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SRQ DAILY Jun 24, 2019

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"Every seller thinks they have the best house, but when they are up against new construction with a new look, that's really the competition."

- Jim Soda, The Soda Group

[Real Estate]  Home Sales, Prices Leap In May
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The month of May proved a boon for real estate agents in the region, according to the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. Total home sales in the month jumped 11.2 percent in the two counties compared to May 2018. The leap in number of units sold happened at the same time inventory grew and median sales prices climbed.

“May is now showing the highest number of closed sales in each market in 2019,” says Amy Worth, Realtor Association president. “Given that mortgage rates will stay where they are, and overall prices will start stabilizing, we can expect moderate growth in this market over the next few months.”

The demand for new properties has been met by a number of communities coming online throughout the region. The total inventory for both counties jumped overall, but that was thanks to new increases in available properties in Sarasota. Single-family home inventory in Sarasota went up 7.1 percent in May and condominium unit inventory leapt 14.1 percent, year-over-year. Meanwhile, home inventory in Manatee dropped 6.9 percent and condo inventory there declined by 0.8 percent.

Jim Soda, a real estate agent with The Soda Group, says demand has been fueled recently by an exodus from high-tax states like New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. In addition to standard Midwest traffic, that’s made for a bountiful summer.

“We get a summer push every year,” he says. “Last year we didn’t get it until July but this year it has come in May and June.”

Michael Moulton, an agent with Michael Saunders and Company, says basically the inventory remains neutral, with less than six months of available inventory available in all major categories. But there’s a steady flow of Baby Boomer consumers who want to have a place in the area come fall.

Of course, a downside for sellers as new development comes online is that there are more homes with modern amenities satiating consumer demand. Soda says even homes built as recently as 2007 often need upgrades in order to compete. “They are great homes but are not up on today’s features and architecture," he says. "We see that especially in Lakewood Ranch.”

There, new developments like Polo Run have new homes filling the market with Coastal Contemporary architecture and in the same price range as some decade-old homes. ”Every seller thinks they have the best house, but when they are up against new construction with a new look, that’s really the competition,” Soda says.

Moulton says there’s definitely an interest in move-in ready homes. “People don’t want to go through a renovation, particular in a long-distance situation,” he says.

As for prices, those have climbed in both counties. In Manatee, single-family prices jumped to $319,955, up, 4.9 percent from last May, while condos leapt to $210,000, up 14.3 percent. In Sarasota, the median price for single-family went up 8.7 percent to $305,305, while condo prices jumped 1.4 percent to $238,000. 

[Healthcare]  Riner Appointed to Sarasota County Public Hospital Board

The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board has appointed Sarasota business and civic leader Brittany “Britt” Riner to fill a vacant position on the unpaid, nine-member Hospital Board. The Hospital Board unanimously selected Riner from a pool of 12 local candidates to fill the at-large Seat 3. The open seat on the governing board was vacated in April by Susan Tucker, who stepped down to complete medical school. As an appointee to the Hospital Board, Riner will serve until the general election in November 2020. Her term is slated to begin in July, pending approval by the governor’s office.

As president of Liber Consulting, Riner provides strategic planning, marketing and organization design consulting services for non-profit and for-profit entities. Her previous work experiences include process improvement consulting for K12, Inc., the nation's largest provider of online public school; consulting for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force while working at Booz Allen Hamilton; and healthcare best practices research for the Advisory Board Company. A native of Sarasota, Riner has a long-term personal connection to the community and its public hospital. 

Sarasota County Public Hospital Board

[Business]  Livengood Earns CPRC Professional Designation

Kim Livengood of the Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) has earned professional certification in public relations and received the designation of Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC). Livengood now joins an elite group of fewer than 80 practitioners throughout the state who demonstrate the required level of professionalism and advanced consultation skills in the practice of public relations.

Livengood is the founder and chief communications officer of The Eclipse Agency, an award-winning agency specializing in consumer products and lifestyle brands, using traditional and innovative public relations strategy and tactics. Prior to opening her agency, she was director of PR for Tervis. She is the incoming president of CWC-FPRA and will be installed in August 2019. 

The Eclipse Agency

[Healthcare]  MHCCI Selects DeFrank as Director of Operations

Mental Health Community Centers, Inc. (MHCCI) has announced that Courtney DeFrank has been selected as Director of Operations for the organization. MHCCI has four Wellness Centers in the area—Sarasota, Venice, North Port, and Arcadia—providing recovery-focused programs for adults diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness, and DeFrank previously served as the Program Director of the Sarasota location known as Prospect House.

DeFrank will begin her position immediately. She will be replaced as Prospect House Program Director by mental health professional Frank Swanson, which was also an internal promotion. 

Mental Health Community Centers, Inc.

[Law]  Kirk Pinkerton Attorney Named Super Lawyer and Rising Star

Jodi Ruberg, a civil litigation attorney with Kirk-Pinkerton has been selected for the 2019 Florida Super Lawyers list and named a Rising Star. Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer-influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only 2.5 percent of attorneys are selected for the Rising Star category, and the list recognizes no more than 5 percent of attorneys in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Ruberg works with corporations, nonprofits, governments and individuals with litigation ranging from commercial law, probate disputes and issues arising from the Florida Sunshine laws. She joins the list with her Kirk-Pinkerton colleagues Bill Robertson, CEO and personal injury attorney, and Norman Vaughan-Birch, a board certified civil mediator and arbitrator. 

Kirk Pinkerton

[Government]  US House Passes Buchanan's Red Tide Amendment

The U.S. House has passed Rep. Vern Buchanan’s measure to study the impact of red tide on human health. Buchanan’s amendment instructs the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to designate $6.25 million to research the long-term health effects of red tide and other Harmful Algal Blooms. The amendment now heads to the U.S. Senate as a part of a larger government funding package. According to NOAA, harmful algae blooms cause $82 million in economic losses to the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries each year in the United States. 

[TODAY]  MUSEUM: Natasha Mazurka: Order Systems , March 17 – September 29

Mazurka’s work reflects the communicative potential of pattern by combining visual references to architecture, biology, data analytics and instructional code. From her intense research into pattern languages, Mazurka presents an art exhibition that flatters and disturbs concepts of certainty and stability residing within pattern systems existing all-around us.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[TODAY]  MUSEUM: Interpolations: Artwork from The Ringling and Monda Collections , March 17 – September 8

This new exhibition fuses artworks from The Ringling’s permanent collection of modern and contemporary art and selections from Keith D. and Linda L. Monda’s collection. As part of the four promised gifts from the Monda family, pieces by Beverly Pepper, Teo González, Yayoi Kusama and Richard Serra enable the Museum to present a broader and more complex history of late twentieth- and early 21st-century art. These new promised gifts will be featured along with other selections from Monda’s collection and key works from the Ringling’s own growing collection of modern and contemporary art.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Wigs and Wit , June 25, 8pm

This showcase features a head-to-head battle of the wits between the area's most fabulous drag queens and hilarious stand-up comics. Music, comedy and surprises make this a unique live experience. Hosted by Jeff Klein and Sarasota's favorite hometown girl, Miss Beneva Fruitville.

McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.

[SOON]  THEATER: Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow , June 26 – August 10

This powerful musical biography celebrates the life of actress and singer Ethel Waters. From abject poverty to Broadway and Hollywood stardom, Ethel Waters crossed racial barriers to become a legend. No matter what challenges she faced, music gave Waters strength, solace, and success. 

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Elvis Jailhouse Ballroom Revival! , June 30, 7pm–9pm

From his romantic ballads to his lively jives, embark on a journey through the era of Elvis. Choreographed and directed by world-renowned three-time World Champion, Wilson Barrera, this production is performed by both the professional dance instructors and students of Wilson's Dance Club International. Experience Elvis like never before.

Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Share Your Story - SRQ Magazine's Reader Engagement Survey , July 1

There's still time to connect with the team at SRQ Magazine | Live Local and Love Local for the 2019 Readers Engagement Survey. We invite readers to share their thoughts on how they want to enjoy their time with the magazine—from the types of stories we cover to the way we lay them out in our pages. We want to know what you'd like to see more of in our coverage. Thank you for sharing your insights with us. To take the survey, visit SRQMAG.COM/HelloReader before July 1st.

[SOON]  GALA: "Red, White & You" Bayfront Kickoff Party , July 3

Kickoff the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival and 4th of July weekend at one of the biggest parties of the year! This event is a fundraiser for Suncoast Charities for Children. Guests will enjoy an open bar, island style food stations, live music and exciting live auction destination packages. Dress is Patriotic/Island Casual.


Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Grand Foyer, 777 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  SPORTS: Fireworks on the Lake 2019 , July 3, 7pm

Celebrate Independence Day a night early with music, food, concessions and a sky show on the water. Join in on a family fun, four-mile, patriotic themed race just before sundown, followed by the annual fireworks display on the lake. The race begins at 7pm, followed by fireworks at 9pm. Race participants get VIP parking for the fireworks, and a front row seat in the park after completing the race.

Nathan Benderson Park , 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir., Sarasota

[SOON]  SPORTS: Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix , July 5 – July 7

The first Sarasota Boat Races, called the Suncoast Offshore Racing Grand Prix, took place in 1984 and have become an annual event for thrill seekers and offshore boat racing enthusiasts. 2018 marks its 34th Anniversary. 

Hyatt Regency Sarasota , 1000 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Annual Liberty Litter Cleanup , July 5, 7am-9am

Sarasota County is looking for volunteers to help clear trash on the beaches hit the hardest by the July 4th celebrations. Cleanup efforts will take place on Siesta Key Beach, Lido Beach, South Lido Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty Beach and Blind Pass Beach.  All volunteers should report to the Site Captain at their cleaning location. 

Sarasota County , Various beaches

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Artwalk Weekend , July 5 – July 6

The Village is a residential neighborhood with a commercial overlay that creates a true live/work/play atmosphere. For 15 years, it has grown from a neglected neighborhood to one of the most unique and visited places in Manatee County. Come visit, shop, dine and stroll through galleries and restaurants with live music and unique indie art during Artwalk Weekend.

Village of the Arts, 12th St. W

[SOON]  FILM: Gazebo Starlight Cinema Series , July 5, 8pm

Join the Gazebo Starlight Cinema series with this month’s movie: Percy Jackson & The Olympians. With a screen stretched around the Gazebo pillars and family flicks back-projected from within, what better place than the facing grassy knoll to relax in a beach chair or curl up on a blanket? Bring the whole family to kick off your weekend while enjoying the park! Support local Venice Avenue businesses by bringing snacks, dinner, ice cream (or gelato!) to the Gazebo to enjoy during the movie. 

Downtown Venice Centennial Park, 200 West Venice Ave.

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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