creating?

Unfortunately, it seems like nobody has been trying to write that headline. Low turnout has been a chronic ailment for the city and yet change has not come. That was until recently. Because of a steadfast, bi-partisan group of stakeholders, city voters are being asked if they would like to move their elections from the spring of odd-numbered years to the fall of even-numbered years. City Commissioners would be elected during the general election, when irrefutable evidence shows that voter turnout doubles or triples. Voters finally have a chance to write a new headline for voter turnout in city elections.

Of course, having been a city commissioner, I can tell you that you can’t please everyone. There are those who object to moving the date, not because it demonstrably increases voter participation but because of speculation about unintended consequences. There seems to be fear that voters won’t be as informed, so let’s inform them. There seems to be fear that voters won’t get to the commission races on the ballot, so let’s get them there. Dust yourselves off Sarasota, there’s a new headline to write in this town. Change the Future Sarasota, Change the Date Sarasota. Vote YES on the City Charter Amendment.

Mary Anne Servian is a former mayor of Sarasota. 

[On County Politics]  Vote No on Paving Paradise

This election, there are five questions on the ballot asking Sarasota County voters if they wish to amend the Sarasota County Charter, which is our County’s “Constitution.”

One is a peculiar ballot question captioned: “Charter Amendment to Reacquire and Retain Siesta Key Beach Road as Public Right of Way.” To this question, all voters should vote “NO.”

This proposed County Charter Amendment relates to the northernmost segment of Siesta Key’s Beach Road (north of Columbus Boulevard), which was damaged, washed out and reclaimed by Mother Nature in the 1990s. It now contains sandy beach, coastal vegetation and sea turtle nests (see current photo). Inexplicably, this ballot question is asking voters to mandate the County to spend literally millions of tax dollars to pave over sandy beach and protected sea turtle nests to build a road that is no benefit to our public roadway network.

This segment of Beach Road has been impassable to cars since 1993. In 2016, Sarasota County formally determined that spending millions to rebuild and maintain this short segment of damaged road, now buried beneath sand, was unnecessary and not in the best interest of the public. Thankfully, the road is now formally closed to motor vehicles but remains open to the public in perpetuity for use by pedestrians, bicyclists, people who wish to exercise their pets and all who wish enjoy a view of the beach, the Gulf and the sunset. Sarasota County wisely converted this former segment of road into a linear park for the use and enjoyment of all Sarasota County residents. This is the same principle our County applied in converting former railroad right-of-way to what we now know as “Legacy Trail.”

Significantly, by converting this former road into a linear park from which vehicles are prohibited, it forever foreclosed the prospect of privately-owned lands on the west side of the former Beach Road (the “beachside” of the road) from ever being developed with homes that would block the public’s view and access to the Siesta Beach. Even “Dr. Beach,” who named Siesta “America’s Best Beach,” commended the County Commission for closing Beach Road to cars!

Vote “NO” to this proposed Charter Amendment to save millions in taxpayer dollars, preserve this linear park, and protect it, its sea turtle nests and its other natural features from being replaced with an unnecessary and unneeded road. Vote NO to paving paradise!

Dennis Madden is a resident of Siesta Key and owner of lands along Beach Road 

[On City Politics]  Use Common Sense, Change The Date
Linda Holland

Common sense... most people have it, some even use it... but more people need to tap into their common sense for this election cycle in voting for candidates and issues on all parts of the ballot. For Sarasota City voters, it is especially important for the Change the Date referendum. Voting in March for City Commissioners results in a dismal turnout every election cycle. More people vote in November and more people voting results in greater participation in the election process and greater accountability by those elected. Oh, by the way, it saves the City approximately $100,000 every March election. Imagine that, savings of your tax dollars by the City.

Amazingly there is opposition full of unfounded claims of special interests, dark money and other fear-based rhetoric. Even more surprising, particularly because the city elections are nonpartisan, is that the Democratic Party is telling their followers to vote no on this ballot issue. How odd, don’t you think, for any political party to not want more votes cast. Sounds like special interest to me. On a very personal note, because that opposition is so fundamentally wrong at the core of our democracy, I have left the Democratic Party after 50 years of support. It was a tough decision but made because I know what’s right and what’s not. More voters make for a better democracy; less voters do not.

Even with the opposition, it’s encouraging to see all of the VOTE YES on Change the Date signs in my Gillespie Park neighborhood as well as many other neighborhoods in the City. In a truly bipartisan way, they are paired with other signs for both Democrat and Republican candidates for a variety of offices. This is one very good opportunity to put aside partisan differences and support a common-sense issue. It’s easy to understand, unlike so many of the other issues on the ballot. It’s at the bottom of the ballot, so don’t miss it.

As a voter in the City of Sarasota for 38 years, as well as an active neighborhood and community participant, I am asking you to vote YES for Change the Date. Why? Because it makes common sense.

Linda Holland is a long-time Sarasota neighborhood leader 

[SCOOP]  SMA Wreaths Across America

Sarasota Military Academy, a local public charter school, announced the 2018 SMA Wreaths Across America Campaign through a partnership with Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit that aims to remember fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve and teach children the value of freedom. During the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Sarasota National Cemetery, SMA cadets and community members participate in honoring veterans and remembering their sacrifices and service. Through partnerships with other schools and organizations throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties, this campaign has been led by SMA cadets, staff and their families since the Sarasota National Cemetery opened in 2009. The annual campaign yields back five dollars to SMA for each wreath sponsored, and fundraising dollars support cadet extra-curricular activities for both Academy middle school (Prep) and high school cadets. Sponsorships and donations will be accepted until Tuesday, Nov. 20, and the 2018 Wreaths Across America Ceremony will take place on Dec. 15. 

2018 SMA Wreaths Across America Campaign

[TODAY]  The 2018 Orchid Show

Endless Forms will amaze visitors with never-before-seen displays of Orchids that celebrate the plant family's dramatic diversity of colors, shapes and sizes.  Guests will also enjoy an intriguing display of rare orchid specimens and botanical prints in the Museum of Botany & the Arts.  The Orchid Show is open for viewing, now through November 25. 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

[SCOOP]  Daily City Sightseeing Tours

Daily City Sightseeing Tours launch Nov. 9. Discover stories of fascinating people, enchanting places and intriguing events that shaped Sarasota’s amazingly rich culture during our guide-led, air-conditioned trolley tours. Save $5 with code November. 

Daily City Sightseeing Tours

[SCOOP]  JFCS Annual Gala: It's a Jungle Out There

Serving as one of two primary fundraising events for JFCS, this year’s annual December celebration, “It’s a Jungle Out There” is taking on a promise of hope and brighter futures, aligning JFCS’ commitment to guiding and supporting clients on their journeys through the jungle of life. This also includes a shift from black tie to more colorful cocktail attire. Co-chaired by Margie and Chuck Barancik and Clare and Rich Segall, the JFCS Celebration also provides an important platform for the non-profit organization to share its mission by showcasing how JFCS works with the Sarasota community to change lives together. The gala takes place Sunday, Dec. 16, at 5 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. Cost is $500/person, all or portion of which may be tax deductible; table and other event sponsorships also available. Visit www.jfcs-cares.org, contact events@jfcs-cares.org or call 941-366-2224. 

JFCS Annual Gala

[SCOOP]  FST Receives "Arts Appreciation" Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Florida Studio Theatre is delighted to announce that Gulf Coast Community Foundation has issued a $45,000 “Arts Appreciation” grant to FST. These funds will underwrite FST’s 2018/19 Winter Mainstage and Cabaret seasons and also sponsor FST’s annual fundraising event on February 25. Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins shared his appreciation for the continued support of FST. “We pride ourselves in producing high-quality, contemporary theatre that is affordable and accessible to as many people as possible,” shared Hopkins. “This year, our 45th Mainstage season, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s generosity will enable us to produce high-quality work for a vast audience at a fraction of the standard price. This grant will also allow us to continue to produce challenging and entertaining original music revues in our ever-expanding Cabaret program. Without our partnership with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, we would not be able to reach over 215,000 attendees every year.” 

Florida Studio Theatre

[SCOOP]  Street, Jail or Court...Selah Freedom is there!

This week, we welcomed home a survivor who is very special to our entire team. Our Outreach team relentlessly pursues the precious young lives we serve, many for over 2 years. It can take 7-8 touch-points with a survivor before they are ready to receive services or even believe that freedom is possible. Before coming to Selah Freedom, many of the survivors we serve share that they have had over 20 interventions. This survivor was on the streets for years and thanks to the relationship, trust and proven efforts of our team, she finally agreed to enter into our Residential Program. We are celebrating! Our incredible team proves to each young life that they are deserving of a second chance. They are the first point of contact for survivors and law enforcement and bring hope into the darkest places in our communities; brothels, jails, courtrooms and the streets. Tonight, a new survivor will sleep in a safe home surrounded by support and love. Your support of our mission has made that possible! 

Selah Freedom

[SCOOP]  2018 Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival

With 24 Master Sculptors coming from nine countries, building 16 sculptures, some up to 10 ft. tall, who wouldn’t want to be on Siesta Beach next Friday-Monday? The festival starts at 10am on Nov. 9 and runs through 5pm Nov. 12..With last year’s success of nighttime music and sculptures, the festival will be open Saturday and Sunday nights until 9 pm this year with live music, drinks at the party tent and a fabulous light display of the amazing sculptures. The live music lineup will include an eclectic roster of popular local and Tampa Bay area acts. Other festival attractions include free sand sculpting lessons and demos, an amateur competition on Saturday, Quick Sand speed sculpting, and an array of food, drink and retail vendors. 

2018 Siesta Key Crystal Classic

[SCOOP]  Lamborghini of Sarasota Presenting Sponsor for the New Year's Eve Party

Lamborghini of Sarasota announced it will be presenting sponsor for the Sarasota New Year’s Eve Party hosted by Full Moon Promotions. The event will be held for the third year at the Historic Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. The theme to ring in 2019 will be ‘GLOW-rious’ with the atmosphere set with Chillounge Nights new experiential ‘Illumination’ furniture concept. A portion of ticket sales will go to benefit the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota. AgeVital is returning as a platinum sponsor of the event for their third year. All attendees are VIP, which includes: valet parking onto the Red Carpet, entertainment and DJ, open top-shelf liquor, bottomless champagne, wine and beer bars; appetizers from JPAn Sushi & Bar, Premier Catering along with coffee & dessert assortment from Season’s 52 & Der Dutchman. Music features Jonathan Cortez and special guests performing dance and vocals that will bring you and your guests onto the largest dance floor in the region. The event runs from 9pm to 1am on Monday, Dec. 31 at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. 

Sarasota New Year�s Eve Party

[SCOOP]  Goodwill Manasota launches financial literacy mobile app

With the support of a grant of $10,000 last year from SunTrust Foundation, Goodwill Manasota has launched an app called “Show Me the Good Money,” which will help users develop the skills needed to successfully manage personal finances and transition from poverty to economic independence. The app, which is free, is available at the Google Play store by searching “Show Me the Good Money.” Apps offer a quick, easy and engaging way to gain financial knowledge for users of all ages. Research has demonstrated the positive impact of financial literacy training on low- and moderate-income workers and young adults, finding that the majority of program participants changed the way they budgeted and paid bills. With the “Good Money” app, Goodwill has focused on learning areas including “Checkbook 101,” wealth accumulation, and managing savings. It will help to keep users on top of their money and better understand the consequences of their financial decisions. SunTrust Foundation has provided support for Goodwill’s financial literacy programs for the past few years. The grants have been used to launch an internal financial literacy pilot program and then increase the reach and impact of the financial literacy coach at Goodwill, with the goal of helping participants better understand topics such as credit counseling, online banking and consumer credit.  

Goodwill Manasota

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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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