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SRQ DAILY Apr 30, 2020

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"When people say, 'People aren't going to give during a pandemic,' sorry, but we can prove you wrong, time and time again."

- Debra Jacobs, The Patterson Foundation

[Government]  Reopening of Florida Commerce Phasing In on Monday
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A statewide stay-at-home order will lift on Monday as Florida begins Phase 1 or reopening business amid the coronavirus crisis, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday. While the strictest part of the statewide order will remain in place in thee South Florida counties with the highest infection totals, But Sarasota and Manatee counties will have no restrictions unless local governments choose to put them in place.

Business leaders in the region welcomed the opening of business, but stressed company owners will remain proactive in guarding public health and preventing further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses are ready to be open and get back to business, balancing safety measures with all of it,” said Heather Kasten, president and CEO of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

The most notable business regulation shift may be in something that predated DeSantis’ statewide order. Shortly after Florida’s first COVID-19 case (a Manatee County resident), DeSantis ordered dining limits and ultimately a restriction on businesses to only serve take-out. Starting Monday, most restaurants will be able to open 25% of their dining rooms.

How that works mathematically for business budgets remains to be seen.

“What I have heard from restaurants is, like most businesses with an on-site customer base, the numbers will need to make sense to ramp up service,” said Jacki Dezelski, President and CEO of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. “That will vary from establishment to establishment.”

But Kasten said every allowance is helpful.

“It’s a good start,” she said. “Once we get our people out and working again, I do think things will continue to ramp up and businesses will get more staff reengaged.”

Similar to dining, non-essential retail will be allowed to re-open with 25% limitations. Business leaders are anxious to see details, but know the store owners inviting customers inside again after weeks will demonstrate caution, both to protect customers and their own staffs.

“Businesses want to do the right thing,” Dezelski stressed. The Chamber will also serve as a source off guidelines and best practices for businesses seeking information on healthy reopening.

There’s other business matters still unresolved. A restriction on short-term rentals remains in place, something severely impacting the region’s tourism economy. And Kasten said she’d like to see relief for hyper-small businesses like hair dressers and other solo-preneurs. But she feels happy DeSantis stressed the next phase of reopening will come in a matter of days or weeks, not months. 

“This is just a glimmer of hope we can start getting back to business,” she said. “It’s going to encourage that business owner who a week ago or two weeks ago had no ideas if they would be shut down for the entire month or May or June.”

From a government standpoint, state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, made clear he’s been pleased with DeSantis’ leadership, whether in restricting access to area nursing homes, a move Gruters said probably saved thousands, or allowing some commerce to remain opened that other states locked down.

“He is continuing his measured and step by step approach and Florida will come back stronger than ever because we are resilient,” he said. 

[Community]  The Giving Challenge 2020 Reached New Heights in Yesterday's Final Tally
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

The Giving Challenge, a unique 24-hour virtual giving event hosted by The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, in partnership with the Patterson Foundation, helps local charities raise funds for the valuable services they provide. Even amidst an uncertain economic downturn, our philanthropic community of avid donors responded with true resiliency, passion and support," says Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. Consequently, the event reached remarkable final results as of noon yesterday: 

58,497 local donors. 687 nonprofit beneficiaries. $10.9 million community raised funds. $7.5 million match from The Patterson Foundation. Early total (not including additional prizes) = $18.4 million. 

From day one, the annual 24-hour giving event online supports fundamental causes from pets, nature and the arts, to the hungry and homeless across Sarasota, Manatee, Desoto and Charlotte Counties. Now in its seventh year running, it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. Jerde noted that the date for The Giving Challenge 2020 was set well over a year ago, but ironically landed in the middle of a pandemic. “As we face this road, we all know it’ll be awhile coming out of this, so this fusion of unrestricted cash these organizations are going to receive is really going to be critical for our nonprofit sector to thrive," she says. 

"We continue to be inspired and proud by our region’s inherent generosity, now more than ever, as these gifts will provide a vital lifeline and much-needed flexibility for our nonprofit partners as we move forward together to address our community’s evolving needs."

With dramatic changes happening globally, even those who are currently unemployed and disrupted in their lives, still stepped up and to give $25. “Givers got to give,” says Debra Jacobs of The Patterson Foundation. “The generosity gene is beaming all over the place.” Across the board, small but meaningful gifts added up to culminate in milestone numbers. Every year it is something meaningful, but it is especially meaningful this year. “When people say, ‘People aren't going to give during a pandemic,’ sorry, but we can prove you wrong, time and time again,” says Jacobs.  

With over 60,000 people coming together collectively—and the infrastructure of the Giving Challenge that the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation have built—the ability to become a part of the #BeTheOne momentum, watching the virtual leaderboard change by the second, it’s easy to see how almost $19 million was raised to make sure our region not only survives, but thrives. “Talk about a ray of hope, a ray of sunshine,” says Jerde. “It’s just a testament to where we live and how much we care.” 

Top to Bottom: Debra Jacobs of The Patterson Foundation, Roxie Jerde of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and Judi Gallagher, Livestream Host, celebrate the announcement of the grand total.

Check out the final Leaderboard for The Giving Challenge 2020 here.

[Support]  Centerstone Receives $2M Grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

Centerstone has been awarded a $2 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The grant will help individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorders (SUD) or co-occurring disorders (COD) in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

"Centerstone is honored to receive this grant and ready to get started," said Melissa Larkin-Skinner, Regional CEO for Centerstone. "The U.S. Conference of Mayors has identified substance use (68%), lack of affordable housing (60%), and mental illness (48%) as the top three causes of homelessness among single adults. With this grant, we will deliver care that will change the lives of many throughout Manatee and Sarasota Counties, and improve supports systems in our communities."

Centerstone will receive $400,000 per year for five years and use those funds to develop and/or expand local implementation of the following services: Evidence-based SUD, COD, and trauma treatment. Intensive community-based case management .Screenings and assessments. Linkages to primary and specialty care. Peer and wrap-around recovery supports such as employment and education services; benefits engagement and enrollment; and education and counseling on hepatitis treatment, sexually transmitted infection and HIV screening.

"Of those experiencing homelessness in the grant's coverage area, a significant percentage have substance use disorders and an even greater number have co-occurring disorders," said Larkin-Skinner. "This population not only faces barriers to treatment access and availability, but also multiple disparities, including high poverty, lack of affordable housing, and untreated or under-treated substance use and co-occurring disorders." 

For more info.

[The Giving Challenge]  All Faiths Food Bank Thankful for Record-Breaking Giving Challenge Results

Thanks to generous donors throughout the region, All Faiths Food Bank - the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties - ended up atop the Leaderboard, raising a record-breaking total of $621,261 during the 2020 Giving Challenge. These fundraising results speak to the caring and incredible generosity of the community, particularly as the COVID-19 crisis impacts area families and the economy.

The influx of funding couldn't come at a better time: The coronavirus has caused an unprecedented spike in need for food assistance - the Food Bank has seen a 100% increase in distribution and a 40% increase in new clients at mobile pantry distributions, and has increased produce distribution by 78%. Simultaneously, costs have skyrocketed due to the loss of consumer food donations, the loss of its significant volunteer force under the stay-at-home order, and changes to food distribution, including a need for individual packaging and the move to a drive-thru/no touch model.

Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank estimates the proceeds from the Giving Challenge will cover the cost of purchased food for one month, under current conditions and at the current increased level of need. She hopes that community members who may not be accustomed to financial challenges - such as those who have recently been furloughed or laid off, or whose businesses have been shut down – will not hesitate to reach out to the Food Bank if they have a need.

"There is an entirely new group of people in our community who have lost their livelihoods, practically overnight. They're not accustomed to seeking support but we are here for them,” Frank said. "We are so honored and humbled that the community has shown just how valuable a service we provide and how trusted our organization is. We are especially grateful to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for presenting this incredible opportunity, and to The Patterson Foundation for its generosity in offering matching funds and prizes."

The organization is planning to offer two mass food distributions in May, at the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility in North Port (May 9) and Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota (May 16). All Faiths expects to serve as many as 4,600 community members at each location and hopes that these events will attract people who may be experiencing new challenges due to COVID-19 and may not be accustomed to using the Food Bank's services. 

For more about All Faiths Food Bank.

[Local Restaurants]  Florida Studio Theatre Reopens Green Room Café and Bar for Delivery and Curb-side Pickup

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) announces that its Green Room Café & Bar is now open for curb-side pickup and delivery. Starting Tuesday, April 28, patrons will be able to order from FST’s full food and drink menu, featuring fan favorites like lobster bisque, margherita flatbreads, sandwiches with Boars Head Deli meats, and Carolina Gold Salmon. Specials are available for couples and families. Discounted beer, wine, and liquor are available with food orders.  With patrons’ health and safety as FST’s top priority, the theatre is following the most up-to-date OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and Florida Safe Serve guidelines while preparing, packaging, and delivering food orders. ​FST’s Green Room Café & Bar will be open seven days a week from 11AM to 8PM. Contactless delivery is available within the downtown Sarasota area. 

Order online.

[Gardening]  Kathy Crowley on Taming the Notoriously Unruly Bamboo
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Our new weekly gardening column had sprouted its way into week four and the plant care questions keep rolling in for Kathy Crowley of Crowley Nursery. Kathy started the nursery in her own backyard in Bayshore Gardens. As the family business began to grow, so did its facility. Now situated out in Old Myakka, her and her family have been working bringing beauty to backyards for close to 30 years now. Kathy will be providing useful tips and expert advice to share each week, as a new question will be posed to enhance your green thumb evolution. 

SRQ: I'm a bit intimidated by bamboo and its notorious reputation for unruly growth and constant maintenance. What are your recommendations on integrating and maintaining bamboo in the yard?

Kathy:  We find many people that come to our nursery feel bamboo is a nightmare. Well, in a way it is, if you are from up north and have only seen running bamboo grow.  You can not stop running bamboo and it is the only (or main type) grown in the north. The clumping kind does not grow in the cold as they are tropical. Running bamboo has a flat side on it, while the clumping kind are round. Tropical bamboo are clumpers and can be stopped by putting landscape timber on the ground. Outline it on how you want it to grow like a square or a narrow run for a living fence.  When bamboo is inside the wood and grows forward and feels it, it will stay inside the wood. Bamboo does not like to be walked on so if it is on your walk path it will grow the other direction. Bamboo comes in hedge types that usually grow to 20 ft on average. You can also trim its back with a saw jaw and keep it closer to 4 ft if desired. These are thinner types that grow close together for privacy. However, there are others taller, many times used as a specimen, and can top off at 30 to 40 ft. Plant your bamboo every 10 ft, as planting closer is not better and hurts the bamboo. 

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.

[Gallery]  A Spotlight on Jill Krasner at Chasen Galleries

Sarasota-based artist Jill Krasner makes mixed media artwork that cannot be contained to any one style, or subject matter. At our Richmond location you'll find lovely still life paintings full of shapes and patterns, while our Sarasota gallery also has larger-than-life portraits of women, fully abstract squares, and beaches overflowing with greenery. "Making art is my anchor," says Jill. "The process of creating grounds me, keeping me in the moment. There is no past in my studio, no future. There is just now — and now is where I belong, where I do my best work." A little bit of grounding is what we all need right now.

Take a few minutes to check out this week's Spotlight, and maybe absorb some of those calm thoughts and bright inspirations for yourself! 

Pictured: Beach Huts, 51x59

See the exhibit and tour online.

[Education]  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College Announces Its 2020 Summer Semester

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College (OLLI at Ringling College) will offer its summer semester courses online from June 1-July 24. Registration opens on May 5 for Gold Members and May 12 for the general public. The summer semester features approximately 15 classes covering a diversity of subjects, including health and wellbeing, current events, literature, stress management, and memoir writing. To register, visit www.OlliatRinglingCollege.org or call 941-309-5111.

According to Janna Overstreet, the executive director of OLLI at Ringling College, the school adapted quickly to the COVID-19 crisis. “We felt it was vital to continue offering courses during this period of social distancing,” says Overstreet. “Lifelong learning enhances our understanding of the world around us, improves our quality of life, and boosts health and longevity. That’s true in the best of times—and even more important in a time of social isolation. The distance learning model provides the perfect solution.”

Overstreet adds that they’ve posted instructions on the OLLI website about how to use the Zoom platform and instructors will work with students to make sure they’re comfortable with it. According to Overstreet, OLLI’s upcoming summer courses include “Breathing Through the Covid Crisis,” “Stress Management and Meditation,” “Survival Skills for Mind, Body and Life,” and “Happiness is an Inside Job.” She notes that, “These mind-body survival skills are especially relevant now. But other courses will be pure entertainment—and that’s important now, too. For example, Tony Moon will be teaching ‘The 27 Club: Rock & Roll Heaven,’ a discussion series exploring the short lives of artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse.” Overstreet says that her team has been actively planning for the fall semester, which starts in late September. “For now, we’re full steam ahead. We’re adhering to CDC guidelines and will decide as we get closer if courses will be offered via Zoom or in-person.” 

Register online.

[Real Estate]  Commercial Land in Palmetto to Become Affordable Housing for Seniors

Minnesota-based Dominium, the nation’s fourth-largest provider of affordable housing, closed on over six acres of land at 705 Haben Boulevard in Palmetto today for $2.1 million. Susan Goldstein, CCIM, MBA of MSC Commercial facilitated the transaction, representing both the buyer and seller. The future Reef at Riviera affordable housing development is planned to have more than 200 residences and cater to those 62 and older earning at or below 60% of area median income. The land went under contract in November 2018 and continued moving toward a successful close, even as the coronavirus pandemic began creating new challenges for the local commercial real estate market.

“The Reef at Riviera is a new construction development of much-needed, senior affordable housing,” said Devon Quist, Development Associate with Dominium. “The development utilized 4% tax credits and bonds without any competitive financing or “gap filler.” For that reason, this project is additive to regional and statewide goals because it does not drain annual coffers such as those made available under the Sadowski fund. Florida’s annual resources are not enough to solve the affordable housing crisis, so it’s important to utilize other non-competitive resources like 4% credits and bonds to make affordable housing projects work.”

Susan Goldstein has been a commercial real estate professional for the last 14 years and has facilitated transactions for individuals and businesses totaling over $90 million. She holds an MBA from Columbia University and prestigious CCIM designation, the highest of professional achievement in her industry only held by 6% of practicing commercial real estate professionals. She boasts a resume of marketing experience featuring companies such as American Express and Proctor & Gamble. In 2019, she became President of the Commercial Real Estate Alliance for the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

Goldstein works out of the Michael Saunders & Company Commercial Division office at 100 South Washington Blvd. and can be reached for comment at 941.350.9747. Photography is available for all properties. 

Connect with MSC Commercial.

[Recognition]  Kerkering, Barberio & Co. Ranked as Leading Accounting Firm in the Gulf Coast Region

Kerkering, Barberio & Co., Certified Public Accountants, is pleased to announce that the Sarasota accounting firm has been ranked by Accounting Today as a 2020 Regional Leader for the Gulf Coast. Firms from across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi comprise the region, which experienced an average firm growth rate of 6.54% for 2019. With three offices across the Tampa Bay region, KB saw growth of 10.91% in 2019. Nationwide, regions averaged growth rates of 6.54% to 10.72%.

“As more people and companies discover the opportunities to relocate their families and businesses to our area, Kerkering Barberio has continued to grow and serve a diverse set of needs in accounting, tax preparation and consulting. We are very proud of our position in the Tampa Bay market and now for this recognition for the Gulf Coast Region," said Rob Lane, Managing Shareholder.

Accounting Today is the leading information resource for public accountants, reaching over 325,000 professionals across the full breadth of public accounting. Each year, the publication ranks the largest practices in tax and accounting, both nationwide and in 10 major geographic regions. 

More about Kerkering Barberio & Co.

[Real Estate]  Traci Creighton Earns RSPS and CRS Certifications

Realtor Traci Creighton of RE/MAX Alliance Group has earned the Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designations from the National Association of Realtors. 

The RSPS certification is awarded to real estate professionals who have completed the curriculum and have demonstrated expertise in the vacation, resort and second-home market. The CRS designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers.

Creighton is a second-generation real estate professional and multimillion-dollar producer serving the Venice, Englewood, North Port, and surrounding south Sarasota County and Charlotte County areas. 

She is based in the Venice office at 1314 East Venice Avenue, Suite B. Creighton can be reached at (941) 451-9419 or Traci@FlaBeachHomes.com. 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. 

For more info.

[Theater]  FST Brings Back 30 Furloughed Staff Member with CARES Act

Last month, Florida Studio Theatre (FST) announced that it was cancelling the remainder of its 2019-2020 Winter Season due to the COVID-19 health crisis. As a result of these cancellations, FST projects a loss of over $1 million in revenue to date this season alone. Due to these losses, FST was forced to furlough 30 employees—which accounts for 60% of its full-time staff.

With the passing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), FST has obtained financial assistance that will help Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre continue to operate. Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), FST brought back 30 full-time employees for the next eight weeks. During this time, returning employees will be tackling projects spanning FST’s artistic, production, facilities, and education departments.

“FST has not hesitated to make the difficult—but necessary—choices that will insure our survival for the future,” said Rebecca Hopkins, FST’s Managing Director. “On March 16, we furloughed 30 full-time employees and laid off 90 artists and front-of-house workers. Funding from the Payroll Protection Program has allowed us to bring back these furloughed staff members and employ many out of work artists.”

Over the next eight weeks, FST’s artistic staff is focused on the lifeblood of the theatre: New Play Development. They are working with local and national playwrights, including Larry Parr (Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow, Hi-Hat-Hattie) and Thomas Gibbons (Bee-luther-hatchee, Permanent Collection), to develop new work that complements FST’s mission to produce theatre that “challenges with as much gusto as it entertains.” The playwrights will also participate in discussions and workshops as part of FST’s online programming—more details are forthcoming.

FST’s artistic team will also use this time to create Cabarets to be programmed into future Winter Cabaret Seasons. In addition, they will continue to collaborate with Jacqueline Goldfinger, Sandy Rustin, Mark St. Germain, and Rachel Lynett—four playwrights FST commissioned to write new plays inspired by the women’s suffrage movement as part of its Suffragist Project. “We are planning for the future—a future when we can come back together,” continued Hopkins. “A future where FST returns to telling ambitious, exciting, and dynamic human stories. By taking advantage of the assistance available to us with programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, and with the strong support of our local funders and our audience, we will weather this storm.”

Starting the week of May 11, virtual classes in playwriting, sketch comedy, acting, solo performance, musical theatre, and improvisation will be available for youth, teens, and adults. Through The FST School: Online, students ages 7 and up will be able to envision and work toward their own creative goals. Classes will span four weeks and be conducted over the Zoom app. For more information or to enroll, contact Pam Smith, Education Administrator, at 941.366.1350 or psmith@floridastudiotheatre.org.

Due to COVID-19, in-person FST Improv performances have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, but FST’s improvisation program continues to reach Sarasota audiences and beyond. Last week, FST’s Director of Improv Will Luera taught a workshop to students throughout Europe as part of Impro Fest Online, the world’s first fully digital improv festival. FST Improv will also perform short-form improv games live on the group’s social media platforms on select Friday and Saturday evenings. In addition, FST is using the next eight weeks to undertake projects that aren’t possible to complete when the theatre is in “peak season”—November through March. Some of these projects include, but are not limited to, a complete renovation of the kitchen in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret, and refurbishing the theatre’s six commercial and 18 residential facilities. Meanwhile, FST’s resident designers are preparing designs for upcoming FST productions.

They are also organizing and updating the theatre’s lighting, sound, projection, and scene shop equipment. Finally, FST is using the next eight weeks to undertake projects that aren’t possible to complete when the theatre is in “peak season”—November through March. Some of these projects include, but are not limited to, a complete renovation of the kitchen in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret, organizing and updating the theatre’s lighting, sound, projection, and scene shop equipment, and refurbishing the theatre’s six commercial and 18 residential facilities. Meanwhile, FST’s resident designers continue to prepare designs for planned upcoming FST productions. 

Support FST.

[Relief]  Manatee Education Foundation Launches COVID-19 Relief Fund

In order to meet the vast demands of the School District of Manatee County during the COVID-19 crisis, the Manatee Education Foundation has launched a relief fund on their website. Donations will support emergency needs and programs for the School District of Manatee County.

“The Manatee Education Foundation wants to help the District connect with families who need support during this difficult time,” said Manatee Education Foundation President Mary Glass. “We stand with our educators, whether it’s helping pay for internet access, technology tools or supplies for teachers who need support.”

A donation button for the COVID-19 Relief Fund has been setup on www.MEFinfo.org.

Dozens of school buses have been equipped with WiFi hot spots to help families throughout the community log into eLearning programs. Thousands of technology devices have also been distributed throughout the community so students can continue their lessons.

“We are grateful for community support and will continue to work together to keep education and the safety of our students and staff a top priority during this unprecedented time,” said Superintendent Cynthia Saunders. “The MEF COVID-19 Relief Fund can help us take a burden from families who are having to make unbelievable sacrifices during the crisis.” 

For additional information, please contact the President of Manatee Education Foundation Mary Glass at 941-737-7175. 

[Webinar Series]  Women’s Resource Center Launches Virtual Financial Empowerment Programs

As COVID-19 disrupts employment and financial security for countless community members, Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is expanding its commitment to women’s empowerment by offering three remote-based financial services programs to help women learn key strategies and skills to attain financial security. These programs include Ask A Banker, which offers free one-on-one sessions virtually with Bank of America professionals; a Money Empowerment Helpline, which is a $10 one-on-one session with a personal finance expert, and a free monthly webinar series called Women’s Money Empowerment.

“Our goal is to ensure that we are assisting women with navigating these unchartered waters of the pandemic well equipped with the financial skills they need to deal with the current disruptions and to chart a stable future for themselves and their families,” explains WRC CEO Ashley Brown.

The Ask A Banker program is based on a well-established partnership with Bank of America, a long time funder of WRC services. The free 30-minute individual phone or video sessions are facilitated by Bank of America professionals who assist WRC clients on topics such as managing credit card debt, improving a credit score, budgeting tips, savings strategies, the home buying or refinancing process, planning for retirement or college, identity theft, tax filing, and more. The session content is tailored to the specific needs of the client. Appointments are available on the third Thursday of each month, 4-6 pm, and may be scheduled online or by calling the center.

The Money Empowerment Helpline is a one-on-one, 45 minute, fee-based video conference with a financial expert offered on Wednesday afternoons from 2 pm – 5 pm. The Money Empowerment Helpline helps women gain financial security by building wealth, planning for the future, and navigating through a transition such as, divorce, death, a significant move, graduation, retirement, or inheritance. The cost is $10 per session. A free monthly Women’s Money Empowerment webinar rounds out WRC’s new financial programming. These one-hour webinars will be hosted by financial expert and Women’s Money Empowerment founder, Dr. Laura H. Mattia, who is author of Gender on Wall Street: Uncovering Opportunities for Women in Financial Services. The webinars will be offered on the first Friday of each month beginning May 1 at 1 pm, with the first one titled “Financial Transitions: Money Empowerment During Uncertain Times.” During transitional times, some actions are more important than others. Understanding what to focus on can provide peace of mind, a feeling of control, and a sense of well-being. This first webinar will help women to begin to claim their financial power during these uncertain times.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our financial offerings through this new partnership with Dr. Mattia,” says Brown. “She brings a wealth of knowledge to our clients to assist them in building financial security.” 

For more information about registering for the webinar.

[Testing]  Through Partnership, Community-Based Testing Expanded in Sarasota County

DOH Sarasota has partnered with CenterPlace Health, NAACP Sarasota Chapter and Light of the World International Church to host a by appointment only COVID-19 drive-thru testing site Friday at the Light of the World International Church located at 3809 Chapel Dr, Sarasota, FL 34234 from 8 a.m. until noon.

"We're very pleased to be working collaboratively with CenterPlace Health, Sarasota County's safety-net health care provider, as well as the Sarasota Chapter of the NAACP and Light of the World Church to make this testing opportunity possible," said Chuck Henry, Sarasota County Health Officer. "Partnerships like this help to increase our ability to provide more community testing that is neighborhood-based." DOH Sarasota began community based COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites as a strategy to increase testing in the county earlier this month. "We're happy to help to bring increased COVID-19 testing to our community," said Trevor Harvey, President-Sarasota NAACP. "DOH Sarasota has done a good job not only making testing available throughout the county, but by making it accessible as well."

"At Light of the World, we believe in making ourselves available to serve our community. So, it was a pleasure for us to partner with all these great organizations to provide continued testing for our community", said Kelvin L. Lumpkin, Senior Pastor.

CenterPlace Health has been testing for COVID-19 regularly at its three sites in Sarasota County since mid-March. "This partnership helps us expand our capacity and reach more people, where they are. In addition to testing, CenterPlace Health is also able to offer treatment and follow-up care" said Melissa Parker, CenterPlace Health CEO. "These types of partnerships are critical for expanding testing capacity in Sarasota County."

This community based COVID-19 testing is for anyone who is currently experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell) or who works in a health care setting.

To make an appointment, please call 941-861-2883. Callers will be screened using current CDC testing criteria. Appointments are limited however the department is evaluating community COVID-19 testing opportunities in the future. 

For more information from the Florida Department of Health.

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

Nutrition is a core protective factor to promoting brain health and fighting brain illness. Throughout our BRAIN HEALTH BOOST series, the Brain Health Initiative will provide information to support your brain health through nutrition. Today is nutrition part four and the focus is on the role of food in boosting immunity and fighting brain illness.

We all want to feel as good as we can during these times of uncertainty. So, you might be surprised to learn that certain nutrients in foods have been shown to enhance brain health and fight brain illness by spurring the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. We are feeling a lot of stress right now, and the unfortunate reality is that stress worsens feelings of low mood or angst, and it also suppresses our immune systems.

The Brain Health Initiative’s nutritional scientific and clinical expert, Uma Naidoo, MD, director of MGH Nutritional and Lifestyle Psychiatry, recommends targeting immune-boosting foods that will have the dual effect of helping us feel less anxious and boosts our immunity. She suggests incorporating these foods into our diet as a way to include healthier options during this unusual time of stress and uncertainty.

We all have to eat, so attending to our nutrition is something we can all control, and then reap the benefits of an increase in brain health with an improved mood.


Dr. Naidoo says you can reduce anxiety and boost immunity by choosing:
Citrus fruit and red bell peppers (both rich in vitamin C, which in some studies has been shown to support your immune system).

Spices: ginger, garlic, turmeric, and capsaicin (from chili peppers) can be easily added to soup, stew, stir-fry, or salad dressing.

Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, clams, mussels, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks. You may recognize zinc as an ingredient is the cold remedy Zicam®, as zinc has some virus-fighting effects.

Magnesium-rich foods may help you to feel calmer and help support immunity. Stress can deplete our magnesium levels, too. Examples are legumes, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains.

Fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids. A 2011 study on medical students was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety.

Eat probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir.

Add some antioxidants to your anti-anxiety diet, which can support your immune system.

The bottom line: Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and the increased anxiety (and boredom) can cause us to abandon our healthy eating intentions and snack on whatever is around. But with a little thought and planning, we can continue to make good food choices and maybe even boost our mood and immunity. 

Join them for a COVID-19 Webinar on Strategies to Successfully Manage Stress

[Chamber]  Florida Chamber Restart and Recovery Task Force to Provide Framework

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is uniting business for good by connecting 150+ local chambers of commerce as they lead community efforts to restart and recover Florida’s economy. Through the Chamber Restart and Recovery Task Force, local chambers of commerce are collaborating with cities, counties, mayors, economic developers and job creators around a common framework that customizes the safest and smartest regional reopening of Florida’s economy.

“Restarting the 17th largest economy in the world requires uniting the business community like never before. We believe that local chambers and their partners can work together with Florida and America to reopen at the soonest, yet safest, possible time for their region,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Just as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Chamber are connected through a task force focused on linking the White House’s Opening Up America Again plan to the state’s, the Florida Chamber is connecting Governor Ron DeSantis’ Re-Open Florida plan to local chambers and other economic development leaders across Florida. Bringing the best thought leaders together to solve problems is not just an idea – it’s the best idea – and the root of the Florida Chamber’s existence.

Balancing the right health and safety outcomes with the right “re-start” is vital, and local leaders are uniquely positioned to unite businesses and community leaders around common objectives.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all plan, sharing best practices, being inclusive and not duplicating efforts is essential -- and that’s the cornerstone of the Chamber Restart and Recover Task Force,” said Tammy Bracewell, President, Florida Association of Chamber Professionals.

The Chamber Restart and Recover Task Force aligns local, state and national guidelines for reopening Florida in a strategic way that ensures the safety of all Floridians. 

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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