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SRQ DAILY Mar 26, 2020

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"We may be social distancing, but we're still here, and we're still all in this together,"

- Beth Frady, Florida Department of Transportation

[Transportation]  Ringling Bridge Illumination Part of Statewide Unity Effort
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Lights on the underside of the John Ringling Causeway cast the Sarasota landmark in red, white and blue. It's a look meant to inspire a patriotic sense of unity and community— and could be the first such project as part of a statewide effort.

“The governor said very recently we need to work hard as a community and come out stronger on the other side,” said Beth Frady, communications director for the Florida Department of Transportation. “That’s what FDOT wants to do with this.” She refers to the global coronavirus pandemic that has shut down much of normal life and business in the state of Florida. Sarasota has seen is beaches closed, and the first death from COVID-19 happened in the community this week, with the death of international renown playwright Terrance McNally at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

“The community needs this and appreciates it,” Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody wrote in a letter to FDOT. He called on FDOT to light the bridge, with the colors representing more than just the U.S. The red represents first responders, white for the essential workforce and blue for the medical professionals on the front lines of a pandemic.

Next comes the Sunshine Skyway, maybe Florida’s most iconic bridge connecting Manatee and Pinellas counties. That structure will light up tonight with the same red, white and blue color scheme. FDOT will light up other infrastructure throughout the state, including a bridge and a tunnel in Daytona Beach.

Frady said the department must work with bridges that have lighting in place. Workers can’t be sent to install lighting in teams thanks to social distancing, and it’s admittedly not the highest priority for spending when state revenues are in freefall. But to reprogram infrastructure lighting where it already exists feels like an easy thing to do that can help the state of Florida feel some positivity at a time of enormous hardship, Frady said. “We may be social distancing, but we're still here, and we're still all in this together,” she said. 

Photo courtesy FDOT: John RIngling Causeway lit in patriotic colors.

[Philanthropy]  The Mangrove Bayou Walkway is Underway

If you’ve visited The Bay recently (while, of course, taking proper precautions), you may have noticed stakes lining the mangroves, which mark the first steps toward realizing the future Mangrove Bayou Walkway. As of this Wednesday, partners at Jon F. Swift Construction put up a fence that officially starts construction for the walkway, which is estimated to be completed by the end of the year. The Mangrove Bayou Walkway will be a safe, lighted walkway that will line the newly revitalized mangroves and coastal wetlands. It is one of many exciting projects The Bay is undertaking as they continue their journey toward building The Bay Park. The best part? The area around the construction fence will be open and accessible to all park goers during the construction process. This means the community is free to take a stroll, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and take a look at our progress as it happens.  There will be alternative walking routes during the construction process, and importantly, the new walkway will be a significant improvement of the park for everyone. 

For more.

[Music]  Key Chorale Launches New Come Together Choir: Online Choral Rehearsals

Beginning this afternoon at 2pm, Key Chorale will launch their new Come Together Choir Online Choral rehearsals. This outreach isn’t just for local singers, but can be experienced by anyone, anywhere in the country via Key Chorale’s YouTube channel. New rehearsals will premier each Thursday at 2 PM and then be available afterwards on the YouTube channel to watch over and over again.If you are a singer, you know how important it is for singers to come together, to connect, to communicate and to make music. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, singing in choirs has been a great challenge. The need to come together, to make music has never been more important. Music and singing are a way to express ourselves, our feelings, our joy, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

“Key Chorale is a fully auditioned chorus of 120 singers," says Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins. "In addition to unique and collaborative concerts, Key Chorale has a heart and passion for education and community outreach. We have Off-Key Chorale, for those living with Parkinson’s and their care partners, and the new Where Are My Keys? Chorale, for those living with memory loss and their care partners. For many in our outreach choirs these weekly rehearsals are often the highlight of their week.” The human spirit has an amazing way of finding the good, even when times are as challenging as these. Keeping a sense of community in a time when we're being asked to isolate has been a challenge. 

Click to register to join the Come Together Choir.

[Disaster Relief]  Gulf Coast, Barancik Foundation Launch COVID-19 Response Initiative

Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation have introduced a philanthropic initiative to fortify key health and safety organizations in the region amid the growing COVID-19 crisis. The foundations announced their joint effort on Saturday with total commitments so far of $1.5 million to support the initiative. They positioned the funding as a challenge to Gulf Coast donors and other philanthropists in the community to match that amount.

“Philanthropy must be a leader in complementing governmental responses to this crisis,” said Mark S. Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Our nonprofit partners count on us, especially in times of unforeseen challenge, and we are counting on our donors to lean in right now too.”

The foundations’ COVID-19 Response Initiative aims to support lead health, human-service, and safety organizations facing increased demand for services right now and in the coming months. Working together, the foundations will strategically deploy funding to give strained organizations immediate relief while also helping to build their long-term capacity to continue providing vital safety-net support.

“Our Board views this as an investment in shoring up the systems and relationships we have already built,” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, which held an emergency board meeting to commit $500,000 to the initiative. “We want to make sure that our region’s coordinated systems for things like hunger relief, homeless services, and mental healthcare can withstand the added burdens that are sure to come.”

Jon Thaxton, a senior vice president at Gulf Coast Community Foundation who is directly overseeing the initiative for Gulf Coast, was quick to note that the uncertainty of the escalating pandemic means the foundations’ response will evolve too. “Initially, we anticipate investing in the strong partners and existing safety-net systems we have in place in our community,” Thaxton said. “However, we must remain flexible and nimble so we can adapt our approaches to meet newly emerging needs.”

One area where the foundations anticipate added challenges for public and nonprofit agencies is the sheer number of residents who may seek assistance for the very first time. Besides the direct health impacts of the coronavirus, the containment strategies necessary to control its spread are already affecting everything from employment and financial security to childcare and feeding availability. “We expect to see many community members who have never turned to a nonprofit for help before,” said John Annis, Thaxton’s counterpart at the Barancik Foundation. “Guiding them to assistance that’s available and making sure they can navigate the system will be crucial services in and of themselves.” Foundation leaders stressed that this new initiative should not divert direct charitable giving to other community organizations during the crisis. “We need our donors to continue supporting their favorite arts and cultural organizations, animal shelters, and other programs, even as we invite them to help us strengthen the social safety net for those most vulnerable to COVID-19’s devastating impacts,” said Gulf Coast’s Pritchett. “This is a time when we are urging our donors to do more if they are able to do so.”

Donors with charitable funds at Gulf Coast Community Foundation are encouraged to use the foundation’s online donor portal to direct a gift from their fund to the initiative. Other community members who would like to make a donation may visit GulfCoastCF.org and click “COVID-19 Fund.” 

Click for more.

[Achieva Credit Union]  A True

Achieva Credit Union has been in Sarasota for 10 years and has been proud to be a GOOD neighbor every step of the way. The SRQ March BrandStory highlights several of the many of Achieva Credit Union’s community initiatives that help local families.

Teaching Financial Literacy: People often think that financial institutions are just a place to deposit and withdraw money. But that’s not the case. Sure, Achieva can help you open up a checking account, get a car loan, or transfer your high credit card balance to a low-interest card. But Achieva is also big on helping you achieve your financial goals, whether you’re a renter who wants to be a homebuyer, or a parent looking for money-saving back-to-school shopping tips. In Sarasota, Achieva has hosted several financial literacy sessions for students and their parents at Wilkinson, Alta Vista, and Ashton Elementary schools. Adults and kids alike learned financial tips like how to budget and ways to save money as a family.

Addressing Affordable Housing: Achieva partnered with Habitat for Humanity Sarasota to help build three homes at Hammock Place, a planned community which will have 40 single-family homes. From painting and flooring to interior framing, the Achieva team was pumped to work in the community alongside the members they serve. And currently, Liz Watts, branch manager at Achieva’s Bee Ridge location, is out in the community supporting local Habitat families as they go through the program. Working with a committee team, Watts mentors Habitat families to ensure they’re keeping up with their work hours and attending nancial literacy classes about homeownership.

Learn more through the Achieva Credit Union SRQ March BrandStory HERE 

Click here to view the BrandStory

[Summer Fun Camps 2020]  Front Row Seats to Ocean Literacy at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

During Mote Camp Summer 2020, kids can get involved in something fishy in ocean-themed summer camps from Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, offering a wide variety of camp themes both on-site and off-site for campers entering kindergarten through 12th grade. They also offer something for the little ones (2–5 year olds), where their favorite adult can join the fun with Shark Pups and Grownups camps.

Check out the SRQ Summer RocketKids Magazine for more camp listings. 

Click here for more information

[Stimulus Bill]  CARES Act Update: Anticipated to be Signed into Law this Week

The EDC of Sarasota County provides further updates on the CARES Act, which is in the legislative process and anticipated to be signed into law in the coming days. Below are the sections of the stimulus bill that is relevant to small business lending: $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants through community banks to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage and utilities. The loans would be available during an emergency period ending June 30, and would be forgiven if the employer continued to pay workers for the duration of the crisis; $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs; and, $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans. 

The section 7(a) grants are the bulk of the funding and are the vehicle for forgivable loans, so a deeper dive on that:

  • Establishes the maximum 7(a) loan amount to $10 million through December 31, 2020 and provides a formula by which the loan amount is tied to payroll costs incurred by the business to determine the size of the loan.
  • Specifies allowable uses of the loan include payroll support, such as employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, and mortgage, rent, and utility payments.
  • Increases the government guarantee of 7(a) loans to 100 percent through December 31, 2020, at which point guarantee percentages will return to 75 percent for loans exceeding $150,000 and 85 percent for loans equal to or less than $150,000.
  • Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for at least six months and not more than a year, and requires SBA to disseminate guidance to lenders on this deferment process within 30 days.
  • Requires the SBA to provide a lender with a process fee for servicing the loan. Sets lender compensation fees at five percent for loans of not more than $350,000; three percent for loans of more than $350,000 and less than $2,000,000; and one percent for loans of not less than $2,000,000.

And specific to loan forgiveness, Section 1106:

  • Establishes that the borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent by the borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan on payroll costs, interest payment on any mortgage incurred prior to February 15, 2020, payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020, and payment on any utility for which service began before February 15, 2020.
  • Amounts forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan. Eligible payroll costs do not include compensation above $100,000 in wages. Forgiveness on a covered loan is equal to the sum of the following payroll costs incurred during the covered 8 week period compared to the previous year or time period, proportionate to maintaining employees and wages:
  • Payroll costs plus any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation) plus any payment on any covered rent obligation + and any covered utility payment.
  • The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year and reduced by the reduction in pay of any employee beyond 25 percent of their prior year compensation. To encourage employers to rehire any employees who have already been laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, borrowers that re-hire workers previously laid off will not be penalized for having a reduced payroll at the beginning of the period.
  • Allows forgiveness for additional wages paid to tipped workers.
  • Borrowers will verify through documentation to lenders their payments during the period. Lenders that receive the required documentation will not be subject to an enforcement action or penalties by the Administrator relating to loan forgiveness for eligible uses.
  • Upon a lender's report of an expected loan forgiveness amount for a loan or pool of loans, the SBA will purchase such amount of the loan from the lender.
  • Canceled indebtedness resulting from this section will not be included in the borrower's taxable income.

Any loan amounts not forgiven at the end of one year is carried forward as an ongoing loan with terms of a max of 10 years, at max 4% interest. The 100% loan guarantee remains intact.

Important note: these programs are NOT available until signed into law by the President. 

Click to review the complete bill.

[Construction]  Building Division Dropbox Available For Plans and Paperwork

In an effort to keep the construction industry moving during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the City of Sarasota’s Building Division has a dropbox available to the public for plans and other transmittals. The dropbox is available in the first-floor lobby of the City Hall Annex, 1565 1st St., from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. The box can be used for commercial and residential building plans, transmittal of permits under review, elevation certificates and other miscellaneous paperwork. Customers dropping off plans can anticipate a 24-hour delay in processing. The rest of City Hall and other City buildings remain closed to the public, but most City operations and functions are still available. The public is advised to conduct business with the City either online via www.SarasotaFL.Gov or by phone at 941-263-6000.   

[Pick-up & Carry-out ]  Artisan Cheese Company Is Open For Pick-up and Carryout

The Artisan Cheese Company will continue to provide service through the walk-up window for as long as it is purposeful and meaningful but at limited hours. Under the department of agriculture, the Artisan Cheese Company is designated as a grocery, not a restaurant, therefore are considered an essential business. Patrons can now order online in advance and then walk up to the window at the shop. With distribution sorely challenged and interrupted there will be a tightened and streamlined menu. The kitchen will focus on Mac and Cheese and one soup. ORDER here, CREDIT CARDS only please, new temporary hours of operation are Wednesday 2 - 6 and Thursday 12 -3.   

Click here to order online.

[Closures]  Sarasota Orchestra Cancels April Events

For the health and safety of the community, Sarasota Orchestra will cancel concerts, events and meetings scheduled through April 26, 2020. While the decision itself is a clear one, the Orchestra family will miss the opportunity to share the joy of live music with the community. The Box Office has closed to public walk-up but will respond to email and phone inquiries. Sarasota Orchestra is grateful to patrons who have donated their tickets to help keep the Orchestra together so that performances can resume when this crisis abates. Sarasota Orchestra asks community members to please consider donating purchased tickets for canceled concerts. Subscription renewals for 2020-2021 and Annual Fund support are also critical to preserving Sarasota Orchestra. Sarasota Orchestra remains steadfast in the mission to enrich lives through music's life-affirming power. Concerts in May and June are currently planned while following updated guidelines from local, State, and Federal agencies. For updates please visit COVID-19 update.  

Canceled Concerts:

April 2: Classical Conversations

April 3 - 5, Masterworks 7: American Impressions

April 17 - 18, Pops 3: American Playlist

April 18, Sarasota Youth Orchestras’ Year-End Showcase Concerts

April 19, Chamber Soiree 8: Guiding Principals

Complete the Cancelled Concert Ticket form. Call the Box office at 941-953-3434, Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm, or email at web@sarasotaorchestra.org with any questions.  

For more.

[Health & Wellness]  Communities and Tidewell Volunteers Answer Call For Personal Protective Equipment

Tidewell Hospice put out a call for help during an unprecedented time of uncertainty for health care organizations. The response has been swift and overwhelming. On social media and through connections to volunteers, local businesses and community and neighborhood groups, Tidewell asked for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), i.e. gloves, masks, gowns, and hand sanitizer, to serve patients and families during the coronavirus outbreak. The response was reminiscent of the homefront response during World War II, when U.S. citizens donated socks, underwear, and other items to the war effort, although admittedly on a smaller scale. Several community partners stepped forward to donate fabric for gowns and masks. Community and church quilting and sewing hobby groups have contacted Tidewell to join in the cause. At Harvest United Methodist Church in Lakewood Ranch, Director of Missions Diane McCoy mobilized her congregation of more than 500 to help. "We heard about the need from neighbors and social media. We have a sewing group, ‘Sewing Seeds of Faith,’ a group of about 20 church member women,” Diane said. “Since school is out we have some students and other church members who have jumped in with us to make masks and gowns. We reached out to Tidewell because we have seen the inspiring work and dedication of Tidewell for the community. Tidewell is a blessing to those in our community and to our church, as well." PPE is critical to protect clinical staff from contracting and spreading the coronavirus. Tidewell is in need of all these things to protect staff and the more than 1,200 patients in care daily. “We’ve been so gratified by the outreach of groups that have been contacting us this week, and we need more in order to meet the long-term demands for supplies,” said Debbie Mason, EVP/Chief Philanthropy Officer and President of the Tidewell Foundation. Regular volunteer activities have been severely cut back by the coronavirus outbreak. Tidewell volunteers are no longer visiting patients in homes or facilities. All group activities for Tidewell volunteers have been suspended until further notice. But that hasn’t stopped volunteers from contributing to the cause. Tidewell is extremely grateful for the generous donations of time, talent and treasure at this time of uncertainty. There is still a need for additional hand sanitizer, masks, and protective gowns. To donate masks, gowns, hand sanitizer or other supplies, email philanthropy@tidewell.org or call 941-552-7546. 

[Parks Updates]  Manatee County Manatee County Announces Parks, Boat Ramp Updates

The Department of Health specimen collection site will begin accepting drivers with an appointment at 10 a.m. at the Bradenton Area Convention Center for potential COVID-19 patients with a prescription. The initial collection period will be Thursday through Sunday, March 29.  Manatee County Parks and Recreation will close Rose Park only to ensure public health safety and social distancing. The western end (sandy beach area access) of Emerson Point Preserve will be closed to vehicle traffic tomorrow at 7 a.m.  Other County parks and preserves remain open for outdoor recreation but persons must practice social distancing. Other County parks and preserves remain open. County leaders continue to stress the importance of social distancing across the community. 

The City of Palmetto will open the Riverside Boat Ramp daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for commercial fishing operations north of the Manatee River. South Coquina boat ramp will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day commercial fishing operations in south/western areas of the county. Commercial fishing operations with a Florida Saltwater Products License (SPL) for commercial fishing will be allowed to launch at the two boat ramps.

Manatee County strongly encourages those with medical conditions and those over the age of 65 take extra precautions to prevent infection of COVID-19 by staying at home and limiting social gatherings to 10 people or less.  Manatee County residents should work remotely as recommended by Governor DeSantis's Executive Order 20-83 and follow the CDC and DOH guidelines for frequent hand washing.

Anyone traveling to Florida from areas of substantial spread, to include New York, New Jersey and Connecticut should isolate or quarantine for 14 days from the time they were in those areas, as per Governor DeSantis's Executive Order 20-82.  

[Sanitation Service]  Jax Kar Wash in Bradenton Implements Sanitation Service

Jax Kar Wash in Bradenton, Florida has implemented a sanitation service available to all customers, first responders and medical personnel that kills bacteria, mold, and viruses (including Covid-19) on all surfaces. It will also remove bad odors from smoking, food, animals, etc., in only 20 minutes. Thiemachine, from Sanity Systems, uses ozone gas, sanitizes and deodorizes interiors, including the air-conditioning unit. When a customer chooses the Personal Touch Interior Service (vacuum, windows, wipe down) the Jax team first sanitizes the interior for their safety during the cleaning process and then applies a sanitizer before the customer gets back in their vehicle. There is no extra charge for this sanitation service.  Jax has additional machines coming this week to help meet the demands of the motoring public in Manatee County. Jax is offering this service starting at $50. Additionally, it’s free to all Unlimited Pass Members, First Responders and Medical Personnel. Uber, Lyft and Delivery Drivers receive 50% off.  Hours of operation are Monday thru Saturday 8-6 and Sunday 8-5. Jax is located at 6415 SR 64 E, just west of I-75 on the north side. 

More info.

[Economic Impact]  Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County Weekly Wrapup

EDC wants to remind investors, clients, and partners, that the EDC is here for business owners and their business during this unprecedented time. Closely monitoring the links provided, and sending out information just as soon as it becomes available: Restoring Economic Security Confidence & User Endurance (RESCUE) Business Act 2020 https://nsba.biz/senate-small-business-stimulus-bill-forthcoming/, The Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/shelby-thune-wicker-unveil-liquidity-assistance-for-distressed-american-industries-within-coronavirus-package The EDC's priority is to provide the most up-to-date, impactful business information available during these uncertain times. The EDC wants all businesses to endure minimal interruption and provide the best resources for business through the COVID-19 pandemic. EDC COVID-19 webpage set up for business resource library: https://www.edcsarasotacounty.com/business-assistance/covid-19/. Check back often, this page will be updated daily as more information becomes available.  

Check for new updates.

[Home of the Year 2020]  SRQ Magazine Home of the Year 2020 Winners

Check out all the incredible winners of SRQ's annual Home of Year competition for 2020. 

Click here to read the full story in our March 2020 Home Edition of SRQ Magazine!

[Carry-out & Delivery]  Gecko's Grill & Pubs Enter Into Exclusive Delivery Partnership With Bite Squad + Signature Events & Catering offering A Gourmet Family-style Menu For Pickup or Delivery

Gecko’s thanks the community for their continued support during this tough time for everyone. All Gecko’s Grill & Pubs are now offering delivery exclusively through Bite Squad and Signature Events & Catering is offering a gourmet family-style menu for pickup or free delivery within 15 miles of The Landings. Place orders through bite squad directly, call 941-259-0606, or email events@geckoshospitality.com  

[Food Truck]  In Times of Duress, We All Need Ice Cream

Stuck Inside? Need a bit of nostalgia? Book The ChillMobile, a vintage 1979 Good Humor Ice Cream Truck and they will bring the fun and cold ice cream treats to your home or neighborhood. Formerly known as B’s Cool Treats, Tammy Hauser bought the truck from Brenda Zook when she retired and renamed it The ChillMobile for her Discover Sarasota Tours Trolley Cottage guests. Intending to open this summer, the demand from homebound kids and frazzled moms got her to build the website, and start promoting mobile ice cream sales immediately. The ChillMobile plays original 1970s ice cream truck music while it sells Good Humor novelty pops from our childhood  like Strawberry Shortcake, Orange Push Pops, Fudge Bars, Oreo Bars, Bomb Pops, and Chocolate Chip ice cream sandwiches for $3 as well as locally-produced gourmet ice cream cups for $4. Flavors include mint chip, salted caramel truffle, strawberry swirl, double chocolate brownie and French vanilla flavors and are from Lickety Splits in Lakewood Ranch.



Click to book online.

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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