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SRQ DAILY Jul 24, 2020

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"I don't know what's right and what's wrong. All we can hope is that our counties do what's in the best interests of students and teachers."

- Tara Salovitz, English teacher at Port Charlotte High

-Photo from SRQ Magazine's New Summer 2020 Feature Pets We Love
[Mental Health]  Arts Educators Arrest their Anxiety at Artist Retreat
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

With infection numbers on an alarming upswing, many teachers and school personnel are understandably finding themselves in a precarious moment in their careers, torn between their desire to get back to their classrooms on the one hand and the fear of exposure on the other. But for five Florida educators, a couple weeks at The Hermitage Artist Retreat provided an opportunity to work on creative projects and, almost as important, take a break from the doom and gloom of an uncertain future.

Winners of The Hermitage’s State Teacher/Artist Residency (STARs) program, a collaboration with the Florida Alliance for Arts Education, these arts educators were selected for a two week stay at The Hermitage to pursue their own craft.

“Today I had to go off Manasota Key to get some supplies for my work,” says Gláucia Mir, a visual arts teacher at Liberty High in Kissimmee, “and I felt like I had gone back into the world; and I didn’t want to do that.” Mir, who in May completed her Master’s at University of Florida amid the pandemic, is continuing a body of work begun with her degree’s capstone project. “It’s the first time I’ve had the space to look at the whole collection upright,” she says, which means both the physical and mental spaces converged to provide her the energy to find renewed inspiration.

For others, it’s an opportunity to grapple with other aspects of the creative process. “With any new career, you have to immerse yourself to really make sense of it,” says Tara Salovitz, an English teacher at Port Charlotte High, “and that includes the business side of things.” Salovitz already self-published her first novel, but has taken this opportunity to research the complex publishing world. “I made a lot of mistakes with my first novel,” she says, “so I want some guidance for my next one.” In addition to crafting query letters to agents and working on a new novel, Salovitz has had an opportunity to chat with other writers at the retreat about their careers.

“I’m aware that this is a temporary kind of bubble” says Daniela Drazan, library specialist at Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks in Ocala. Though Drazan read the paper during her stay, she still felt removed from the goings-on of the mainland. She says that “artificial distance” helped her cultivate a creative bubble where productivity and creativity outshined the anxiety of the upcoming school year. She’s working on a novel that “follows four kids who have fallen through the cracks,” she says, something she is intimately familiar with in her work with students. “I was 30 pages in when I got here,” says Drazan, “I’m on page 73 now, so this has been a fantastic opportunity to focus on it in this kind of bubble.”

As for the fear and uncertainty of the coming school year, Mir, Salovitz and Drazan don’t know what to expect or how to feel. “I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong,” says Salovitz, “all we can hope is that our counties do what’s in the best interests of students and teachers. In the meantime, this has been an amazing experience.” 

Pictured: Daniela Drazan, Lucia Morales, Tara Salovitz, Gláucia Mir, and Joy Williams pose at The Hermitage for a socially distanced photo in the shade. Photo courtesy of The Hermitage.

Click here for more information.

[Outdoor Recreation]  Swinging Through Summer
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Break up the monotony of day to day on the streets or on the couch by gaining a new, higher perspective: up in the treetops. At TreeUmph! spend an entire day climbing, zip-lining, swinging and free-falling from 15 to 60 feet in the air, all while harnessed to equipment designed with rugged safety standards. The 14-acre nature park out in rural Bradenton encompasses five world-class adult courses from Beginner to Extreme. Everyone to start is initiated on the Beginner’s Course and makes their way through, and up, five progressively difficult courses. Only the fittest reach the exhilarating Extreme Course, “a true test of strength, agility, endurance and nerves!” Beyond the exhilarating and challenging courses rigged with wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings and a 650-foot-long zip line, there are also 76 different treetop adventure games to have a go at. 

Although a supreme spot for grown adults to feel like big kids, don’t second think taking the actual kiddies along to the jungle theme park too. With the little ones out of school, and less physical camps running this summer due to COVID, find a way to get yours out in the open air with an elevated, fun outdoor activity. TreeUmph! has an immersive Children’s Course (ages 7 & 8) available for the climbers in training. And for those who don’t splurge without a coupon code, good news: @SarasotaKids, an Instagram blog for discovering family-friendly local activities to do with kids around Sarasota, recently announced a 10% coupon code (SarasotaKids) to use when booking. “We had a blast at TreeUmph! Adventure Course!,” says Angela Campbell of Sarasota Fun For Kids. “My 7-year old loved flying through the forest from tree to tree on crazy-fun obstacles that defy gravity.” TreeUmph! currently has limited hours and availability, and is practicing strict social distancing. The team will be wearing masks and encourage their guests to do the same. 

Pictured: Finn Campbell getting into the swing of things on the Children's Course, courtesy of @SarasotaKids

TreeUmph! Adventure Course, 21805 State Rd. 70, E Bradenton, 855-322-2130, @treeumph

[Scholarship]  Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Announces Scholarship Winners

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is proud to announce it has awarded scholarships to six deserving students. Last year – the first for WBTT’s scholarship program – six up-and-coming artists were presented with $1,000 scholarships for studies in a college or conservatory program in the performing arts or arts management for the 2019-2020 academic year; this year, WBTT provided six young artists with scholarships of $2,000 each.

The scholarship winners are: Todd Bellamy II, Alan P. Kurland Artist Development Scholarship; Charlotte Corporan, Linda & Bill Berliner Artist Development Scholarship; Ariana Fitzgerald, Marie McKee & Robert Cole Artist Development Scholarship; Jatavian Peterson, Jack & Priscilla Schlegel Artist Development Scholarship; Maicy Powell, Marian Moss Artist Development Scholarship; and Aleah Williams, Kitty & John Cranor Artist Development Scholarship.

"While WBTT is dedicated to producing the finest dramatic and musical theater, my dream – my true calling and purpose for founding this organization – has always been to help young aspiring artists who may otherwise be overlooked to develop their talents and have the opportunity to achieve success," said WBTT Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. "We are thrilled to be able to contribute financially to the arts education of these deserving students and look forward to seeing just how much they will achieve in the coming years." 

Pictured: WBTT Chair of the Board Doris Johnson (front left), Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs (front right) with scholarship winners (clockwise from left) Maicy Powell, Aleah Williams, Todd Bellamy II, Jatavian Peterson, Ariana Fitzgerald and Ch

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  All Faiths Food Bank Receives $51,747 from Achieva Credit Union

All Faiths Food Bank recently received a $51,747 donation from the Achieva Credit Union in support of COVID-19 response efforts. To help support food banks in the communities it serves throughout west-central Florida during the pandemic, Achieva engaged its members and non-members and the Achieva Foundation in a 30-day donation drive. 

Click here for more information.

[Music Video]  Tampa Bay Musicians Collaborate on a Music Video

A group of Tampa Bay volunteer songwriters, performers, music and video producers and other professional contributors of all ages and ethnicities pooled their talents to write original lyrics and music for a song called “VOICE YOUR VOTE 2020.” The music video, to be released the third week of August, was filmed with six dancers and singers in Ybor City, Curtis Hixon Park, South St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg Beach and is poised to bring Tampa Bay to the national stage with its catchy tune and timely message to all Americans: register and vote November 3.

“What is incredible about this project is that it was created by a diverse group of creative folks who did not know each other at the outset and at the outset had never met except on Zoom. We range in age from 16 to 75 years old, the song is in English and Spanish, and the style is dance hall with a bit of rap. What everyone has in common is a shared commitment to encourage fellow Americans to vote!”says St. Petersburg resident Michelle Passoff, who spearheaded the project by making phone calls to local artists and producers from her kitchen table while quarantined. 

[New Technology ]  MTech Mobility Addresses Increase in Telehealth Initiatives

MTech Mobility, which has an international call center in Sarasota, is adapting its processes for the growing telehealth industry. Especially in the pandemic era, telehealth services are necessary to extend the capacity of the overburdened healthcare system and introduce new ways for consumers to interact remotely with their healthcare providers. MTech is engaging healthcare providers, health plans, and independent software vendors (ISVs) involved in delivering patient care remotely through virtual doctor visits. These organizations have a need to deploy, support and manage hundreds of thousands of mobile tablets and other devices.

“We are operating in an era where healthcare organizations feel they can move millions of patient/provider interactions to a remote format on an annual basis,” said Jay Gordon, MTech Chief Strategy Officer. “The current pandemic required us to swiftly enhance our processes to support these initiatives and create systems that will help us to better support the hundreds of thousands of devices we expect to manage over the next 12 months. MTech’s enhancements are primarily focused on providing extreme physical and electronic device sanitization to ensure devices are disinfected and decontaminated as well as ensuring patient data erasure in compliance with the provisions of HIPAA.” 

Click here for more information.

[Extension]  NBP Summer Camps Extended for Two Additional Weeks

School opening delays across the area means kids have additional time on their hands, and parents looking for accommodations and Nathan Benderson Park has the solution for an extended summer. “NBP Ultimate Camp” is a two-week extension of the park’s sold-out 10-week summer camp program, and will be open the weeks of Aug. 10 and Aug. 17. Summer camps at NBP offer kids 6-14 opportunities to make lifelong memories as they learn skills and make friends. The two-week extension for full-day, half-day morning and half-day afternoon campers rolls together the best of summer camp into one weeklong package. “I have been extremely impressed and satisfied with the protocols put in place to keep our kids safe during this pandemic summer,” camp parent Michele Morgan said. The registration fee is $275 per week for full-day campers and $150 per week for half-day campers. Registration begins July 24 at nbpcamp.com, and the number of campers will be limited. “When my own kids tell me how much fun they have at Nathan Benderson Park summer camp, this means a lot to me about the service we are delivering to our community’s families,” said Stephen V. Rodriguez, the CEO and president of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, which operates NBP.  

Find more information about this year’s NBP summer camps at nbpcamp.com.

[Home Sales]  Stock Signature Homes Sold Out in Country Club East

Stock Signature Homes, the luxury homebuilding division of industry leader Stock Development, has sold out in one of Lakewood Ranch’s premier villages, Country Club East. The last Stock Signature Homes sold was the Margo within the Eaglescliffe enclave, listed at $1,232,660. The home encompasses 3,578 square feet under air with four bedrooms, four and one-half bathrooms, a great room, dining room, study, expansive outdoor living, and a three-car garage. Selling out in Country Club East is a further testament to Stock Development’s success in the Sarasota region and beyond. The company overall continues to expand and has had a tremendous year of sales already. Stock saw a 154% year-over-year increase in revenue in June and a year-to-date increase of 30% over 2019. From the start of the year and through June, the company was at 192 sales with an average price of $1.4 million and a goal of 151. 


Click here for more information.

[New Building]  Fishman & Associates Helping to Build the First Two Buc-ee’s Travel Centers in Florida

Fishman & Associates is working with J. Raymond Construction to build the first two Buc-ee’s Travel Centers in Florida. The two, 50,000 square foot convenience stores broke ground earlier this year in St. John’s County and in Daytona Beach. They are expected to be open for business early next year. Fishman & Associates will be providing the refrigeration, cooking, fountain, and ice equipment. Buc-ee’s is a privately-owned chain of 48 travel centers founded in 1982. Each center features fuel, food items, and other products and services for travelers. Most of the centers are located in Texas including their New Braunfels store which is the largest convenience store in the world at 66,335 square feet. Buc-ee’s can also lay claim to having the nation’s cleanest restrooms based on a contest by the service company Cintas. 

Click here for more information.

[In This Issue]  UnMasked
Ariel Chates, ariel.chates@srqme.com

The hands behind Sarasota's selfless sewers. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's Summer 2020 edition.

[COVID-19]  COVID-19 Recovery at Home

Although Suncoast hospitals continue to manage an influx of patients with severe cases of COVID-19, most people with the disease are asymptomatic or experience mild to moderate symptoms, and are riding the virus out at home. In this video interview, First Physicians Group Chief Operating Officer Jack Rodman, MD, and critical care pulmonologist Joseph Seaman, MD, offer expert advice for those who may have to endure days of high fever, fatigue, acute respiratory issues and other symptoms as they isolate from others at home. 

Click here for the video.

[Virtual Show]  SCD Late Nights

Keeping in the spirit of creating opportunities for artists in various stages of their creative process, “Late Nights” is a 2-4 week residency, providing artists access to SCD studio home and its resources. Live-streamed performance followed by Q&A with the SCD director and artists. Tickets are $20 and $15 for students.Live streaming next Friday, July 31st at 9:00pm.  

Click here for tickets.

[Craft Project]  Make Upcycled Butterflies with ALSO Youth

This Saturday, July 25th, ALSO Youth will be crafting some upcycled butterflies with old magazines. The materials you'll need are: old magazines (or newspapers or colorful wrapping paper), scissors, pipe cleaners (or a paper clip or twistie tie), yarn/string if you'd like to hang your butterfly or create a garland. Make these together over Zoom at 4:00pm. 

Email amanda@alsoyouth.org for details.

[Art Show]  Arboreal Conversations at Art Uptown with Paintings by Cecile Moran

From Jun 27th through July 25th you can view Cecile Moran, Art Uptown’s July featured artist. She presents a rich series of paintings entitled Arboreal Conversations, teeming with color and mystery.  They prompt viewers to think about the trees themselves and their interconnectedness to each other, us, and forests of the world.  The artist realizes her bold compositions through a distinctive layering and resistance technique: paint is applied and removed in selected areas to reveal new and different color relationships.  

Art Uptown Gallery, 1367 Main St, 941-955-5409; Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-3:00pm.

Click here for more information.

[TODAY]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Artist Talk with Jennifer Packer , July 24, 5:30pm

Please join us for a virtual Artist Talk with Jennifer Packer, celebrated visual artist and 2020 recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat; and Ola Wlusek, The Ringling’s Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, as they discuss Packer’s work and influences in anticipation of her future exhibition at The Ringling. This program will be moderated by Andy Sandberg, Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO. Space is limited.

[TODAY]  SEMINAR: Virtual: CEO & Joe - Update on the Bay Project , July 24, 9am-10am

Join us for "virtual" coffee with your Chamber President/CEO, Heather Kasten and Guest Speaker Bill Waddill, Chief Implementation Officer, Bay Park Conservancy to discuss the exciting project and updates on where we are to date. Please send in your questions to events@sarasotachamber.com, and we will do our best to cover them in our discussion. There will also be an opportunity for you to submit questions through the chat feature during the Zoom call.

[WEEKEND]  SPORTS: Cool Today Park 2020 Opening Day Weekend Celebration , July 24 – July 26

Celebrate the return of baseball with an action-packed series of events beginning on Friday, July 24 as Karla and John take the stage from 1 - 4pm. At 4:10pm. on Friday and Saturday be sure to be at Cool Today Ballpark to watch the Atlanta Braves take on The New York Mets in the team's first regular season game of 2020. On Saturday, July 25  Spare Partz will be playing all your favorite tunes after the game from 7pm - 9pm. Sunday's game time is 7:08pm. Tickets $15 - $20. Pre-sale tickets are now exclusively available to Beach Club Members and tickets will be available to the general public beginning Wednesday, July 15, 2020 through Ticketmaster or by phone. 

Cool Today Park, 18800 South West Villages Parkway Venice, Florida 34293

[WEEKEND]  FESTIVAL: One Night in Tortuga , July 25, 7pm-11pm

If you be a Pirate, wanna be a Pirate, a Wench, Blackbeard reincarnated, or just a Landlubber then the honor of your presence is requested at the Anna Maria Island Privateers' Pirate Gathering. Thar be no formal Dress Code, just come dressed as a Pirate, and plan for a whole Lotta Fun. Why thar will be Pirate Grub and a full bar of Grog, a wee bit of music for ya Foot stomp and maybe a Jig or two... The transformation to the Isle of Tortuga will be tak’en place in the beautiful Neptune Room at Seafood Shack in the village of Cortez. The panoramic views of the Marina and Intercostal waters will make you feel as if you're standing on the shores of the Tortugas when pirates roamed, pillaged and plundered back in the day. You're welcome to take a stroll down the docks, but there be no "commandeering" of any ships, cause that be a reason for Ya be keelhauled for sure. Fer a meer Pittance of $50.00 it gets ya a stroll thru the Chow line, a couple of Free Tankards of your favorite Grog and Ya be Gett’en a Keepsake Souvenir from the Privateers. Way more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys. There be a Silent Auction for some Pirate Booty to be hav’en and chance fer some cold hard cash in a 50/50, and other Pirate shenanigans. All money raised will go towards the Privateers, a 501 c3 Non-Profit organization, Mission Statement of “Pirates for Kids & Community”.

Seafood Shack Neptune Room, 4110 127th St W., Cortez, FL 34215

[WEEKEND]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: ALSO Youth Presents Let's Get Crafty , July 25, 4pm

This Saturday, July 25th, we'll be crafting some upcycled butterflies with old magazines. The materials you'll need are: old magazines (or newspapers or colorful wrapping paper), scissors, pipe cleaners (or a paper clip or twistie tie), yarn/string if you'd like to hang your butterfly or create a garland. We'll make these together over Zoom at 4pm. Email amanda@alsoyouth.org for the call details.

[WEEKEND]  MUSEUM: Virtual: KidSpace at The Bishop , July 11 – July 25, 10:30am-11:15am

We unleash the awesome power of The Planetarium during KidSpace, where kids can become scientific masters of the universe! Join us as we take off from the Earth’s surface and fly to places humans have never been: the Sun, planets, other moons in our solar system, newly discovered solar systems in our galaxy and beyond. KidSpace is designed for grades 1-5 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome.

[WEEKEND]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: Tales Under the Tree with The Bishop , July 18 – July 25, 3pm-3:15pm

Gather the kiddos and settle in for a story to spark their curiosity about science and nature! Join us at 3pm on Facebook for this storytime. Bishop staff choose a book focused on science and nature and read to you from their own homes.

[WEEKEND]  FOOD: Venice Farmers Market , July 11 – July 25, 8am-12pm

Summer vendors will offer produce, fresh baked goods including breads, pies, bagels and pretzels, wild-caught seafood, Florida-grown mushrooms, boutique cheeses, locally roasted coffee, kettle corn, hand-crafted soap, essential oils, nursery plants and fresh-cut flowers. In addition, local artists will be attending the market offering award-winning photography, unique clay art and jewelry, hand-designed clothing for children and adults, and more. Market staff and vendors have created a CDC-compliant and safe socially distanced outdoor shopping experience for the community, states Farmers Market Manager Lee Perron. All staff and vendors will wear masks and gloves and sanitizing stations will be available. The plan has been reviewed and approved by the City of Venice in order to comply with all federal, state and local guidelines for food and personal safety. During the construction of Fire Station 1 and expansion of City Hall, the market will relocate out of the parking lot but will still operate at City Hall. The Farmers Market will set up on W. Venice Avenue between Harbor Drive and Avenue des Parques, located between City Hall and the Hecksher Park tennis courts.

Venice City Hall, 401 W Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

[WEEKEND]  HEALTH: Lakewood Ranch Yoga in The Park , July 26 – August 30, 9am-10am

Join us for free yoga on the second Sunday in the beautiful setting of Bob Gardner Community Park just off of White Eagle Blvd. The Yoga Shack Florida will host the morning flows starting at 9 am. Please bring your own mat and water bottle. Mats must be placed at least 6-feet apart from others and we ask all participants to closely follow all social-distancing guidelines. Thank you to the Brain Health Initiative for sponsoring this event. Learn more about BHI on their website.

Bob Gardner Community Park, 2710 White Eagle Blvd Bradenton FL 34211

[SOON]  THEATER: Online: Asolo Repertory Theatre Online Classes for Kids, Ages 8-18 , July 6 – July 31, 10am, 11am and 3pm

Introducing Asolo Rep Young Artist: Online Classes, designed for ages 8-18. From demystifying Shakespeare to exploring innovative ways of creating theatre together, these classes will spark your young artist’s imagination and help to hone their theatrical technique. See below to find out more about the exciting content and amazing professional artists who will be leading these classes. Classes are $50 to $75 to register. Contact Asolo Rep Education & Engagement Department: education@asolo.org

Online Program.

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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