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SRQ DAILY Apr 9, 2020

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"When you risk stratify and break down by age group and co-morbidities, the rates we are seeing are consistent with averages reported globally."

- Kim Savage, Sarasota Memorial Health Care

[Health]  Sarasota Memorial Contends With Global Pandemic
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

There’s more than 2,000 Floridians hospitalized right now with COVID-19, and 32 of those are being treated at Sarasota Memorial Health Care facilities. A scary element for hospital staff, here have been 10 SMH employees infected by the coronavirus who are being monitored at their own homes, according to spokeswoman Kim Savage.

Sarasota County, according to Department of Health, has seen 184 individuals test positive for COVID-19, with another 172 cases reported in Manatee County. While the two counties together haven’t seen as many cases as Hillsborough County’s 631 positive test results, the disease has claimed 16 Sarasota and Manatee lives.

That means Sarasota has a mortality rate with COVID-19 of about 3.9%. Manatee's rate is almost 4.1%.

Eight of those fatalities passed away at SMH. The medical director through Savage said the region’s demographics are part of the story.

“He said some regions like south Florida have a younger population. When you risk stratify and break down by age group and co-morbidities, the rates we are seeing are consistent with averages reported globally.”

It’s a challenging time for a health care system tested by the spread of a global pandemic that has found its way to this region. At last county, the hospital system has 10 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 since they started dealing with the pandemic. The hospital system at this point has tested 870 individuals, of whom just 72 tested positive so far with 62 results pending.

But 44 individuals have also been tested and released by the hospital, with follow-up monitoring provided by the Department of Health. 

[Gardening Weekly]  Learn to Garden at Home with Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nurseries
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

As we seek shelter at home for the foreseeable future, there is no better time to finally work on that sparse, shabby lawn of yours. Avoid the grocery stores during quarantine by planting your own fruit trees, herbs and edibles. Add some color with blooming springtime flowers, attract birds and butterflies. The greenscape you create will bring life to your outdoor sanctuary, and last long after quarantine is over. 

We hope our new weekly gardening column helps you get started planting that backyard you always dreamed of. And for those already getting their hands dirty, perhaps you have questions you’d like cleared up to keep your garden in tip top shape. 

Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nurseries & Gardens Inc, started the nursery in her own backyard in Bayshore Gardens. As the family business began to grow (pun intended), so did its facility. Since expanding out to Old Myakka, her and her family have been bringing beauty to backyards for close to 30 years now. Kathy will be providing useful tips and expert advice to share with us each week, as a new question will be posed to enhance your green thumb evolution. 

SRQ: I am worried that I might be overwatering my plant. I water them 1-2 times every day—one in the morning and one around lunchtime. I soak them for about 15-20 seconds per plant right on the root ball. They don’t seem to be flourishing—should I be watering them more? 

KathyWatering plants every day promotes just the small roots to grow. We want to promote the taproot so we will not be held hostage to our plants’ watering needs. Deeper waterings promote the deeper rooting to occur. If newly planted, maybe three times a week for about a month, go around the drip line rather than on top of the root ball—this makes the roots go to the water.  A plant dries from the outside of the root ball-in, and this will promote root rot if you water the whole root system all the time. Also, when newly planted, do not fertilize—this could burn your plants. It is not needed, as they are usually already fertilized by the nursery where you purchased them. Lastly, do not leave your hose on the ground with the water on then come out and shut it off thinking the whole plant was watered. It does not work that way—only the section where the water hit will be wet and the rest of the plant will be dry. So, make sure you water all around your plants or trees.

If you have a particular gardening question you'd like answered and featured in a future column, email SRQDailyGardening@srqme.com 

Crowley Nursery 16423 Jomar Road Sarasota, 941-322-0315.

[PGT Innovations]  Celebrating 40 Years of Industry Innovation

Thirty years ago, there was no such thing as an impact-resistant window or door. But following the devastation of Homestead, Florida from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, a relatively new window and door manufacturer at the time took it upon themselves to pioneer the U.S. impact-resistant window and door segment. That manufacturer is now celebrating its 40-year anniversary as one of the most reputable and sought-after window and door innovators in the country – thanks to its commitment to keeping homeowners prepared for the next storm and for its innovative products that encourage homeowners to enjoy their indoor and outdoor spaces as one during more inviting weather. 

Rooted in the integration of engineering, design, technology and functionality, PGT Innovations has a total of seven different high-quality brands under its corporate umbrella including PGT Custom Windows + Doors, CGI, WinDoor, Western Window Systems, Eze-Breeze, CGI Commercial, and NewSouth Window Solutions. Product benefits range from helping deter intruders, reducing outdoor noise, filtering 99% of UV light, significantly reducing cooling and heating costs, steadfast delivery and service, affordability, ahead-of-trend style and, arguably the most important, tried and trusted hurricane protection. Whether you are looking for the simplest of all window and door hurricane protection, a product that lets you be inside and outside simultaneously, or show-stopping door or window products that will have your neighbors asking for your design advice, PGT Innovations is your answer.  

Read More about PGT Innovations HERE

[Giving Challenge]  Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Launches New Campaign for the 2020 Giving Challenge: In Your Hands

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is proud to announce its 2020 Giving Challenge campaign: In Your Hands. As part of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Giving Challenge, taking place from noon to noon on April 28 through April 29, Mote will highlight its marine research, conservation, and education initiatives. The main theme for Mote’s new campaign features a sea turtle hatchling, one of more than 2,000 hatchlings that are rescued and released by Mote each year on average. During the Giving Challenge, each gift to Mote will be matched 2:1 with the generous support of The Patterson Foundation and additional matching funds from Mote donors.  Mote is introducing a new pledge feature for this year’s Giving Challenge at mote.org/give3x. Individuals who pledge online will receive a personal reminder from Mote via email on April 28. Also new this year is a peer-to-peer fundraising tool allowing passionate Mote supporters to sign up to raise awareness and funds for Mote at mote.org/TeamMote. Join Mote for virtual trivia on April 28 at 5:30 pm. Details to follow at mote.org/give3x. Stay tuned to Mote’s social media (@motemarinelab on all platforms) or sign up for Mote’s enewsletter to see stories of marine science in preparation for this year’s Giving Challenge.   

More details.

[Giving Back]  Shumaker Helps Raise More Than $2.5 Million for a Cause That Hits Close to Home

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP has raised a record $2.5 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The amount demonstrates the firm is living up to its brand promise of being involved in and with the communities they serve. But the money raised also illustrates Shumaker’s commitment to stand behind its employees like Joel Freedman, Director of Land Planning for Shumaker Advisors Florida, and Todd Rains, Chief Administrative Officer. Joel was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and Todd has been diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma.

“Having been diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer, the LLS research is essential to me with its mission to fund leading edge research for every type of blood cancer,” said Todd. “Shumaker’s support, both on a personal level in my battle with this disease, as well as the firm’s support for LLS is inspiring to my fight and it’s with much gratitude, the firm and Shumaker lawyers who serve on the LLS board realize that patients cannot fight this disease alone.”

“LLS has helped me financially offset the cost of treatment,” said Joel. “Since I was diagnosed, I have learned that both corporate and individual funding help support those us of fighting the disease. It means a great deal to me that Shumaker has taken on such a great cause that affects me so personally.” 

[Recognition]  The Florida Center For Early Childhood Has Been Named One Of The Best NonProfits To Work For In The Nation By The NonProfit Times

In order to determine the Best NonProfits to Work For, The NonProfit Times contracted with the research group Best Companies Group, or BCG, of Harrisburg, Pa. BCG surveyed employees, managers and outside vendors of participating organizations on questions and statements across eight categories. The Florida Center scored exceptionally high in leadership and planning; culture and communications; role satisfaction; work environment; relationship with supervisor; training development and resources; pay and benefits; and overall engagement. “It is an honor to receive this recognition - especially as we face such a challenging time," said The Florida Center CEO Kathryn Shea. “I can't say enough about our team. They are truly committed to helping the vulnerable children and families who need us now more than ever.”

The Florida Center employees approximately 122 people across eight programs focused on infants and children through eight years old who are at-risk academically, socially, or economically. It provides developmental therapies, mental health counseling, and the Starfish Academy preschool in Sarasota and North Port. The organization also offers Healthy Families, a home-visiting program that guides parents who need assistance and helps prevent child abuse. "The staff at the Florida Center are some of the best I've ever seen," said Jeff Woodin, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "There isn't a person working there that wouldn't go the extra mile for a client, student or colleague." 

Benefits of working at The Florida Center include a flexible work schedule, discounted childcare, family mindfulness training and an impressive benefits package that includes an annual personal mental health day for every employee – no questions asked. “Our mission is to build strong families and we can't do that without our own strong Florida Center family,” said Shea. “From our Board of Directors to each employee, we believe in giving every child and family the tools they need to reach their full potential.” 

[Recognition]  RE/MAX Platinum Realty Agents Recognized For 2019 Performance

RE/MAX Platinum Realty agents have been recognized by the RE/MAX network for outstanding performance in 2019. “We are very proud of our recognized agents who have demonstrated outstanding client service and exceptional negotiation skills,” said Broker-Owner Bryan Guentner. “They have worked very hard to achieve their clients’ goals.” In the Downtown Sarasota office, Dianne Anderson’s team received the Platinum Club award. Seven associates and one team received the 100% Club award. The winning associates were Theresa Davidson, Susan Kirk, Midge McCarthy, Wade Ongstad, Pamela Pileggi, Susan Retzke and Pamela Strom. The winning team was the Golden Group led by Jessica Bow. Four associates received the Executive Club award: Maria Atkins, Carol Bentivegna, Bruce Ginsberg and Amy Worth. In the Venice office, two associates and one team received the Platinum Club award. The winning team was the Deborah & Dick Miller Team. The winning associates were Faith Blackburn and Sandra Tresh. Joseph Hayden and Robin Vaccai received the 100% Club award. Eight associates and two teams received the Executive Club award. The winning associates were Sandra Adkins-Pertz, Alicia Caithness, Fran LeRoux, Ann Meisner, Maia Morrison, Jim Mulvey, Nicole Schmaling and Judy Winkelmann. The winning teams were Myles & Claudia Fromer and the Stephanie Silva Team led by Stephanie Marlowe-Silva. In the Lakewood Ranch office, two associates and one team received the 100% Club award. The winning associates were Zachary Kaplan and Gina Morgando. The winning team was the Helen Jaquith Team. David Fauquier and Jason Hochstetler received the Executive Club award. In the West Villages office, Kyle Tenbusch received the 100% Club award and Curt Cooke received the Executive Club award. 

For more info.

[Local Relief]  Sarasota County Commission Approves Relief Loan

Yesterday, the Sarasota County Commission approved a new emergency loan program for small businesses that will be funded through an existing $4.3 million economic development incentive fund at the county.  The EDC team has been tasked to implement an application system as well as qualify the applications for loan fund disbursement from the county. The goal of this loan program is to provide relief to local businesses as they await funding from the larger federal programs.  

The application for this loan will be made available within the next 2 weeks and the EDC of Sarasota County will alert local businesses as soon as the details are in place. Here is general information about the program:

  • BCC authorized EDC to administer a small business loan program.
  • Not to exceed $25k per business.
  • Interest free loan first year, then a 3.5% interest rate for the following 3-year period. 
  • 172 businesses total, with 35 of those loans to go to childcare facilities.
  • The money will be disbursed by May 1.
  • Total funds available $4.3M
[Grants]  Nonprofits Receive Critical Grants from Area Foundations for Telemedicine

In order to extend telehealth services for high-risk and under-served populations, three area foundations have contributed funds for laptops and telehealth accounts so that therapists from First Step of Sarasota / Coastal Behavioral Healthcare can continue serving clients in the face of the coronavirus crisis. The Lee & Bob Peterson Foundation has contributed $15,000 with an additional grant of $26,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation COVID-19 Response Initiative.

The grants from the COVID-19 Response Initiative are to relieve strain on key health and human-service organizations that are aiding residents hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Staff members at First Step / Coastal Behavioral are reporting increased levels of stress due to loss of jobs and health fears as well as isolation resulting from social distancing recommendations. Area youth are suffering from boredom and the isolation is particularly acute with this age group. In order to be able to provide crucial mental health services in a manner that is safe, therapists and prescribers at First Step / Coastal are utilizing telemedicine for outpatient clients of all ages through individual and group therapy as well as psychiatric services and medication-assisted therapy.

In total, there are 45 clinicians and prescribers using purchased telehealth accounts plus 10 student assistants connecting with youth remotely. At this time, there are approximately 1,510 individuals receiving clinical services while the student assistance program is serving 400 students through Zoom. The family life intervention program is working with 30 youth via telephone. 

"The short-term goal of telehealth is to help our clients who receive treatment for behavioral, mental health or substance use disorders make it through this trying time," said First Step CEO Gwen MacKenzie. "In the longer term, telehealth will become an important tool that expands the resources available to serve individuals in need of behavioral health services. We are so grateful to the Lee & Bob Peterson Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Barancik Foundation for stepping up and making these resources available for us to bolster our telehealth program."

First Step of Sarasota is a nonprofit substance abuse treatment center with detox, residential and outpatient programs. Visit fsos.org. Coastal Behavioral Healthcare offers innovative and comprehensive mental health and substance abuse programs for adults and children, including at-risk youth and those who are low-income.  

For more.

[Giving Back]  Sarasota Opera announces the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Matching Challenge

As the world turns to the arts for comfort, distraction, and entertainment, Sarasota Opera has joined countless others in finding new ways to bring the joy of music into your home. We hope you will enjoy the video clip at the top of this message.

The twelve performances we were forced to cancel came at the busiest point of our season, when, in addition to our local audience, many people travel to Sarasota to enjoy our Opera Lovers Weeks. The financial impact from lost ticket revenue and cancelled events by other organizations at the Sarasota Opera House is anticipated to be close to $1 million. At the same time we feel the need to take care of our artists by paying their contracts.

This is why your support is needed now more than ever. The Sarasota Opera Relief Fund will help mitigate the $1 million loss. We are thrilled to announce that the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation has agreed to match, dollar for dollar, the next $50,000 in cash contributed to the Relief Fund. We are grateful for your support and theirs during this time of need!

We are so thankful to be part of a community that is pulling together to get through this challenging experience. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to double the impact of your gift in support of the opera company you love. 

To make your gift, click here, or call Senior Individual Giving Officer Scott Guinn on his cell phone at (865) 748-9731 or leave a message for him at (941) 366-8450 ext. 416  

[Virtual Auditions]  Asolo Rep Announces Auditions For 2020-21 Season Through April 21

Asolo Rep will host auditions for the 2020 – 2021 Season through Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Due to COVID-19, the first round of auditions will be via video submissions. Asolo hopes to host in-person callbacks in the near future; the website will be updated (asolorep.org/auditions) as information is received. Casting Representatives are Celine Rosenthal, Associate Artistic Director; Annie Dent, Casting & Dramaturgy Apprentice. Please limit video submissions to 3 minutes maximum. This time limit includes slate (name, name of play/musical and character of the piece/s to be performed). Please upload video auditions to YouTube, Vimeo or similar a video sharing site and provide a link for viewing. Note that a “public” or “unlisted” video will be acceptable from YouTube, as well as a Vimeo video marked “anyone” or “people with the private link”. Private videos will not be viewable by the casting team. Please do not share via WeTransfer, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud or other file sharing platforms.

In addition, please upload a headshot and resume as a singular file with the file name as “FirstName_LastName_HSResume”. For Dramatic Auditions prepare two monologues, no more than two minutes total. For Musical Auditions prepare either two contrasting 16-32 bar cuts, or 16 bars of a song and a one-minute contemporary monologue.

For Equity Actors, please use this link to submit headshot, resume, and taped audition: https://asolorep.wufoo.com/forms/p115y6d30m59wfs/
For an EMC or Non-Equity Actor, please use this link to submit headshot, resume, and taped audition: https://asolorep.wufoo.com/forms/p1jqskfh08jpkzs/ 

[Virtual Art]  Join Embracing Our Differences For A Facebook Live Tour of Bayfront Exhibits

Join Embracing Our Differences for a Live Facebook Tour of its 2020 Bayfront Park Exhibit today, Thursday, at 10:30 a.m. Live chat functions will allow viewers to ask questions. Go to Embracing Our Differences on Facebook. The response to the call for artwork and inspirational quotes was record-breaking this year, with 16,118 entries pouring in from 127 countries and 50 states. Students from 398 schools around the world submitted artwork or quotes to the juried exhibit. According to Sarah Wertheimer, executive director of Embracing Our Differences, only a fraction of the powerful artworks and statements are selected for each year’s outdoor exhibit. “Even so, we were deeply touched to see how many people share our core philosophy.” 

Pictured: EOD 2020 Best in Show, Adult: "Can I Touch Your Hair?" by Habib Hajallie, Dartford, United Kingdom.

[Brain Health Initiative]  Food for Mood, Food for Thought, and Food for Staying Healthy

When life gets turned upside down, many of us tend to take shortcuts at mealtime and with snacks. Now that Floridians are all safer-at-home, why not use some of that time together as a family to find ways to eat healthy? There is plenty of evidence showing healthy eating is the cornerstone to good health. But good nutrition is also a crucial factor in protecting your brain health and fighting brain illness. Your brain has some very specific nutritional needs. It requires a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and healthy fats (often referred to as a Mediterranean diet). Luckily, these same nutrients are also good for your physical well-being. Now is the perfect time to make meal planning and cooking a family activity. Encourage everyone in your household to improve their brain healthy lifestyle through eating habits that enhance brain health and fight brain illness.

What you can do today to protect your brain health.

— Eat healthy snacks. Reduce your intake of unhealthy foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed food products.
— Drink lots of water. Keep hydrated, drinking six to eight glasses of water daily and avoid beverages with a high sugar content.
— Add nutrient-rich foods to your meals. Some of the shelves at the grocery store may be empty, but you’ll still find plenty of nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, fish, whole grains and nuts.
—Get healthy take out. It’s OK to take a break from cooking and get food-to-go but avoid fast food. Why not order a meal from a local restaurant that sources local meat and produce and support the local economy at the same time?
—Limit alcohol.

Remember the foods we eat, the sources of our food, how we prepare and present our food all impact our brain and body health and performance, and our ability to fight brain and physical illness. Why not make a brain healthy choice? Over the coming weeks, we will be providing more information regarding nutrition and brain health including brain healthy, family friendly shopping lists for recipes that we will prepare together on LWR LIVE with the Brain Health Initiative’s Dr. Uma Naidoo and Dr. Stephanie Peabody. 

Click for healthy recipes.

[Virtual Events]  The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Virtual Events

Register for “virtual” coffee with Chamber President, Heather Kasten and Guest Dave Bullock, Interim CEO/President of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County. This event is a chance for the Chamber to hear community members, what’s important for businesses, as well as conversation on some of the issues and needs of businesses the Chamber is addressing during this time. A Zoom link will be sent to registered attendees 24 hours prior to the event. No Zoom account is needed to register for this event. Friday, April 9 from 9 am - 10 am. Register HERE 

For more events.

[Federal News]  ATU Demands The Federal Transit Administration Provide Protection For Frontline Transit Workers

With 40 transit worker deaths after contracting COVID-19 and 1,500 more confirmed cases, Amalgamated Transit Union is Demanding that the Federal Transit Administration immediately provide personal protective equipment for all transit workers on America’s transit systems. “Industry-wide, thousands of transit workers have already tested positive for Crnoavirus, and too many have died,” ATU International President John Costa wrote in a letter to the FTA. “Our members are getting infected at a rate that is higher than the general population because we are continuously exposed to dozens of riders t close range without adequate PPE to keep us safe. It’s time for the FTA to secure PPE immediately and distribute the equipment directly to transit agencies at a reasonable cost.”

The ATU is calling for every worker who operates or maintains a transit vehicle should, at a minimum, be equipped with an N95 disposable respirator, gloves, and other critical gear, despite federal funding, some agencies are citing cost and refusing. Others are making an effort but cannot identify sellers. The Union pointed to the new CDC April 3 recommendations that the public wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. Meanwhile, the FTA’s website states “...PPE is not recommended at this time”. The ATU says the only way to address the equipment shortage and price gouging is for the federal government (FTA) to secure such PPE immediately and distribute the equipment directly to its grantees at a reasonable cost. “It is unconscionable and immoral to send transit employees to work without PPE during this health crisis,” said Costa. “Our members provide essential public services, making sure that people can get to the doctor, the pharmacy, and the grocery store. But they cannot be expected to keep doing it while putting their lives in danger.” 

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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