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SRQ DAILY Jul 30, 2020

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"Those of us who lived through 2008, we have to dust that playbook off because a lot of what we're seeing in this pandemic reminds of us what happened then. "

- Mary Dougherty, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

-Remembering the awesome spaces of the SRQ Home of The Year 2020. Pictured: Platinum Winner Best Landscape Design || Seathru House by Borden Landscape Design
[Politics]  Gov't, Business Leader Face Off for Manatee County Seat
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A long-serving Manatee County Administrator faces off with a long-time county businessman for an open Manatee County Commission seat. Ed Hunzeker and George Kruse face off in the Republican primary for the at-large District 7 seat in what is each man’s first political campaign. But neither counts themselves a stranger to the community.

Kruse, principal at Pursuit CRE, said his skillset working in commercial real estate will serve the county well should he win election. Knowledgeable of finance and the intricacies of the local land market, he wants to make sure the community remains somewhere professionals will stay because of a thriving job market. And he’d like to see the county take a different approach to where it guides planning.

“I’d like to encourage development closer to our existing infrastructure,” Kruse said. That can be done cribbing successful efforts in Sarasota and other places by incentivizing denser, smaller units by lifting parking and other requirements. He sees that as tremendous free market incentive to bring developers close to urban cores, noting a developer who can put two 500-square-foot properties that rent for $800 a month or who could put one 1,000-square-foot property that goes for $1,200 a month will pick the former every time. “All government has to do is get out of its own way.”

Hunzeker, who spent 12 years as Manatee County’s top government executive, said he’s anxious to get in a policy-making position after years of administration. Regarding planning, he notes the same basic comprehensive plan has governed Manatee County since 1988. “We haven’t done much to update it to the current environment,” he said. That means there’s guidance and management that may be doing more to hinder business than to spur responsible growth patterns. As a former county administrator, Hunzeker said he can hit the ground running and encourage action on fronts like this.

He's also got existing relationships in the worlds of Chambers of Commerce and economic development throughout the region. And having led county government through the Great Recession, he feels his background and intimate knowledge of the region will be especially valuable as Manatee County moves ahead after the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ever since the Recession we have talked about growth,” he said. “I think now the question ahs to be how do we sustain our community after the loss of jobs and the closing of businesses. I have a feeling it will look more like 2008 than it will look like 2019.”

As a successful business owner working decades in Manatee, Kruse said he’s got the perspective needed to lead the county into recovery, noting there’s county commissioners on the bad who served through Hunzeker’s entire reign as County Administrator. “I don’t inherently believe that government knows best,” Kruse said. He’s certainly questioned actions taken during the pandemic like a curfew, and more recently a mandate in Manatee County for wearing masks. He’d rather companies decide whether to require masks in their own businesses, and let consumers decide whether to shop in those establishments or elsewhere.

Hunzeker sees no problem with a mask mandate, noting government tells people to regulate their behavior all the time through speed limits, seat belt laws and any other number of measures. “I don’t know why we make wearing a mask into such an onerous thing when we are doing something to make sure people stay healthy,” he said. ”It’s so logical. But it’s been so politicized.”

The winner of the Aug. 18 Republican primary in Manatee County faces only a write-in candidate in the general election. The election will determine who succeeds retiring County Commissioner Betsy Benac. 

Photos: Ed Hunzeker, George Kruse

[Outdoor Recreation]  Heliventures, Engage
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Maybe you’ve grown up here your whole life, maybe you know the streets like the back of your hand. But have you ever seen your beloved city and beaches from a birds-eye-view? Like a 7,000-feet up looking down kind of thing. Well, there's an elite helicopter tour agency right your backyard to help you lift off to that point-of-view. FlyVenture tours are operated only by their experienced pilots, and was founded by aviation experts with a combined 60 years of flight experience in the helicopter industry. It is currently the largest helicopter tour service provider in Florida, with exclusive take-off and landing sites from Tampa to Naples. And with a site specific to servicing Sarasota, the tour company offers locals and visitors alike the opportunity to design their ideal helicopter adventure, centered around their favorite city landmarks.

If you're already scheming how you can surprise the Mrs. for an unforgettable date night, plan to leave them winded with a breathtaking ride in luxury. The Romantic Tour for two includes complimentary champagne, roses, and 20 minutes of intimate flight time. Or, if you and the buddies are looking for a bit of mischievous excitement, go full adrenaline mode and sign up for the Ultimate Doors-Off Experience, which is exactly what it sounds like and includes 30 minutes of your feet hanging out in open air over the ocean. Fly over Downtown Sarasota, the Bayfront and along our famous Gulf Coast beaches; you’ll look at your hometown in a whole new light. And for a truly unparalleled moment of awe, book the Sunset Tour if being in the clouds as the sky changes a cascade of colors sounds straight-up heavenly. 

Say you want to enjoy every fleeting second of your flight as a passenger and don't want to get caught up in being sure to snag all the snaps and Instagram stories your phone can handle, splurge for FlyVenture's personal photography package with professional aerial photography services accessible to download after. They'll make sure to document you and your hang time that is sure to fly by... 

Photo courtesy of FlyVenture, 844-359-8368, info@flyventure.com

[Demolition]  Vengroff Williams Inc. Coordinates Major Demolition for Child Protection Center

The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) has received over $29,000 in funding and in-kind donations for the demolishment of their hazardous storage building.

While taking a tour of CPC, John Antonucci, Division President of Vengroff Williams, Inc. (VWi), was inspired by the nonprofit’s mission of the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse and the impact made on the community. During the tour, Sheila Miller, CPC’s VP of Philanthropy, mentioned that a sizeable and hazardous storage building needed to be demolished before CPC could consider expanding. “I am going to help you gather funds to tear that building down,” John said. “You shouldn’t take fundraising dollars away from programming. You need to help these kids.”

VWi gave a leading gift of $10,000 as John secured dumpsters, contacted contractors, finalized the demolition, and gave a personal contribution of funds. In-kind donations to the demolition were secured from Aqua Plumbing, Veteran Air, and $15,000 in services from Graeber Excavating.

“Sarasota is lucky to have such dedicated people at the CPC working to protect our children,” John commented. “The Board of Directors at VWi were glad we were able to support the CPC in this project. “  

Child Protection Center, 941-365-1277

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Local Boys & Girls Club Member Hosts Virtual Event for Thousands of Teens

With 4,300 affiliates to choose from, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) selected a local Club member and youth development professional from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County to host their first ever virtual National Keystone Conference on Friday, July 24, from the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club in Sarasota.

While the conference was scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., this month, the in-person event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than forgoing the event altogether, BGCA quickly transformed the multi-day conference into a virtual experience with the theme “We The Youth Declare We Will Be Heard, Seen and United.” BGCA selected Fatima and Geoffry to act as the event’s emcees.

“Hosting this national event, the first one of its kind, will be one of my most cherished memories when I look back on my Boys & Girls Clubs experience,” said Fatima, who has been a Club member since 2008 and recently graduated from The-Out-of-Door Academy. “I’m so grateful for my Clubs’ support, BGCA for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and most of all, my advisor Mr. Geoffry, for encouraging me every step of the way.” 

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  Community Day School Awarded $20,000 'Stronger Together' Grant

Hershorin Schiff Community Day School recently received a “Stronger Together” grant of $20,000 from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee to help fund an on-staff guidance counselor. The private Jewish day school, serving students of all faiths from preschool through eighth grade, applied for the funding to support its social and emotional learning efforts, especially as students are facing unprecedented stresses and uncertainties related to COVID-19.

A guidance counselor will be a critical component in re-engaging Community Day School’s students in the coming school year, aiding families and staff, rebuilding relationships, and continuing to provide a strong foundation for academic learning. Prior to COVID-19, research had shown that one out of every four children attending school had been exposed to a traumatic event that could affect their learning and/or behavior. This number has grown exponentially as the pandemic has triggered pre-existing traumas, adversity and disparities, grief, fear and anxiety, and a host of factors still unknown. Community Day School hopes the new position will help to fill gaps in trauma-based care at the school.

The objective of the Federation’s Stronger Together Fund is to provide funds to local Jewish organizations to fund emergency needs related to the COVID-19 crisis. Funds are being distributed based on the Federation’s funding priorities of food security, health and wellness, and operational subsidies related to pandemic-related costs and cash flow deficits. 

Pictured: Community Day School teacher Natasha Hamilton-Kenney with rising first-grader Tyler Sweeting

[Manatee Schools]  Florida Department of Education Approves Manatee Country Reopening Plan

Late Tuesday afternoon, K-12 Chancellor of Public Schools Jacob Oliva sent Superintendent Cynthia Saunders an email announcing that the Florida Department of Education has approved the Manatee District's Reopening Plan for the Fall Semester of the 2020-2021 school year. 

"I am pleased to report that the plan you submitted provides each of the required assurances," Oliva wrote in the email. "As such, your reopening plan is approved, effective immediately."

Superintendent Saunders was excited to receive the good news. “We have been working hard for months to provide a plan to our students, parents and employees that would not only meet the state’s requirements, but also provide options that address the different needs expressed by all of our stakeholders,” Saunders said. “I want to thank all of the parents, employees and citizens who sent more than 26,000 responses during our reopening plans survey, and all of our principals, teachers and support staff for their hard work in making these plans possible.” 

Click here for more information.

[Sarasota County Needs Input from Local Non-Profit ]  Sarasota County Needs Input from Local Non-Profit Agencies

Sarasota County Health and Human Services is requesting input regarding potential distribution of U.S. Treasury Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) monies to local non-profit agencies. As part of that process, Sarasota County is offering two virtual training assistance sessions to help guide local non-profits with identifying and documenting their need for relief funding due to COVID-19 at 3:00pm-4:00pm. on Thursday, July 30 and again from 10:00am-11:00am on Friday July, 31.

The surveys can be completed electronically or by printing and completing a hard copy. The funding survey deadline is 11:00am Thursday, August 6th. Registration is required for these virtual session by calling 941-861-2877, or by sending an email to mswilliams@scgov.net. 

According to Health and Human Services Manager Wayne Applebee, local non-profit agencies could be eligible to be reimbursed for expenses under the Food, Water and Shelter category. "Like everyone else, non-profit agencies have incurred expenditures during their responses to COVID-19. This is an opportunity for them to possibly defray some of those costs," Applebee added.


Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Suncoast Attorney David Gurley Named to Florida Trend Legal Elite

David E. Gurley, Esq., the principal shareholder of Gurley & Associates, was recently recognized in the 2020 edition of Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite for his expertise in Construction Law. The list of Florida 1,071 honorees represents just over 1% of the active Florida Bar members. Gurley is the only construction lawyer in Sarasota or Manatee counties to receive this distinction.

“Florida Trend’s Legal Elite continues to provide a valuable, credible resource of attorneys evaluated by their peers and representing many types and sizes of practices,” noted Dori Foster-Morales, President of the Florida Bar. 

Click here for more information.

[In This Issue]  Snap Shots of Sarasota During COVID-19

Moments captured during the pandemic. 

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

[Weather Warning]  Manatee County Urges Residents to Monitor Tropical Cyclone #9

With a tropical cyclone forming in the Virgin Islands, Manatee County officials are urging residents to make plans today by having supplies on hand or an evacuation plan if they're in low-lying coastal areas.

"We are entering the peak of Hurricane Season, so now is the time when you must have a plan and be ready," said Public Safety Director Jacob Saur. "We're continuing to remind Manatee County residents that a public shelter should be your absolute last resort if severe weather approaches. Contact friends or family who live inland or outside of evacuation areas and try to stay with them if you need to evacuate."

The National Hurricane Center has placed Manatee County in the five-day cone of uncertainty for the approach of Tropical Cyclone #9. Regardless of the storm’s eventual track, high winds, rain, and flooding or storm surge may affect the area as early as this weekend. 

Click here for more information.

[COVID-19]  SMH Expands COVID-19 Antibody Trial to People Recovering at Home

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is expanding community access to a multi-national clinical trial that is testing a new dual-action antibody cocktail to treat COVID-19. Two weeks ago, SMH became the first hospital in Florida to enroll hospitalized patients in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ experimental treatment (REGN-COV2) for COVID-19.

This week, SMH opened the trial to people who have been infected with the novel coronavirus but aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.

“We’re very excited about this trial, which involves the first antiviral antibody cocktail specifically designed to attack a critical part of the coronavirus, the spike protein that attaches to human cells,” said Manuel Gordillo, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention and Control Department and principal investigator for the Sarasota trial. “In early laboratory tests, it completely obliterated the coronavirus at relatively low concentrations.”

In the past two weeks, SMH has enrolled 19 hospitalized patients, and enrolled its first outpatient on Monday. If the cocktail proves effective, the treatment may lessen the severity of the disease in people battling COVID-19, reducing hospitalizations and complications, and ultimately may help stop the spread of the virus in the community, Dr. Gordillo said. 

Click here for more information.

[Survery]  Sarasota County Area Transit Launches Online Public Input Survey

Sarasota County is gathering public input from residents, businesses, employers, agencies, and patrons of the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) system through this online survey.

The public input survey provides an opportunity for SCAT patrons to share comments about their transportation needs related to SCAT services. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this public engagement is being conducted through online tools instead of regular in-person sessions and will collect comments through Sunday, August 9.

Interim SCAT Director Jane Grogg reminds community members to visit the SCAT website, scgov.net/SCAT, in order to participate in the survey and stay informed of proposed changes to the SCAT system.

"Your input is valuable. Your thoughts and suggestions will help inform the recommendations developed for consideration by county commissioners," Grogg added. 

Click here to the survey.

[TODAY]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Bookstore 1 Presents New Non-fiction Mindful Reading Zoom Book Club , July 30, 7pm-8pm

Our new non-fiction Mindful Reading Book Club on Zoom, led by Roxanne Baker. Meets virtually via Zoom. This month we’re discussing Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek Murthy, M.D. Purchase of a ticket is required for participation. The $32 ticket includes the book which you can pick up curbside (We will send you an email when the book is ready for pickup) or have shipped to you via USMail, tax, and the Zoom meeting. Complete the ticket purchase and we will get you the book with plenty of time to read it before the book club meeting. The Zoom link will be sent one day prior to the book club meeting.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: CEO Squawkbox Online with LWR Medical Center's Andy Guz , July 31, 11am-12pm

Covid 19 - You've got questions, we've got answers from the frontline. Join us for this special opportunity to get current and accurate information on how the pandemic is affecting the Sarasota/Manatee community and learn what you can do to stay safe. Andy Guz, CEO at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center gives a summary update and answers as many of your questions as he can in one hour. $5 members and $10 non-members.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: Sarasota Contemporary Dance Presents Claudia-Lynn Rightmire & Simon Thomas-Train , July 31, 9pm

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. At the end of the 2-4 week residency, there will be a live-streamed performance followed by Q&A with the SCD director and artists. Tickets: $20 General Admission, $15 Students.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Art Center Sarasota Presents Salon d'Art Talk & Discussion , July 31, 4pm-5pm

Just a short reminder that the next Salon d'Art via Zoom is this Friday, July 31 from 4-5pm. Judy Just and I will be your hosts. We will be discussing the artist Frank Stella and Printmaking.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Online: Florida Studio Theatre Presents Suffragist Saturdays: In Conversation with Jane Plitt , August 1, 4pm

FST invites you to join us for Suffragist Saturdays, a casual conversation series featuring leading women in our area. Come connect, learn, and celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote as well as the real people who made it all possible. Featured guest: Jane Plitt, first Executive Director for the National Organization for Women (NOW). Suffragist Saturdays are free to attend, though registration is required. Presented as part of FST’s Suffragist Project: Celebrating 100 Years of the Woman’s Right to Vote. Suffragist Saturday with Jane Plitt will be held exclusively online. After registering for this virtual event, you will receive an email the day before the event from Florida Studio Theatre containing information about joining the online Zoom event.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: State of the Community Series - Meet the Candidates District 3 , August 5, 8:30am-9:30am
The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is excited to present our State of Community Series: Meet the Candidate Forum for the City of Sarasota City Commission District 2 Zoom event. This is an excellent opportunity for you to understand each of the candidate's platforms and how they would move our city forward if elected.
[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: COVID Safety - Start With the Why , August 6, 9am-10am

Presenter Colin Cornhill has dealt with the subject of safety in various businesses over 4 decades and more recently has led increasingly challenging business transformations in response to changing conditions and requirements. In this webinar he will talk about: Our initial response to the new situation; How our responses can both help and harm our adaptation to the change; How some of our biases can get in the way of fully understanding and dealing with the new information coming at us quickly; How starting with the right question (WHY?) can often be the source of fresh thinking that will lead us out of deadlock and into a brighter future. A Zoom meeting code will be sent to registered attendees 24 hours prior to the event. You do not need a Zoom account to register for this event.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: The Exchange Hosts Charity Trunk Show , August 7 – August 8

Regional artist Isabella Adams who’s clientele includes luxury retailers Nieman Marcus, The Atlantis, Ritz Carlton and the Beverly Hills Hotel, to name a few, will be doing her part to help The Exchange, (formally the Woman’s Exchange) get back on their feet after being closed for two months due to Covid-19. For the first time since its inception, Isabella Adams will be selling 1st quality Swarovski crystal gifts and accessories, including signed and numbered pieces from her collection at wholesale prices during this two-day only “Charity” Trunk Show. This two day only charity event will take place at The Exchange on August 7th and 8th. Supplies are limited and will be sold on a first come first serve basis. No orders will be taken. In addition to the “Charity Trunk Show” The Exchange will have a large selection of sterling silver jewelry starting as low as $5.00 per piece. Other local artisan pieces will be available at discounted prices.

The Exchange, 539 S Orange Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Academy A Homeschool Hub at Music Compound , August 3 – December 31, 8:30am-4pm

Music Compound is officially launching a new program,  The  Academy, for grades 3-8, that offers core curriculum through Florida Virtual School and then afternoon electives in the arts. The registration deadline is July 31. Education Session (Education Coordinator position) is offered daily from 8:30am to Noon Monday through Thursday. Students have the option to attend two, three or four days a week. This portion is being offered with Florida Virtual School. Deadline to register is July 31st. Lunch and relaxation time offered daily from Noon to 1:00pm and available to FULL day students only. Students will have time to enjoy lunch and outdoor play. The last 20 minutes will be reserved for quiet time. Our team will offer yoga or meditation sessions. Students can opt to read a book, nap, or check out in another capacity. Enrichment Session is arts related. (Elective and credit based) and offered daily from 1:00 to 4:00pm Monday through Thursday. The afternoon session will include a daily afternoon snack break for students. The afternoon sessions are based on interest. Afternoon classes sizes will range from 6-12 students per class. Classes that have more than 6 students will be hosted in our large 3,000 sq. ft. event venue. Electives are One hour and 20 minutes per session. Electives are offered quarterly, by semester, or yearly. Courses offered: Art, Dance, Drama, Music / Group Instruction / Music Theory / Music Appreciation, Musical theatre / Show Choir, Band program (Kidz Rock, Rising Stars, Youth Bands) and Career Exploration.

[SOON]  HEALTH: Virtual: The Players 5K , August 1 – August 31

Walk or run on your own or with a group of friends anytime between August 1 - August 31, 2020. Participants will receive an event t-shirt, lanyard and Players swag. Prizes and incentives are offered! Please list shirt size in order notes. Registration Deadline is July 15.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Weekly: Sarasota Farmers Market , August 1 – April 24, 7am-1pm

Visit the Sarasota Farmers Market in Downtown Sarasota from 7am-1pm, rain or shine. We understand the severity of COVID-19; therefore, we are instituting some guidelines for both vendors and customers to follow as you join us downtown. Customer Code of Conduct: Stay home if you are sick or have been in contact with someone who is sick, Make a shopping list before coming, Pre-order and prepay vendors online if possible, Designate one shopper per household, Leave pets at home unless it is a service animal, Wear a mask, Look with your eyes only touch what you will buy, Maintain 6 feet of space between you and any others, Shop quickly and get everything to go, No gathering keep walkways clear, Hand sanitizer available at all vendor booths and sanitizing stations. 

Downtown Sarasota, Lemon Avenue and State Street, Downtown Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: LWR Business Alliance Presents Meet the Candidates: 2020 Primary Elections , August 4 – August 11, 4pm-5pm and 4pm-5:30pm

Join us for a special virtual meet and greet with candidates running in the 2020 state and local primary elections. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Candidates on August 4: Manatee County: 4:05 - 4:20PM County Commissioner, Dist. 7 Edwin J Hunzeker (REP), 4:22 - 4:37PM County Commissioner, Dist. 7 George W Kruse (REP). Sarasota County: 4:40 - 4:55PM County Commissioner, Dist. 1 Michael A. Moran (REP). Candidates on August 6: 4:05 – 4:20 PM FL Senate, Dist. 21 Jim Boyd (REP), 4:23 – 4:38PM FL Senate, Dist. 21 John Manners Houman (REP), 4:40 - 4:55PM FL House, Dist. 72 Donna Barcomb (REP), 4:58 – 5:13PM FL House, Dist. 72 Fiona McFarland (REP), 5:15 – 5:30PM FL House, Dist. 72 Jason M. Miller (REP). Candidates on August 11: 4:05 -  4:20PM FL House, Dist. 70 Keisha Bell (DEM), 4:22 - 4:37PM FL House, Dist. 70 Michelle Grimsley (DEM), 4:39 - 4:54PM FL House, Dist. 70 Mark Oliver (DEM), and 4:56 - 5:10PM FL House, Dist. 70 Michele K. Rayner (DEM).

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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