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SRQ DAILY Jun 13, 2020

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"One of the things I talk about is, if you're doing everything you can do to make a positive impact, that's a way to take back your power and not feel like you're powerless in the grips of the system."

- Bill Woodson, Ph.D., New College's dean of outreach and engagement and chief diversity and inclusion officer.
 

[Under The Hood]  Democrats Strategy For Winning In 2020? Start Playing.
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Florida Democrats this year are taking a bold new strategy for winning lei8gslative seats. They are running in them.

That’s a riskier proposition than it sounds at first, and among the political class who arguably know what they are talking about, there’s a certain amount of consternation or mockery (depending of partisan perspective) about the strategy to recruit candidates in every state House and Senate race on the ballot in 2020.

As it happens, the Sarasota-Manatee area gets a front row seat for this experiment. The region will see literally every legislative post up for grabs. And thanks to term limits, political ambition and simple timing, every race will be for an open seat or one held by a freshman.

With qualification passed, it appears the only election to be decided in the primary will be heavily Democratic District 70, a St. Petersburg-centered district that winds through every minority neighborhood in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

But in the open Senate District 21 race, teacher Amanda Linton will likely face former Rep. Jim Boyd. In the open House District 72 contest, held by Democrats now, first-time candidate Drake Buckman awaits the outcome of a three-person GOP primary.

Meanwhile, incumbent Republican Reps. Will Robinson, Tommy Gregory and James Buchanan face Democratic challenges respectively from Andres Mele, David Fairey and Lisa Stortstrom. Even state Sen. Joe Gruters, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a political ally of President Donald Trump, must fend off environmentalist Katherine Norman before he can win reelection.

Fergie Reid, co-founder of the national 90 For 90 group responsible for recruiting candidates in ruby red districts, feels this could be a watershed year for Florida Democrats. “This shows Democrats are on offense,” he said.

Gruters, though, scoffs. Democrats want to spread their limited financial resources over 140 legislative races? Go ahead.

When Reid a few weeks ago suggested running a candidate against Gruters was important for the same reason basketball teams playing the ‘90s-era Chicago Bulls had to put a man on Michael Jordan, I received complaints from co-workers who said Gruters was unbearable in the office. He walked on air with a bravado to make the basketball legend blush. That’s fine, Reid said. Let the GOP become overconfident.

So how will this play out? Honestly, a betting man looking at races in this region won’t color the map with any more blue than appears today. Republicans feel rightfully confident asfavorites in almost every race. And Gruters isn’t wrong to suggest the District 72 race could offer the Grand Old Party a chance for a pickup. Buckman lags in financing compared to either Republican Fiona McFarland or Donna Barcomb, and lacks the name recognition of outgoing Democrat Margaret Good.

But then, the local map offers the best chance Democrats will have at winning seats here for the next six to eight years. District 72 likely gets decided by whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden performs better In the region. Polls right now give Democrats hope Trump can sink the whole ticket, though months remain between now and November.

I’ve long felt the winning team is the one with the best roster top to bottom. Area Republicans know this, and benefit from having strong candidates running for every office when Democrats often forgo running at all. 

The Republican running for Hospital Board attracts voters likely to vote Republican all the way. Democrats would be wise to emulate GOP actions rather than tacking ill-motivated advice to fade into obscurity.

And consider, on a statewide level as of 5pm Friday, Republicans appeared to have ceded two Senate seats and 23 House seats to Democrats. Democrats failed to field a candidate in one House race. You can’t blame the blue team for hoping this is the first step to a majority.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

Image via Pixabay

[Politics]  Towards a More Inclusive New College
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

In a world rattled by a pandemic and protest, we have a choice: To stay silent and muddle on, or to join the conversation and change. At New College, we choose the latter. Because the measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable.

Recent events have lit up the deep injustices in our society. We mourn the black lives cut short, whether it be from police brutality directed towards brown and black persons or from unequal educational and health care access for blacks and other marginalized groups. 

We condemn systemic racism, and we will take action beginning here at home on campus. We are working together to create a more culturally and socially inclusive community. We stand with our black staff, students, faculty and alumni, while reflecting on the many ways that we have fallen short.

“It can be a crushing weight on people’s spirits, what is going on in the world,” says Bill Woodson, Ph.D., New College’s dean of outreach and engagement and chief diversity and inclusion officer. “One of the things I talk about is, if you’re doing everything you can do to make a positive impact, that’s a way to take back your power and not feel like you’re powerless in the grips of the system.”

Woodson spent years working in Minneapolis, Minnesota, hosting town halls and facilitating candid conversations between police and community leaders in response to fatal encounters with law enforcement. His 2018 doctoral thesis was entitled Underrepresented: The Experiences of Black People Who Pursued Careers in Minnesota Law Enforcement.

Now Woodson is helping change the culture at New College by working with Loretta Shields, our assistant vice president of human resources, to offer “Inclusive Campus Climate Training” seminars for the faculty and staff. The goal is to create an environment that is more welcoming of all genders, races and identities—and to make New College a place that successfully recruits and retains a more diverse group of students and employees.

“We can’t turn a blind eye and act as if racism and discrimination do not exist,” Shields said. “We want everyone to feel like they belong here.”

Miles Iton, a 2018 New College graduate and filmmaker who accepted a Fulbright scholarship to Taiwan, has widely shared his experience with on-campus racism. He created and directed a film called Sincerely, The Black Kids, which chronicled the challenges that young black leaders (himself included) face in academia countrywide.

“Racism is an ongoing concern for the black and brown bodies whose identities become career fodder for campus provocateurs,” says Iton, who was the first black co-president of the New College Student Alliance and co-founded the Black Student Union. His experiences with discrimination on campus have not gone unheard.

Students who graduated after Iton have worked to further enhance the cultural climate at New College. Cabrini Austin, an activist and 2020 graduate collaborated with sociology professor  Queen Zabriskie, Ph.D. to compile one of the most impressive Black History Month celebrations New College had ever seen.

Austin was a panelist and moderator for New College’s New Schools of Black Thought Symposium: Systemic Injustice and the Meaning of Citizenship in America’s Democracy, an all-day event that highlighted problems with the American justice system and how it disproportionally affects black people.

“I truly think we’re at a turning point in history right now,” says Austin, who is currently living with family in Wellington, Florida, and watching protests emerge worldwide. “People are tired and angry. Going online every day is just a reminder of the nightmare we’re constantly living in, and it really makes things hard.”

For other students who struggle to deal with the current chaos, staff members like Jada McNeill in the office of Student Activities & Campus Engagement (SA[u]CE) at New College help provide mentorship opportunities and campus programming (such as an upcoming event called “Race, Power and Politics”).

“When our campus is open, we have students who hang out in our office and just want to vent.” McNeill says. “We make sure we are a listening ear and give them the necessary resources they need to move forward.”

We will share stories. We will listen. We will grow.  We will act.  We will move forward, and our graduates will create a brighter future.  Stay tuned.

Donal O’Shea is president of New College of Florida. 

Image via Pixabay

[Girls INC]  Girls Inc. of Sarasota County Remains Strong, Smart, and Bold

Girls Inc. of Sarasota County supports hundreds of girls in its facilities each year, but with doors closed due to stay-at-home orders the nonprofit has found new ways to engage members utilizing the organization’s core values: strong, smart, and bold.

Since ceasing in-person services, staff mobilized with community partners to distribute food, supplies, and financial resources to Girls Inc. families impacted by job loss and childcare issues. The organization also launched virtual programming for girls, including interactive videos, online activities, and individual tutoring through its Family Strengthening Program.

“It was new territory for us to have empty classrooms, but we knew we had to meet our girls and their families where they were,” says Executive Director Angie Stringer. “Our staff have been incredible in coming up with ways to support families outside of our regular scope of work, and our new and existing community partners have been invaluable.”

The organization has also transformed its industrial-sized kitchen, normally used in their culinary curriculum, to prepare hundreds of at-home meals for foster and adoptive parents who are part of Bridge a Life, a nonprofit agency that supports children who are in out-of-home care programs.

Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation has helped offset operational and staffing costs for the organization and alleviated the emergency overhead expenses through a $100,000 grant. Thanks to this support, Girls Inc. staff continue supporting their members’ needs during the economic downturn.

“Now more than ever the girls and their families rely on their trusted relationship with Girls Inc.,” says Teri A Hansen, President | CEO of Barancik Foundation. “We wanted to ensure resilient organizations like Girls Inc. make it through this. We hope others do their part as well.”

Benefactors of the foundation, Chuck and Margie Barancik, were to be posthumously honored in March at Girls Inc. 32nd Annual Celebration Luncheon, which was postponed until later this year. The couple were ardent supporters of Girls Inc. and funded a number of innovative projects at the organization’s campus, including the installation of the largest private solar panel array in Sarasota County.

Girls Inc. has reopened its on-site programming for the summer, anticipating to serve about 60 children throughout June and July. Recommended health guidelines and social-distancing protocols will be in place to ensure safety. 

Click here for more information.

[Re-Opening]  FST Improv is Back With An All-New Full Length Show

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is pleased to announce that its resident improv troupe, FST Improv, is returning to its Bowne’s Lab Theatre with a new, full length show, Triple Play. Starting June 19, a rotating cast of three improvisers will present two-act comedy performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7pm. Drawing inspiration from audience suggestions, improvisers will perform games, scenes, and songs—all made up on the spot. FST’s Bowne’s Lab will operate at 50 percent capacity with seating located at least six feet apart from other parties. A full food and drink menu is available. Tickets are $15 per person. To purchase tickets, call 941-366-9000 or visit floridastudiotheatre.org.

FST’s Bowne’s Lab reopened for dining on June 5 and 6, with one-act comedy sets presented by members of FST Improv. The weekend’s performances were highly successful, with patrons praising the return of live entertainment, saying, “This is so wonderful,” “That was fabulous,” “It was a great time—I needed that,” and “It was so much fun, I will definitely come again!”

“Last weekend, we performed four, one-act sets, and, despite our questions about whether the show would work or not, it turned into one of the most memorable weekends of my life,” said Rebecca Hopkins, FST’s Managing Director and Founder of FST Improv. “The audiences were wonderful, and everyone was so enthusiastic to be there. The social distancing on stage also added a new level of creativity to the show. With only three performers on the stage, the audience really gets to know each cast member. The stakes become heightened by the intensity of each performer having more stage time to stretch and show their comedic skills. It was such a wonderful experience for the performers and audience that we decided to dive back in and start offering two-act performances.”

With Triple Play, an alternating cast of three improvisers will perform some of Sarasota’s favorite short-form games, like “Radio Call-In” and “Toaster.” Rebecca Hopkins will emcee each performance. Cast members include Jason Cannon, Sarah Durham, Will Luera, and Kyle Van Frank. Just as audiences and restaurant staff will be practicing social distancing, so will the performers.

“We are so excited to be back onstage,” shared Will Luera, FST’s Director of Improv. “Even though we are performing to a house at 50% capacity, the audience reminds us of the power of laughter. We love hearing the hilarious suggestions that come our way.
Although we [FST Improv members] have been rehearsing and performing virtually almost every weekend, being back onstage with a live audience is a totally different experience. But, just like riding a bike, once you get going, you remember how to do it and why it’s so much fun.”

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 food and bringing orders to patrons. Each member of FST’s restaurant staff will wear gloves and a mask, changing gloves after every food and beverage delivery. Tables and chairs will be sanitized between reservations, and only disposable menus will be used.

Starting June 19, FST Improv will perform full-length shows on Friday and Saturday nights at 7PM in FST’s Bowne’s Lab. The space will operate at 50% capacity with seating located at least six feet apart from other parties. A full food and drink menu is available. Tickets are $15 per person. To purchase tickets, call 941-366-9000 or visit floridastudiotheatre.org. 

Click here for more information.

[On Downtown]  Dancing In The Streets
Gabe Hament

Approximately three months ago I was fortunate to move downtown.

It has always been a dream of mine to move to the heart of the city, leave my car parked for most of the week and enjoy the amenities within the urban core.

Coincident with my relocation to downtown was the local, state and national lockdown designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus so hospital capacity could ramp up and meet the first wave's surge of infections. 

By the grace of God it appears that our region's hospitals--Sarasota Memorial, Doctor's, Venice Regional and Blake--avoided the grave scenarios faced by New York as well as Italy, Spain and other hard-hit countries. 

But the pause in the economic rhythm that resulted in the hundreds if not thousands of lives saved in the Sarasota-Manatee region came at a steep economic cost to working people and small business owners.

In fact, the Sarasota-Manatee unemployment rate tripled from 4.2% in March to over 14% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

These economic headwinds have already begun to result in commercial casualties right here in our backyard: "...But for some businesses, it’s too late. The St. Armands Circle Association says six businesses have already closed for good due to the coronavirus pandemic and the closures that came along with it." 

The combination of federal assistance and city and county grant programs, augmented by any revenues derived from carry-out orders and online sales for gift shops, have allowed some business to survive the deep freeze, while others were simply unable to meet their fixed costs.

For those out of work, the state's unemployment insurance system has been very difficult to navigate

Many in our community are facing economic devastation, despite the best efforts of government and local philanthropies. Re-tooling the economy to meet the challenges presented by this "new normal" will take many months and billions in investment from the private, public and independent sectors.

Recently, at the urging of City Commissioner Hagen Brody, select downtown thoroughfares have been opened to pedestrians—that’s you and me—and closed to motorized vehicular traffic.

Opening up Main Street, State Street and Lemon Avenue by closing them to automobile and motorcycle traffic has given hope to small business owners and hundreds of workers trying to make ends meet. 

This no-cost solution allows restaurants to adhere to CDC guidelines while operating at a capacity that makes economic sense. I surmise that de-commissioning every other indoor table makes the calculus very difficult from an owner's perspective. 

Loaning a roadway to our community's struggling restaurants so that hundreds of servers, cooks and hosts/hostesses may rejoin the workforce is a win-win for our City.

Prior to the lockdown, motorcyclists, after a wild night at Smokin' Joes and Gator Club would roar down Main Street, awakening me, a heavy sleeper. (I have my motorcycle designation by the way--nothing against motorcyclists) 

From my perspective, pedestrian safety has been enhanced by the mid-week/weekend street “openings.”

The cacophony of motorcycle mufflers has been replaced with uplifting Latin melodies gracing the ears of couples dancing in the street, margaritas in hand. 

I first enjoyed our new streetscape late last month; listening to live music and even partaking in a house margarita for which El Melvin has become well-known. 

As for automobile ingress/egress, I experienced little to no inconvenience as I shuffle down Miramar Court and into the garage. 

When I hear the guitarist or vocalist, I think of the server who is now able to make her car payment again or the small business owner who can call back her kitchen staff.

Should cars and motorcycles again overrun our urban core and restrict restaurants to limited sidewalk seating, six closures on St. Armands Circle could turn into twelve on Main Street.

Vacant storefronts become makeshift shelters for the homeless. Commercial foreclosures put downward pressure on adjacent home values. And downtown begins to look a lot like it did when Burger King was on the corner of Lemon and Main. 

It is incumbent upon us to make small sacrifices so that our neighbors can just get by.

Gabriel Hament is a downtown resident and Sarasota native. 

[Police]  Law Enforcement Injustice in our Nation and in Sarasota

The recent killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Aubrey have focused national attention on cases of police brutality and racially motivated hate crimes.  On May 18th, a police officer in Sarasota was recorded on cellphone video using unlawful tactics to detain a young black man by applying a knee to his neck.  Police Chief Bernadette DePino, who spoke to the Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus on June 4th, said that the officer has been placed on administrative leave while the matter is being investigated.  

With the issue of police misconduct being raised loudly both locally and around our nation, we call on the police chief and the department to act as swiftly as possible to shed light on the flagrant use of this potentially deadly practice in Sarasota.We also strongly protest the candidacy of Martin Hyde for City Commission, who is blatantly and defiantly running for office despite displaying racist behavior toward a Latino youth at his private tennis club several months ago.  Racism does not belong on the Sarasota City Commission.

We are pleased to see that younger generations of citizens are now protesting against long-standing racial injustices, both locally and nationally.  We sincerely hope that the fire, energy and commitment to equality for all that today’s protesters show will translate to the ballot box in the August primary and the general election in November.

These are critical times for our country—with the growing loss of lives stemming from the pandemic, the loss of jobs and the resultant economic crisis, and the deeply felt outrage over the way racism continues to infect our society.  We are all concerned about these developments—and looking ahead to the fall, we are especially concerned about the way these developments might affect our elections.  

Submitted by the Sarasota County Democratic Party, Sarasota Democratic Black Caucus and Sarasota Democratic Hispanic Caucus. 



[COVID-19]  Citywide Public Health Emergency Extended Through June 19

The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through June 19 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, also directs the reopening of Payne Park Skate Park on Tuesday, June 16. Temporary daily hours of operation are 7 a.m. until dusk.

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.

Although City buildings remain closed to the public, most City operations and services are still available. The public can conduct City business either online via www.SarasotaFL.gov or by phone at 941-263-6000. 

Click here for more information.

[Parks and Recreation]  Stay Fit Outdoors with The City of Sarasota Parks and Recreation District

Walking, running, and riding your bike are all great ways to stay fit this summer outside, but did you know the City of Sarasota Parks and Recreation District has more to offer? Just last week playgrounds, doubles tennis, and basketball courts reopened. In addition to the list, all outdoor fitness equipment is now open. The District has four parks that offer free outdoor fitness. Each location is unique, and they all provide different ways to stay fit.

LOCATIONS
Arlington Park & Aquatic Complex
2650 Waldemere St., Sarasota, FL 34239

David Cohen Park
1845 John Rivers St., Sarasota, FL 34234

Eloise Werlin Park
420 John Ringling Cswy., Sarasota, FL 34236

Gillespie Park
710 N Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236

All locations are free to use during park hours and are open to workout at your own risk. They suggest visitors and patrons stay well hydrated when exercising outside by bringing water with them. 

Click here for more information.

[Re-Election]  Three Republican Incumbents Won Reelection

Three Sarasota County Republican incumbents won re-election today when no Democrats filed to oppose them. Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner, Sarasota County Clerk of Court Karen Rushing and Sarasota County Property Appraiser Bill Furst were all reelected when the filing deadline passed at noon today and no Democrats or No-Party Affiliation candidates chose to run against them. 

[City Commission ]  Sarasota Candidates Qualify for District Election

Eleven candidates fulfilled election requirements and qualified by the noon deadline today for the 2020 City Commission municipal election for the three City Commission district seats.The following individuals qualified:

District 1
· Kyle Scott Battie
· Willie Charles Shaw
District 2
· Liz Alpert
· Joe Barbetta
· Martin Hyde
· Don Patterson
· Terry Turner
· Jerry Wells
District 3
· Erik “E” Arroyo
· Daniel A Clermont
· Rob Grant

With more than two candidates qualifying for District 2 and District 3, a first election for those seats will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 18. The two candidates in each district receiving the highest number of votes will advance to the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3 along with the candidates for District 1. With just two candidates in District 1, a first election will not be held for that seat. 

The candidate in each district receiving a majority of votes on Nov. 3 will be sworn into office Friday, Nov. 6 to serve a four-year term.

Early voting for the first election will be held Aug. 8-16 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily with locations to be announced.Candidate qualifying information is available online via the Office of the City Auditor and Clerk webpage. 

For more information on early voting, contact the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office at 941-861-8600.

Click here for more information.

[New Trustees]  Forty Carrots Family Center Elects New Trustees to Board

Forty Carrots Family Center recently announced the election of new members to its 2020-2021 Board of Trustees. The new Trustees include Dawn Doughty, former Chevy Chase Bank Home Equity Mortgage Underwriter; Jackie Griese, ABR, Michael Saunders Realtor; Eric Kaplan, Trustee of Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust; Jeff Reynolds, owner of Next Level CFO Solutions; and Robert Lewandowski, retired real estate developer. Officers include Chris Jarmul, Board Chair, and former IDC Global Account Manager for IBM; Ben Jones, Treasurer and Principal and Chief Investment Officer with Allegiant Private Advisors; and Tammie Sandoval-Badger, Secretary and Senior Trust Advisor at BMO Private Bank. Other members of the Board of Trustees include Kevin Cooper, Ariane Dart, Liz Diaz, Karimu Hill-Harvey, Tomeika Hunter-Koski, Betsy Kane-Hartnett, Sean Paul, Nicholas Roberts, Alan Ross, Susan Sakhai, Kevin Stencik, Susan Travers, CEO Michelle Kapreilian, and Trustee Emeriti Kim Githler, Stanley Kane, and Jeff Steinwachs. About Forty Carrots. Since 1993, Forty Carrots Family Center has served families in Sarasota & Manatee counties, ensuring good beginnings that last a lifetime for children through its expertise in Parenting Education, Mental Health Services, and Early Childhood Education. Rated 4-Stars by Charity Navigator, Forty Carrots serves families from all walks of life, with 93 percent of families receiving services free of charge. Visit www.fortycarrots.org for more information. 

[Oaks Club]  The Oaks Club Members Give Meals as Thank You to Local Firefighters

Members of The Oaks Club community in Osprey recently raised $13,000 in seven days to fund meals for Sarasota County firefighters and first responders. The “Gifts of Gratitude” project was inspired by The Oaks Club general manager and COO Jeff Hartigan, who often covers the grocery bill for firefighters when he sees them shopping in Publix. The program will culminate on June 10 with a full turkey feast and all the trimmings at nearby Station 14 prepared by The Oaks Club executive chef James Pampinella, with additional meals being sent to 19 other stations.

“These firefighters and paramedics are looking out for us 24/7, every day of the year,” says Anne Lockie-Meehan, President of The Oaks Club . “This is really the least we can do to show our gratitude for their diligence and to celebrate the live-saving work they do.”

Each station will receive: a 10 lb. Honey Baked half Ham; 4 lbs. of Pulled Pork BBQ from the Rendezvous in Memphis; Cookies from Fireman Dereke’s; Ham Biscuits from Callies of Charleston; Chicago Meatballs from Bartlini’s of Chicago; coffee from The Fire Department Coffee Company; and Popcorn from Garret’s of Chicago. In addition, Station 14 will get a Whole Bone in Ham, 4 slabs of ribs with the pulled pork, ham and blueberry biscuits.

Nearly 200 members of The Oaks Club contributed to the Gifts of Gratitude fund. Some members can even recount first hand encounters with Station 14’s paramedics, whose emergency response area includes The Oaks Club.

Sarasota County employs more than 500 professional firefighters, many of whom are also certified paramedics. Firefighters work 24-hour shifts followed by 48 hours off, cooking meals for themselves and their shift-mates while they are on the job. “Sarasota is such an incredible community, and we’re honored that we get to serve here,” says Sarasota fire chief Michael Regnier. “We couldn’t be more grateful for this show of support from The Oaks Club.” 

[Non-Profit]  Nonprofit Organizations Diversify Income Streams with Energy, Water Efficiency Improvements

Now more than ever nonprofit organizations are having to find creative ways to free up available dollars. A local, cross-sector program is leading the way in advocating for utility upgrades as a viable option to save on bills, while saving the environment.

Partners for Green Places recently awarded $161,379 in matching funds to 10 local environmental and human service agencies to implement water and energy efficiency upgrades at their facilities. Upgrades will help conserve natural resources while freeing up funds that nonprofits can redirect to their important missions.

  • Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast
  • Forty Carrots Family Center
  • Girls Inc. of Sarasota County
  • The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
  • Mothers Helping Mothers
  • Project 180
  • Save Our Seabirds
  • Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida
  • WSLR+Fogartyville


“On top of the financial savings, these collective actions help advance energy efficiency and create a more sustainable community,” Lee Hayes Byron, Director for Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability. “Our hope is to inspire businesses, residents, and nonprofits in Florida to also take action through sustainable measures.”

All participating organizations received audits to identify areas of opportunity in their energy and water usage and utility cost savings. Improvements include: LED lighting and occupancy sensors; energy efficient A/C systems; programmable thermostats; solar window film; smart power strips; metered faucets, water tanks and heaters; and reflective roof shingles.

In addition to the efficiency projects that the nonprofits will take on, six of the nonprofits also signed up for FPL SolarTogether. These nonprofits will reduce their impact on the environment by lowering their energy and water consumption, while also sourcing part of their energy from a clean, renewable source.

Last year Children First, Harvest House and Historic Spanish Point were selected as the first three pilot organizations for the Partners for Green Places program. They began with $75,000 in funding for their efficiency upgrades. Harvest House reports already saving $600 a month on utility bills.

Partners for Green Places was founded through a cross-sector partnership including Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the City of Sarasota, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, DreamLarge, Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability, and William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. The founding partners are inviting other organizations to get involved 

To learn more visit www.partnersforgreenplaces.com

[Manatee County]  Manatee County Recreation Division Staff Step Up for Preserves During COVID-19

As the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department implemented social distancing requirements among staff, many of the Recreation Division staff whose normal duties include things like training the aquatic center life guards, maintaining tennis facilities, and front desk customer service found themselves stepping into new roles on the County’s natural areas. The Director of the Parks and Natural Resources Department, Charlie Hunsicker, challenged his team to keep each other safe as the number one priority, and keep people working on a backlog of projects at the Preserves that could be done safely. As Charlie put it, “Much like the Civilian Conservation Corps programs during the 1930s, we have plenty of opportunities for County employee field work in our preserves over the coming weeks as on site or workstation requirements for employees begin to diminish over a prolonged closing.” He instructed the Preserves staff, who can easily meet social distancing requirements working across the 30,000 acres of County Preserves, to bring appropriate tasks and projects forward and implement the work under CDC guidelines for COVID-19 with the Recreation Division team members. The Recreation Division stepped up and has been getting lots of important work done in the preserves to the benefit of Manatee County’s natural resources.  

[Sarasota Orchestra]  Add Sarasota Orchestra to your Weekend Watch-List

A videotaped performance of Sarasota Orchestra's rendition of Strauss' Suite from Der Rosenkavalier will appear on Suncoast News Network (SNN6) today, Saturday and Sunday.The broadcast is part of "A Salute to the Arts," a special presentation of SNN’s Suncoast FYI talk show hosted by Nancy O’Neil.

The music from Strauss’ most popular opera sizzles with orchestral virtuosity that viewers can observe up close, from a vibrating string to the impact of a timpani roll. Ward Stare conducts Sarasota Orchestra in this lushly harmonic, high-energy performance, filmed during a dress rehearsal for a Masterworks concert in 2018.

Sarasota Orchestra on "A Salute to the Arts" Airing Dates and Times—Friday, June 12 at 10 am and 8 pm, Saturday, June 13 at 7 pm and Sunday, June 14 at 7 pm. 

[Re-opening]  Blake Medical Center Resumes Inpatient Visitations

Effective this past Thursday, inpatient visitation has resumed at Blake Medical Center. One visitor, age 18 or older, may visit admitted patients on the inpatient floors between the hours of 12 pm to 4pm. For the safety of its patients and staff, all visitors must successfully pass a screening prior to entering the hospital and wear a mask and practice social distancing while in the hospital. The relaxed visitation restrictions do not apply to patients who are COVID-19 positive or patients being tested for COVID-19 who the hospital suggests interacting through phone calls, Skype or FaceTime.  The following Temporary COVID-19 Modified Visitor Policy is now in effect.

Temporary Visitor Policy
In order to protect our patients, visitors, physicians and caregivers from the spread of the coronavirus, we are enacting a modified hospital visitor policy.

Visitor Hours are 12 pm – 4 pm, 7 days per week.

Inpatient Units – One visitor per patient is permitted with the following exceptions:

Labor and Delivery
Two visitors are allowed.

Post-partum, NICU, and Pediatrics Units
Two visitors are allowed and one may stay overnight.

Behavioral Health Units
A patient’s attorney of record, a state of federal representative on official duty, and end-of-life situation visitors are allowed.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Units
For the protection of our patients, visitors and caregivers, we do not allow visitors to visit COVID-19 patient; nor do we allow visitors to visit those undergoing investigation for COVID-19. Exceptions must be approved by the hospital Administrator on Call (AOC) or administration and can be made for end of life situations.

Emergency Room – One visitor is allowed per patient in the ER.

Outpatient Procedures Requiring Sedation – One visitor is allowed per patient. Visitor must remain in the designated waiting area. If the patient is admitted as an inpatient, the visitor can visit with the patient after the patient is admitted to his/her room.

Outpatient Procedures Not Requiring Sedation – Visitors are not allowed.
Anyone under the age of 18 will not be considered for visitation unless they are the parent of a hospitalized child.

Hospital Cafeteria – Visitors are not allowed. 

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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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