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SRQ DAILY May 23, 2020

"Based on prior economic downturns, which were not attributed to the housing industry as in 2008, real estate becomes the spur that helps the overall economic recovery. "

- Michael Moulton, real estate agent

[Under The Hood]  The Perils Of Pummeling The Press
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Like it or not, in times of disaster mass communication outlets and government hold a reciprocal relationship when it comes to informing the public. Even in an age where the barriers between officials and the public feels thinner than ever, it’s important individuals know the trusted places to turn to for news.

That makes it all the more troubling when fights between elected leaders and members of the press become stories unto themselves. We can blame the divisive rhetoric of politicians in the hyper-partisan age, or handful of members of the national press who treat press briefings as their own performance stages. But during a time when citizens must process and weigh data to govern their own personal actions, pettiness must not fog the channels and obscure the transfer of information.

But the past few weeks have seen tension seep into coverage of the pandemic in Florida. A national and undoubtedly out-sized outrage ensued over the fact state government never closed down Florida’s beaches statewide. Fortunately, all of Florida’s beaches are located outside, and they didn’t turn into the breeding ground for COVID-19 many feared. Notably, nearly all of Florida’s coastal counties did close down or impose significant restrictions on beach use at some point over the last few months, but as most of those restrictions lift, each move prompts new howls on social media.

But please remember, social media isn’t mass media. And national cable outlets aren’t government press in the state. Also, it’s the job of journalists to report upon and scrutinize the decisions of government, and I believe we have done so appropriately at the state and local level. I’ve pushed county commissioners and state leaders both on whether restrictions went too far they hurt business and on whether lifting regulations put public health at risk. This isn’t an exercise in narrative building, as keyboard critics frequently assert. It’s called holding the government accountable.

So it’s distressing when the back thirds of press conferences turn into a chance for elected officials to simply bash media (who needs professional wrestling on TV). It’s fair to hold media accountable for fairness. But I grow impatient as officials accuse reporters of intentionally spreading misinformation for merely reporting on model projections (which rarely get things exactly right) or when they accuse us of driving an agenda by quoting individuals suffering while awaiting unemployment checks.

The journalists I know, especially those who cover government, feel drawn to this field for similar reasons as public servants. That responsibility makes journalists cautious about such matters as transparency and accuracy of data. I won’t suggest the desire for a gotcha headline doesn’t bring a strong pull. But by and large, the weight of covering this all-consuming story hasn’t been lost on journalists, and it overwhelms the fleeting desire for a tantalizing scoop. 

I’ve stressed before the respect I hold for elected officials tasked to lead society through the treacherous landscape ahead. It’s apparent now hopes society could be locked down long enough to effectively freeze this coronavirus out have not and will not work. That leaves as the only option finding a course forward for living with the pandemic until modern medicine and mother nature ease the pressure of the epidemic.

Hard decisions will be made, and every single one of them must be studied and challenged. And as we put the microscope on the consequences of government action, we also provide a platform to measure progress. Just as a weatherman reports of a hurricane’s forecast path, its actual one and a storm’s aftermath, reporters too must cover every step of this journey through a modern plague.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

[Real Estate]  Today “Home” is More Important Than Ever.
Michael Moulton

In light of the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a “shelter-at-home” policy, we have all had ample time to think about what is important to us in our residences, the outdoor spaces around us and the communities we live in.

For my wife Katie and I, we are so very grateful to have chosen to live in a condominium filled with light, spacious and with beautiful views of our many Sarasota assets including Sarasota Bay and The Gulf, and large terraces to watch sunrises and sunsets.

Even in this quiet environment, downtown Sarasota offers its condominium and single-family home residents easy access to great walking routes some with spectacular outdoor art installations or gorgeous views and charming neighborhoods, amazing restaurants that have been preparing fabulous take-out dining, excellent and safe options for groceries when we need them – and wonderful people.

In reaching out to my current and past clients, close friends, or chatting (at a distance) with my golf mates I have heard a common refrain – how comfortable they are in their “shelter” environment – or not. This situation has prompted several to question if they have too much space, too little property, they wish they were in a better climate if their primary residence is elsewhere, or were closer to family.

While the Sarasota Real Estate Market continued to show a healthy pace of sales and price growth in March, the number of contracts signed for future closings and number of new listings fell considerably. Yet, even though those statistics were down about 30% from March 2019, the activity was still pretty solid and more like a typical September level of business than our normal high-pace spring activity.

Yes, when the data from April comes out, it also will be expected to show considerable declines from previous years. But I do believe that the demand for Sarasota Real Estate will be even greater as the market recovers. Though consumers at all levels have slashed spending on non-essential goods, when it comes to real estate investment, especially at the higher price points, activity is expected to recover rather quickly.

And again, based on my conversations with past and current clients and general conversation with real estate savvy acquaintances, they are already viewing properties online, thinking about how to prepare their current residence for sale and reviewing all options for moving their primary residence to our beautiful community.

A month ago, it seemed impossible for most of us to imagine how much we could accomplish working from home. Now with remote working tested and many finding how much both online meetings and tech tools can assist us, and in some cases brought us even closer together, I expect those who were previously on the fence about relocating their business to our region will consider the option more seriously.

As always, I have reviewed the many resources available to us for both data and expert forecasts. My analysis of the indications and projections is that we have another 30-60 days of softer sales activity, lower available inventory and fewer properties going under contract, and a continuing moderate increase in prices.

Based on prior economic downturns, which were not attributed to the housing industry as in 2008, real estate becomes the spur that helps the overall economic recovery. As an optimist, I believe that the recovery curve will ease upward in 60-90 days and within months our Sarasota Real Estate Market activity will be on the move towards pre-crisis levels.

Consumer confidence in real estate has not waned during this crisis, and we have been reminded how very important our homes are to our safety, health and well-being… now more than ever.

To all those who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus, I send my sincerest wishes for your comfort. To our front-line workers supporting both the health and safety of our communities and residents, and the amazing service professionals coming to work every day to provide us with necessary supplies, and the immense caring and generosity of so many Americans, thank you!

Michael Moulton is a certified residential specialist broker-associate with Michael Saunders and Company. 

Read more at Mounton's blog

[Technology Recognition]  ROBRADY'S GMX7 X1-PRO Makes a Splash with 2020 Red Dot Award Win

Competing against 6,500 submissions from over 70 countries, ROBRADY design is honored to receive a distinguished 2020 Red Dot Award in Product Design for the GMX7 X1-PRO. The X1-PRO is a compact, aquatic resistance training system that has caught the attention of Olympic athletes and now, one of the highest accolades by international experts in the field of design. Winning a Red Dot Award is a tremendous achievement and honor for ROBRADY and GMX7. The studio is proud to brand the X1-PRO as a Red Dot Design Award winner and have it on display alongside other winning products at the Red Dot Award museum in Essen, Germany.

About Red Dot Award For over 60 years, the Red Dot Award has become one of the most soughtafter seals of quality for good design. Red Dot has become one of the largest design competitions in the world. Submissions for 2020 reached a total of over 6,500 entries from 70 countries. Winning a Red Dot is a very special honor for the laureates, as the award is only given to works with a high design quality.

About GMX7 Founded in 2018, GMX7 exists to change the world of swimming by empowering swimmers with the best aquatic resistance training device ever created. GMX7 founder, David McCagg, is a 7-time Gold Medalist, former World Record holder and winner of multiple National Championships. After retiring from a successful career in Real Estate Development, David decided to reenter the world of swimming. Thinking back to his time training under elite Olympic coaches, he knew his success and the success of others boiled down to one thing: how they trained in the water. Revitalized by this, his passion for the sport was more 

Click to learn more about the GMX7 X1-PRO.

[Conservation]  Conservation Foundation Announces New $100,000 Pledge in the Race to Save Orange Hammock Ranch

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast announces a new $100,000 challenge pledge from an anonymous donor toward the permanent protection of Orange Hammock Ranch. The Foundation now needs only $100,000 by June 1st to complete their $1.5 million commitment to conserve the 5,777-acre ranch forever. Conservation Foundation had $200,000 left to raise towards a $300,000 challenge from a group of donors.

“Now this pledge of $100,000 is a new challenge halving the amount needed to save Orange Hammock Ranch. This is an historic moment and the community is responding,” notes Christine Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation. “Saving Orange Hammock Ranch means protecting our drinking water quality and supply. It means rare and endangered habitat, plants, and animals, have hope. During this pandemic, we’ve seen people flocking to our public open spaces underlining the human value of places to enjoy nature. Orange Hammock Ranch will be open to the public, all 5,777 acres!”

When the $1.5 million is raised, it will bring $19.5 million in Florida Forever dollars to this region, and free up $9 million for other land conservation projects that Sarasota County had reserved for Orange Hammock Ranch. This means the community’s contribution will be leveraged 19 times for land conservation.
In February, the Florida State Cabinet voted to purchase Orange Hammock Ranch contingent upon Conservation Foundation’s pledge to raise $1.5 million. Florida Forever funds will contribute $19.5 million toward the $21 million purchase.

The ranch is located north of Interstate 75 within the City of North Port. It connects RV Griffin Preserve with the Longino Preserve through about six miles of shared boundaries, and increases the 120,000-acre buffer surrounding the Myakka River and strengthens the connection between the Myakka and Peace Rivers. Immense volumes of rainfall collect on the property and feed the Snover Waterway and RV Griffin reservoirs, both of which are critical sources of North Port’s clean drinking water.

The property is also nearly pristine, with natural areas in better condition than many public lands. Over 200 wetlands are intermixed with pine flatwood, globally-imperiled dry prairie and other native habitat. Given this location and exceptional natural condition, the conservation of Orange Hammock Ranch will have sweeping benefits for regional connectivity, water quality, public recreation, and wildlife habitat. This vast land is home to quail, indigo snake and the Florida black bear. Importantly, the property is connected with 120,000 acres of protected land, making it viable habitat for Florida panther, which are now breeding in nearby Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area. 

Click for more info.

[Youth Programs]  Sarasota County Extension Launches Free Outdoor Exploration Program for Youth at Home

Registration is now open for Sarasota County Extension's new, online summer program aimed at getting students outside to investigate nature that exists just beyond their front door. Free and open to the public, the "4-H Outdoor InvestiGATOR" webinar program shows children ages 8-11 how to search for and better understand the importance of insects, animals, and the variety of living things all around them.

"We hope to give children something to look forward to and an outlet to channel their creativity throughout the week," said Abbey Tyrna, water resources agent with UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County and creator of the program. "I know that my own kids do best when they are given assignments that allow them to experiment and showcase their creative side."

The InvestiGATOR program launches June 2 with a three-workshop webinar series focusing on living things found on dry land. Offered Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m., each hour-long workshop features a subject expert teaching students about the natural world around them, includes ideas for extending investigations beyond the webinar, and ends with tips on staying well during a pandemic. Students will be encouraged to share their skills and interests with videos, photos or other artwork after each meeting.

A second, three-workshop session focusing on living things found in water environments follows, starting June 23, also offered at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays.

Registration is open to 4-H and non-4-H youth alike, but seats are limited. Children who participate in all three workshops in a session earn the honor of "4-H InvestiGATOR," and will receive a badge, magnifying glassand the chance to win the 4-H InvestiGATOR T-shirt. Learn more and register at: InvestiGATOR session one (June 2, 9, and 16): tinyurl.com/OutdoorInvestiGATOR1; and InvestiGATOR session two (June 23 and 30, July 7): tinyurl.com/OutdoorInvestiGATOR2.
UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County, a partnership between the University of Florida and Sarasota County, translates academic research into community initiatives, classes, and volunteer opportunities in a variety of fields, including youth development.

Click for more info.

[Online Classes]  Asolo Repertory Theatre Introduces Young Artists: Online Classes

 Asolo Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce the launch of Young Artists: Online Classes "Create with Courage", a new educational program designed for students ages 8-18. Organized into three sessions, beginning June 1, June 16, and July 6, the classes explore performance, theatre making and storytelling and utilize digital platforms such as Zoom, Google Classroom, Flipgrid. The classes are offered through Asolo Rep’s Education & Engagement Department, inviting participants to connect and create virtually and then to take the artistic adventures offstage and offline. Registration is open now; class sizes are limited.  

Session 1 includes two classes exploring the possibilities of performance, taught by Tina Stafford and Helen Joo Lee from Asolo Rep’s 2019-20 company: Acting Meets Improv and Awakening Shakespeare.   Session 2 includes two classes exploring different ways of creating theatre, taught by professional teaching artists and members of the Asolo Rep Education & Engagement Team, Tiana Turner (Education & Engagement Specialist) and Sara Brunow (Muriel O’Neil Education & Engagement Director): Design Learning Lab, Digital Devising. Session 3 runs July 6-24, and will include classes that dive into storytelling as well as technique-based training. Details to be announced May 29. 

Click here for more info.

[Re-Openings]  Motorworks Brewery Grand Opening

Motorworks Brewery is pleased to announce that they finally reopened their doors yesterday. After numerous renovations and additions to every facet of our operation (which includes extending/ leveling our deck in the Beer Garden, installing a new water filtration system in the brew house and giving the entire taproom a facelift), they are excited to finally be able have visitors there and to share a beer with them. Thanks to the Florida Brewers Guild and the Chamber of Commerce for pushing to make this happen. In accordance with all government mandated rules and CDC guidelines we have implemented the following:

-Indoor service will be at 50%

-Tables will be 6 feet apart

-No single table will have more than 10 people

-No congregation at the bar or outside

-Hand sanitation stations are available around the brewery; hand sanitizer bottles also will be available for purchase.

-Continuous sanitation of all surfaces both inside and out

Adoptable Lager Returns

New Adoptable Lager 6-packs are now available in the taproom. Candy, the German Shepherd/ Mastiff mix at Manatee County Animal Services who is still in need of a home, was chosen to be the face of the new series of Adoptable Lager cans. Candy was featured on the initial Adoptable Lager six-pack, which debuted in January depicting four different adoptable dogs on the labels, but unfortunately was the only one that was not adopted.

Motorworks believes in no dog getting left behind therefore they are dedicated to continue to raise funds and awareness for dogs looking for adoption and for Shelter Manatee.

The Adoptable Lager 6-packs will periodically rotate new dogs in need of a home to be featured on the cans and will soon be going into distribution. Stop by and stock up on the 6-packs in the taproom or at your favorite local bars, liquor stores and grocery stores.

Six-packs are now available for pickup in the taproom—preorders now accepted online. Online ordering for pickup/to go beer are still available. Please visit our website for preorders


Preorder Adoptable Lager.

[Giving Back]  Child Protection Center's New Rock Garden

Child Protection Center has decided to plant a rock garden. Anyone and everyone is welcome to share in their garden and watch it bloom. It will be located in front of our Sarasota office off of South Orange Avenue, spreading sunshine and support to the children who come through our doors. 

[Virtual Summer Camps]  Sarasota County School's Academic Summer Programs Update

In light of Governor Ron DeSantis’ announcement earlier today – effective immediately, restrictions on all youth activities (including summer camps and organized sports) have been lifted – we wanted to clarify what this change at the state-level will mean for Sarasota County Schools’ summer plans.

As many are aware, Sarasota County Schools only runs academic programming during the summer; the school district does not run or sponsor camps during the summer. However, many community organizations and groups often rent our school and district facilities during this time to host their own camps and programs. Today’s announcement from Governor Ron DeSantis does not change Sarasota County Schools’ academic programming this summer. We will still be offering Summer 2020 Boost and Summer 2020 Boost ESY virtually to all eligible students. Program eligibility details can be found in our May 14 update, located in the “District News” section on www.sarasotacountyschools.net.

In the near future, the Florida Department of Health is expected to release guidelines and best practices for organizations like school districts, summer camp providers, and other groups that structure programs & events for children and youth during the summer. Sarasota County Schools will be reviewing these forthcoming guidelines and working with our local Department of Health to assess how to safely introduce community organizations and groups onto our campuses over the summer. The school district will also be working through plans that address athletic team practices and tryouts for school sports over the summer. We will share any updates or changes to our plans as soon as more information becomes available to us. 

[Re-Openings]  Florida Railroad Museum Reopening

Train Rides are coming back at the Florida Railroad Museum. It has been a long two and half months since the museum closed its doors. The museum met with Manatee County and developed a plan for the railroad to once again begin offering train rides. Precautions will take place based on state, county and CDC guidelines, with extra cleaning between and during each trip, limited capacity and social distancing. Museum volunteers are all super excited to welcome guests back. Train rides will resume on Saturday June 6th and operate every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm. As with every summer, the museum will still be offering its Kids Ride Free all Summer special, with up to 3 free kids (under 12 years old) per adult ticket (adults are 12 years old and older). Beat the summertime/COVID-19 blues and come out and enjoy a SAFE and relaxing train ride. The train will feature two enclosed AC coaches and two open air coaches to best meet your needs. Guests are free to move about the train. Did you want to see Thomas the Tank Engine back in March? Well, the museum’s Model Railroad display car will also be open on weekends featuring Thomas and Friends.
In addition to general admission train rides, the museum will also be offering the following: Locomotive rental, drive a railroad diesel locomotive, caboose charters, have your own private car for your own private party, locomotive cab rides and ride shotgun with the engineer. 

Click for more details.

[Safety]  Sarasota Citywide Public Health Emergency Extended Through May 29

The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through May 29 following a weekly review, as required by the City Charter, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency order issued Friday by City Manager Tom Barwin, in consultation with Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch and City Attorney Robert Fournier, allows the following City advisory boards to resume meeting on these dates:

— Police Officers Pension Plan Board of Trustees: May 22
— Firefighters Pension Plan Board of Trustees: May 27
— Employee Retirement Accounts Committee: June 4
— Downtown Improvement District: June 2
— St. Armands Business Improvement District: June 10
— Board of Adjustment: June 24

Meeting times, locations and agendas will be posted to the City’s website as they become available. Additional details can be found in the emergency order. The Planning Board will hold a workshop on June 10 to hear a presentation about the “Sarasota in Motion” citywide transportation master plan. The status of future Planning Board meetings will be addressed in a subsequent emergency order by the City.

The Development Review Committee (DRC) will meet June 17 and June 24. The status of subsequent DRC meetings will be addressed in a future emergency order.

The City will resume accepting development applications in June on a limited basis, only for re-submittals of applications that have previously been reviewed by the DRC but did not receive sign off from the committee, as listedhere. The filing of new applications is expected to resume in July and will be addressed in a future emergency order.

Bobby Jones Golf Club will be reopened to the public for walking, running, bicycling, photography and wildlife observation daily from 6 am to 6 pm beginning Saturday, May 23. Golfing, fishing and other activities are prohibited, and visitors must adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by remaining six feet apart and limiting groups to no more than 10.

Friday’s emergency order also strongly urges the public to wear protective masks when leaving home, including in common areas of condominium and apartment buildings, and to acquire protective masks if they have not already. 

[Brain Health Initiative]  Reopening Requires the Use of EPE — Emotional Protective Equipment

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, the phrase personal protective equipment, or PPE, has become part of our everyday vocabulary. How to get it, when to use it, how to use it, who should use it —we are becoming experts in PPE.

But now, as the Suncoast and the rest of the country start to re-open, it’s time to learn about EPE – emotional protective equipment, a brain health essential. In a recent post in The Conversation, health and medical educators at Michigan State University discussed the increase in stress, anxiety, depression, substance use, and post-traumatic stress disorder that can follow an event like the COVID-19 pandemic. The article included what we can do to help ourselves and how organizations can help others.

Businesses and organizations can help employees and clients heal and feel physically and emotionally safe by being transparent about the precautions being taken in the workplace. BHI encourages organizations to listen to the people who work for them and ask what they need. Be trustworthy, transparent and do what you can, and do what you say you’re going to do.

We are a long way from getting back to normal. In fact, we don’t even know what normal is going to look like in the future. But we can fortify our brain health, fight brain illness and collective resilience by developing our emotional protective equipment (EPE).


Acknowledge that you may be experiencing a stressful situation. Practicing a brain healthy lifestyle can help strengthen your body and brain to manage and be resilient to these very real stressors (e.g., exercising, eating right, regulating sleep, practicing kindness and being grateful, thinking positive thoughts and increasing positive emotions, embracing others even from afar and maintaining your routine).

Be kind to yourself. You have survived stressful situations in the past and you will survive this one, too. Try focusing on positive thoughts. What would you tell a friend going through this situation? Now tell yourself those same things to help reduce your anxiety.

Practice mindfulness. Put distance between you and your negative thoughts. If you feel anxious, acknowledge the feeling, then let it go. Staying focused on the present can help you feel a greater sense of control over your anxiety.

Know when to step back from the information avalanche. You may think being informed can help calm your fears, but in many cases, it has the opposite effect and actually adds to your anxiety. Try to find a balance of getting the information you need but protecting your brain health by knowing when to turn off the news. 

[Relief]  The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Awards COVID-19 Emergency Grant to Support Local Parkinson’s Community

Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s received a generous grant of $7,274 from The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation to provide personalized tele-Care Advising and over 40 ongoing virtual education, therapeutic and support programs for the Parkinson’s community each month.

The grant from The William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation will provide Neuro Challenge with 6 laptop computers and online technology platforms to continue uninterrupted delivery of essential services to the local Parkinson’s community and provide greater access to personal Care Advising, support groups, ongoing education and therapeutic programs.

There are approximately 3,000 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in Sarasota County and many are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Parkinson’s exacerbates isolation and it is crucial that the Parkinson’s community stay connected and have access to the latest information and ongoing emotional support during this COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we work together during the COVID-19 crisis, the initiatives and growth of Neuro Challenge are possible due to the generous support from the community. This investment by The Selby Foundation will provide essential services to the Parkinson’s community today,” said Robyn Faucy-Washington, CEO of Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson's.

As the increased demand for Care Advising grew substantially as a result of the COVID-19 impact, Carol Butera, President and CEO of The Selby Foundation states, “It is exciting to hear how the reach of Neuro Challenge is expanding. Congratulations for getting your services to those in need, even during these difficult times.” 

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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