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SRQ DAILY Jan 31, 2019

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"Sarasota and the region are a thriving business community."

- Heather Kasten, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[Business]  Kasten to Helm Sarasota Chamber
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce announces a new face for the organization. Heather Kasten, now the President and CEO of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, takes over the Sarasota group on March 4.

“Sarasota and the region are a thriving business community, and I am very excited to work with the Board, the GSCC team and the community to advance the mission of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce,” she says.

Kasten is no stranger to the organization. Before taking the helm at the Lakewood Ranch business group, Kasten worked for three and a half years at the Sarasota Chamber. There, she started as a membership services representative before rising to Vice President for the Membership Experience.

It was there she forged stronger business connections within the Sarasota and Manatee areas, which proved vital when she became the leader for the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. There, she’s doubled membership numbers and helped the organization regularly exceed its yearly revenue goals. She’s also in that time turned the group’s events into must-stop for state leadership and regularly convened leaders from the two counties in Lakewood Ranch, a community that spans across the county line.

“Heather has the perfect balance of community involvement, organizational expertise and leadership skills to make an immediate impact as she takes the reins of this great organization,” said John LaCivita, board chairman for the Chamber. “The Board and I are confident that with Heather’s leadership, the Chamber will continue to powerfully represent its members today and continue to build on the Chamber’s strong foundation for an even greater tomorrow.”

She succeeds Kevin Cooper, who announced in December he would step down to take on a job as Vice President for Communications & Strategic Initiatives at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. 

[Theater]  Talk to the Hand: The Truth about Tyrone
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

In Robert Askins’ Hand to God, currently onstage at Florida Studio Theatre and running through February 10, a shy teenager named Jason (Harrison Bryan) joins his church’s Christian Puppet Ministry, only to find himself paired with the possibly-possessed hand-puppet Tyrone (…also Harrison Bryan). As the lines between puppet and puppet-master blur, antics abound, relationships strain and uncomfortable questions rise to the surface. SRQ popped in for a rare, off-the-cuff interview with the supposedly diabolical and definitely pathological Tyrone.

What is this story all about? For me, it's about where did evil start. Is evil something that human beings created to take the blame off of themselves for all the terrible things they’ve done? Or, was evil always there, like the clouds and the little sky up there? For me, I blame the human beings. But human beings, maybe they want to blame the Devil. That's on them.

What do you make of this Jason guy? What a piece of work is man—or shall I say is Jason. Nice kid, very shy. Father just died, his mom's not the most attentive mother in the world to his feelings, and he's got to start taking his life into his own hands.

In what way? He likes this girl, Jessica—never even spoken to her. He hates this bully, Timothy—he just sits there and lets this kid crap all over him. It's like, this kid is capable of some deep emotional power, and I'm just here to help him out, man.

And that’s where you come in? So many kids these days, they're on their cell phones, they're looking down at the floor. They don't realize what they're capable of. And they've got these huge emotional lives just waiting to be set free and that's what I like to think I do, baby.

What about this other Jason (Cannon), the director? This guy lets me go crazy on that stage. A lot of directors, they'd be scared—“Oh no, I don't want the Devil on the stage, oh my god!” But this guy? He's like, “Unleash the demon!”

Right on stage? Yeah, baby, and it's different every night. Sometimes the audience will start saying stuff and I'll have to shut them up. Sometimes the other actors do something I don't expect, so I put them in their place. It’s freaking great, I'm the biggest thing Sarasota's ever seen, baby!

Who are your puppet heroes? I like that Punch and Judy guy. And Kermit the Frog—that guy is a class act. But I hate Elmo. Oh my god is he a baby.

What Hogwarts house are you? I'm the Sorting Hat, baby! Alright, no, it would probably be Slytherin, right?

Cats or dogs? Dogs, because you can get them to do whatever you want.

What are your puppet aspirations? What's the future hold for Tyrone? To keep bringing laughter and truth into the homes of America. I want to be a part of the greater union of truth and laughter. And you can quote me on that, baby. 

Pictured: Tyrone and Jason meet eye-to-eye on the Florida Studio Theatre stage. Photo courtesy of FST.

[Government]  County Commission Approves Mote SEA Land Agreement

The Sarasota County Commission has unanimously approved an agreement for Mote Marine Laboratory’s use of county-owned land in Nathan Benderson Park for the site of its planned new Science Education Aquarium. The “omnibus” agreement includes a two-year lease, during which Mote will pursue normal, due-diligence steps and seek zoning approval for ultimate sale of the land. If this does not happen within the short-term lease, the agreement calls for a long-term lease of 90 years.
Mote Science Education Aquarium (Mote SEA) will be an educational and outreach hub that aims to vastly improves access to marine science and technology for residents and visitors, an iconic facility with 110,000 square feet containing more than 1 million gallons of exhibits, onsite diving programs, a STEM resource center for students, teachers and the general public, two STEM workforce training labs and three K-12 STEM teaching labs, which will offer no-cost opportunities for every school in the region. 

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

[Real Estate]  Michael Saunders & Co. Realtors Negotiate Benchmark Sale

An off-market residence in Harbor Acres has become, according to MLS records, the highest sale in Sarasota County since October 2014, when it closed last Thursday for $9.85 million. The sale was negotiated and concluded within two weeks by Michael Saunders & Company Realtors Barbara Sassen May (buyer representative) and Debra Pitell-Hauge (seller representative). The property boasts unobstructed, panoramic views of downtown Sarasota and Bird Key, 146 feet of private seawall, and proximity to popular West of Trail and Southside Village shopping, dining and attractions. The brokerage boasts a 25.79% market share for luxury property, as reported in its fourth-quarter report for the Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

Sassen May works out of the Michael Saunders & Company St. Armands Circle office at 61 S. Boulevard of the Presidents; Pitell-Hauge works out the Michael Saunders & Company Longboat Key South office at 440 Gulf of Mexico Drive. 

Michael Saunders & Company

[Business]  Jantize America Announces Expansion to Bradenton/Sarasota Area

Jantize America, a franchisor of commercial cleaning and janitorial services, has announced an expansion in the Bradenton and Sarasota area with the sale of the area development rights to local businessman Brian Panico. After 25 years, the building service/commercial cleaning franchise has eleven successful area developer offices, and cities in operation include Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, Greenville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Springfield, Colorado, LeHigh Valley, Nashville, and Louisville. Jantize America operates under a franchise concept that allows small business owners/franchisee to capitalize on the commercial cleaning and facility services industry. The goal is for clients to receive the best of both worlds—the service of a small business, and the backing of a regional developer and experienced franchisor. 

Jantize America

[Business]  GATES Construction Announces FG Capital as New Investor, Growth Partner

GATES Construction has announced FG Capital, a private equity firm, as a new investor and growth partner for the construction firm. The principal behind FG Capital, Augie K Fabela II, is an entrepreneur and the American founder of VEON, the 7th largest mobile telecom company in the world, with more subscribers than AT&T and Verizon. VEON was started with 13 employees and at its peak grew into a global company with more than 60,000 employees and a market cap of $45 billion on the NYSE. 

GATES Construction

[TODAY]  BUSINESS: Pelican Plaza Grand Opening: Center For Sight , January 31

Attend the Grand Opening to celebrate the launch of the Center For Sight at the Pelican Plaza office location. Attendees will enjoy exclusive discounts, extravagant giveaways and prizes, special swag bags for first 500 attendees, and delicious food and drinks with samples from surrounding businesses to kick off the new location and store.

Center For Sight , 8224 South Tamiami Trail., Sarasota

[TODAY]  DANCE: Dance Makers , January 31 – February 3

"Dance Makers" is the annual dance celebration bringing together some of the most sought out contemporary choreographers. The evening will feature new and imaginative dance works by internationally acclaimed contemporary choreographers, such as Ana Maria Alvarez (LA), Katiti King (NYC), Kira Blazek (NC) and Kwesi Johnson (UK), in addition to a multi-media solo set on Artistic Director, Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, choreographed by Tennille Lambert (NYC). This versatile program is sure to delight and inspire - while offering something a little unexpected.

Jane B Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Meet the Author: Peter Kegeyama , February 1

Manatee Community Foundation will present a free community lecture and discussion with Peter Kegeyama, author of “For the Love of Cities” and “Love Where You Live.” Kegeyama will be joined by Lilly Weinberg of the Knight Foundation and Johnette Isham of Realize Bradenton. Kageyama will talk about what attracts people to get engaged in special places and why people love their cities.


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

[SOON]  FOOD: Steak & Burger , February 1, 6:00PM - 9:00PM

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County is thrilled to announce our Steak & Burger Event, Celebrating Our Youth of the Year, will be held at The Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club on February 1, 2019 at 6:00 pm. Join us for this western-themed, fun filled night, where kids eat steak and adults eat burgers! Support of Steak & Burger helps financially sustain high-quality programs that we offer to more than 7,000 youth in Sarasota County. All proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, helping our members reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, 3100 Fruitville Road, Sarasota

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Upscale Sidewalk Sale , February 2, 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Join Designing Women Boutique on Saturday, February 2nd from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the areas most unique Upscale Sidewalk Sale offering only the best fashion brands with new and gently loved merchandise, as well as vintage and limited selection items.  Entry is free.

Browse amongst booths filled with beautiful clothing and jewelry, elegant handbags, fine art, antiques, home furnishing and more. Expect to see goodies from Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Versace, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and many other favorites.  Food court, refreshments and other goodies will be available for purchase.

Another highlight of the day will be the presence of appraisers Linda Dyer, Colleene Fesko, Stuart Whitehurst and Sara Wishart as seen on PBS Antique Road Show will be on-site by appointment providing verbal appraisals and to evaluate any treasures shoppers care to bring along.  There will be a minimal charge for this service and the time slots will fill up fast.

Proceeds will benefit DWB’s grants program and their signature GroundWorks initiative that funds scholarships, mentoring and career advancement opportunities.

Designing Women Boutique, 1226 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Knights , February 3 – April 21

Drawn from the superb collections of the Stibbert Museum in Florence, Italy, this extraordinary exhibition reveals the figure of the knight in the Middle Ages and Renaissance through over 80 exquisite objects, including full suits of armor, helmets, corselets, swords and other weaponry. The exhibition explores the function and craftsmanship of these exquisite objects as well as their historical context, focusing on themes of love and war, jousts and tournaments, and the 19th-century revival of interest in medieval knighthood.

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

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SWAC Speaker Series: Can We Prevent the Next Attack? , February 4

Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council for the next program in its 2018-19 lecture series, Can We Prevent the Next Attack?  Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges of Countering Violent Extremism, featuring Dr. Stevan Weine, MD, Director of the International Center on Responses to Catastrophes at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. For the past 25 years, Dr. Weine has studied trauma- and migration-impacted populations to provide culturally-sensitive mental health and support services to the victims of mass violence, deprivation, terrorism, displacement, and disease.  Each SWAC lecture is followed by a members-only reception with the speaker in a historic building on Sarasota Bay.  The lecture is free, but reservations are suggested (sarasotawac.org).

[SOON]  GALA: 2019 Lemur Gala: Red Ruffs & Roses , February 7

The 2019 Lemur Gala, Red Ruffs & Roses, is a captivating and inspiring evening to celebrate lemurs and join to help save them from extinction in the wild. World-renowned conservationist Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, world-renowned conservationist who coined the term "biological diversity is the distinguished speaker at the event.

Michael's On East, 1212 South East Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Sweat , February 8 – April 13

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Lynn Nottage’s play looks at life of working America. It’s the year 2000 in Reading, Pennsylvania, and friends Tracey and Cynthia only need their factory jobs and their favorite bar. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to be limited, the friends are pitted against each other. This new play confronts issues of race, class, family and friendship—and the tragic community without opportunity.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Bradenton Area River Regatta , February 9

The fifth annual Bradenton Area River Regatta oozes over–the–top exhilaration coupled with all the traditional festival favorites—music, food, fun things to do—in one awe-gasping extravaganza that will fascinate spectators of all ages long after the day is done. 

It all starts with the fastest inland boats on water and the largest tunnel boat race on tour—Powerboat Superleague Formula-2—splitting the surf at speeds over 120/mph. And to make sure you get all the speed you need, we’ve added Formula-3 racing this year…nimble, agile and nearly as fast—at speeds hitting 100/mph!

With music that will make your feet move and body groove all day long on two main stage venues! National recording artists and Bradenton natives: We The Kings and headliners on Palmetto's main stage from Arcadia, FL, country music group: The Andy Pursell Band.

Watch as world fly-boarding Champion Kristen Smoyer skies 80 feet into the air on an elevator of water in one somersaulting sequence of acrobatic moves. Then marvel at all the fun four-legs can conjure up in the Frisbee® flying, canine trick antics of Team Zoom and Daredevil Dogs. Plus cool kids zones on both shores of the river and enough food and drinks to satisfy appetites large and small.

And, the after-dark delights are spectacular, too, as the nation’s “First Family of Fireworks,” Zambelli Internationale, paints the sky with pyrotechnic wizardry to end the day in one rousing blast of kaleidoscopic beauty.

The all FREE, fifth annual Bradenton Area River Regatta, Saturday, February 9, 2019. Save the date then savor the excitement!

Bradenton Riverwalk

[SOON]  GALA: Live, Laugh, Love Extravaganza , February 9

Benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Live Laugh Love Extravaganza will take place at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota on February 9th. Guests will shop at a variety of Boutique vendors selling their wares, and peruse the fabulous treasures at the silent & live auction along with fun and exciting raffles items. The program kicks off with a delicious lunch, and guests will be treated to a fashion show featuring fabulous Bigs and their Littles as they model fashions by Panache, Tommy Bahama, Gap Kids, Debbie Dannheisser Threads and jewelry designed by Contessa Jewels.

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Turandot , February 9 – March 22

Although unfinished at the time of his death, this opera remains one of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s most loved works, known for being his most musically adventurous. The story opens with exiled Prince Calaf, wandering outside of the Chinese Imperial Palace, where he falls in love with the cold and distant Princess Turandot. To obtain her hand in marriage, a suitor must answer three riddles—but if they fail, they face execution. Prince Calaf declares his intention to complete the challenge and win the Princess’ heart, but a surprise test follows.

Sarasota Opera House , 61 North Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  GALA: Party Under the Stars , February 9, 6:00PM - 10:00PM

Party Under the Stars in the Grove is a festive evening “under the stars,” featuring music, dancing, dining and a silent and live auction with fabulous prizes. All event proceeds provide non-medical, financial assistance to cancer patients and their families.

Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Gauguin's Voyage to Paradise , February 10 – June 30

Just as Paul Gauguin left an indelible mark on the post-Impressionist art world, the deep impact of botanical imagery on his work cannot be denied. This exhibition will highlight the essential role of botanicals in achieving the artist’s vision of the savage, primitive and exotic. Together with lush displays of tropical plants in the conservatory and gardens, the show will feature dramatic woodcuts and rarely seen works in other mediums by the artist.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 South Palm Ave., 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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