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SRQ DAILY Jan 21, 2020

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"It is time our Florida legislators to utilize our Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as was mandated by the voters five years ago."

- Christine Johnson, President of the Gulf Coast Conservation Foundation

[Land]  Local Foundations Push to Re-establish Florida Forever Fund
John Witte, john.witte@srqme.com

This last December, a number of environmental organizations across Florida, including Sarasota’s Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, pushed state legislators to fund the Florida Forever conservation priority list. The program would cost $300 million dollars, and would distribute funding across a number of state and local governmental agencies, with the largest share (thirty-five percent), going towards land acquisition and conservation, through the Division of State Lands.

The program, in existence since 2001, has managed the purchase of 814,063 acres of Florida land, including strategic habitat conservation area, rare species habitat areas, ecological greenways, under-represented natural communities, natural floodplanes, and coastlines, and wetlands. These lands are still being managed through the Florida Forever program, however, the state legislature has not appropriated the funds required for the program since 2011. Added to that, is the fact that voters passed an amendment to the Florida constitution, more than five years ago, that mandates legislators to maintain an environmental land acquisition fund with taxes collected form real estate development. Those funds, however, have failed to be used towards land acquisition. Christine Johnson, president of the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, sees our local situation in dire need of fixing.

“It is estimated that over a billion dollars worth of land is on the Florida Forever list. The Conservation Foundation alone has over $35 million worth of land that is environmentally sensitive, languishing, that’s from the Florida Forever list. It is time our Florida legislators to utilize our Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as was mandated by the voters five years ago.” There are currently two bills in the Florida state legislature, one in the house and the other in the Senate, which would guarantee $100 million a piece to Florida Forever, and the cause of land conservation in the state. There is also a special connection between Sarasota and Florida Forever, as our very own Bay Preserve was purchased with a $6.6 million grant from the program, making the maintenance of these properties not just a statewide issue for local conservation organizations, but a local one. 

Photo by Sam Valentin.

[The Dish]  Shakshuka, the Unicorn of Breakfast Foods
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

In America, breakfast is an institution. Unfortunately, crispy bacon aside, traditional American breakfasts are as bland as toasted Wonderbread, which happens to come as a default option on the morning menu of the average diner. But breakfast does not have to be so spartan. Take shakshuka, for example. The dish has variations all over the Mediterranean and Middle East, but the basic premise is this: eggs poached in a tomato sauce spiced with any combination of cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, garlic, parsley, onions, jalapenos, ad infinitum and ad nauseam. The Israeli version, believed to have originated from North African Jewish immigrants, has become a national treasure of Israel. And this unicorn of breakfast foods, so rare in these parts, can be found at Fresh Start Café.

While it might photograph better if it were baked in a small cast-iron pan, an Israeli would scoff at the notion. “In Israel, they serve it inside pita bread,”says Fresh Start’s co-owner Hanna Schneider, “but the pita bread here [in America] won’t hold it.” Fresh Start’s shakshuka comes in a shallow bowl and looks like a saucy, savory delicious mess, with an aroma that whispers “breakfast” and “marinara” in the same breath. After the first bite, however, it diverges quickly from the more recognizable tomato-based foods of Italy. A dash of diced jalapeno gives it a bit of kick without inducing heartburn, while the crushed tomatoes, stewed bell peppers and onions make it more hearty than runny. Though Schneider swears she uses no salt or pepper, the average taste buds will question where so much flavor comes from. And then, of course, the poached eggs in all of their runny, protein-rich glory transform this dish into a breakfast ready to fuel sojourns into the sandy vistas of the Holy Land.   

Fresh Start Café, 630 Orange Ave., Sarasota, freshstartcafesrq.com, 941-373-1242. 

Photo by Tracy Rose.

[Local Eats]  American Dreams Restaurant Group Welcomes Plaza Bistro n’ Tavern to its Portfolio

American Dreams Restaurant Group is happy to announce the addition of their newest restaurant Plaza Bistro n’ Tavern, an eclectic gastropub in the heart of Downtown Sarasota. Located at 1409 Main Street, Plaza Bistro n’ Tavern features diverse and delicious sandwiches and salads, savory large format dishes and one incredible cocktail and bourbon selection. Guests have referred to the menu selection as “elevated comfort food”. The trendy and delicious drink menu features craft cocktails for every taste bud as well as a classic brunch drinks and even a few alcohol-free concoctions. Plaza Bistro n’ Tavern caters to the busy worker bees or the relaxed diner, offering a complete dine in experience, beautifully covered patio seating or fast and easy to-go service. 

Plaza Bistro n’ Tavern is open for dinner from 4:00 - 10:00 pm Monday through Thursday, 4:00 pm - 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday and 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm Sunday. Plaza Bistro n’ Tavern is open from 11:00 am - 2:30 pm for Lunch and will be open on January 25th for Breakfast from 7:00 am - 11:00 am. 

For more information call 941-914-9955 or visit pbnt.com

[Legal]  Robertson Launches New Personal Injury Law Firm

Bill Robertson, fifth-generation Sarasota personal injury attorney, is founding his own law firm, The Robertson Law Firm, PA, after a 34-year career at Kirk-Pinkerton, PAWith more than 36 years of experience, Robertson has a lengthy and robust background in personal injury law and has recovered millions of dollars for clients throughout his career. He was heavily involved in helping Florida businesses and cities fight back after the BP oil spill, securing more than $30 million in damages after filing 115 claims for hotels, real estate firms and other businesses along with the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton Beach. He is also representing the City of Sarasota and the City of Palmetto in lawsuits to recover damages related to the opioid epidemic against major pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors and is assisting veterans in a class action lawsuit against 3M regarding faulty earplugs issued to the military. Robertson’s great grandfather and grandfather opened the Robertson and Robertson Law Firm in Sarasota in 1925 and represented John Ringling and other pioneers of the community. At The Robertson Law Firm, Robertson will continue his personal injury and wrongful death practice, representing those who have been injured or killed as a result of others’ negligence.  

For more information on Robertson Law Firm, visit here.

[Pets]  DOGPerfect Announces the Grand Opening Celebration of Its Third Location in the Landings of Sarasota

DOGPerfect, a locally-based independent pet retail company, will host Myths of Pet Food Formulation and the Pet Food Industry. Rob Downey, CEO & President of Annamaet Petfoods, will provide an insight into the variation of ingredient quality and sourcing, the formulation and processing of pet foods, and concerns around dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and your dog’s diet. This seminar will be both informative and entertaining, including stories of his life with dogs and encounters with wildlife during his winters in Alaska. 

“Choosing the right dog food can seem impossible, especially with all of the misconceptions in the industry,” says Fernando Carrera, Director of Operations, “It’s our goal to educate dog owners and help them come up with a nutrition plan that is best for their dogs. Attending the food seminar is a great opportunity to cut through the confusion when it comes to pet food.” The dog food seminar is open to the public but space is limited. Snacks and beverages will be provided.  

Interested in attending? RSVP here

[Housing]  Cold Weather Shelters Opens Tonight in Sarasota

Sarasota County Emergency Management officials have coordinated with the county's municipalities, the Salvation Army and faith-based partners to provide cold weather sheltering for those in need due to the predicted drop in temperatures through Tuesday evening. The following shelters will be open tonight: North County Salvation Army - Center of Hope, 1400 10th St., Sarasota. The Salvation Army will conduct its normal cold weather operation plan, which includes the front porch opening at 4:00 pm, with intake expected to begin at 6:30 p.m.; the front porch will re-open at 4:30 a.m. and remain open until 5 a.m., when the welcome center opens. South County: New Hope Community Church, 5600 S. Biscayne Dr., North Port, will open at 9:00 pm, Tuesday, January 21. 

Emergency Management officials remind residents that pets should not be left outside during the cold weather. Citizens who need to be outside overnight or during the early morning hours are encouraged to dress in several warm layers and limit skin exposure to the wind. Sarasota County Fire Department officials advise citizens to use caution when heating their home, as the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning increase during very cold weather due to the improper use of heating devices, so extreme caution is advised. 

For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or visit the Emergency Services page

[ITB]  Now Online - In Conversation: Innovation In Medicine

Available to view and download, In Conversation: Innovation In Medicine features three leading medical professionals in the region each of whom specialize in diverse fields. They share their thoughts on today's state-of-the-art technologies and innovative medical trends being catalyzed. Dr. Mike Arsenault, Dr. Joseph J. Ross and Dr. Mark Walter discuss key topics within their respective specialties, share ideas for quality patient care and how they stay ahead of the curve as medical pioneers.  

Click here to view the feature

[SOON]  FILM: Sun Xun: Time Spy , August 11 – February 16

A mesmerizing 3D animated film by Chinese painter and draughtsman, Sun Xun incorporates traditional techniques including ink painting, charcoal drawing and woodblock printing. He uses analog and digital technologies to explore pressing concerns of the time.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Remaking the World: Abstraction from the Permanent Collection , November 10 – August 1

Drawing from the Museum’s permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, the exhibition Remaking the World: Abstraction from the Permanent Collection assembles more than 20 paintings and sculptures by European and American artists associated with Abstract Expressionism. The exhibition features an immensely significant bequest of paintings by Joan Mitchell and Robert Motherwell from the collection of Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman; the first additions to the collection by these prominent artists. It also offers the opportunity to extend on view a monumental painting by Yayoi Kusama, a promised gift from Keith D. and Linda L. Monda.This exhibition will include significant artworks by artists who made important contributions to the development of abstraction in New York in the 1940s and onwards, including artists instrumental in establishing a vital art scene in Sarasota.

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

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Ai Weiwei: Zodiac LEGO , November 17 – February 2

Zodiac LEGO (2018) is a series of individual works that is constructed of Lego bricks to represent the following animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The Ringling is the first museum in the United States to show this traveling exhibition. These colorful works are made entirely of small LEGO pieces and demonstrate the artist’s continued interest in the zodiac animal concept. ​

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

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Specters and Parables , December 8 – March 1

Born and raised in Mexico City, where he spent most of his career, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902-2002) was one of the most important figures in 20th century Latin American photography. Although he took art classes at the Academy of San Carlos, his photography was mostly self-taught, but he was savvy to the emerging international artistic avant-garde. Considered to be one of the founders of modern photography, his work extends from the late 1920s to the 1900s. He was a key figure from the period following the Mexican Revolution—often called the Mexican Renaissance—in which arts and literature flourished. This “Renaissance” owed to the happy—though not always tranquil—marriage between a desire for modernization and the search for an authentic national identity with Mexican roots, in which archaeology, history and ethnology played an important role. Support for this exhibition has been provided, in part, by the Ringling Endowment at the Florida State University Foundation. Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues. 

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed , December 15 – April 26

Concealed and Revealed offers a unique selection of paintings by the artist, along with numerous objects from the Solomon Archive on view for the first time. Syd Solomon (American, 1917-2004) described himself as an “Abstract Impressionist” alluding to the fact that his work infused impressionism into the processes, scale and concepts of Abstract Expressionism. Solomon moved to Sarasota in 1946 with his wife Annie. His was the first work of contemporary art to be collected by The Ringling in 1962. His paintings were greatly influenced by climatic factors and reveal a fascination and concern for Florida’s aquatic environment. Solomon incorporated his experience as a camouflage designer during World War II into his painting. It is not well-known that he was also an accomplished graphic artist, who in his early years designed commercial signage for prominent hotels and businesses in Sarasota. Like his work in camouflage, Solomon’s calligraphic skill was essential to the development of his later gestural abstraction.

Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed is presented in partnership with the Estate of Syd Solomon and is accompanied by a 96-page publication with essays by former curator at The Ringling Michael Auping, George S. Bolge, Dr. Gail Levin, and Mike Solomon. The exhibition will include artworks from private collections and The Ringling’s permanent collection.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: Dabbert Gallery Presents "Local Color, Florida Style" , January 3 – January 31, 11am-5pm

Dabbert Gallery presents the exhibition "Local Color, Florida Style" to open at the First Firday Gallery Walk on Friday, January 3, 2020 and continues through January 31, 2020. Featuring six of the gallery's Florida artists including Arnold Desmarais, Martin Dunn, Bill Farnsworth, James Griffin, Joe Palmerio and Luke Steadman. Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 5pm.

Dabbert Gallery, 46 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL

[SOON]  GALLERY: Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica at Selby Gardens , January 5 – January 26, Opening Reception: January 4, 2020, 4:30-6:30pm. Exhibit open Gardens hours.

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind display of native Borucan Art at the annual Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibit and sale. The Opening Reception on January 4, will give attendees the first chance to purchase the masks of their choosing before the exhibit opens to the general public on January 5. The hand-carved and painted, vibrant masks will be on display in The Museum of Botany & the Arts. Members of the Borucan tribe will be at the exhibit on select days for mask carving demonstrations.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) , January 7 – March 26, 10:30 am

Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is preparing for its 49th year of extremely popular global issues lectures and musical conversations. In 2020, these programs will begin in January and continue through the end of March. Speakers of global issues lectures are well-known, highly experienced experts, and guests on musical conversations are internationally renowned musicians, singers, and performers. SILL is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. In its 49th season, its programs will include 96 lectures and musical conversations presented in Sarasota, Venice, and Lakewood Ranch. SILL audiences mostly consist of highly educated and intellectually curious seniors living on the Suncoast year-round or during winter months. SILL also simulcasts some of its lectures to selected senior communities. Last year, attendance at SILL events exceeded 40,000. Single tickets to SILL events are only $10 at the door when available, and a season ticket for 12 same-day lectures cost just $85, which represents substantial savings. For program schedules, venues, speaker bios, and ordering season tickets visit sillsarasota.org

First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple 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. 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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