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SRQ DAILY May 18, 2020

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"We have 19 projects right now that we're working and we're getting called weekly from interested parties looking to this area to locate."

- Sharon Hillstrom, President and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation.

[Recovery]  Economic Leaders Say Interest in Region Hasn't Waned

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered economic consequences to the area, but it doesn’t mean business has stopped. In fact, economic development professionals say many companies want more than ever to move operations to the Sarasota-Bradenton area.

“We have 19 projects right now that we're working, and we're getting called weekly from interested parties looking to this area to locate,” said Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation. “I'm shocked.” But it’s a sign years of selling the area as a business destination have paid off.

Dave Bullock, interim president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, was similarly surprised to see companies looking to relocate haven’t necessarily put plans on pause.

“Whether people during this time have a opportunity to think about where and how they want to run their business when things start up and they're thinking of a move, I'm not sure what's motivating it, but we're getting those interesting calls as well.”

The two were part of an online symposium on economic issues held by SRQ MEDIA. In the event, business leaders said restaurants, retailers and other sectors need help, but economic strengths for the region have not all disappeared. In many ways, the pandemic has offered companies a chance to strengthen those.

“A lot of businesses are seeing what they can run with. Was there some fat on their business that they're going to find out they can run pretty effectively with fewer people?,” said Heather Kasten, president of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

“Florida's economy was the 17th largest economy in the world prior to the pandemic,” said Jacki Dezelski, The fundamentals of our economy were humming along on a continued upward trajectory up until this crisis. I'm assuming that those fundamentals aren't completely broken.”

Governments have offered financial assistance, such as loan and grant programs developed by county governments hand in hand with the chambers and EDCs. Those serve as stop gaps, but market awareness for the region could be what helps long-term, leaders said.

Read more excerpts from the symposium in the June issue of SRQ Magazine. 

[Architecture]  Sarasota Architectural Foundation Planning for 2020 Sarasota MOD

On November 6-8, 2020 SAF will present its midcentury modernist festival, SarasotaMOD Weekend, honoring the art and architecture of Carl Abbott, FAIA.  Social distancing concerns need to be a factor in the planning, so the SAF board is hard at work brainstorming ways that would allow the organization to go ahead with the Weekend - even if that means this year's MOD will have a slightly different look from prior years. Keep an eye on the SAF website, save the date and stay tuned.

In other SAF news from this spring, the Walker Guest House Replica completed yet another chapter in its life.  After its successful exhibition on the grounds of the Ringling Museum, the WGHR was relocated to Palm Springs, CA, and went on display for more than a year where it delighted architectural aficionados from Los Angeles, Southern California and beyond.  In 2019, WGHR was a star attraction during Modernism Week, the granddaddy-of-them-all midcentury modern festival - and the inspiration for SAF’s own SarasotaMOD weekend. WGHR was recently sold for $50,000 to a new private owner through Heritage Auctions.  The proceeds will be shared between SAF and PS ModCom, the organization which stewarded the WGHR during its Palm Springs stay.  The monies SAF receives will help support a new program we are creating to interview both architects and homeowners connected with Sarasota School of Architecture movement structures.  SAF wants to capture these stories and create an archive that will be accessible by generations to come.

The Tours of Cocoon and Umbrella House have been suspended given the current state, federal and CDC guidelines until it is safe for people to gather in larger clusters. News on when these tours can be rescheduled will be updated on the SAF website. 

Click for more info on SAF.

[Staff Announcement]  All Star Children’s Foundation Welcomes New Clinical Team Members While Adapting to COVID-19 Challenges

All-Star Children’s Foundation has welcomed three new professionals with expertise in childhood trauma to its clinical team. Lisa Anaya, LMHC, has joined as the organization’s fourth full-time clinician. Child welfare and behavioral health manager Jolee Grobleski has joined to serve as clinical support coordinator and develop the targeted case management program. In addition, All Star has partnered with Dr. Sean Paul, an area-based psychiatrist whose expertise is in working with at-risk, vulnerable populations. All Star clinicians are trained in several evidenced-based treatment protocols, including PCIT, CPP, TF-CBT and ARC.

While the All Star team prepares its campus to serve as home to dozens of foster children and their caregivers, they’ve been treating hundreds of children and families via its outpatient services since last April. In the past year, its clinical team, headed up by Kimberly Treharne, LMHC, has served more than 400 foster children and their caregivers. Treharne explains that the organization adapted quickly to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’ve had to restructure how we continue offering these vital services. This population is extremely susceptible to the stressors this pandemic brings. It’s All Star's goal to continuously work on family engagement to support the growth these families have realized even while temporary circumstances are working against them,” says Treharne. She adds that All Star clinicians are reaching out to children and their caregivers utilizing HIPAA-compliant videoconference and phone. “In this way, our clinicians remain a vital figure in the lives of the children we treat, creating a psychologically safe place for the child and family. By continuing to provide trauma-informed guidance, caregivers can continue to offer supportive care and work towards Care Plan goals,” she says.

What’s next?

According to Graci McGillicuddy, All Star Children’s Foundation’s board chair, work on All Star’s new “Campus of Hope and Healing” is nearly complete. “After years of preparing, we’re overjoyed to be able to soon welcome children into a nurturing, healing environment,” says McGillicuddy. “Each child will be welcomed to our campus with love and support and will have the best opportunities to thrive through our clinical programs, supportive community of care, and through the enrichment programs that will be available to them.” 

Click for more info.

[Workforce]  Continuing a Decade of Partnership and Workforce Development

CareerEdge, the workforce development initiative of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, is continuing on-the-job training and displaced worker assistance programs thanks to a $25,000 Economic Mobility grant from Bank of America. As a founding investor and member of the CareerEdge Funders Council, this funding grant extends a decade-long partnership with Bank of America and will greatly assist CareerEdge’s continued workforce re-employment efforts.

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a disproportionate effect on those who are most vulnerable in our community,” said Mike McCoy, Sarasota-Manatee market president for Bank of America. “Our partnership with CareerEdge will help bolster workforce and training opportunities for many local individuals whose jobs have been impacted.”

Founded during the Great Recession, CareerEdge’s programs and strategies were born in response to economic and workforce challenges. Through partnerships with employers, educators, and funders, CareerEdge has spent the last decade turning challenges into workforce opportunities for our community. The impact to our local community over the last decade includes: - 5,977 workers trained - 8,088 certificates earned - 1,546 new jobs created - $30.4 million cumulative annual earnings gains - $12.2 Million invested in regional workforce development CareerEdge is ready to apply its proven model to address the new economic and workforce challenges, and with the continued renewal of support, will rise to meet our community’s needs.

As a nonprofit, CareerEdge could not conduct its innovative work without the generous support of its donors; many thanks to all of its funders. 

[Staff Announcement]  Stratum Announces Promotion of Wendy Kraszewski to Executive Director of Connexis Medical Services

Stratum Health System is pleased to announce the promotion of healthcare executive Wendy L. Kraszewski, LCSW, to Executive Director of Connexis Medical Services, a Stratum affiliate company that provides in-home medical visits, physician services and palliative care.

Kraszewski joined Connexis Medical Services in August 2019 as Vice President of Palliative Care Services. She will continue in that role in addition to becoming the Connexis Executive Director. As Executive Director, Kraszewski will lead all aspects of Connexis, including hospital-based palliative care, mobile physicians/primary care, long-term care medical directors and outpatient/community palliative care along with the Connexis partnership with The Paradise Center wellness clinic in Longboat Key.

“Stratum Health System is thrilled to advance Wendy into this leadership role,” Stratum President & CEO Jonathan Fleece said. “Her visionary and acclaimed management skills are exactly what Connexis needs during these transitional and challenging times in health care. I’m excited for Connexis’ future success in service to its mission.”

Kraszewski came to Stratum/Connexis with 19 years of leadership experience in the hospice and palliative care fields. She spent 12 years at VITAS Healthcare Corp., including six years as National General Manager, providing operational leadership and oversight for all VITAS palliative care practices across the company.

Kraszewski began her career as a field supervisor and psychosocial counselor at Hospice Care of SE Florida and held the same position at Broward General Medical Center, both in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Florida Atlantic University and a Master of Social Work degree from Barry University. 

For more info.

[Theater]  Florida Studio Theatre Announces Winners of the Youth Playwriting Competition

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce the winning plays of this year’s annual youth playwriting competition. Now in its 29th year, FST’s award-winning WRITE A PLAY (WAP) program is a year-round arts-in-education initiative, providing students with the example, the inspiration, and the skills to write their own original plays. Over the course of the 2019-2020 season, FST received submissions written by over 7,600 young playwrights between the ages of 5-18—the most playwrights who have submitted plays to the program in over twelve years.

On March 16, FST announced that it was cancelling its educational programming due to the COVID-19 health crisis, including FST’s annual Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) Day (which has been postponed to Spring 2021). An annual celebration of children’s imagination and creativity, YPF Day features performances of the year’s winning plays and an awards ceremony. Winners from this year’s youth playwriting competition will be honored at the next YPF Day, and will have the chance to see their work presented in front of their family and teachers.

“This year, we received plays that ran the entire creative gamut,” said Adam Ratner, FST’s Young Playwrights Festival Coordinator and Lead Teaching Artist. “Plays ranging from swashbuckling adventure stories about pencils battling erasers to charming tales of unicorns giving dancing lessons. Although we are saddened that we weren’t able to celebrate the creativity of these young writers, we are looking forward to next year’s YPF Day. Not only will it be the 30th anniversary of the WRITE A PLAY program, but we will be honoring twice as many playwrights!” This year’s winning plays by students in Kindergarten through 6th grade include The Amazon Box Talks by Addison Crutchfield (4th Grade); The Avocado Invasion by Students in Ms. Hickey’s 5th Grade Class; The Brave Princess and the Naughty Prince by Kimberlee Carswell, Emma Nell Abreu, and Violet Pastor (1st Grade); Cash Only! by Cali Fuller (2nd Grade); Farm Trouble by Mallory Anderson (3rd Grade); The Grandma That Eats Everything by Daniel C. Contreras (3rd Grade); How This Wish Came True by Piper Fancher (3rd Grade); Lost in the Crowd by Pranaam Lobo (4th Grade); Saving Planet X by Students of Ms. Guiterrez’s 4th Grade Class; A Second Chance by Journey Prince (3rd Grade); and The Tooth Fairy & The Little Girl by Mia Guenero (1st Grade).

The winning plays written by students in 7th grade and up include The Ballad of Billy by Matrick Thorpe (7th Grade); Big Dreams Under the Big Top by Cora Thayer (8th Grade); Flying Solo with IBD by Spencer Emerson Opal-Levine (11th Grade); I Am Different by Kyle Ramon and Jillian Vega (8th Grade); I Know I Am Different by Alon Barkay (6th Grade—Israel); Isolation by Zahra Kerbalai (9th Grade—Scotland); The Last Slice by Nelson Vidro (8th Grade—Camden, NJ); An Old Home by Luna Maria Chacon (8th Grade—Camden, NJ); and Out and Proud by Cassandra Bradley (12th Grade). For more information about FST’s WRITE A PLAY (WAP) program, please contact FST’s Director of Children’s Theatre, Caroline Kaiser, at ckaiser@floridastudiotheatre.org. 

[Debate]  Manatee Tiger Bay Club Hosts Two Upcoming Virtual Debates

Manatee Tiger Bay Club presents two upcoming virtual debates. The Manatee County School Board Distribute 1 Debate featuring Incumbent Gina Messenger and Candidate Bridget Mendel will be hosted Friday, May 22, 2020 from 10am to 11am. The Florida House of Representatives District 73 Debate featuring Incumbent Representative Tommy Gregory and candidate David Fairey will take place on Friday, May 29, 2020 from 10am-11am. Members and non members are invited to register for one ($10 for one debate) or both ($15 for both debates).  

Click to register online.

[Re-Openings]  Siesta Creamery Reopens

Siesta Creamery on Siesta Key has reopened with 8am espresso, donuts and pastries. They have also added a new Ice Cream Happy Hours from 4-6:30pm with special, mad-on-premises ice cream continues to be served until 10pm. 

[Giving Back]  The Hermitage Artist Retreat Meets $100,000 Matching Pledge in Less Than One Month and Now Continues to Ride the Wave of Support

The Hermitage Artist Retreat received a $100,000 matching grant from the Manasota Key-based Cook family at the beginning of April. That challenge was met in less than one month. $30,000 of this was received through the 2020 Giving Challenge, including more than $18,000 from individuals and nearly $12,000 from The Patterson Foundation. Now, thanks to a generous additional wave of support, the Hermitage has received a $50,000 pledge from a group of supporters to extend this matching challenge above and beyond the Cooks’ original gift. As a result, all gifts to the Hermitage will continue to be matched through June 30.

“We are truly overwhelmed by the response from our community,” says Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg. “This generous matching challenge has been met by artists, audiences, volunteers, staff, trustees, and so many more. We are deeply grateful to the Cook family and to all who believe so deeply in the Hermitage. It is wonderful to have such champions in this time of great need, and it is inspiring to see the outpouring of support for artists and the creative process during this critical moment in our cultural history.”

In addition, dozens of celebrated artists have come together to share stories of their experience as Hermitage Fellows. Pulitzer Prize-winners, MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipients, Tony Award-winning playwrights, national arts education leaders, celebrated visual artists and musicians, acclaimed poets and novelists, and past Hermitage Greenfield Prize winners have shared video messages about how the Hermitage has changed their lives.  

Click to view artists' testimonials.

[Brain Health Initiative]  Attitude of Gratitude Makes a Difference Gratitude Amplifies Your Brain Health.

Gratitude encourages brain health and fights brain illness by amplifying the good in your life, including the good in your relationships, in your coping ability, your thinking skills and your overall health and wellbeing. Now that is something to be grateful for.

Gratitude is the feeling of appreciation, gratefulness, or graciousness. To be grateful is to be aware of and thankful for the good things that happen. It involves taking time to recognize and express thanks, acknowledging receipt of something of value – a gift, a favor, a blessing – to feel thankful for it and, then, to be inclined to give kindness in return.

Gratitude Boosts Brain Health and Fights Brain Illness

It may sound simplistic, even corny, but the research clearly demonstrates that you would be happier, experience greater outcomes in health, well-being, and flourishing if you cultivated an attitude of gratitude.

— Grateful thinking promotes the savoring of positive life experiences.
— Expressing gratitude bolsters self-worth and self-esteem.
— Gratitude helps people cope with stress and trauma.
— The expression of gratitude encourages moral behavior.
— Gratitude can help build social bonds.
— Expressing gratitude tends to inhibit invidious comparisons with others.
— The practice of gratitude is incompatible with negative emotions.

Practicing Gratitude

From the research data, experiencing and expressing gratitude are some of the best strategies (right up there with physical activity) to enhance your brain health and fight brain illness through supporting your emotional well-being, managing negative thoughts, engaging in meaning-filled positive relationships and eating brain healthy food.

It is important to note, however, that feeling grateful and expressing gratitude are distinct. To get maximum brain health reward, you will want to do both. You can remind yourself to feel grateful; you may have to learn and try out different ways of expressing it. The only impediment is the common tendency to take for granted the gifts and blessings that we receive.

First, what do you have to be grateful for? 

It is just so easy to take everything for granted. And having a thanksgiving feast once a year is not going to be enough to increase your brain health and happiness.

How about being alive for starters? That you can breathe deeply. That you have a mind for thinking and a body for doing. The sun freely gives you light, warmth, and the energy that makes your food. If you happen to watch the sunrise or the sunset, that might be a good occasion to feel grateful. Do you have a roof over your head? Food in the fridge? A smile to share?

Gratitude can both be cultivated.

Gratitude Meditation. Gratitude meditation encourages people to ask themselves, what did I receive? What did I give? And, what troubles and difficulties did I cause to others? This brings our expectations and actuality more into awareness, which allows for further learning to appreciate blessings.

Gratitude Journal. Gratitude journals can redirect an individual’s focus on negative or neutral life events to positive aspects of one’s life. Make a habit of writing down the things you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but if you regularly challenge yourself to identify and name your gratitude, you may begin to notice improvement in your emotional well-being.

Gratitude Visit. The expression of gratitude may be particularly effective when done directly-by phone, letter or face-to face to another person.  

Click to listen to songs of gratitude, appreciation and gracefulness.

[Musicals Event]  Asolo Rep Ground Floor Series Presents Making Musicals

Asolo Rep announced today that it will present GROUND FLOOR: MAKING MUSICALS, a four-part new musical competition designed specifically for an online audience. On May 21, June 4, June 18 and July 2 at 6pm, the Theatre will preview four completely new and original musicals on its Facebook and YouTube pages. Each 30-minute session will consist of a fifteen-minute preview performance of one new musical, followed by a fifteen-minute discussion with the playwright/composer and James Monaghan, Asolo Rep Dramaturg and Literary Manager, and Celine Rosenthal, Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director, who serves as the Director of the Ground Floor Series and is also directing all four musicals. After the four musicals have aired, the audience will be asked to vote for their favorite and the winner will receive a full staged reading at Asolo Rep.

To add to the fun, the Theatre is incorporating a Virtual Happy Hour into the presentation. One day prior to each performance, patrons will receive an email notice of the broadcast that includes a cocktail recipe specifically chosen to compliment the theme of that week’s new musical.

“MAKING MUSICALS is a wonderful complement to Asolo Rep’s strong focus as an incubator where great musicals are born,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “In the past fourteen seasons, Asolo Rep has produced seven musicals which have been new to the American stage. Presenting new musicals is a potential risk, but has strengthened our mission, generated new relationships in the artistic community, and established Asolo Rep as a company dedicated to fostering new work while re-envisioning classics.”

Patrons wishing to vote for their favorite musical will be required to register online through a link on Asolo Rep’s website: asolorep.org. Following the last performance, registered patrons will be emailed a ballot to be filled out and submitted to the theatre within 48 hours. To qualify to vote, patrons must be registered, they must have viewed all four performances and they will only be able to vote once.

The original Ground Floor Series consisted of five events scheduled to be performed in a new performance space in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts this spring before four of the performances were canceled due to the COVID-19 virus. Asolo Rep continued the series online and presented its inaugural episode on April 8 with musical performances of original songs by cast members from the world premiere musical, Knoxville. 

Click to access the events livestream.

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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