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SRQ DAILY Sep 28, 2019

"Tomorrow’s leaders will be those creative thinkers who can put technology and automation to work to find innovative solutions for our people and our planet."

- Larry Thompson, Ringling College of Art and Design

[Under The Hood]  The Cycle of Partisanship
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

It’s been a little more than a year since Harvard professor Noah Feldman spoke in Sarasota about the cycle of bipartisanship. A guest of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, he shared stories of his days as a Supreme Court clerk, wandering over to Congress to watch the impeachment of Bill Clinton play out during the last great era of hyperpartisanship in America.

Feldman assured the audience, though, that this too shall pass. The founding fathers built in the “technology” of democracy that both sides must come together to effectively govern. But in an interview with SRQ, I asked him about the timing.

“I don’t expect it in the next two and a half years,” he said.

Now, America sits again in the midst of an impeachment imbroglio, with a partisan divide that makes the Clinton years feel like a pool party. And as much demand exists in spheres of intelligencia, the bloodlust on both sides seems to, for lack of a better word, trump all.

You can see it in the response of Florida officials. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, pre-emptively decried impeachment while engaging in what-about-ism over a disagreement he had as Governor with President Barack Obama. Few saw the connection to President Donald Trump withholding military aid while asking the Ukraine for a personally politically motivated “favor.” But at least the talking point was original.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R- said he had more questions than answers, fretted over Democrats cheapening the impeachment process, then sold bumper stickers that announce Florida stands with Trump.

Meanwhile, nearly every incumbent Democrat in the House lined up in favor of impeachment, just as most Republicans spoke out against it. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, called impeachment a “crass political stunt,” though a statement carefully avoided the possibility there may be some merit. U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, meanwhile sent a fundraising appeal declaring “the President has done nothing wrong.”

It’s understable, though, from a political perspective. Trump regularly polls in the 90-percent-plus range with GOP voters. For other Republican elected, that means standing with him or risking either a primary challenge or a broken base in a general election.

Indeed, Margaret Good, the Democratic challenger for Buchanan, suffered the most withering criticism this week for not holding the party line. Democratic voters are as eager for impeachment as Republicans are opposed. Yet Good labeled the current impeachment investigation as “gamesmanship.” “Part of this narrative now seems to be that no matter who is in the White House, the other party will try to impeach,” she said.

She’s running, apparently, in hopes that technology Feldman once spoke of will kick in soon, and that Democrats will have to work with Republicans to achieve anything, assuming anyone in Washington has visionary goals they still want to pursue. The dreaming would seem noble if the timing weren’t so foolish.

Sadly, the direction of impeachment now seems almost set in stone. Trump’s offense, while abhorrent, selfish and typically gangster-like, doesn’t quite seem blatant enough for Republican House or Senate members to risk setting a dangerous precedent, certainly not while their party controls the White House. Democrats probably have enough votes to impeach anyway. But precisely because of the bitter partisanship driving impeachment, a supermajority vote to remove Trump from office will never take place in the Senate.

Rather, this affair seems just to showcase the worst in us. One wonders at this point how quickly, should Trump shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, Republicans fundraise off the threatening history of the victim. But know, Democrats will have articles of impeachment ready before Trump steps foot on the street.

Meanwhile, we’ll all just wait for the gears of democracy to bring us together again. It can’t happen soon enough.

Jacob Ogles is senior contributing editor of SRQ Media Group. 

Photo by Wyatt Kostygan: Noah Feldman in Sarasota.

[Community]  Selby Gardens: Public Benefit to All
Jennifer Rominiecki

There’s a reason nearly 5,000 people have signed a petition in support of Selby Gardens’ Master Plan – it’s because this plan contains significant benefits for the approximately 480,000 people who live in and near Sarasota. Here are a few:

1. The addition of almost 50,000 square feet of free public access through the creation of a 12-foot wide multi-use recreation trail, several parklets, and maintenance of the City-owned park adjacent to Selby Gardens’ property.

2. The opportunity for Selby Gardens to welcome more underserved populations through programs such as the My Garden family membership program and the Family Togetherness program.

3. The ability to enhance research programs that contribute to world-wide conservation efforts while expanding the ability to educate everyone on sustainability and plant life.

4. The contribution of more than $78 million in economic impact to the region as well as the creation and support of nearly 3,000 jobs, with priority for hiring given to City residents.

Selby Gardens has been an iconic destination for thousands of citizens for decades, and our Master Plan will allow us to ensure that citizens can enjoy all we have to offer in the years to come.

Jennifer Rominiecki is president and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 

Visit the Selby Gardens Master Plan Website

[Higher Education]  New Solutions for the Creative Age
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu


I wrote a series of articles last year describing the reasons Ringling College of Art and Design matters. Although I gave many reasons, ultimately the articles underscored one fact: Ringling College matters because creativity matters. In that series, I argued in the future of the new Creative Age, automation and Artificial Intelligence will significantly impact all we do, from how we live to how we work. I believe creativity, and its attendant willingness to fail, will become the key skill set for success, across all sectors. And institutions like Ringling College that teach people to think creatively and to risk failure by trying something new will become crucial to producing the next generation of leaders.

The new Creative Age marks a natural evolution. As we moved from the Industrial Age to the Technological Age and now to the Creative Age, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) engine that has driven our society will be replaced by the STEAM engine (adding an “a” for arts and creativity). Left-brain skills, such as analysis and linear thinking, will need to be balanced with more creative, right-brain skills for the next generation to be prepared to use emerging technologies to meet local, national, international and even global challenges.

At Ringling College, we are leading the way in preparing young people for this Creative Age by providing students with the latest technologies in an environment that encourages students not just to think outside the box, but to throw the box out. Why? Because tomorrow’s leaders will be those creative thinkers who can put technology and automation to work to find innovative solutions for our people and our planet—in whatever fields they choose.

While all of the technological advancements of the last 100 years have undoubtedly served us well—even taken us to the moon and back—creativity is a distinctly human trait. Just like I know that it was people, not computers, who wrote The Grapes of Wrath, created the Mona Lisa, and composed Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, I also know that it will be people again—using the technologies available to them in innovative and creative ways - that eventually will identify a cure for cancer, solve the puzzle of red tide, and find solutions to a million other challenges facing us today. The issues facing society today will not be solved by computers alone; no, they will be solved by human beings finding uniquely creative ways to put technology to work to change the world. That reality is why employers will be looking for employees who know how to approach challenges from unique perspectives, who are able to imagine, to discover, to take risk, to move from what is to what could be.

Creative mathematics? Absolutely! Creative environmental and marine sciences? It is already happening here on our Gulf Coast at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, with future plans that will present both scientists and local students with creative and immersive learning and research opportunities. Creative health care? Virtual reality is already becoming a prominent force in the health care industry, with applications ranging from training medical professionals to diagnosing and treating different conditions. Indeed, creativity will be recognized for what it is: The driving force behind every major breakthrough.  

Over the next few months, we will look in more detail at the importance of creativity to every sector, from politics, to business, the environment, entertainment and more. In a world where the ways we work and live will be drastically changed by automation and Artificial Intelligence, creativity cannot be just the purview of artists and designers. To find success in the future, we all will need to harness our creativity and learn to leverage it across all areas of our lives.

Welcome to the Creative Age. 

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art and Design. 

[Master Plan]  Selby Gardens as an Energy Net Positive Project
Maria Haber

Is there another Energy Net Positive project on the city of Sarasota’s horizon? Is there even a LEED Platinum project? Is it sufficient for Sarasota to rest on its laurels of being Florida’s West Coast Cultural Center?  Or, should the city look forward and become Florida’s leader in Green Energy projects?

I understand the neighbors’ concern about potential traffic increase. However, I hope that by the time Selby’s renovation is completed, through-traffic on US 41 will have been rerouted from University Parkway in the North to US 301 or further east. Since over a decade now Sarasota has suffered from Ken Thompson’s insistence on separating the waterfront from the City with US 41. It’s now time for Tamiami to become a secondary road that services adjacent residents, businesses and parks.

Noise from Selby’s restaurant can be mitigated. Architects and Planners know how to do this.

Trees can be moved. Contractors know how to do this.

Have the neighbors offered areas in their neighborhoods where Selby could plant the trees that are currently on the garage site?

Selby can become an information venue for Energy Net Positive, like Washington DC’s American Geophysical Union renovation is for Energy Net Neutral. You may want to take the time to check out the AGU site: http://building.agu.org;

You may also want to check out the DC government site on green buildings: http://doee.dc.gov/service/green-buildings;

You’ll find that the city of Washington, DC has mandated LEED Silver construction for commercial buildings since 2006. 

Would Sweden’s Greta Thunberg and Sarasota’s Ella Mirman support Selby’s Net Positive Energy botanical complex?   Will Sarasota’s mayor, city commissioners and Selby’s neighbors? 

Letter submitted by Maria Haber, Sarasota

[SCOOP]  The Women's Resource Center Presents BeingWE (Being Women Empowered)

Women are natural-born leaders. Yet, many feel overwhelmed by attempting to juggle life’s demands and have it all—home, family and career. How to balance work and home life? The Women’s Resource Center will explore these issues with BeingWE (Being Women Empowered), a guided conversation series for women by women, created by Keren Lifrak, an area-based entrepreneur and real estate professional. The series launches with three sessions: The Superwoman Badge, October 29th, Women Balancing Business & Life: Creating What’s Possible Against All Odds, December 3rd and Follow Your Bliss: How Our Brains Are Uniquely Wired to Take Action, January 23rd. Each session is 4:30-7:30 p.m., and all genders are welcome to participate.  

The Women's Resource Center

[SCOOP]  Members-Only Preview of The Bishop's New Mosaic Backyard Universe This Weekend

Members of The Bishop's Discovery Society have a special opportunity this weekend to be among the first to see the all-new Mosaic Backyard Universe — and enter a new world filled with fun, interactive possibilities. The Mosaic Backyard Universe, which opens to the public Oct. 1, is a brand-new permanent exhibition that heralds a new era of natural sciences education for the community — a remarkable new place that offers new experiences for the young and young-at-heart on every visit. From a scale model of our solar system, fossil Dig Pit, Cardboard Rocket and a massive Mighty Oak towering above it all, The Bishop has Southwest Florida's coolest backyard. Want to join the Bishop's Discovery Society?  Click on the link below. 

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

[SCOOP]  Laurel Civic Association Announces New Executive Director

The Welcome Reception for Laurel Civic's new Executive Director Michael D. Fluker was held on Thursday, September 12 at Sabal Palm Bank in Sarasota. Community leaders from Sarasota County government and school board, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, The Patterson Foundation, All Faiths Food Bank, Publix and more gathered to meet Michael. The highlight of the evening was the announcement by Mike Small of the William E. Schmidt Foundation of a $50,000 matching grant. The 50-50-50 Challenge Grant calls for raising $50,000 in 50 days to mark the 50th anniversary of Laurel Civic.  

The Laurel Civic Association

[SCOOP]  New Manatees Arrive at The Bishop for Rehabilitation

Two new manatees — Felicia and Doscal — arrived at The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat on Wednesday afternoon to gain weight and receive pre-release conditioning before their return to the wild. The manatees are expected to remain at The Bishop until winter 2021. Felicia is a female manatee about 7 feet long and 397 pounds. She was rescued from Ruskin Inlet on April 22 with her mother after her mother suffered a watercraft injury. Felicia’s mother did not survive. Doscal is a male manatee that is also about 7 feet long and weighs 347 pounds. He was an orphan who was found emaciated when he was rescued from the Orange River in Lee County on April 3. 

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

[SCOOP]  SMH Unveils the ROSA Knee Robot

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) welcomed a new member to its orthopedic surgery team today: ROSA the knee robot. ROSA, which stands for Robotic Surgical Assistant, adds another layer of technical expertise to the health system’s growing robotics program. With ROSA by their side, SMH’s leading orthopedic surgeons Edward Stolarski, MD, and Sean Dingle, MD, performed two robotic total knee-replacement cases and were working on a third in separate procedures. Using ROSA’s computerized algorithm, the patients received a new, precisely formulated and placed joint designed to promote natural joint movement and eliminate their grinding bone-on-bone pain. The ROSA knee robot won FDA clearance in January and has since been acquired by about 30 hospitals with high-volume orthopedic programs in the United States. Sarasota Memorial’s orthopedic surgery team is the second in Florida to complete training and begin using ROSA in the operating room. 

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

[SCOOP]  Goodwill Manasota Recognized for Energy Efficiency Efforts

 In June, Goodwill Manasota was the beneficiary of lighting upgrades from Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) at its Selby/Newtown location in North Sarasota. For this endeavor, Goodwill Manasota was recognized with the Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) Triple E Award, a quarterly recognition for outstanding energy efficiency efforts. The services and upgrades to the Selby/Newtown facility were donated through FPL’s Nonprofit Energy Makeover Program. Goodwill’s new LED lighting, valued at $4,500, is brighter and uses less energy, while producing less heat. This enables the air-conditioning system to cool more efficiently, particularly during the summer months. The lighting upgrades are expected to save the organization more than $1,200 annually - funds that can now be diverted to support its mission services.  

Goodwill Manasota

[KUDOS]  Sarasota Student Receives Legion of Valor Achievement Award

Sarasota Military Academy senior Juliana Rendle recently received the prestigious Legion of Valor “Bronze Cross for Achievement” award from The Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Inc. organization. The award celebrates the achievement of scholastic excellence in military and academic subjects for outstanding cadets. With more than 103,000 eligible JROTC cadets in the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s 6th Brigade, which encompasses five states, sixty cadets were nominated for the award. Only eight cadets were selected to receive the award, including SMA Cadet Rendle. Cadet Rendle is a senior at Sarasota Military Academy who currently holds the title as SMA Cadet Colonel and Regimental Commander of SMA’s “Eagle Regiment.” Ranked third of 150 cadets in the SMA senior class graduating in 2020, Cadet Rendle holds a grade point average of 4.55. In addition to several civilian universities, she is in the process of applying to the United States Military Academy at West Point.  

Sarasota Military Academy

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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