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SRQ DAILY Apr 21, 2020

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"This is a crazy time. There are people waiting in line for food who never thought they'd be in this position."

- Gordon Lippe of Your Culinary Place

[The Dish]  Commissary Kitchen Combats Food Insecurity with Cheap Meals

The entrance to Your Culinary Place in Gulf Gate is a shining example of what happens when a business is focused on the well-being of a community. When someone enters through the front door, they step into a well-apportioned delousing foyer inside a pop-up tent outfitted with a handwashing station, an assortment of gloves, a no-contact thermometer and a Coway air purifier that filters out particles down to .1 microns (COVID-19 is .125 microns). The word “meticulous” comes to mind, maybe even “obsessive,” but owner Gordon Lippe refuses to leave anything to chance as he begins a new phase of production out of his commissary kitchen with which he hopes to feed the most vulnerable among us.

Lippe has answered the call of World Central Kitchen’s “Chefs for America” movement, an initiative that aims to provide meals to healthcare workers, first responders, veterans, out-of-work food industry employees, seniors, families with children and any other food-insecure folks that are just plain hungry. His “clean room” makes more sense in light of the populations he’s hoping to feed—people who are often most at risk of contracting the disease that has claimed the lives of over 40,000 individuals to date. The pay-what-you-can initiative caps the cost of a full meal at $10 and relies heavily on donations of both food supplies and money to ensure that those who cannot pay still get a meal.

He launches the Chefs for America initiative today under his newly minted Chefs Feeding Florida nonprofit organization. Through this organization, he was able to get his hands on 400 pounds of chicken, 80 pounds of fish, 17 cases of mixed vegetables and $750 in donations–all in one day. With those contributions, Lippe was able to design a simple menu of arroz con pollo (adobo-marinated slow-cooked chicken over Latin rice, $10), a vegetarian entrée of curry roasted cauliflower served atop basmati rice ($10), a salad of the day ($2), a soup of the day ($3/pint, $6/quart) and mac-n-cheese ($4). The menu will fluctuate with the availability of ingredients and the nature of the food donations, and Lippe intends to keep this going until the money or food run out. “This is a crazy time,” says Lippe, “there are people waiting in line for food who never thought they’d be in this position.”

Now more than ever, Lippe feels it’s important to reach out to vulnerable communities with a hot meal made fresh by chefs who are now thinking about public health as much as flavor. Orders can be made from the Your Culinary Place website, while donations can be made from the Chefs Feeding Florida website. For same-day, 100% no-contact pick-up, orders should be placed before noon. Senior pick-up is Monday-Friday from 3 pm-4 pm and 4 pm-6 pm for everyone else. 

More info.

[Environment]  Mote Marine's Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program Documents the First 2020 Sea Turtle Nest

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is very pleased to share that sea turtles have officially arrived on Sarasota's beaches. Mote's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program (STCRP) began monitoring Sarasota area beaches last week, finding the first nest early Monday morning on Siesta Key. Other signs of sea turtles included a false crawl (sea turtle comes on the beach but returns to the ocean without creating a nest) on Longboat Key, also documented on Monday.

The nest was created by a loggerhead sea turtle, Sarasota's most abundant nester. On the west coast of Florida, Sarasota County is the most dense area of loggerhead nesting. Green sea turtles nest on area beaches as well, and although relatively low in number, STCRP has documented an increase in green sea turtle nests in Sarasota in the last 20 years.

The start of nest monitoring has already proven to be different from previous years in the face of beach closures due to COVID19. Mote's monitoring of sea turtle nests is vital to monitoring the population of these endangered species, and in accordance with state and local guidelines, Mote is continuing its long history of sea turtle patrol on Sarasota-area beaches. All monitoring is conducted with permission from local government to allow access to closed beaches, and Mote sea turtle patrol is conducting all activities with a heightened awareness for social distancing and cleaning procedures. Mote's sea turtle activities are conducted under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Turtle Permits 027, 054, 070, 048, and 028. 

[The Giving Challenge]  #BeTheOne to Protect Our Community's Healthcare Heroes

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently ordered an additional 500 million surgical face masks for healthcare workers on the front lines. But what about the workers on the second lines? Workers in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and doctors offices are often caring for high-risk patients like the elderly and immunocompromised, yet many are left without even basic protection. With high-tech equipment and tools–and the help of 200+ dedicated volunteers–the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab stepped up to prototype and fabricate face masks and shields to fill the expanding community need. They've distributed 1,000 face masks and shields to date but with 4,000 additional requests (and more incoming daily), they need your help! #BeTheOne to protect the healthcare workers who are fighting for the health and safety of our community by making a gift to the Suncoast Science Center during the 2020 Giving Challenge. Donations made on April 28-29, noon to noon, will be matched 1:1 up to $100, doubling the amount of face protection produced for these heroes! 

Click for their Giving Challenge Profile.

[The Giving Challenge]  #BeTheOne & Make A Pledge Today to the Child Protection Center

Join the Child Protection Center in this 24-hour online Giving Event! From noon on April 28th to noon on April 29th, they ask you to join them in support of the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse, and #BeTheOne for a child. As many of you know, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. With the ongoing pandemic, the children of our community are facing greater risks than ever before. It is VITAL to continue to serve these children who so desperately need the CPC. To do this, we need you. The Giving Challenge is specifically created so that everyone can #BeTheOne! Donations begin at only $25, and if you are unable to give at this time, you can still have a HUGE impact by sharing our profile and fundraising on behalf of the CPC. Together, we can make a difference for these children when they need it the most. 

View CPC's Giving Challenge Profile

[The Giving Challenge]  The Bay Invites Community Members to “Show Your Love” During the 2020 Giving Challenge on April 28 & 29

The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC), the non-profit organization responsible for overseeing the development of 53-acres of City-owned land along Sarasota Bay into an iconic public park, is participating for the first time in the annual Giving Challenge. Hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, the 2020 Giving Challenge is an annual 24-hour virtual fundraiser that connects generous donors to more than 700 non-profit causes in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. This year’s event will be held on April 28-29, from noon to noon.

“From the very beginning, The Bay has always been centered around community and in difficult times like these, it’s important to provide support for people and organizations that need help,” said Veronica Brady, Director of Advancement, The Bay Park Conservancy. “The Giving Challenge is a wonderful event that brings people together through the power of collective philanthropy, and it’s our hope that our community will show their love for the various organizations they support, including The Bay.”

The Bay is encouraging participation in the 2020 Giving Challenge through its “Show Your Love” campaign, with the goal of raising funding to support the development of the first 10 acres of the park. So far, several key components of Phase 1 of The Bay – such as the ecologically resilient shoreline, Fountain Garden and Mangrove Bayou Walkway – are either completed or underway, and enabled to advance thanks to strong partnerships with the city of Sarasota, local foundations and philanthropists, and broad community support.

“Having open access to Sarasota Bay, as well as abundant green space in a new public park, will improve the overall health and quality of life for everyone in our community,” said AG Lafley, Founding CEO, The Bay Park Conservancy. “Thanks to the City of Sarasota, our current investment partners, as well as new partners and future friends, The Bay Park will be a blue and green oasis for the enjoyment of not only current generations, but also generations to come.” 

For their Giving Challenge Profile.

[Museum From Home]  Earth Day Talk with Eco-Artist Miwa Mayatrek

Even though our public programs celebrating Earth Day are not all happening as planned, we wanted to share an inside look into the work of artist Miwa Matreyek.  From her studio in Los Angeles, Miwa has sent us an abbreviated artist talk that peels back some layers of her process and creative trajectory with a sneak peak into her piece Infinitely Yours, which will hopefully grace the stage of the Historic Asolo Theater soon.

Earth Day is celebrated internationally on April 22nd as a gesture of global appreciation for the life supporting systems of planet Earth and as a flag post that draws attention to urgent environmental and climate issues. It punctuates the dynamic and responsive year-round work of activists, scholars, tribal and indigenous communities, industry leaders and government entities, among others, whose efforts and thought are dedicated to creating and preserving sustainable ecological, social and economic systems for our planet.

Historically, artists have been an important part of the environmental movement, and the overlapping climate movement has inspired a new wave of socially engaged performance across a spectrum of disciplines. As part of the 2019-2020 Art of Performance season, The Ringling proudly programmed a series of events and activities that focused on artists, ecology, and climate change:

  • The three-day Arts and Ecology Incubator led by playwright Chantal Bilodeau in November 2019 immersed participants in a workshop environment to explore creative responses to environmental concerns in dialogue with local experts. 
  • On April 10 & 11, Miwa Matreyek was to have presented two of her emotionally provocative and visually mesmerizing shadow puppet and animation works live in the Historic Asolo Theater.  The two companion pieces, This World Made Itself and Infinitely Yours create mythical worlds of beauty and catastrophe in response to relationships between the human and non-human.
  • For Earth Day 2020, we had planned to present the gorgeous and resilient Artichoke Dance in the museum Courtyard, provide environmental education activities for students, and host a panel with Artichoke’s Artistic Director Lynn Neuman and local experts on ecology and climate. 

These events and artistic voices invite audiences and participants to engage with issues of complex science, environmental justice, public policy and personal decision making in ways that allow for sharing, authentic expression and emotional connection.  They also have refreshing, playful and courageous perspectives on using art as a platform for awakening perception around often slow moving or invisible problems.  This kind of artistic programming also shines light on The Ringling’s grounds and gardens programs, which have a deep commitment to environmental stewardship and the unique landscape—both built and natural—that the museum occupies.

The nonfiction work Silent Spring by eco-feminist icon Rachel Carson is often credited for galvanizing energy behind the environmental movement, which gave way in 1970 to the naming of this commemorative day in the United States.  This year, Earth Day turns 50 in a global pandemic moment when implications of unseen environmental health concerns are on everybody’s mind.  We are experiencing a different kind of silent spring in 2020:  weirdly suspended in a forced pause and protracted anxiousness about what’s next, most of us gaze, perplexed, at a still world outside our homes.  In contrast to Carson’s foreboding silence of 1962, which felt eerily deadened for lack of birdsong, ours is a quieting of human noise.  The urban hum, traffic jig saws, construction grind and jet engines have largely halted.  Birds—in Sarasota at least—seem to be emboldened, instead, as woodpecker, heron, peacock, cardinals and jays dominate flight patterns across town, giving us high-spirited rush hour chatter.  

Click to watch now.

[Business Anniversary]  Third-Generation Sarasota Native - Dennis A. Barth, Landscape Architect - Celebrates Five Years in Business!

While not new to the Landscape Architecture scene in Sarasota/Manatee /Charlotte counties, Dennis A. Barth, a Florida Registered Landscape Architect opened his local home-based studio on April 27, 2015. His design work includes projects as far north as Bradenton River to as far south as Fort Myers and has been published in several luxury home magazines since 2006. He has design experience with golf course/condo/residential communities, small hotels, luxury waterfront homes, ALF's, community parks and commercial projects. Today, he focuses on working with clients that truly appreciate captivating design, natural outdoor experiences and unique landscapes scaled to their budget and needs. His local projects encompass many architectural styles, including: Florida Cottage, Mediterranean, Modern Coastal, Mid-Century Modern, Transitional and British West Indies. His current niche of luxury waterfront homes in Sarasota and the barrier islands plans to expand to local community-based projects. Dennis is a third-generation Barth - the grandson of the first pressman for the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Charles A. Barth, and son of Dewey N. Barth, who spent his entire career as a pressman for the same paper. His mother Carol J. Barth, an early member of the Sarasota Sailor Circus, passed on her love of nature and gardening to her son. By his late twenties, Dennis' path was certain - he attended the University of Florida to earn a Landscape Architecture degree and began his career with a local Sarasota design/build firm. Nearly ten years later, he moved to a Venice firm as a senior landscape architect which provided design, build and maintenance services.

During those years, Dennis cultivated strong relationships with local builders, architects, interior designers and subcontractors, while planning to start his own firm. Nearly 25 years later, he finally took the leap and now enjoys working with his own clients, offering design, management and consulting services. The dream came later than expected and not without sacrifice, but it's been gratifying to him. As one client's recent Houzz.com review states, "...In addition to his great design work, Dennis is a pleasure to work with. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet." Now celebrating five years, Dennis' and his wife, Annette, a former Creative Director for a Florida-based retail chain, run the studio together. They employee one CAD tech and outsource overflow work. It's their dream to continue growing the residential and community-based projects through networking opportunities in a city that they love and have called home for nearly 30 years. 

Click for more info.

[Earth Day]  Sarasota Military Academy Students Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with Virtual Environmental Partnershiparasota Military Academy Students Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with Virtual Environmental Partnership

Cadets and staff at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) planned to celebrate Earth Day with an in-person event, following the Academy’s annual “Project Earth Celebration” program featuring guest speakers and international environmental representatives. For the 2020 Project Earth Celebration, the Academy has received a unique opportunity to participate in a virtual “Earth Day” celebration through a partnership with Encounter Edu and Kate Brooks’ Last Animal Foundation.

“As we are practicing safe, social distancing and empowering our cadets and staff through virtual, online schooling, we know that members of our SMA family are missing out on big, important moments. Our Academy always looks forward to our Earth Day celebrations, and we knew we needed to find a way to make it a bit extra special this year, as we celebrate from our homes around the region,” said SMA-COL Christina Bowman, Sarasota Military Academy Executive Director. “When Dr. Todd Brown approached us with the incredible opportunity to become involved with Encounter Edu; to offer our cadets the chance of a lifetime and to participate in the Earth Day live lessons, we knew this was the perfect way to celebrate throughout an unprecedented time.”

Through the partnership, the cadets at SMA will have an opportunity to watch “The Last Animals,” a film by Kate Brooks, followed by two live-streamed Q&A panels with experts from around the world. The panel conversations, hosted by Bella Lack, a renowned youth activist, will be held on April 22, 2020 beginning at 10 am, and cadets will have access to the film for a two-week period.

“Throughout our Academy, the SMA Earth Day Celebration is part of our unique curriculum that seems to inspire and ignite passion for each cadet and staff member. While we are supporting our staff and cadets through this time of virtual schooling, we did not want to lose the opportunity to engage and participate in Earth Day, especially with the 50th year anniversary happening this year,” said Dr. Todd Brown, Sarasota Military Academy Outreach Director. “We decided to look for creative, educational opportunities that would align with our previous celebrations, our current curriculum and our goals for the future, and this is an ideal way to observe, recognize and celebrate Earth Day.”
The virtual Earth Day “live lessons” aim to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with live panel sessions focusing on topics including environmental impacts of the illegal wildlife trade industry, inspiring work of individuals and organizations working to protect endangered species, and more.

According to the Encounter Edu website, Encounter Edu pioneers learning experiences and “designs and delivers sponsored STEM and global learning programs, transforming education inside and outside the classroom.” The Earth Day events planned by Encounter Edu assist schools in celebrating, recognizing and understanding important topics surrounding the environment, endangered animals and positive and negative impacts humans have on the Earth. Currently, the lessons are recommended for students and viewers eleven years of age and older, due to the nature of the content and the topics discussed.

Earth Day Live, by Encounter Edu, is sponsored and hosted by The Last Animals Foundation. 

Click to view a list of events and details, or to learn more about Encounter Edu.

[Rebuilding]  Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Announces Launch of Rebuild Florida Critical Facility Hardening Program

Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced $75 million is now available to local governments through the Rebuild Florida Critical Facility Hardening Program. The Rebuild Florida Critical Facility Hardening Program allows local governments and state agencies to increase the resilience of critical facilities that serve a public safety purpose for local communities. The funds are allocated through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) newly created Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program formed in response to the 2016 to 2017 presidentially declared disasters. Local governments and state agencies may apply individually or partner with non-profits and non-governmental agencies for funding to propose projects that meet program requirements, including benefiting low-to-moderate income (LMI) populations.

The application window will be open for 75 days and DEO staff will be available to provide technical assistance to communities during the application process. The deadline to complete an application is June 30, 2020. For more information about the program, including how to complete an application, visit the Rebuild Florida Critical Facility Hardening Program’s webpage. To provide local governments and state agencies with more information about the Rebuild Florida Critical Facility Hardening Program, DEO will host a webinar at 2:00 pm (EST) on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. 

To register for the webinar.

[Philanthropy]  WBTT Receives $25,000 In Matching Funds

With losses in the hundreds of thousands related to show cancellations due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Sarasota’s “miracle theater” – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe – has been looking for a miracle. With the community-wide Giving Challenge approaching later this month, a miracle has appeared in the form of a $25,000 challenge match to bolster donations during the 24-hour online philanthropic event. Funds raised through the Giving Challenge will help to get the organization through this period when no revenues are coming in. Additionally, they will provide resources to help WBTT shift its operations – with regard to keeping its education and mentorship efforts strong and available through virtual means – until a return to a traditional live format is possible and safe.

The donor group is made up of Board Chair Marian Moss, Executive Director Julie Leach and her husband, Brock, and longtime devoted supporters Sy and Shelley Goldblatt. While the Giving Challenge is boosted by a match from The Patterson Foundation for gifts from unique donors of between $25-$100, the $25,000 match applies to the first $25,000 in funds raised by WBTT, regardless of donor gift size and frequency. “While we understand much focus is on social services during this difficult time, it is our fervent hope that donors won’t overlook our community’s arts organizations – like WBTT – as the Giving Challenge plays out,” said Moss. “The arts are vital to our region’s quality of life, economy and tourist trade; additionally, they are a ‘virtual’ lifeline for people under the stay-at-home order. WBTT has proven its value and importance to our community; I’m thrilled to be able to support this incredible organization and hope our match will inspire others to support WBTT, too.”

Because of the coronavirus, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe officials were forced to cancel the remainder of WBTT’s 2019-2020 performance season several weeks into just the second mainstage show. The cancellation of these shows has the potential to cost the theatre as much as $400,000 in revenue – depending on the demand for refunds vs. ticket cost donations – and will likely put WBTT in the red for the season. 

[Support]  Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Provides Reemployment Assistance Daily Update and Launches State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard

Beginning today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will provide daily updates on the efforts made to address the challenges to Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program in response to COVID-19. This includes a new State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard that will be updated daily to reflect the total number of Reemployment Assistance Claims submitted, verified, processed, and paid.

“We understand the challenges to the CONNECT system have only added to the stress on Florida families, and my number one goal is to ensure Floridians in need of reemployment assistance get paid, quickly. This will start with complete transparency, efficiently streamlining the reemployment assistance process, waiving all red tape and ensuring hurting Florida families have the aid they need to get through COVID-19,” said Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter.

State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard
The State Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard will be available here and updated daily to reflect the following information:

Reemployment Assistance Claims Paid
From Sunday, March 15 to Sunday, April 19, DEO has made 170,407 payments to Floridians in Reemployment Assistance benefits totaling $59,928,939. This includes 40,193 individual Floridians who applied for Reemployment Assistance benefits after March 15. Over the last two weeks, 23,762 checks for $600 have been mailed to Floridians for their benefits available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. These checks were provided by paper to ensure they were distributed as quickly as possible. Floridians who received their $600 check will receive their state benefits for Reemployment Assistance via direct deposit or prepaid debit card based on their selection made. DEO remains committed to getting benefits out to eligible Floridians as quickly as possible.

Reemployment Assistance Claims Processed
From Sunday, March 15 – Sunday, April 19, 2020, 162,039 claims have received a monetary determination. This means that a decision has been made on whether the claimant is monetarily eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance benefits and what the amount of their weekly benefits will be.

Reemployment Assistance Claims Verification
From Sunday, March 15 – Sunday, April 19, 2020, 649,314 claims are currently being verified through the four-step verification process.This means that an individual’s identity is being verified, DEO is checking their wages in Florida and other states and a fraud prevention check is being run on the claim.

Reemployment Assistance Initial Claims Received
DEO is seeing historic increases in Floridians filing for Reemployment Assistance and has received 1,533,723 applications for Reemployment Assistance from March 15 through Sunday, April 19. This number includes multiple duplicates and triplicates due to many individuals filing directly in CONNECT, online and by paper. We are going through the process of identifying duplicates and triplicates; and currently have 652,191 confirmed unique claims of the total claims submitted.

*Florida Reemployment Assistance claim numbers are not official until the U.S. Department of Labor releases them each Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

Technology Enhancements
Over the weekend, DEO conducted necessary upgrades to enhance the performance capability of CONNECT. These upgrades are allowing the system to process claims faster so that individuals filing for Reemployment Assistance can be paid as soon as possible.  DEO will be conducting nightly maintenance to the CONNECT system to help with processing claims. CONNECT will only be available from 8 am – 7:59 pm daily. Importantly, this will not affect individuals that are filing a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week, please click here.

Waiving Red Tape
At the Direction of Governor DeSantis, Secretary Satter is working with the United States Department of Labor to identify any regulatory burdens that can be waived to ensure that claims are processed and paid quickly. Additionally, Governor DeSantis has suspended the bi-weekly reporting requirement. This means individuals do not have to log into CONNECT every two weeks to claim your weeks of reemployment assistance.

CARES Act Update
The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible for regular Reemployment Assistance benefits. This includes individuals who are self-employed or independent contractors. DEO will provide more information on PUA and how to apply in the coming week.

How to Apply
DEO has a mobile-friendly online application for individuals filing a new Reemployment Assistance claim available at www.FloridaJobs.org/RAApplication. Click here to read more. 

More info.

[Brain Health Initiative]  Brain Healthy Lifestyle: The Arts — Experiencing, Appreciating and Creating

As we enter another week of protecting and promoting brain health and fighting brain illness during COVID-19, your list of family activities may be running low. The Brain Health Initiative recommends engaging in creative experiences to reduce stress, increase your immune system, and help regulate emotions.

It turns out there's a lot of good stuff happening in our brains and bodies when we experience the arts. As we discussed last week, creativity in and of itself is important for boosting brain health and performance, for remaining healthy and fighting illness, and increasing your well-being. Whether observing, appreciating, or creating, the arts change our brains. The human brain is uniquely wired for the arts. The arts can make us happier, healthier, and smarter and can help amplify human potential. The arts are for everyone and extends to any type of creative expression: drawing, painting, collaging, sculpting clay, writing poetry, photography, cake decorating, knitting, scrapbooking, creating music, singing, dancing, performing, cooking, gardening, building a model, woodworking — the stars are the limit. Anything that engages your creative mind — the ability to make connections between unrelated things and imagining new ways of its being — is good for you, for your body and your brain.

There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that demonstrates that the arts enhance brain function. For example, it has an impact on brain wave patterns, the nervous system, increases positive emotions, actually raising the level of serotonin (the hormone that helps to regulate mood, well-being and happiness, among other important functions).

The arts can change a person’s outlook and the way they experience the world across the lifespan. Regarding youth, decades of research have provided more than a sufficient amount of data to prove that arts education — to experience, appreciate and create — impacts everything from overall academic achievement, to school engagement, to social and emotional development, and so much more. For those of us who are more mature, the arts are a powerful and fun opportunity to optimize our cognitive skills and build our cognitive reserve and often bring the bonus of social engagement. Quite simply, the arts are invaluable to our brain development, maturation and aging, to enhancing brain health, to fighting brain illness and to optimizing functioning and performance individually and as a society. 

For more info.

[Museum From Home]  Experience the Work of Quebec's The 7 Fingers Online

A combination of unparalleled circus artistry and theatrical integrity best describe the work of Quebec’s The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts), who have helped define and innovate international contemporary circus.   

Click to view the performance online.

[Education]  Find A Learning Adventure Online With Sarasota County Extension

The Extension office is offering an array of free or low-cost webinars on topics from cooking collards to conserving water, blog posts focused on current developments, and a range of instructional and informational videos, in addition to frequent social media posts and a range of web-based content.

"Our team is dedicated to educating and supporting our residents and businesses, and physical distance doesn't change that," said Lee Hayes Byron, director of the UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County office. "From pandemic-related safety and economic recovery issues to stress-relieving options, like gardening and wildlife viewing, our programs continue, and we remain available to serve our community, virtually."

UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, a partnership between the University of Florida and Sarasota County, translates academic research into community initiatives, classes, and volunteer opportunities related to 4-H youth development, agriculture, gardening and landscaping, natural resources; nutrition and healthy living, and sustainability.

To support that goal in this time of social distancing, Extension is offering more than 20 webinars in the next four weeks, with more in development every day. Highlights are listed below, find all the topics and register for any at ufsarasotaext.eventbrite.com.

Classes include "Ask an Agent Anything" series: local food access (April 22), home and landscape pests (May 6), and lawn/landscape care (May 20). "Earth Day 50" series: microplastic pollution (April 23) and 4-H youth activities (April 30). "One Seed: Creative Collards": tips on growing and cooking collards, plus a general gardening Q&A (April 29). Landscaping classes: trees (April 24), lawn care (April 27), pruning (May 4), palm care (May 5), HOA landscapes (May 7), and Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (May 18). "The Basics of Solar Energy for Florida Homeowners": technology, policies and funding options (April 29). "Green Cleaning Your Home": inexpensive, effective options for home cleaning (April 30). "Preparing for Wildfires with Firescaping": five-event series, held Thursdays (starts April 30). 

[Safety]  Citywide Public Health Emergency Extended through April 24; Public Urged To Acquire And Wear Protective Masks

The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through at least April 24 following a weekly review, as required by the City Charter, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency order issued by City Manager Tom Barwin, in consultation with Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, also reiterates that citizens are very strongly urged to wear protective masks when leaving home to conduct essential activities. The public is also urged to acquire protective masks if they have not already, as federal, state or local directives may soon require that they be worn in public.

“Whether you’re headed to work, shopping at the grocery store or out for some light exercise, we strongly urge you to continue to practice social distancing and put on a mask, not only for your own protection, but to preserve the health of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Barwin said. “When public health emergency restrictions begin to be lifted in the weeks ahead, citizens should still be prepared to wear masks in public settings to help prevent a second wave of COVID-19 in our region.”

Florida citizens are to remain in their homes except to conduct essential activities under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Safer at Home” executive order, in effect through April 30. Social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited on public and private property in the City of Sarasota. Although City buildings are closed to the public, most City operations and services are still available. The public can conduct City business either online via www.SarasotaFL.gov or by phone at 941-263-6000. 

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