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SRQ DAILY Aug 15, 2020

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"It has been a remarkably difficult time to be an elected official right now with the suffering and fear in the community. Now, there are important decisions ahead for the County Commission for our community's future."

- Christine Robinson, Executive Director of the Argus Foundation.

[COVID Relief]  CARES Act Funding Needs to Get Out into the Community Quickly
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Sarasota County is about to make some important and pivotal decisions on CARES Act funding. This is funding provided by the federal government, flowing through the states and then to the counties for distribution for COVID-19 relief.

The first round of this money went to counties of a population of 500,000 or higher. We are considered a smaller county and we are in the second round. Sarasota County is eligible for just over $75 million.

On July 7th, The County Commission wisely rejected, for the time being, the percentages recommended by staff on how the money should be distributed. They also wisely, temporarily accepted the buckets subject to change when they received further plans. We are grateful to the commission for not locking themselves in and giving the public the opportunity to weigh in. It was a smart decision that will help with public trust in how this money is spent.

The County Commission will begin making firmer decisions at a special meeting on Wednesday, August 19th. This meeting is crucial for our community’s recovery. Individuals, businesses, and 501 (c)(3) and 501(c)(6) non-profits have suffered for months due to the pandemic and this relief can’t come soon enough, and it will not be enough. However, it is a start and will help.

Crucial to the commission’s decision-making are basic principles that should be recognized and adopted prior to getting into the minutia or the specific recipient of the money. First, the commission should commit to getting the money spent by December 15th.

As of right now, subject to changes in the federal government, these monies have to be spent by December 30th. It is a use it or lose it situation under the current rules. The Commission needs to give a deadline in the form of an explicit motion that their clear policy is that these allocated funds be disbursed by the county by December 15th unless the federal government extends the deadline. It is an important goal to work towards and sends a message that they will expect that this money gets invested quickly.

A second basic principle is that the community- individuals, businesses, and 501 (c)(3) and 501 (c)(6) non-profits- will get these funds, and government will not be taking a substantial portion of this funding. The community has experienced drastic job loss and economic disruption. This funding is crucial to our economic recovery and every priority should be made to push these funds directly to the people who need it, and it isn’t government.

Finally, the commission should consider communities who have been disproportionately affected and have been unable to access local aid. Special considerations should be made including outreach and assistance in applications, setting aside funding for access, and also projects that will be impactful and long-lasting.

It has been a remarkably difficult time to be an elected official right now with the suffering and fear in the community. Now, there are important decisions ahead for the County Commission for our community’s future. They have the ability to begin the healing in our county by using this money wisely, listening to the community and their needs, and eliminating the barriers to access this money. We are grateful for their service and look forward to a step towards a brighter future.

Christine Robinson is the Executive Director of the Argus Foundation. 

[Gulf Coast]  The Smithsonian Comes to Town
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

If you are bored with your daily COVID-19 routine or your children need to get out from behind their computers and experience something you usually can see only in large cities, then I’ve got something that will enrich your lives during this interesting political season.

Voices and Votes: Democracy in America, a Smithsonian Institution traveling, interactive exhibit, has opened a two-month installation at the Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library. This exhibition is truly nonpartisan and tells the history of voting and democracy from our Founding Fathers to the infamous Florida 2000 election to protests you see today.

Sarasota was selected as the first of four Florida communities to host the Smithsonian exhibition. Why Sarasota as the first community? Florida Humanities leader Steve Seibert called my office at Gulf Coast Community Foundation last summer, and the deal was sealed within the first minute of our conversation. 

Voices and Votes explores the story of America’s self-governing system. Based on a major ongoing exhibition at the National Museum of American History, it also brings national ideas and ideals to Main Street, so to speak, so we can consider how they are reflected in our own local stories.

The substance of this exhibit is relevant and fascinating. Topics include the context and controversies of our democratic system’s creation. The (ongoing) struggle to ensure every American has a voice at the polls. And the pursuit of justice beyond the ballot, through means like our First Amendment right to petition our government. It truly is an ever-evolving story.

The timing of its Sarasota stopover is perfect. There’s the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. There’s also the fact that we’re in a presidential election year, with heightened interest in the purpose, means and outcomes of exercising our right to vote. Decisions upon and ahead of us, both at the polls and in our daily lives, seem to carry added weight right now.

The location is right too. The North Sarasota Library, at the junction of Newtown Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, is a perfect partner venue. Sarasota, at times, has been a microcosm of the struggles over who can vote and how we vote. The library itself is a polling place.

A couple of years ago, Gulf Coast brought constitutional law expert Noah Feldman to Sarasota. He discussed the deep roots of partisanship in our country and the ethical duty to practice civility and maintain integrity in our civic engagement. One of Feldman’s many salient points was that, even when we disagree, we ultimately must come together for any progress to occur.

“If you work well with somebody today, you’re going to work well with them tomorrow,” Feldman said. “And if you get into a brutal fight with them, you’re not going to be able to compromise on some other issue.... Politics, like life, are a repeat-play game. We go back and do it again and again. That should give us real incentives to develop a close relationship with the people we disagree with.”

The story told in Voices and Votes is one full of wonderful moments and achievements as well as enduring controversies and disagreements. It is also one of continued improvements toward a more perfect union. It’s our shared story, and it’s unfinished.

I hope you will visit the exhibit. Or join one of the many virtual programs that Florida Humanities and Sarasota County Libraries have produced to extend and enhance it. You can learn more here.

Mark S. Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. He also served as executive director of the Florida Governor’s task force on election reform after the contentious 2000 presidential election. 

[Candidate]  Joe Barbetta: I Can Deliver
Joe Barbetta

I genuinely love living in the City of Sarasota. I love the people, the Arts, the Businesses, and our wonderful quality of life. However, we can make this better. We can improve our City Government and make this City the best it can be.

How do we do that?  With leadership and improved relationships with our partners in other Governments, our Neighborhoods, and the Business Community.

I am running for Sarasota City Commission because I have a proven track record of doing just that, developing deep meaningful partnerships that translate into improved government services for the people. That is why I have the endorsements of many of the current County Commissioners, past County Commissioners, the Sheriff, a former City Mayor, a past City Manager and past City Police Chiefs. These are people who know me well because I have worked with them closely on behalf of our community. I would like nothing more than to do it again. 

Right now, we have a City Government at odds with the County and with the Community. Accountability is missing at all levels. There is no ability to focus on these important relationships to solve important issues in the City.

Case in point is our stormwater problems, coupled with infrastructure deficiencies. The County controls our stormwater within the City. If elected, I will have the ability to work with the County Administration, Commissioners and Staff, who I know, to plan to resolve the flooding and also improve our water quality, which is so important to our Community. We cannot do that with back-biting and finger-pointing and constant bickering. 

There are some candidates in this race that do not want to talk about these important quality of life issues because they cannot deliver, they are completely unprepared and clearly unfamiliar with the issues. They would much rather distract you with innuendo and false character attacks.

My campaign started late in the cycle, yet we received tremendous support for which I am both humbled and proud and this is a good time to set the record straight. Of my 151 individual contributions to date, 42% are from retirees and homemakers, 37% from hard-working every day non-development related business owners and executives in the region. The remaining 21% comes from Real Estate Agents and Brokers, Property Managers, Architects, Land Planning and Legal Professionals, Construction Professionals and yes, Developers, seven of them to be exact. These are the people who either build or sell the very buildings in which you live, work, dine and shop.  

I urge you to take advantage of the excellent webpage the City Auditor & Clerk created specifically so citizens may see for themselves who are the people contributing to campaigns. 

After completing my second term on the County Commission, I began work as a Business, Legal and Not-For-Profit Consultant, which means I understand well what these folks are facing. This is an asset to providing a more responsive Government. We must get our City on the road to economic recovery.

I am particularly proud of my work with the County on the Community Park/Rowing facility and the Foundation supporting the facility. This regional attraction supports our tourism industry and our Community as a Regional Park and is a jewel in the County's incredible Park System. The Foundation has helped to bring improvements to the County-owned Park, and I am honored to have been a part of that. Thousands of families experienced what Sarasota has to offer because of the work on this Park.

I have lived in this community for over 37 years, the last 20 in the City of Sarasota. I have over 22 years in public service, 14 as a volunteer, unpaid Sarasota County Planning Commissioner and 8 years as a twice-elected Sarasota County Commissioner. Many of you know me, and you know I can deliver. 

Joe Barbetta is a candidate for Sarasota City Commission, District 2.


[Candidate]  Martin Hyde: City Finances Are In Disarray
Martin Hyde

I’m running because our City is not for sale to Developer interests or at least I don’t think it should be. A cursory glance at the Campaign finance reports of Liz Alpert and Joe Barbetta will show who is backed by local property development interests and who is not. It’s reasonable to assume the developers are investing in the hope of favorable decisions from their candidates. 

There’s a reason why neither I or my other fellow candidates took money from developers, which is that none of us want the taint that special interest money brings.

Apart from my real concern that some candidates will allow our beautiful city to be concreted over by greedy developers, I also have several issues that I think need my voice.

The first is the proposed revisionist history move concerning the statue of Unconditional Surrender which I’m vehemently opposed to. The second is the City manager who is massively overpaid at $221,000 a year and who’s overstepped his authority on many occasions so I’d want him dismissed immediately. The third is our city finances which are in disarray and I know how to fix that by cutting waste at City Hall including the aforementioned crazy salary to the city manager.

Finally, I want to bring about a change from a strong unaccountable unelected manager to a strong accountable elected Mayor for which we need a city wide referendum.

I’ve spoken at city hall over 250 times in the last 4 years and I’m asking that you give me the opportunity to be your voice on the other side of the Dais after this election .

Martin Hyde is a candidate for Sarasota City Commission, District 2. 

[Candidate]  Jerry Wells: People Deserve Fresh Ideas
Jerry Wells

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

I want to thank everyone for the tremendous support you have given my family throughout this election cycle. I especially want to thank my opponents, you all made this very interesting and fun. Win, lose or draw I put myself out there and I am a better stronger person for it.

This election is about much needed change, about bringing our community’s voice to City Hall. We the people deserve to have fresh new ideas. We the people can’t settle for the same recycled career politicians any longer. We need change and I am that change, I am the fresh new face of politics. I am the candidate that will be your voice. I am calm, rational and I have integrity.

I hope I have earned not only your trust but I have earned your vote. When you elect me you get a family man that cares, whose family has lived in this city for decades. I will bring a strong and a much needed business skill set to the commission. My real world experience of being a master negotiator with a keen understanding of the markets sets me far and away from the others. I am the only candidate with real life experience in the renewable energy markets, having developed solar and wind farms. I am the candidate who can and will improve our environment and keep our water clean.

I was a member of three exchanges. I have been fully vetted by both the State and Federal Government. I held three of the hardest licenses to get in New York. I had the Commodity Future Trading Commission approval to floor trade; a NY State liquor license; and a full carry gun permit in New York.  

I am the candidate who is the son of a police officer. I am your law and order candidate. I will never let our police department get defunded. I know how important it is for our streets to be safe and free of crime.

I am the candidate who is not afraid to say I believe in God and I love my Country.

If you vote for me, you can rest assured I will work hard for you. I will stand strong and proud and be your voice. I will listen and never be afraid to move my position if you present a fair and strong argument of why I should. I will encourage all of you to participate in meaningful discussions as situations arise. I built a career on getting deals done where everyone is a winner. This is all about getting the job done. I will get the job done for you.

Again, I want thank all of you for this tremendous opportunity to serve our community. Now, get out and Vote on August 18th…and Vote JERRY WELLS!

Jerry Wells is a candidate for Sarasota City Commission, District 2. 

[Candidate]  Liz Alpert: City Is At A Crossroads
Liz Alpert

A vision for the future! That’s what’s at stake in this election.

I love this City and it has been my honor to serve on the Sarasota City Commission for the past five years. I am running to continue serving because I believe that the City is at a crossroads where we either move forward with the progress we have made, or we halt our progress and go back to old ways of thinking.

Some of the accomplishments of which I am most proud are supporting a Housing First initiative which has helped lower the number of homeless on our streets by 60%. Adoption of a “Ready for 100” sustainability plan to have city facilities using all renewable energy by 2030 and city wide by 2045. Adoption of a climate adaption plan to deal with sea level rise. A plan for the Bobby Jones Golf property, which will restore the historic course and create a new 86-acre park and place the property with the Conservation Foundation to maintain it as a green space forever. The Bay Project on our bayfront is moving forward with the approval of Phase 1.

We are working on a modern multi-modal transportation plan to ease congestion and make our community even more walkable and bike friendly. I want to make sure that we do everything possible to maintain our cultural and historic assets, especially the Orchestra and Selby Gardens that need to be able to accommodate their growth or they will find a new venue outside of the City. In listening to my opponents in the various forums we have participated in, it has become clear to me that if one of them is elected, this progress would be stopped.

It takes vision to see how things benefit our community and add to the richness of our lives in Sarasota. It will take vision to bring back the vitality to our community that has suffered and is still suffering from the pandemic. My opponents just want to complain and haven’t offered a vision of their own. It also takes vision and courage to stand up to special interests. I have proven that I have the ability to do that. It is not easy to vote for something when there is a room full of people in opposition. However, I have not been afraid to do that when necessary to achieve a broader community goal. I even had the courage to vote for a citywide mask mandate.

My vision is why I have been endorsed by Ruth’s List, Equality Florida Action PAC, the Retired City Firefighters Association, and recommended by Progressive Sarasota, as well as theSarasota-Charlotte Democratic Progressive Caucus.In addition, I am endorsed by Sean Sellers and Lynn Nilssen, the co-organizers of Sarasota Ready for 100, Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning Roger J. Barry, School Board Member Shirley Brown, and former City Commissioner and Vice-Mayor Ken Shelin, who stated, “Liz has consistently demonstrated a high sensitivity and concern for projects and ideas which will help the City of Sarasota meet its future needs. We need her vision.” In order to make this vision happen, I am asking for your vote. Thank you.

Liz Alpert is a candidate for Sarasota City Commission, District 2. 

[Candidate]  Dan Clermont: We Need Energy Back In City
Dan Clermont

My name is Dan Clermont and I am an enthusiastic candidate for the Sarasota City Commission, District 3.

My wife Yvette and I have 5 grown children and absolutely love Sarasota. I’m running for City Commission because District 3 deserves a Commissioner who will finally address the long-standing issues in our neighborhoods, and most importantly, a Commissioner that will not take our economic challenges lying down. Our working families depend on our local economy persevering and I am up to the challenge.

Once safe, we need leaders that want to bring excitement and energy back to our great city. The dour cloud of obstruction over City Hall has no place in a community struggling to recover. One day, hopefully soon, this pandemic will be behind us and we need to be ready. In doing so we’ll be taking this downturn head-on and in doing so we will leave our community and residents well positioned for continued prosperity.

Three areas to to start:

One. We have to support and address key issues with our cultural assets so that on the other side of this we still recognize what we’ve always been. Whether it’s the Sarasota Orchestra, Selby Gardens or the next generation of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, we need to be proactive in finding solutions that work, so they don’t go the way of Mote Marine or the Players Theater — right out of town. The arts and cultural institutions are one of the largest employers in the City, not to mention the ancillary small businesses their patrons support. They make us unique to every other beachside town in Florida and we must do better by them.

Two. Turn past consultants and their studies into action. If you don’t put a plan into action it just collects dust. Common sense capital improvements and infrastructure projects will improve traffic congestion and transportation but the time to act is now. We have the County’s Legacy Trail soon coming right through District 3 and we need to make sure each neighborhood has connectivity and access.

Three. We have got to upgrade our parks. From Arlington to Payne to Bobby Jones we need to upgrade and repair these public parks to maximize use for our residents.

Sure, we have to tighten our belts to find the money to weather this storm and pay for some of these improvements, but I am not running to keep gathering clouds and let our community assets further degrade. I’m running to improve our quality of life, foster activity, excitement and sense of community again. I’m running to discuss what we CAN do, not what we can’t.

Looking back I want Sarasota to be seen as a shining example of fiscal responsibility and economic activity in the face of hardship and challenge. A community that protected its environment and assets and one that aggressively helped our businesses and citizens persevere and rebound from the great pandemic of 2020. In sum, I hope to earn your vote for Sarasota City Commission, District 3.

Dan Clermont is a candidate for Sarasota City Commission, District 3. 

[Candidate]  Rob Grant: Don't Reduce Voice Of The People
Rob Grant

District 3 in the City of Sarasota comprises diverse neighborhoods stretching from Arlington Park on the south to Bobby Jones Golf Club on the north with unique challenges requiring thoughtful and committed leadership. Unfortunately, in talking with residents, there are feelings that we are a totally ignored district, deadened with complacency and should leave well enough alone. My goal as City Commissioner is to restore the power vested in the people through the City Charter and other guiding documents such as the Comprehensive Plan.

Sarasota is at an inflection point, and with recent events in our country I am concerned that the voice of those already underserved will be lost and silenced. While District 3 is primarily working-class families and retirees on fixed incomes, our proximity to downtown is enticing to developers and speculators with plans that will cost us our character and affordability. Much of the vacant land that is available for development in the City is in District 3, and I will make sure the voice of the people is heard as decisions are made about future growth, as these decisions affect everything from housing costs, job opportunities, transportation and traffic.

With so much in Sarasota out of the financial reach of many residents, we very much need a District 3 commissioner who will keep us from being priced and built out of our neighborhoods. We need a planning and development process that includes public input so residents can take ownership of their built environment. That process should include a plan to create meaningful affordable housing, starting with a clear definition of the meaning of affordable. Reforming a dysfunctional development process will lead to the predictability wanted by businesses, residents and arts and cultural organizations.

A unified City Commission able to work together and collaborate on these complex issues will be vital to the future of Sarasota. Policy decisions and directives to the city administration need to be clear, concise and include provisions for measuring success. Most importantly, the City Commission will be responsible for protecting the inclusive culture nurtured throughout Sarasota’s history. One tenet central to that culture is responsible behavior made up of five essential elements: honesty, respect, fairness, courage and accountability. With a strong City Commission there is no need for a strong Mayor.

As I see it, moving to a strong Mayor, versus the current Commission-Manager structure, would dramatically reduce the voice of the people. Now, each voter has three votes in decisions: the two at large Commissioners and the Commissioner representing their district. The power is vested in the people to make decisions via their representatives, more of a bottom up approach.

With a strong Mayor, decisions by the Commissioners could be vetoed by one person. That concerns me given the way we have seen how the top down type of government has worked at other levels. By that, I mean that elections for a strong Mayor could bring partisan politics to City Hall, and that is contrary to the culture of Sarasota.

Rob Grant is a candidate for Sarasota City Commission, District 3. 

[In This Issue]  Mom's World Mid-Pandemic

Five local mother's celebrate Mother's Day during the pandemic.  

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

[Schools]  Manatee School Board Revises Policy Relates to Face Masks

The School Board of Manatee County held an Emergency Board Meeting this afternoon to discuss revisions to Policy 8450 - Control of Casual-contact Communicable Diseases. In addition to other provisions, Policy 8450 deals with wearing face masks at schools, on school buses and at other district facilities.

On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, the School Board approved a version of Policy 8450 mandating that all employees, visitors and students wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth while on school property, facilities, transportation vehicle, including school buses and/or engaged in school activities. The Emergency Board Meeting was called to discuss possible revisions to the version of Policy 8450 passed on Tuesday.

The revisions passed by the School Board today, along with Operating Protocols to Board Policy 8450, more closely align the policy with current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They also make certain allowances to students and employees when it comes to the face mask mandate, such as:

Students who need a break from their face mask, may do so with teacher permission provided social distancing can be maintained under specific outdoor circumstance (not indoor).

No face covering is required during physical education classes, recess, or other outdoor activities as long as social distancing practices are in place. Students must wear cloth face masks to and from physical education class and to and from the recess location or activity.

Face shields that completely cover the face, wrap around the face and extend below the chin, will be allowed to be worn by students in Grades PreK-5 and students with disabilities only in the classroom during specific instructional periods as long as either social distancing practices are in place and/or physical barriers of separation are in place between students. A cloth face mask must be worn during all other times and locations. Face shields are not substitutes for cloth face masks nor are being used for normal everyday activities and only allowed in this narrow use.

Employees who need a break from wearing their face mask while on school property, may do so if alone in their own office or classroom or outdoors maintaining social distancing. An employee may not utilize common space, for example a conference room, break room, stairwell or any unoccupied location for a mask break. A cloth face mask must be worn during all other times and locations.

In addition, the protocols recognize the CDC guidance that “wearing face masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. In some situations, wearing a face mask may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency, or introduce significant safety concerns. Adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a face mask or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one.”

The revised version of Policy 8450 passed today is attached in full to this email, along with the complete Operating Protocols to Board Policy 8450. 

[Crisis Support]  Manatee County to Open Second Round of CARES Act Funding for Nonprofits

A second round of Manatee CARES Act funding assistance with expanded eligibility will make grants available for even more local nonprofit agencies and community organizations that are providing assistance and services to the public during the pandemic. Applications for the second round open Tuesday, Aug. 18 and will remain open until 500 applications are received. In an effort to allow even more local agencies to apply, Manatee County officials have updated eligibility requirements. Under the expanded eligibility, the following types of agencies can now apply for funding:

— 501(c)(6) nonprofits
— Home-based 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) nonprofits
— Nonprofits with an office located in a County adjacent to Manatee County (as long as the agency serves Manatee County residents)
Virtual Information Session

County leaders will go over the new funding application requirements and walk through the application process during a virtual information session Tuesday at 10am. Manatee County Commissioners in June approved the plan to provide financial assistance of $17.5 million that is being disbursed to those hit hardest by the coronavirus. The funding is the first phase of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal funding arriving through the State of Florida. Manatee County's plan distributes funding into four categories: Public Health/Safety (30 percent), Economic Recovery (30 percent), Community Health and Wellbeing (30 percent), and Government and Community Facilities (10 percent). 

Click for information on how to attend the meeting.

[Safety]  Sarasota Citywide Public Health Emergency Extended

The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through Aug. 21 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 permits the Newtown Farmers Market to reopen Friday, Aug. 21, and Saturday, Aug. 22, as well as each Friday and Saturday thereafter, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines will be followed, and all patrons, vendors and other attendees must wear face coverings.

The market is held at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 2523 Cocoanut Ave.

Friday’s emergency order also authorizes the City’s Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection Board to meet virtually at 5 p.m. Aug. 20. Future meetings may be conducted as provided by subsequent emergency orders.

Face coverings are now required in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in the City limits, whenever proper social distancing cannot be maintained in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The temporary regulation, which took effect July 1, will be in place for 60 days.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the face mask requirement is available at www.SarasotaFL.gov. For questions, comments or code compliance concerns regarding masks, email mandatory.mask@sarasotaFL.gov. Do not call 911 or law enforcement dispatch. City code compliance staff will initially enforce the ordinance and issue civil citations only when necessary, with a primary focus on education and encouragement.

The City has distributed more than 40,000 complimentary paper and cloth face masks to residents, visitors and businesses, with more available. If you or someone you know needs a free mask, emailmandatory.mask@sarasotaFL.gov.

City buildings are open to the public by appointment only, and City business can be conducted either online via www.SarasotaFL.gov or by phone at 941-263-6000. 

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Try Your Hand at Poetry: A Zoom Workshop , July 28 – August 18, 6pm-8pm

Join us for Try Your Hand at Poetry led by Georgia Court. There will be four Zoom sessions: Tuesdays at 6pm: August 4, August 11, August 18. Have you always wanted to write poetry, but thought the genre was just too difficult? This is your chance to give it a try using Ted Kooser's The Poetry Home Repair Manual as a guide. A fee of $30 is required for participation. This includes a copy of The Poetry Home Repair Manual and all four sessions. The book can be picked up curbside (We will send you an email when the book is ready for pickup) or you can have it shipped to you via email. This Zoom workshop is limited to 12 participants. If the workshop is full and you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email georgia@sarasotabooks.com. Complete the registration and we will get you the book with plenty of time before the first meeting. The Zoom link will be sent one day prior to the book club meeting. Ted Kooser is a former US Poet Laureate and, as a human being, as humorous and folksy as anyone I have ever meant. His personality shines through this book and makes all of us feel like we could actually be poets. We'll write our own poems based on his advice and share them with others in the club. This is the perfect place for absolute beginners and for more experienced poets who just want to have a good time with poetry. Oh, and as an added bonus, we'll be joined from time to time by two experienced and well-published poets: Phil Terman and Rick Hilles.

[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]  GRAB BAG: Online: Florida Studio Theatre Presents Women Unite: A Centennial Celebration , August 20, 5:30pm

Florida Studio Theatre is proud to present The Suffragist Project, an artistic celebration of the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (August 20, 2020), the woman’s right to vote. Bringing together over 55 organizations, this bi-county artistic commemoration will feature plays, dance performances, art exhibits, lectures, panel discussions, and in-school educational offerings, all in recognition of this monumental milestone. Opening remarks given by Mayor of the City of Sarasota, Jen Ahearn-Koch. Featuring special performances of speeches given by famous suffragists, presented by artists from across the country. Get a sneak peek of a new documentary about FST’s Suffragist Project co-produced by BTW Films and METV.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Center Sarasota Presents The Big Show National Juried Exhibition , August 6 – August 21, Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 12pm-4pm

Art Center Sarasota invited contemporary artists from across the nation to submit work for Sarasota's premier open, all media, all subjects national juried exhibition. Visitors will have an opportunity to see diverse artistic mediums and talent both locally and nationally. First Place: Human Briar by Art Venti, Second Place: Little Blue by Richard Lamson, Third Place: Feeling Marginalized at 65 Karen Smith-Lovejoy, Merit Awards: Open Up a Box of Secrets... by Rebecca Quigley and When Cows Fly by Jillian Vida Nova, Special Award: Cold Spring House by Maeve McCool and Honorable Mention: Cape Florida Lighthouse by Miriam Esteve.

Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Online: A Killer Party - A Murder Mystery Digital Musical Series , August 5 – August 19, 10am

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall invites you to join A Killer Party - A Murder Mystery Musical - a brand-new musical starring Broadway theater favorites Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl, Bonnie & Clyde), Laura Osnes (Tony® nominee, Cinderella, Grease), Alex Newell (Glee, Once on This Island), Carolee Carmello (Tony® nominee, Scandalous, Parade), Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Drew Gehling (Waitress), Jarrod Spector (The Cher Show, Beautiful, Jersey Boys), Jessica Keenan Wynn (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Heathers), Michael James Scott (Aladdin, The Book of Mormon), Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls) and Jackie Burns (Wicked, If/Then). The entire 9-part musical series can be purchased for the single price of $12.99 through this link. You will receive the full 85-minute filmed episodic musical, plus bonus behind-the-scenes footage including cut material and more. A Killer Party will be available for streaming beginning August 5 at 10am ET and will be released three episodes at a time: Episodes 4-6 debut on August 12 and episodes 7-9 debut on August 19. A collaboration between more than 50 Broadway professionals all working together remotely, A Killer Party is not only a new musical, but represents a new type of musical. With a purchase of the series, you support these artists “on stage” and behind-the-scenes, while they provide laughter and levity during this time of new ways to create and support art. A portion of your purchase price will also support the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. When Varthur McArthur, the artistic director of a failing theater in Duluth, invites his troupe of disgruntled actors and collaborators to the first read of an “immersive murder mystery dinner party,” no one knew that he would be the victim. Or did they? Enter eager, determined, and untested Detective Case. After sequestering the guests into separate rooms (because, you know, social-distancing), she gets down to finding out whodunnit, uncovering secret affairs, life-long grudges, backstage drama and a lot of musical theater song and dance. This hilarious and irreverent send-up of the classic Murder Mystery features an all-star creative team that includes Jason Howland (Little Women, Music), Nathan Tysen (Amelie, Lyrics), Kait Kerrigan (Book), Marc Bruni (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Direction), Bobby Pearce (Taboo, Costume Design), Billy Jay Stein (Grammy® winner, Music Producer) and HMS Media (Video Post-Production).

[SOON]  GALA: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Sarasota Kickoff Celebration , August 27, 6pm

Let's get together and celebrate Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Sarasota. Kickoff Celebration and Real Men Wear Pink Reveal. Check-in begins at 5:30pm. Light Hors d’oeuvres & Cocktails. Complimentary Valet Parking. RSVP by Monday, August 24, 2020.

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  BUSINESS: 2020 Small Business Awards , August 28, 11:30am-1:15pm

In its 30th year, the Frank G. Berlin Sr. Foundation Small Business Awards recognizes member businesses with locally owned and operated businesses in seven (new) categories. Named in honor of the late Frank G. Berlin, Sr., whose legacy in the community and untiring support of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce epitomized the hopes and dreams of contemporary business entrepreneurs. We thank the Berlin Foundation for lending his name and financial support to our Small Business Awards program. New Categories for Recognition: Small business (1-25 employees); Medium business (25-150 employees); Large business (150+ employees); Work Force Innovation; Community Impact; Rising Star (within the first 3 years in business); Non-profit Organization.

Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Sarasota Bradenton Fall Home Show , September 11 – September 13, 10am-7pm and 10am-6pm

At the Home Show, our goal is simple: to inspire, motivate and excite you for your upcoming home improvement - whether it's a minor renovation or a major remodel. Our events feature a wide selection of home improvement professionals in a fun, interactive environment. After meeting with and comparing our expert exhibitors, we know you'll be inspired and motivated to start planning with confidence. More importantly, we want you to be excited for all the fantastic possibilities that come with your project. When it's all said and done and you're ready to celebrate your home, we'll do a little celebrating ourselves, knowing we had some part in it.

Robarts Arena at the Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34237

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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