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SRQ DAILY Apr 28, 2020

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"I don't know what the right answer is, but if we can at least break even with to-go orders for now, we can pay some of our employees something."

- Peppe Del Sole, Co-owner of Napulé restaurant
 

[The Dish]  Napule Reopens with To-go Menu and Mix of Emotions
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

Italy quickly became an epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic, its response reflecting the speed and severity of the virus’s spread within its borders. Their drastic lockdown required proof of destination documents, limited grocery stores to two shoppers at a time and implemented a €600 ($648) fine for those who break the lockdown protocols. “Things are crazy there,” says Peppe Del Sole, co-owner of Napulé in South Sarasota, “you can’t even visit a neighboring town 3 miles away.” The livelihood of Del Sole’s family in his native Ischia, a small island in the Gulf of Naples, was especially affected by the lockdown as the tourism industry it relies on completely shut down. It all makes the social distancing measures in Florida seem lax by comparison, and as Napulé reopens in a to-go configuration, it is with a mix of emotions.

On the one hand, fans of the restaurant were jubilant that it would begin offering again its Neapolitan fare. The abbreviated to-go menu still features a respectable list of soups and salads, appetizers and homemade pasta dishes, entrees, sandwiches, pizzas and desserts—there are even daily specials and 30% off select bottles of wine. The parking lot on the Monday of Napulé’s reopening had a steady flow of traffic, with patrons entering one at a time into the makeshift pick-up foyer. On a table just inside the entrance were boxes of pizzas, aluminum to-go containers stacked inside grocery bags and the accompanying tabs for each order. Longtime regulars, many of them in masks, chatted about the lockdown, the weather, asked about the health of families—there was joy in the air that only the prospect of pasta and pizza can induce. The restaurant is bright and clean with some light techno music playing through the speakers, but juxtaposed against the apparent joy are the empty seats.

The tables in the once-bustling dining area are all 6 feet apart in preparation for the pending scale-back of the protocols that saw every restaurant in the state come to a grinding halt. Chairs are stacked in a corner of the restaurant along with some tables to make more space for what will likely be a 50% capacity limit for restaurants when Florida begins its long, slow trek back to normal. And therein lies the other emotion: wariness. Adding to the dreary reports coming from family in Italy, Del Sole and fellow co-owner Alessandro Di Ferdinando have 4-month-old babies in their respective homes. It’s a divergent set of concerns they must try to reconcile—livelihood versus public and family safety. “I don’t know what the right answer is,” says Del Sole, “but if we can at least break even with to-go orders for now, we can pay some of our employees something.”

Napulé opens Monday through Saturday from 12 pm – 8 pm. Take-out orders can be placed via telephone while delivery is available through Bite Squad. 

Pictured: Alessandro Di Fedinando (l) and Guiseppe Del Sole (r) showcase a Piccante and Quattro Stagioni pizza behind their makeshift to-go counter. Photo by Andrew Fabian.

Click for the to-go menu.

[GoodBite]  Real Deal New York Bagel Time
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

A number of you may have very likely transplanted to the 941 from your native northern territory. Much like Mark Tuchman, owner of 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottleshop did from New York City. Now bringing "real deal NY bagels" to the suncoast of Florida, 99 Bottles has quickly become a sought-after AM stop for breakfast-loving locals craving a fresh-baked ring of dough. The densely delicious bagels come shipped weeklypar-baked then flash-frozen from a discreet distributor in the Bronx. Once the delivery makes it to downtown Sarasota, they are baked to life in the oven every Friday through Monday morning to a Sinatra playlist filling the craft brew shop with classic city vibes.

Bagel flavors include Everything, Sesame, Cinnamon Raisin, and the tried and true Plain (while supplies last of course, as the hungry buzz broadens, bagels tend to sell out by late afternoon). You are able to order any number of "just the bagel," sliced and bagged to be taken home and doctored up to your liking, or you can order one of the pre-fixed bagel sandwiches offered. Sandwiches come wrapped in white butcher paper, "just like you got it from the corner bodega," says Tuchman. Go full Long Island style with the salmon lox one—established first and foremost with a generous shmear of house cream cheese (option to upgrade to the scallion flavored cream cheese), then topped with Atlantic-smoked salmon, red onion, tomato, cucumber slices for added crunch and capers for added brine. For the sweet toothers, a cinnamon sugar cream cheese sandwich comes gloriously stacked with sliced Granny Smith apples and crushed walnuts.

To wash down the guiltless carbs, pair any bagel to-go order with local beverages such as an O&A cold brew, a bottle of Boombacha kombucha, a crowler/growler fill of one of the many Florida craft brews on draft, or even a mimosa kit to dazzle up at home. 

While you may have left the Empire State behind for more sunshine beach days, we're sure you haven't stopped missing the round, doughy breakfast delights that only New Yorkers get right. Sure, you can find a decent bagel in other states sometimes, but most are trying to live up to the New York standard. Luckily for us, 99 Bottles brought NYC to the SRQ.  

Photo courtesy of Mark Tuchman

To order Bagel Brunch online

[The Giving Challenge]  Be the One for Sarasota Opera With Special Mini-Challenges

Tuesday is the day! Starting at noon on Tuesday, April 28, Giving Challenge 2020 will begin and is your opportunity to support Sarasota Opera’s Relief Fund with a gift of $25, $50, $100, or more. This is a special year for us as this Giving Challenge will help us mitigate the anticipated $1 million loss we will incur due to the early closing of our season. Your gift will also have triple the impact! The Patterson Foundation is generously matching all Giving Challenge contributions up to $100. In addition, The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation is providing an additional match for all gifts. That means that the first $100 of your Giving Challenge gift turns into $300! Any amount over $100 will also be matched by the Toulmin Foundation.

Additionally, we will host mini-challenges to increase the impact of your gift, and in some cases, provide an additional match! Below are the different opportunities throughout the 24-hours of the Giving Challenge when you can increase your impact. But remember, a gift at any time will go a long way! Click here to visit our Giving Challenge donation page, and thank you for supporting Sarasota Opera through the Giving Challenge!

April 28, Noon – 1:00pm | The DiGirolamo Challenge
Sarasota Opera Board Chair Syble DiGirolamo will donate $1,000 if we get 50 donors in this first hour.

April 28, 3:00pm - 5:00pm | The Archbold Challenge
Ron Archbold and his wife Barbara will each give $1,000 if 35 donors give between 3pm and 5pm April 28.

April 28, 7:00pm - 8:00pm | The Tompkins Mini-Match
Bill Tompkins and wife Rebecca will match all donations up to $1,000 from 7pm to 8pm April 28. Triple match!

April 29, 8:00am - 9:00am | The Siciliano/Blanchard Mini-Match Another triple match!
Arthur Siciliano and wife B. Aline Blanchard are matching all donations from 8am to 9am on April 29, up to $1,000.

April 29, 10:00am - 11:00am | The Benoit/Brooks Challenge
Between 10am and 11am April 29, Katherine Benoit and John Brooks will give $1,000 if 25 donors give during this hour.

April 29, 11:00am - Noon | The Bagby Challenge, in honor of Betsy Bagby and Lee Chaverin-White  25 donors in this final hour will help us finish strong and will trigger a $1,000 gift from Sumner and Irene Bagby.

For all of the details please take a moment to head over to our Giving Challenge Profile and see the different mini-challenges you can participate in throughout the 24 hours. 

For more details.

[Growth]  PGT Innovations to Hire Over 150 New Employees Across Florida Facilities

PGT Innovations (NYSE: PGTI), a national leader in the premium window and door category, is seeking talented team members to fill over 150 positions throughout its manufacturing plants in North Venice, Hialeah, Miami, and Tampa, Fla.

“PGT Innovations is looking for more incredible folks to join our team and build long-term careers with us,” said Jeff Jackson, PGT Innovations President and CEO. “We make products that protect people, safeguard their assets, and save lives, and we take that responsibility very seriously. With the demand that we’re seeing for our products and hurricane season just weeks away, it’s more important than ever that our manufacturing teams at all of our facilities are fully staffed to produce our incredible products to serve the needs of homeowners.”

The company’s open opportunities include manufacturing technicians, forklift drivers, semi-truck drivers, loading technicians for its warehouse and dock operations, and roles within the Accounting and Credit departments.

Candidates with all types of work backgrounds and skill sets are encouraged to learn more about the career opportunities available with the innovative team that manufactures hundreds of products across its seven brands. To ensure the safety of applicants and PGT Innovations team members, all interviews will be conducted via telephone or video conference to accommodate social distancing and sheltering in place, as outlined in government recommendations for personal wellness.

“PGT Innovations is built on a culture of care,” said Debbie LaPinska, Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “Our organization recognizes that taking care of our team members is our number one priority, so we are doing everything we can to keep all parties safe. In addition to these personal wellness practices, we consistently invest in programs that support our team members’ personal well-being and growth, as well as professional development. Individuals who share our commitment to supporting others and contributing to the success of a team have tremendous potential to thrive within our company.”

PGT Innovations employs more than 2,700 team members across its Florida facilities and is the largest private sector employer in Sarasota County. The company offers robust benefits packages with competitive wages and healthcare benefits, as well as up to 100-percent tuition reimbursement, paid time off, profit sharing, and an employee stock purchase program. At the foundation of PGT Innovation is a culture of family and team member growth, and in support of those values, the company offers numerous non-traditional employee-focused benefits and programs, such as leadership development training, financial wellness classes, personal and professional skills certifications, their ‘Inspire the Future’ scholarship program for dependents of team members, personal wellness programs, and employee assistance programs. The company’s Venice campus also offers a full-service café, wellness center, fitness center, and child care center.

“When we welcome new team members to PGT Innovations, they see very quickly that they’re joining more than a company,” Jackson added. “They’re joining a family.” 

Pictured: Inside the manufacturing facility at PGT Innovations’ North Venice location.

Click to learn more about PGT Innovations' culture and to view and apply for opening.

[Staff Announcement]  Stratum Health System Welcomes Alan Weldy as Chief Legal and Compliance Officer

Stratum Health System, the parent company of Tidewell Hospice, is pleased to announce the addition of Alan Weldy, JD, MBA, as Chief Legal and Compliance Officer. Weldy comes to Stratum with 34 years of legal experience and more than a decade of health care compliance and general counsel experience. Most recently, Weldy served 12 years as General Counsel, Vice President of Human Resources and Compliance at Goshen Health, formerly known as Indiana University Health Goshen, in Goshen, Ind. Weldy begins his tenure at Stratum Health System on April 27. Weldy said he was impressed with Stratum Health System and Tidewell Hospice long before pursuing his new position. 

“It has been my privilege to serve for the past 12 years as general legal counsel and compliance officer in a mission-based health system located in Northern Indiana. Even 1,100 miles away I knew of Stratum Health/Tidewell from friends whose family members were cared for by its incredible staff and volunteers,” he said. “The compassion, enthusiasm and sense of mission of Tidewell colleagues clearly stood out during my interview process. Learning about the merger of Stratum Health System and Empath Health served to heighten my professional excitement and personal sense of call to help shape the future of the new organization. My wife, Carla, and I look forward to this opportunity and to becoming part of the Sarasota community.”

Weldy earned his law degree from University of Notre Dame Law School and his Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University. He spent 16 years with the firm Yoder, Ainlay, Ulmer and Buckingham, including 10 years as partner. Weldy also served as adjunct professor and associate professor of business at Goshen College, his undergraduate alma mater. Stratum, the parent company of Tidewell Hospice and other affiliated healthcare organizations, is governed by a group of seven voluntary Board of Trustees members. 

More info.

[Real Estate]  SVN Commercial Advisory Group Manages $2.2 Million Sale, 4.6 Acres of Vacant Land in Ellenton, FL.

Senior Advisor, Tony Veldkamp, CCIM and Advisor Matt Fenske of SVN Commercial Advisory Group recently coordinated the sale of 4.6 acres of vacant land at 7205 US-301 in Ellenton, FL. 1167159 Alberta LTD, was the seller. The buyer was MHC Operating Limited Partnership. Purchase price was $2,200,000. Fenske and Veldkamp represented the seller. Max Boehmer of Vertica Partners represented the buyer. “The number one rule in real estate is to check with the neighbors. The owners of the Colony Cove mobile home community have had an interest in this site for a long time, but the price had always been a deterrent. With the slight price reduction we instituted, we finally got to a range where they could make it work, so everyone wins.” said Veldkamp, concerning the deal. The buyer, MHC Operating LP is a subsidiary of Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., which owns the Colony Cove mobile home community located directly behind the 4.6 acre property. According to their website, “Equity LifeStyle Properties is the leading operator of Manufactured Home Communities, RV Resorts and Campgrounds in North America." 

[Recognitino]  RE/MAX Names Top Producers in Florida

RE/MAX Alliance Group, which once again was ranked the #1 RE/MAX in Florida, is proud to announce its associates and teams who placed among the top RE/MAX producers in Florida. Here are the top Florida producers based on combined residential and commercial sales in 2019. Among individual agents, Stan Rutstein of the Bradenton office ranked #14, Ryan Carson of the Siesta Key ranked #19, Ann Marie Vaughan of the Riverview office ranked #37, Carey Beychok of the Sarasota office ranked #46 and Cindy Quinn of the Holmes Beach office ranked #49. Among teams, the Brewer Team in the Sarasota office ranked #11, the Jason McIntosh Team in the South Tampa office ranked #25, the Travis Group in the Bradenton office ranked #28, the Stiver Firth International Team in the Englewood office ranked #37, the Glenn Brown Team in the Sarasota office ranked #43, Team Richard Capps in the Bradenton office ranked #44, and the Kathy Damewood Team in the Englewood office ranked #45. RE/MAX Alliance Group is the #1 RE/MAX franchise in Florida and the #9 RE/MAX franchise nationally. It is the #1 RE/MAX franchise in Florida for contributions to the Children’s Miracle Network. The company offers residential and commercial real estate solutions throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.  

Pictured: (First Row) Stan Rutstein, Ryan Carson, Ann Marie Vaughn, Carey Beychok, Cindy Quinn, (Second Row) Lee Brewer, Jason McIntosh, Jay and Christy Travis, Carla Stiver, (Third Row) Bob Firth, Glenn Brown, Richard Capps, Kathy Damewood.

For more info.

[Candidate]  Ron Cutsinger Qualifies For Sarasota County Commission Run

South Sarasota County Commission candidate Ron Cutsinger has surpassed the required number of signatures needed to qualify for the District 5 seat. The Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office officially qualified Cutsinger, the South County businessman and community advocate, last week. “I’m thankful for the enthusiastic support I have received for my campaign,” Cutsinger said. “I take nothing for granted and look forward to getting out and meeting more residents of North Port and Englewood when it is safe to do so.” Cutsinger is a long-time resident, family man, businessman, church elder and community champion who believes in conservative policies to renew our vibrant community while protecting our precious environment. Having guided his financial advisory firm through the financial crisis, Cutsinger is uniquely qualified to deal with adversity and unforeseen challenges we are now facing. 



[Wellness]  Brain Development Matters Even During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed just about everything in our lives, and yet, our children continue to grow, learn and build the architecture of their brain during this time. For the next few weeks, the Brain Health Initiative will offer resources and activities that focus on ways to support the healthy brain development of your child. In part one, we introduce, with resources from Brain Health Initiative colleagues, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, why this support is essential.

Why is Attention to Brain Development Important During COVID-19?

While it’s true that the coronavirus outbreak has changed our daily lives, you can rest assured that our children are still learning, growing, and developing. Everyone in the family can help support the healthy brain development of a child, you may even find it helps relieve some of your own stress.

COVID-19 impacts the stress levels in both children and the adults who care for them and there are some simple techniques that can help ensure that you and your child don’t experience long-term effects of stress.

Based on the work of Center on the Developing Child at Harvard, information and resources will be shared over the next few weeks looking at the importance of paying attention to brain development including development of executive functioning and social regulation skills, interaction, social connections and taking a break:

Executive functioning (EF) and social regulation skills (SR) 
Interaction: Practicing back-and-forth interaction with your child.
Social Connections: Connecting socially in the era of social distancing.
Take a Break: Giving your stress response a rest.

What can you do to protect your brain?

Safer-at-home means most children are at home as they can’t go to school or childcare, and some adults are not able to work, thus losing income. These situations create challenges and often increase stress in the family. This infographic explains the basics of what COVID-19 is and what it can mean for stress levels in both children and the adults who care for them. It also offers some brain healthy, easy and concrete solutions to help ensure that both caregivers and the children they care for don’t experience long-term effects of stress. Finally, it explains how all of us can work together to ensure the brain health and well-being of all our fellow community members, young and old, both now and in the future.


 

[Eligibility]  Buchanan Calls for New Eligibility Criteria for COVID-19 Relief Funds

Congressman Vern Buchanan today urged congressional leaders to lower the eligibility threshold for local governments to receive coronavirus assistance in any future legislation passed by Congress.

Under the CARES Act passed by Congress last month, a county or city must have at least 500,000 people to be eligible for financial assistance related to coronavirus. Manatee County has 403,000 people and the 4th highest number of deaths in Florida. Sarasota County has 433,000 people. Both are currently ineligible for coronavirus relief funds under the CARES Act passed last month by Congress.

“This arbitrary criteria of 500,000 residents disadvantages many local governments, including two of the three counties I represent," Buchanan said. "Both Sarasota and Manatee counties have been hit hard by coronavirus and are dealing with the health and economic impact caused by the virus. They deserve assistance just as much as any city or county that has 500,000 people.”

Hillsborough County, part of which is represented by Buchanan, has a population of 1.4 million so it qualifies for the aid.

Congress is currently considering another COVID-19 relief bill, and Buchanan said the change in eligibility should be included in that legislation.

“This should be a bipartisan issue because expanding the eligibility will help many people living in places just like Sarasota and Manatee counties and who are also struggling with the COVID-19 outbreak,” Buchanan said. “I will be contacting the House and Senate leadership of both parties urging that this change be made a part of the next coronavirus aid package to move through the Congress.” 

[Crisis Support]  COVID-19 Response Initiative for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast

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’ 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.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast has received a $12,700 grant from the COVID-19 Response Initiative, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation for laptops to convert to virtual services. “We are so grateful for the quick and outstanding support of meeting the social and emotional needs of our children during this crisis. The technology you are providing enables our Staff to connect our children, families, and volunteers. Over the past four weeks, we have witnessed our Agency adapt to a new landscape, where in-person contact is prohibited,” said Joy Mahler, president, and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast. The nature of our business has relied on personal relationships through all stages of recruiting, screening, enrolling and supporting the families, youth, and mentors that expect us to facilitate strong, healthy relationships. In a time when vulnerable youth are already facing extreme personal and family challenges due to lost jobs, missed meals, and feelings of sadness and isolation, our mentors need to be able to stay connected to their Littles and continue to guide and support them. Words do not adequately express our heartfelt appreciation.” 

[Relief Funding]  Embracing Our Differences Receives Emergency Grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Sarah Wertheimer, the executive director of Embracing Our Differences, recently announced that the organization has received a $40,000 Arts Appreciation grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant will help the organization adapt its educational outreach programming in response to the COVID-19 crisis. "The resources we provide to area educators and students are a top priority for us,” says Wertheimer. “This vital grant allows us to adapt EOD’s educational outreach programs and initiatives to virtual and online platforms to reach broad audiences—and it could not have come at a better time. We’re grateful to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation for its commitment to diversity education in our community and for providing the support we need during this critical time.” Wertheimer says that she’s working closely with EOD’s education director, Ben Jewell-Plocher, to create programs that can be accessed via online and virtual platforms. These include annual teacher workshops and intensives, which provide area educators with skills, strategies and resources relating to arts appreciation, character building and diversity education. Some of these initiatives can be seen here: https://www.embracingourdifferences.org/virtual. Since 2004, EOD’s international, juried exhibition celebrating the theme of "enriching lives through diversity and inclusion,” showcases the art and words of thousands of artists and writers from around the world, including hundreds of area-based students and educators. The organization’s ongoing education initiatives are also crucial to its mission. Presented in partnership with regional school districts and nationally recognized educators, these programs positively impact the lives of thousands of area teachers and students every year. These initiatives include annual workshops and retreats that provide arts and diversity curricula for area educators, bi-county reading initiatives, free bus transportation for students and teachers to visit area cultural venues, and student service clubs in high schools. “Embracing Our Differences continues to lead as one of southwest Florida’s largest education programs with 950 teachers and 43,000 students participating in the organization’s exhibit and educational programs in 2019 alone,” says Wertheimer. 

For more info.

[Giving Back]  A Dream Becomes a Reality!

All Star By the Numbers

29 months since our official groundbreaking

The All Star Campus of Hope and Healing
comprises 5 verdant acres

6 graciously appointed foster care homes serve as soothing havens

Each home is 3,000 square feet of light-filled comfort and shelter

The All Star Children’s Center is 13,000 square feet

12 months since we began offering clinical services

96 children have received clinical services to date

5 clinical experts serve full-time on the All Star clinical team

4 acclaimed psychologists consult with All Star for trauma treatment

12 foster parents will live on the campus

40 volunteers stand ready to support the families

400 generous donors support All Star

13 All Star team members serve the children and families

50 plants enliven our organic vegetable garden (yummy!)

2 slides grace our vibrant playground

1 merry-go-round produces smiles all around

207 donated books will open young minds to new worlds

129 donated handmade blankets and
quilts will keep kids snuggled and warm

68 foster parents have graduated
from our trauma-informed parenting class

1 facility dog named Poppy lives on our campus—
bringing a smile to everyone

Countless hours brought the All Star vision to life 

For donations.

[Utilities]  Comcast Extends COVID-19 Response Policies to June 30

As shelter in place continues to be the norm and schools remain closed across Florida, Comcast announced today it will extend its commitments for Xfinity customers through June 30 to help ensure students can finish out the school year from home and remain connected to the internet during the COVID-19 crisis.

Originally announced on March 13, Comcast made the following commitments that will now be extended into the summer: No Disconnects and Waiving Late Fees: We will not disconnect a customer’s Xfinity Internet, Xfinity Mobile, or Xfinity Voice service, and we will waive late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Our care teams are available to offer flexible payment options or help find other solutions. Xfinity WiFi Free for Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots in business and outdoor locations across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Pausing Our Data Plan: With so many people working and educating from home, we want our customers to access the internet without thinking about data plans. While most of our customers do not come close to using 1TB of data in a month, we are pausing our data plans to give all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. Internet Essentials: Internet Essentials is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. We are extending our offer of 60 days of complimentary service for new customers through June 30. Internet Essentials is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. For more information, visit www.internetessentials.com. 

For more information and updates.

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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