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SRQ DAILY Dec 4, 2018

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"It’s clear that the energy generated by [President] Trump in 2016 hasn’t just stuck around, but it has gotten stronger at the local level."

- Christian Ziegler, State Committeeman, R-Sarasota

-Jeremy Shelby of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management speaks at SB2 Philanthropic Agenda November 29, 2018
[Where The Votes Are]  GOP Turnout Effort Proved Solid in November
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Republican voters in Sarasota and Manatee performed better in the general election than Democratic ones in every state House District, even ones where Democratic candidates ultimately won the day.

SRQ’s most recent Where The Votes Are analysis of results from the November 6 general election show the dominant political party in the region remained poised even amid talk of a blue wave. That allowed the party to hold onto all of the local offices already in Republican control, and helped contribute to narrow victories at the state level for U.S. Senate and Governor.

“It’s clear that the energy generated by [President] Trump in 2016 hasn’t just stuck around, but it has gotten stronger at the local level,” says Christian Ziegler, Republican state committeeman for Sarasota and a newly elected county commissioner. “That, coupled with great candidates like Ron DeSantis and many of our House candidates, helped turn the “Blue Wave” to the “Blue Hype” in 2018, and I suspect the same will happen in 2020.

That’s not to say Democrats had nothing to celebrate in November. State Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, won her first full term in the Florida Legislature, but by just 1.4 percent of the vote. Why so close? In part because Democrats turned out just over 29,000 voters in Florida House District 72 and Republicans turned out more than 37,000. Good still won a share of independent and crossover Republican voters to hold the seat.

In neighboring Florida House District 71, Republican state Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, won an open seat by more than 11 percent of the vote. There, Republicans turned out more than 34,000 votes and Democrats less than 25,000.

Faith Babis, who lost a state Senate race to Joe Gruters, says she felt happy at high Democratic turnout for a mid-term, but that Republican turnout just proved too strong. “The Dems would have had to have near 100-percent turnout to overcome that.” she says. But Babis also sees a bright side. “In my race, I received a little over 92,000 votes in Sarasota County," she says. "There are only 98,406 registered Democrats in Sarasota County.”

Looking purely at turnout, Republicans also saw a higher percentage of votes in deep blue Florida House District 70, where state Rep. Newt Newton, D-St. Petersburg, faced no Republican opposition. There, more than 61 percent of Republicans came out compared to about 57 percent of Democrats. 

Gruters, outgoing Republican Party of Sarasota chairman, ultimately says Rick Scott’s successful Senate campaign helped keep numbers high here. “Rick Scott’s machine got us across the line,” he says.

All of these results will be discussed this morning at SRQ’s Where The Votes Are presentation. Doors open at SRQ’s Downtown Sarasota offices at 7:30am, with the presentation scheduled for 8am. A $5 cover includes coffee and donuts, and Political Editor Jacob Ogles will present a precinct-by-precinct analysis of election results and look at voter demographics in the region. 

[PINC]  PINC Profile: Nashra Balagamwala

With the imminent arrival of PINC 2018 this Thursday, December 6, once again promising a day full of passionate speakers covering a broad and varied range of topics, SRQ went behind the scenes with a few of these incoming artists, activists and entrepreneurs for a quick taste of what’s to come. Experiential Designer Nashra Balagamwala specializes in game and event design, and dedicates her skills and creativity to fashioning games and experiences that lead participants to talk about controversial and sensitive cultural topics, such as arranged marriage, with greater ease and openness.

SRQ: Why did you want to come to Sarasota and spend time with this audience in particular? Balagamwala: I have spoken at quite a few conferences, each one aimed at one particular topic or goal, for example, a game design convention, a human rights convention, a female empowerment event. However, this is the first time that there are no boundaries, and I'm so excited to be around such a diverse crowd with so many different areas of interest. It's going to be an exciting 12 hours!

2. When did you realize that arranged marriage was something to be challenged, not accepted? I was eight years old when my sister was watching My Best Friend's Wedding and I saw how crazy Julia Roberts (Julianne) was about Michael, and all the crazy things it made her do. At that moment, I started comparing it to all the marriages I'd seen around me, and how many of them felt engineered rather than for this consuming overwhelming love. That's when I thought to myself, I want to marry someone I'm crazy about, someone I'm hopelessly in love with, not just someone who's "right" for me.

3. Why use games as the medium for your message? It's not easy getting people to sit down and talk about these things without making it a dark and depressing evening. However, people are usually open to playing games. This is why I felt that it was a good medium to approach these topics. Masking them into a lighthearted setting makes it easier for people to have this conversation. I also believe that people are more likely to discuss a topic if they experience it together (say, while playing a game), rather than if they experience it on their own time, alone. 

Pictured: Nashra Balagamwala. Photo courtesy PINC 2018.

[GoodBite]  Banyan or Bust
Britt Mattie

This local chocolatier stays on the nice list for crafting vibrant candies from the cacao christmas tree. Instead of giving your naughty loved one a customary bag of coal, why not embrace being a little bad with a sinfully sweet box of chocolates? Known for her locally renowned Sarasota Seafoam and “bean to bar” specially wrapped chocolate bars from small-batch plantations in the Cocoa Belt, owner Morag Reid of cozy chocolate-centric cafe Banyan Tree channels her European baking skills, hailing from Scotland, by molding her creativity with artisanal ganaches.

Creative ingenuity reigns supreme with her visually stunning and deliciously decadent truffles—using only the finest fair trade-certified chocolate suppliers, as well as all-natural ingredients (locally-sourced whenever possible) including spices, pure juices/extracts and organic nuts—to create single-origin saccharine delights. "Each batch takes me two to three days to make," explains Reid. "The real colorful ones are hand-painted using colored cocoa butter, then the shells are poured and filled with the various ganache blends, and left to 'crystallize' overnight." 

Reid continually releases new gourmet flavors, such as long-time bestseller "Be Still My Heart," a rose and lychee dark chocolate ganache topped with a raspberry pate de fruit (soft jelly). More floral/fruity flavors include a pomegranate-hibiscus bonbon and blueberry-violet bonbon, while the PB&J layers textures with an organic peanut butter ganache and a strawberry jelly topped with crunchy peanuts.

Give the ultimate gift with a seasonal collection of artisan flavors and festive molds. Can be purchased in a number of assortments boxed up with a pretty red bow for that special someone with a sweet tooth.  

Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

Banyan Tree Chocolate & Cafe, @banyantreechocs, 5170 Palmer Plaza Blvd., Sarasota, 941-923-2462.

[Business]  Guertin and Cellini to Tackle Communications for Visit Sarasota

Visit Sarasota County (VSC) has appointed Britney Guertin communications and content manager and Adam Cellini content coordinator. The new additions will be responsible for all aspects of the communications, public relations and content creation and will work in concert to increase the visibility and recognition of Sarasota County as a visitor destination. In her role with VSC, Guertin will manage all domestic and international PR initiatives, including press relations, visitor information, partner and stakeholder communications and event and campaign promotions. She most recently worked as the PR & Social Media Director with Grapevine Communications, and is the incoming chair with the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance’s Young Leaders Alliance and the current VP with Designing Daughters of Sarasota. As content coordinator, Cellini will develop, optimize and maintain the content for VSC including websites, social media and all other marketing and advertising needs. Cellini spent the last three years as a reporter and weekend anchor for Sarasota’s television news station, WWSB-TV. 

Visit Sarasota County

[Recreation]  Sarasota Yacht Club Awarded Platinum Club of America Status

Sarasota Yacht Club has been awarded a Platinum Club of America as determined by Club Leaders Forum, a distinguished consulting source in the private club industry. Established in 1997, Platinum Clubs of America recognizes only the preeminent private clubs in the nation. Only thirty yacht clubs in the country receive this distinction. It is the first time the Sarasota Yacht Club applied to be considered for this elite status. The selection criteria is based on universal recognition, excellence in amenities and facilities, caliber of staff and professional service levels, quality and commitment of membership, governance and prudent fiscal management, adapting to changing times and overall experience. Sarasota Yacht Club is a private yacht club with a long and rich history, beginning in the summer of 1907 as Sarasota Yacht and Automobile Club.  

Sarasota Yacht Club

[Real Estate]  Coldwell Banker Hires Hudson as Siesta Key Branch Manager

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate has named Mary Beth Hudson as the new branch manager of the company’s Siesta Key office, where she will lead approximately 69 independent sales associates. Hudson brings over 20 years of experience in real estate. Previously as broker associate with Arthur Rutenburg Homes, Hudson served as a new home consultant. She is a second-generation real estate sales associate who worked with the family team at Sotheby’s International Realty and later, with Coldwell Banker. Hudson’s management experience includes ownership of her own brokerage company and serving as manager for Prudential Palms Realty. Her extensive real estate expertise includes business development, new construction home sales and luxury residential properties. 

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

[TODAY]  MUSEUM: Woodblock Prints from Post-War Japan , November 18 – May 5

In the wake of the Second World War, woodblock prints emerged as a channel of diplomacy and friendship between Japan and the U.S. Printmaking continues to be a vibrant and ever-changing art form well into the 21st century. This exhibition draws the Ringling Museum of Art’s extensive holdings of postwar Japanese prints and local collections. On display will be works by key artists including Onchi Koshiro, Hiratsuka Un’ichi, Saito Kiyoshi, Yoshida Chizuko, and Hoshi Joshi, including a number of new acquisitions and never-before exhibited pieces.

The Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  THEATER: A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder , November 7 – January 13

Monty Navarro may be distant heir to the family fortune, but there are several deadly ways to jump the line of succession. Along the way, Monty has to juggle his mistress, his fiancée and the constant threat of landing behind bars. It will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

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

[TODAY]  BUSINESS: Nominations Now Open for 2019 Localpreneur of the Year , November 8 – December 7

Nominate a passionate and purposeful local entrepreneur who you believe has forged a successful company in the Sarasota and Bradenton region with astute corporate drive, a heart for giving back, a talent for engineering innovation and indelible leadership qualities. Your entrepreneur nominee should have an active for-profit business located in Sarasota or Manatee County and may represent any sector of business.  The LOCALPRENEUR OF THE YEAR program celebrates these courageous and intrepid visionaries who make this one of the best places to start and run a successful small business. We will announce the finalists at the SB2 Regional Economy and Localpreneur of the Year Awards Luncheon on January 24, 2019 at The Hyatt Regency Sarasota and showcase all nominees and finalists in the February 2018 edition of SRQ | The Magazine.

[TODAY]  GALLERY: By the Sea , November 9 – December 10

This group exhibition celebrates the beauty of glistening waterscapes with inspired artwork. Sarasota-based and nationally acclaimed artist Linda Richichi presents oil and pastel paintings along with Florida Landscape artist Gary Borse and other gallery talents. This show aims to not only highlight nature’s beauty, but also use the space as a platform for conversations about conservation.

530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Ct., Sarasota

[TODAY]  THEATER: Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul , November 28 – January 13

After several years of requests from theater patrons, Sheldon Rhoden will reprise the role of Marvin Gaye. This original show begins in the 1950s at the start of Gaye's career with Motown and follows its twists and turns until his untimely death in the mid-1980s.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 North Orange Ave., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  THEATER: Elf- The Musical , November 29 – December 16

Santa Claus narrates the story of Buddy, who was raised at the North Pole. Prior to Christmas, Buddy learns he’s human, not an elf. He convinces Santa to let him return to New York City to find his real father. He finds his father (who’s on the naughty list) and a step brother who doesn’t believe in Santa. Buddy decides it’s up to him to bring back the spirit of Christmas to his family and all of New York.

Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 3rd Ave W, Bradenton

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Inspired Juried Show & Women's Contemporary Artists , December 4 – January 11

Two exhibits open up in the four galleries, including an all-media juried show featuring artists from all around the region. Women's Contemporary Artists is a group of women artists from Florida's Gulf Coast. Opening reception on December 5.

ArtCenter Manatee, 209 9th St. W, Bradenton.

[TODAY]  GALA: Sonata a Due , December 4

The Field Club as La Musica kicks off its 33rd season, with its own spin on a gala event. Take in the beauty of the bay and the historic mansion during the cocktail reception. Sit back and relax while a duo of our musicians performs a recital. Cap the evening with an exquisite dinner in the Club’s flagship dining room with designed by architectural icon Tim Seibert.

The Field Club, 1400 Field Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: All Shook Up , December 6 – December 23

One part Shakespeare (Twelfth Night) and a whole bunch of the great Elvis Presley and you have the makings of Rock ‘n’ Roll Musical Theatre heaven. So, “Don’t Be Cruel,” grab that “Hound Dog” and “Love Me Tender,” this holiday season. Because, everyone needs a hunka hunka “Burning Love” for Christmas.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts, 838 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota.

[SOON]  DANCE: Voices of SCD , December 6 – December 9

"Voices of SCD" is a truly unique platform that provides rising choreographers in the field of dance with an opportunity to set work on SCD dancers and premier that work during SCD's main stage season. This performance provides the audience with an equally exciting and rare opportunity to see the early stages of bold contemporary choreographers that will make up the next generation. Choreographers are selected by adjudication through SCD's Summer Intensive Program. This year's selected crop happen to all come from within the company - so if you want to know more about the pulse behind Sarasota Contemporary Dance, you do not want to miss this!

Jane B Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: PINC 2018 , December 6, 8am-8pm

PINC is People, Ideas, Nature, and Creativity. It's a one-day, conference-style experience that attracts creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, specialists, designers, artists, scientists, and any one looking to stimulate their minds and souls. It's an opportunity to participate in an eclectic mix of fundamental pieces that create the human experience.

The Sarasota Opera House, 61 North Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: "Hi, I'm Rich..." , December 9 – December 10

Join masterfully musical and wickedly funny Rich Ridenour, the Pops Orchestra and local singing star and this year’s second runner up in the Ms. Florida pageant, Lauren Nielson, to brighten the stage and the holiday spirit.

Sunday- Riverview Performing Arts Center Monday- Neel Performing Art Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota 5840 26th St. W, Bradenton

[SOON]  THEATER: Straight White Men , December 12 – March 1

Monty Navarro may be distant heir to the family fortune, but there are several deadly ways to jump the line of succession. All the while, Monty must juggle his mistress, his fiancée, and the constant threat of landing behind bars. Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

Florida Studio Theatre , 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art and Jewels , December 14 – January 7

This intersectional exhibition pairs specific paintings and wall sculptures with vignettes of art jewelry that create a collaboration and conversation between the two. Representing nearly 30 different artists and jewelry designers, 530 Burns blurs the lines between art and jewelry and sparks the warm, fuzzy feelings conjured up during the holiday season.

530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Ct., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Black Nativity , December 12 – December 21

Originally written by Langston Hughes, this Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe production is a celebration of the Nativity story with gospel, blues, spiritual, and Christmas music, paired with the poetry of Langston Hughes and the creativity of WBTT. Will inspire and entertain all ages.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 North Orange Ave., Sarasota.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Holiday Pops , December 14 – December 15

Steven Jarvi, guest conductor in February 2018, will lead the orchestra for a concert featuring a mix of seasonal music including selections from The Nutcracker, Brazilian Sleigh Bells, Feliz Navidad and more. Guest Soprano Soloist Johanna Fincher will present Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Bring the family to this seasonal celebration that concludes with a traditional sing-a-long.

Venice Symphony, 1515 South Tamiami Trl. #7, Venice

[SOON]  MUSIC: Classical Holiday Brass , December 15 – December 16

Seraph Brass, a dynamic brass quintet drawing from a roster of America’s female brass players, presents a lively and varied program of familiar holiday classics and popular song—including Winter from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride and more.

Historic Asolo Theatre, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Itzhak Perlman - In The Fiddler's House , December 17, 7:30PM

Regarded as the world's greatest living violinist, Itzhak Perlman is no stranger to audiences in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Almost twenty-three years have passed since Perlman made his iconic album of klezmer music, “In the Fiddler’s House.” In this only-area performance, Perlman revisits this meaningful and personal project, joined onstage by Hankus Netsky, Music Director, Saxophone and Piano; Andy Statman, Clarinet and Mandolin; members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band; and other special guests.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Illumination , December 31, 9:00PM - 1:00AM

The most anticipated party of the year is right around the corner....NEW YEARS EVE!

Full Moon Promotions is bringing back THE Sarasota New Years Eve Party to the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium to ring in 2019. This will be THE Biggest & Best Ticketed New Years Party in the area! Tickets are all inclusive; open full bar, bottomless champagne, catered apps, live & DJ entertainment, and a huge dance floor and light show. Ring in the new year right at Sarasota Illumination!

Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

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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