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SRQ DAILY Jan 30, 2020

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"It's critical we teach students about our government, not only what the documents say but where they came from, and also about the civic responsibility they have as an American citizen."

- State Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota

-Join us in voting for your favorites in the annual SRQ Magazine Best of SRQ Local Competition. Voting now open.
[Education]  BEST Standards Inspire Excitement, Caution
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The release of new education standards — and a move away from all vestiges of Common Core — leaves state lawmakers curious what the guidelines will bring. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis in a Naples announcement last week said the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, or BEST, Standards would propel Florida upward in the quality of education. “We want to get back to solid education standards and curriculum,” he said.

The new directions guiding education criteria in Florida include requiring cursive, stepping away from “new math” and increasing the level of civics education throughout K-12 school.

State Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, says he felt enthusiastic about the new direction.

“I’m really excited for the state of Florida as we continue to evaluate and improve the standards in the education arena,” he says. “I’m especially happy about the addition of civics for all grades, and Florida is the first in the nation to incorporate those.

“It’s critical we teach students about our government, not only what the documents say but where they came from, and also about the civic responsibility they have as an American citizen.”

State Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, struck a more cautious note. She wanted to see the full results published before weighing final judgement, but also believed quality education depends on more than state standards.

"While I understand the importance of standards and applaud efforts to do things like increase civics education and provide access to college preparatory exams, let’s be clear," Good says.

"The heart of a good education system is the teachers. We must focus on ensuring our teachers are getting the support, resources, and pay they deserve in order to ensure that our students are receiving the high quality education they deserve." 

[The Review]  A Slice of the American Nightmare at FST
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

The premise is simple but terrifying: Kendra, a black mother in Miami-Dade County, comes to the police station in the dead of night to find out what has become of her missing 18-year-old son. He didn’t come home that night, but she soon discovers thathe “may” have been involved in an “incident” with a policeofficer. With no additional information forthcoming from the white officer trying to play PR, Kendra is left to fear the worst.

If the audience hasn’t buckled in at this point, they should do so promptly, because they’re in for 80 minutes of bad road, delivered in real time, as American Son drives full speed into the violent intersection of racial prejudice and police brutality. With the brights on.

I’m loathe to give more specific plot details, because a true strength of Christopher Demos-Brown’s script is its savvy dispensation of detail—knowing both exactly what information to withhold and precisely when to introduce it for maximum effect. As a play in large part addressing the various facets of prejudice, playing with the audience’s own assumptions and expectations seems an important part of the exercise and shouldn’t be undermined by a review.

But suffice it to say that joining Kendra and the casually (and not-so-casually) racist Officer Larkin at the police station over the next hour will be another police officer and Kendra’sestranged white husband, setting the stage for conflicts of all flavors—racial, marital, parental, political and even violent. A possible criticism of Demos-Brown’s script could be that the story tries to address so many aspects of so many complex relationships that it ends up muddying the waters unnecessarily, but an argument could also be made that this entirely serves the point. Either way, it all mostly works in the moment.

Making her FST debut as Kendra, Almeria Campbell in large part carries the show through an impressive performance as a powerful woman rendered powerlesscaroming from frantic to stoic, vulnerable to combative, pleading to righteously angry, and all the while fearing the worst. She’s the heart, soul and moral center of the play, but as the show progresses past its first hour, one does start to wish the character had been given more to do physically other than occasionally cross the stage and continually pull her jacket around her.

Rod Brogan also makes his FST debut as the estranged ex-husband, and the pair play off each other well, in moments heated or tender. And though his character may not demand the same constant tension or emotional agility as Kendra, when Brogan does let fly, the audience response is palpable.

And this is perhaps where American Son becomes most interesting—the audience response. When Officer Larkin, performed right on the confusing edge of caricature by Daniel Petzold, lets slip some casual racism and Kendra calls him out, we cheer her on. A moment later, when he does it again, too stupid to help himself, the audience chuckles. We’re laughing at him, sure, but we’re also laughing at the exact same thing that Kendra is currently terrified of her son meeting—a racist cop.

Laughter in the beginning almost becomes complicity in the end, and those moments of comfort undeserved because the threat never really left.

Directed by Kate Alexander, American Son is riveting. And relentless. And smart and unafraid and unflinching. It is also frustrating, terrifying, maddening, manipulative, depressing and ugly. And these are all good things for it to be.

Currently on stage at FST, American Son runs through March 22. 

[Health & Wellness]  American Lung Association Announces State of Tobacco Reports, Florida Has Room For Improvement

Florida earns F in tobacco funding, and the American Lung Association calls on state officials to increase the tobacco prevention and control funding to CDC-recommended levels in 2020 to end tobacco use, youth vaping epidemic and save lives. This year’s “State of Tobacco Control” report from the American Lung Association calls for proven tobacco control policies in light of the fact that the country’s youth vaping epidemic worsened in 2019. This dire situation is a result of states and the federal government’s failure to enact policies called for in the report such as increased tobacco taxes and stronger federal oversight of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. This year’s 18th annual report finds that in 2019 Florida earned failing grades on its efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. The American Lung Association finds opportunities in 2020 for Florida officials to take action to increase tobacco prevention and control funding while also regulating e-cigarettes as tobacco products to support public health and save lives in 2020. The 18th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that while Florida has taken significant steps to reduce tobacco use, including prohibiting tobacco product use in almost all public places and workplaces, elected officials should do more to save lives and ensure all Florida residents benefit from reductions in tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

For media interested in speaking with an expert about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at Britney.Stewart@Lung.org or 470-233-7030. 

Read Florida's full State of Tobacco Control Report and grades here.

[Human Resources]  MBJ Group Co-Owners Attend Premiere Talent Management Conference

Jim Bos and Mary Beth Bos, co-owners of Sarasota-based talent management company MBJ Group, recently attended the annual three-day talent management conference in Phoenix, Ariz. by Target Training International (TTI) Success Insights, a leading source for research-based, validated assessment and coaching tools. Themed R3, which stands for reveal, release and realize, focusing on a people-first strategy. Featuring several high-profile keynote speakers, dozens of breakout sessions and leadership panels, the yearly summit gathers together people-focused, talent management professionals and the voices and insights of coaches, consultants and trainers from all over the U.S. and beyond. Considered the cornerstone of the talent management industry, breakout sessions focused on winning strategies to attract top talent, ways to drive sustainable growth, how to realize human potential and today's most effective strategies for hiring and retaining top talent. For years, MBJ Group has utilized TTI Success Insights’ sought-after tools that explores behavior, motivation, values and emotional intelligence. TTI Success Insightsreveals human potential by expanding awareness of self, others and organizations. Using validated, reliable research, the company delivers assessments to help organizations hire, develop and retain the best talent in the market. 

For more information on MBJ group Human Resources Talent Management Company

[Staff Announcement ]  Firmo Construction Hires New Superintendent, Promotes new VP of Operations

Firmo Construction, a local sustainable construction management firm based in Sarasota, announces the addition of new Superintendent, Andor Keresztes, as well as the promotion of Stefan Baron, former Business Development Director, to Vice President of Operations. With an increase in regional projects and beyond, these shifts to the team indicate Firmo’s dedication to its continued growth and success. Andor Keresztes has completed a variety of projects across multiple industries including hospitality, medical, and corporate clients, with the addition of multi-family projects. Stefan Baron has been an integral part of the Firmo team for 15 years. With his contribution, Firmo has experienced rapid success with its design-build construction management model in both the hospitality and commercial sectors. Firmo Construction is a local, sustainable construction management firm known for their innovative build projects, such as the build of Tru by Hilton in Sarasota County, the ground-up build of Hampton Inn and Suites by SRQ Airport, and the revitalized Homewood Suites by Hilton, which was recognized by Hilton and won the Hilton Conversion of the Year award.  

To learn more about Firmo Construction

[Staff Announcement ]  Manatee County Commissioners Confirm New Public Safety Director Jacob Saur

Manatee County Commissioners unanimously confirmed the appointment of Jacob Saur as the County's new Public Safety Director. Saur previously served as the County's Emergency Communications chief and has worked for the County since 2001. In addition to Emergency Communications (9-1-1) Manatee County Public Safety consists of Animal Services, Beach Patrol, Community Paramedicine, Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services. During his tenure as Chief of Emergency Communications Jacob had spearheaded technology improvements including:  Text to 9-1-1, ASAP to PSAP protocol, the PulsePoint response application, and established the Next Generation 9-1-1 call handling solution for Manatee County. Jacob was elected to the executive board of the National Emergency Number Association, Florida Chapter as the 2nd Vice President for 2020.  Jacob holds the national designation of Registered Public Safety Leader from the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials and has applied to complete his capstone project to obtain Certified Public Safety Executive in 2020. 

For more information on Manatee County Government and officials.

[Environmental]  The Argus Foundation to Host Florida Chief Science Officer Dr. Thomas Frazer at Meet the Minds Event

The Argus Foundation will be hosting Dr. Thomas Frazer, Florida Chief Science Officer, at next week’s Meet the Minds event to address Florida’s environmental challenges: past, present and future. Dr. Frazer is an expert in environmental science, data and programs, leading the newly established Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency, which was created by Governor Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order in 2019. Dr. Frazer’s office is charged with ensuring key water quality objectives are communicated to the public, in addition to leading agency resources and scientific expertise, research and data in solving complex challenges Floridians face. Dr. Frazer focuses on guiding funding and strategies to address priority environmental issues, in addition to making recommendations for necessary increased environmental legal enforcement to improve water quality within key water bodies. 

Join policymakers, community members, Argus Foundation leadership and members on Tuesday February 4 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Michaels On East, 1212 S. East Avenue, Sarasota. For more information contact Christine Robinson, Executive Director 941-365-4886, Christine@argusfoundation.org. 

For more information on this event and the Argo Foundation.

[Forbes Ranking]  Walsh & Associates CEO Joseph Walsh Jr. Ranked Among the Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors 2020

Walsh & Associates CEO Joseph Walsh Jr. was ranked among the Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors 2020. The Forbes Best-In-State Wealth Advisors 2020 spotlights more than 4,000 top advisors across the country who were chosen from over 32,000 advisor nominations. Walsh ranked #16 out of 115 in North Florida. Walsh finds great reward in building relationships with clients, and he loves hearing their stories. Walsh & Associates is a family firm with 12 employees, three of whom are Walsh’s sons Tom, Michael, and Joe III. Clients still send their friends and family to "go ask Joe" (or Tom, or Michael, or Joe III). Walsh says of the firm, “We like what we do, how we do it and the people we do it for. We become part of our clients’ families, and we want what’s best for family.” In addition to his role as advisor and CEO of Walsh & Associates, Walsh is a volunteer instructor for Adult & Community Enrichment (ACE) at Suncoast Technical College. His classes cover many of the same topics broached with clients, like Social Security strategies, estate planning and the transition to retirement. He also serves the Investments & Wealth Institute (formerly IMCA) as a member of the Certification Item/Test Form Review Task Force. Walsh has an MBA in Finance and CFP®, CFA®, CTFA, AIFA®, CRPC® and CPWA® designations.  

For information about his firm’s services or to speak with Joseph Walsh

[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]  THEATER: Handle With Care | Florida Studio Theatre , December 11 – March 8

A young woman from Israel, Ayelet, reluctantly joins her grandmother on a trip to the United States. Circumstances both absurd and tragic bring Ayelet, who has little command of the English language, together with Josh, a young American man who has little command of romance, on Christmas Eve. Is their inevitable love an accident…or is it destiny, generations in the making? 

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 North Palm Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Ringling Reflections , January 12 – June 14, 10:30 am

Ringling Reflections programs are designed specifically for people with memory loss and their care partners. They are relaxed, conversation-based gallery tours in the Museum of Art. The tour routes will be wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available for use free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Listening devices, including induction loops for t-coil hearing aids, will be provided. Portable stools will be available for all participants. Tours take place on select Sundays. Please plan on arriving to the museum’s Visitors Pavilion at 10:00 to check in. The tours are free of charge, however, advance registration is required and space is limited.

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

[SOON]  MUSEUM: ROAR! At the Ringling , January 16 – April 24, 10:30 am

ROAR is The Ringling’s family story time designed to engage toddlers and preschoolers in activities that connect art and early literacy. Attendees will enjoy a story and accompanying art activity. This event is free to attend, however, tickets are required. Tickets will be avaiable 30 days prior to each program. 

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art Education Center Classroom, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Dance Makers , January 30 – February 2, 7:30pm

The third performance series, "Dance Makers" features new imaginative dance pieces by nationally acclaimed contemporary choreographers. This year’s crop includes Terrence Henderson, Bliss Kohlmyer, Maria Bauman-Morales, and Adele Myers. SCD is proud of the caliber of choreographers gathered for this performance. These works are hand-picked by SCD's Artistic Director to present the strength, power, charm, and diversity of the company and its mission of presenting a range of contemporary dance for multi-generational and multi-cultural audience in our community. The choreography is diverse, the impact profound, and the dancers utterly captivating.

Jane B. Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  DANCE: FrEnemies of Contemporary Performance: Dance , January 30, 6:00 pm

Join Leah Verier-Dunn from Sarasota Dance Company, Moving Ethos, as she leads an open round table talk on Contemporary Dance in the Perret Family Studio Space. It is recommended that visitors attend the performance, Peony Dreams: On The Other Side of Sleep by Yin Mei on January 17th or 18th in the Historic Asolo Theater in preparation for the discussion.

Perrett Studio at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: One Book, One Community, 2020 , January 31, 10:30am in North Port; 7pm in Downtown Sarasota

Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources announces the return of the popular One Book, One Community program for 2020 with the selection of Kate Moore's "The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women." The book details the true story of unsafe and deadly workplace conditions for female workers during World War I who painted radium on watch dials, and later military equipment at factories in New Jersey and Illinois. Many experienced painful, disfiguring and fatal cancers as a result of their exposure to radium. These young women began a race-against-time fight for justice that would forever change US labor laws. The program has recognized local authors as well as world-renowned writers. A committee selects the One Book title and then hosts a public event with the author and readers. This celebration includes follow-up programs at county libraries and other venues. Anyone can participate in One Book, One Community by attending a library event or hosting their own book discussion.

Suncoast Technical College ; Selby Public Library, 4445 Career Lane, North Port; Downtown Sarasota

[SOON]  HEALTH: An Evening for Healthy Start 2020 , January 30, 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Join Healthy Start Sarasota for a night of unique fun and entertainment in a relaxed and casual setting. DJ Steve Rice will set the tone for the experience as attendees savor a rich assortment of light bites from local restaurants paired with local beer and wine, and our special signature cocktail. Featuring face painting, live art, photo booth, and putting green adventures. Tickets: $50 in advance $60 at door, Click here to purchaseEvent co-chaired by Arin Jackson and Chelsea Arnold.

Sarasota Architectural Salvage, 1093 Central Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Sarasota Ballet: Redefined Movement , January 31, 7:30pm-9:45pm

The Sarasota Ballet launches the 2020 Winter - Spring Season with the January 31st opening of Redefined Movement, at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. The triple bill includes Sir Frederick Ashton’s dazzling Les Rendezvous, an early example of the intricate and nuanced choreography present throughout Ashton’s career; the Company Premiere of Paul Taylor’s Brandenburgs, a display of Paul Taylor’s signature approach to modern choreography choreographed to Johann Sebastian Bach’s "Brandenburg Concertos"; and Dominic Walsh's robust and vivacious celebration of Neapolitan culture and charm, I Napoletani.

FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Automotive Art of Ferdinand Porsche and Enzo Ferrari , February 1 – May 1, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Guests can “step back in time” to see an in-depth history of both Ferrari and Porsche, and the incredible cars that were released along the way, at Sarasota Classic Car Museum’s upcoming exhibit. The exhibit will showcase over 16 Porsche models, from 1951 to 2004, as well as six classic Ferraris ranging in years from 1965 to 2011. This exhibit is included in the price of admission to the museum. 

Sarasota Classic Car Museum, 5500 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  FOOD: The Downton Abbey Dinner Party RETURNS! , February 1, 6:30pm

Enjoy a four course dinner in the English style of the “Downton years,” accompanied by wines and fine food by Chef Paul Mattison. The evening will start in the candlelit Garden Courtyard and then for dinner and dancing in the Galleria Dining Room. Many musical surprises are planned. The Lords and Ladies will enjoy a welcoming glass of bubbly in the Garden Courtyard, and 2 glasses of wine with dinner, cash bar. Reservations are a must. Cost is $100 per person which includes the full meal, tax, gratuity and charity donation. Dress is formal (black tie or white tie preferred and period dress). A portion of the proceeds to benefit Mayors’ Feed the Hungry. For more information and reservations, email: finelli@tasteweb.net or phone for tickets.   

Mattison's 41, 7275 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

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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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