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SRQ DAILY Oct 17, 2020

"The potential positive impact for families, businesses, and nonprofits that have suffered is immense."

- Mark Pritchett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[Argus]  Ballot Amendment 2 Hurts You
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

On your ballot is a state constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Argus Foundation strongly urges you to vote no and support our local seniors, families and small businesses.

This was placed on the ballot by wealthy personal injury attorney John Morgan, who has turned ballot initiatives into giant commercials for his law firm. His investment into this initiative reaps incredible advertising benefits for his firm in earned media and he uses it continually in paid promotions of his firm.

But what will his advertising investment cost us? A lot. You only need to look at the warning language with the question on the ballot yourself:

“This proposed constitutional amendment is estimated to have a net negative impact on the state budget. This impact may result in higher taxes or a loss of government services in order to maintain a balanced state budget as required by the constitution.”

Let that sink in, this proposal will result in those receiving a wage increase either losing services or paying more in taxes.

For those seniors on fixed incomes who are not going to receive a raise in income, you too will have to pay more to government or lose services as a result of this amendment. On top of that, you will also be paying more at the cash register to make up for the costs to business. The promoters of Amendment 2 even admit that prices will increase if this amendment passes. There is no way small business can absorb this.

The impact to families is negative as well. It will have a significant impact on childcare, which is already very expensive. In Seattle, a 2018 study by the Social Work and Society International Online Journal, found the Seattle minimum wage ordinance had a profound impact on daycares, “Providers’ most commonly responded to higher labor costs by raising tuition and reducing staff hours or headcount— strategies that may negatively impact low-income families and staff.”

For small business owners, the lifeblood of Sarasota County, many are facing the most challenging time of their lives with government-forced business closures and limitations due to COVID-19. Many businesses have closed. Many are barely hanging on, and many of those hanging on will close if this ballot amendment passes. It will be the final nail in the coffin for them. With closed businesses come layoffs, which leads to a worsening economy for everyone.

This is not the time to place more financial burdens on seniors, families and small businesses. Vote No on 2 because it will hurt your neighbors, and it will hurt you too. 

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

For more information go to: Amendment2hurtsyou.com

[Higher Education]  SCF Rapid Credentials Create Return to Workforce
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

Florida is opening up and progressing in its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but numerous sectors remain deeply impacted and community members unemployed. To get back to work, many Floridians need to re-skill or up-skill into new professions that will provide them economic security.

The unemployment rates in Manatee and Sarasota Counties are declining, but quantities of workers remain furloughed or unemployed. Others are underemployed or in sectors that remain vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic. At the same time, other local industries are growing and seeking trained employees.

The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, has traditionally offered short-term workforce certification and workforce training programs that will prepare those displaced from the workforce for high-skill, high-wage jobs in our community. We partner with local industry to ensure our programs meet their needs and effectively prepare students for their workforce.

To meet the increased need to quickly re-skill workers SCF recently announced the launch of the “Get Credentialed, Get Noticed!” initiative and its award of $496,346 as part of the Florida Department of Education’s Rapid Credentialing Economic Recovery & Prosperity Initiative. These funds were made available through the Governor Emergency Education Relief Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. This funding will allow SCF to increase capacity in its rapid-credentialing programs and develop new programs that address specific employee and local workforce needs and includes scholarships of up to $1,000 for 150 students. The program will focus on participants who are either furloughed, unemployed or employed but at risk of losing their job due to automation or disruption of the local economy due to COVID-19. 

SCF’s 16 high-skill, high-wage certificate programs include information technology skills, business operations and entrepreneurship, engineering technology and lean manufacturing, among others.  For more information, visit Programs.SCF.edu/Get Noticed or contact Workforce Education Outreach Specialist, Jennifer Boris, by emailing borisj@SCF.edu, calling 941-363-7200. SCF is offering these courses through face-to-face on-campus courses and online, including our new innovative Go Live with SCF Online program.

SCF will partner with Career Source Suncoast to identify candidates for the rapid credentialing programs and Career Source will provide career services, such as personalized career coaching, essential skills training, screening for other available programs, and placement assistance.

We saw in the recovery from the Great Recession that many types of jobs that were lost did not come back, while others emerged that required new skills but did not require a bachelor’s or advanced degree. This pandemic is also altering how we work, where we work and how we receive and provide services. SCF’s rapid credentialing programs are ideal for providing short-term programs that quickly prepare a student to enter or reenter the workforce. After getting a job, workers can return to SCF for additional certifications that expand their skillset and can eventually add up to a workforce two-year or four-year degree.

The CARES Act grant from the state is critical to providing an increased capacity for rapid credentialing that result in returning our community members to the workforce in a better position than when they left. We hope to build on this momentum and continue at an expanded capacity by requesting a similar amount of funding in the 2021 state budget.

Our philosophy is as simple as A-B-C. First we want you to get “A” job. Then you can return to SCF, earn more certifications and get a “B”etter job. After that, we can help you complete the education and training you need to establish a “C”areer.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

[Gulf Coast]  Act Now for CARES Act Relief
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

I won’t bury the primary message of this column. Here it is head on:

If you, your business or your nonprofit organization has suffered financially from the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for federal relief money being distributed through Sarasota County.

But if you don’t complete an application soon, you won’t receive any of these funds.

The potential sum available to our county is significant—nearly $76 million.

But if the money isn’t distributed on some very tight timelines, our community won’t get the full amount we’re due.

If you think you may be eligible for assistance, feel free to stop reading here and go straight to scgov.net/CARES to learn more and consider applying.

If you’re still with me, here’s some background and context.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act is a $2-trillion economic relief package—the largest federal stimulus ever—designed to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19. Sarasota County is eligible to potentially receive up to $75.7 million in aid.

Our county government has allocated up to $16 million of this potential funding for assistance to individuals and up to $34 million for small businesses and nonprofits. Households can qualify for up to $5,000 in aid. Business reimbursements for coronavirus-caused losses must be under $50,000. Approved funds are distributed through grants that require no repayment.

You may have heard about—or even experienced—challenges with the initial application process and qualification requirements. As with many multilayered, bureaucratic programs, much was learned upon first implementation. The county has made continued improvements to its Sarasota County CARES program to better meet the needs of those who need this relief.

A collaboration of community organizations has helped guide this responsiveness. My Gulf Coast colleague Jon Thaxton has worked closely with leaders from the Argus Foundation, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, local arts organizations, and others to raise a unified voice for the community in this process. Christine Robinson of Argus and Paul Caragiulo of the Chamber, in particular, have been courageous advocates for the aid being distributed fairly and quickly, without red tape. 

As they have urged from the outset, our community’s COVID-19 relief funds should be prioritized to support the families and individuals who have suffered the greatest impact from the pandemic, the businesses that employ them and the nonprofits that support them.

If you tried applying already but gave up on the process, please consider trying again. The county has created a variety of resources—video guides, text alerts, a dedicated call center—to help you. Residents applying for relief also can get in-person help at several local libraries. Businesses can access remote support from business-assistance partners like Visit Sarasota County and the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce.

The nearly $76 million available to our community is significant. It’s roughly 25% of Sarasota County’s annual general fund. And about 17 times what the county spends on contracted human services in a year. The potential positive impact for families, businesses and nonprofits that have suffered is immense.

But the county must distribute the first quarter of available funds—$18.9 million—before it can tap more. And all funds must be disbursed by year end at this point. As I write this, the county’s dashboard shows about $10 million approved and $6 million paid so far, though those totals have been climbing daily. Help is available, but time is running out to accept it.

Mark S. Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[Candidate]  We Need Serious Solutions For Protecting Water
Robert Samuel Kaplan

I want to thank you for the opportunity to hear my views about Lake Okeechobee and water quality for the state of Florida after Joe Gruters and Katherine Norman had their chance to give their views.

Back in 2014 I ran for Florida State Representative, and water quality for the state of Florida was the main issue.

Just to refresh everyone’s memory about water quality, the Florida House moved the waters in the Everglades first before it passed in the Senate. This is when the debacle of red tide algae blooms affected not only the Gulf of Mexico for District 23, but for the whole state of Florida. Because of this, the sugar cane crops at the Florida Keys were destroyed and we, the people, are still paying taxes for the cleanup. This caused Lake Okeechobee’s Dam to have green algae turmoil pumping out of the dam, which caused the debacle to look like green split— pea soup, having a reverse osmosis debacle from the Gulf of Mexico via the Lake Okeechobee Dam. Back in 2014 I told state legislature to fix the Dam first. Nothing was done for three years and monies started to funnel to fix the Dam via Federal Government. Now, your state senator is trying to fine polluters causing raw sewage spills for the state of Florida.

My question is: Do Florida taxpayers have to pay taxes for the polluters making matters worse? Also, I want to know where the monies are, for example , quotation ’a two-dollar fee and a slap on the wrist.’  I am concerned when we have a Hurricane like Hurricane Delta that hit Lake Charles, the same debacle could happen for the state of Florida. The people, for the state of Florida, deserve an answer about high sea levels that will expose Lake Okeechobee when the Army of Engineers start releasing the waters out of the Dam. Because of this situation, small businesses and all people’s health will be in danger. If we do not have homeostasis because of water quality and COVID-19, I fear our water quality will be in serious danger. Florida needs more help to fix this situation.

Robert Samuel Kaplan is a candidate for State Senate District 23 running without party affiliation. 

[SOON]  MUSIC: HD at the Opera House , October 4 – October 18

Sarasota Opera opened the 2020 season of “HD at the Opera House” with Carmen from the Zürich Opera House on Sunday, October 4th. The presentations will continue on October 18th with Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet from Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and on November 1st with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly from Teatro Real in Madrid. Each presentation will begin at 1:30pm. More titles may be added to the schedule in coming weeks. Tickets to “HD at the Opera House” are $20 for single ticket buyers and $18 for current Sarasota Opera subscribers. All seating will be reserved and distanced for safety. Ticket buyers are encouraged to purchase tickets before arriving at the theater. Information and tickets can be found online at SarasotaOpera.org or by calling (941) 328-1300. Sarasota Opera subscribers who wish to receive the 10% discount of HD at the Opera House tickets must contact the Sarasota Opera box office directly.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Online Learning Labs: Mote Marine High School Program , October 7 – December 2

Mote’s Learning Labs are a series of virtual, interactive college and career preparatory labs that will provide students the opportunity to develop and hone professional skills for future STEM careers. Participants will gain basic knowledge in marine science concepts and experience in lab/field work. Additionally, marine science professionals will introduce participants to a variety of career opportunities and conduct career explorations. The intention of this program is to offer participants a head start toward their future goals in STEM and advance the next generation of STEM professionals. Learning Labs take place monthly on Wednesdays from 5pm to 8pm, via secure Zoom webinar. Registration for each Learning Lab is $10 and covers all necessary materials for your session.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Under the Stars with Jennifer Kreider , October 26, 5:30pm

Jennifer and Austin delighted judges and audience members alike at Artist Series Concerts’ 2016 National Voice Competition, where they took first and second place respectively. Fast-forward to 2020 and the duo, each now pursuing a busy music career, returns to Sarasota to perform together for the organization’s 25th season. Soprano Jennifer Kreider is pursuing a performer’s diploma under the guidance of Jane Dutton at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Her past roles include Musetta (La Bohème), Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel), Linfea (La Calisto) and many others. She has been a young artist at Opera in the Ozarks, the CoOPERAtive Program in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Franz Schubert Institute in Baden bei Wien, Austria. A native of Brandon, Florida, tenor Austin Cripe is currently pursuing his master’s degree at Florida State University. He has performed with Florida State Opera in the roles of Gastone in La Traviata, King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the title role in Candide and others. He has also performed with Red River Lyric Opera, the Savannah Voice Festival and Opera Tampa. The trio performs works by Brahms, Donizetti, Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern and more. With Austin Cripe, tenor; and Joseph Holt, piano

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Out Of The Blue 2020 Fundraising Event , October 29, 6:30pm-8pm

Welcome to Out of the Blue 2020 – a unique Live Online Event and Costume Contest supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Throughout the month of October, you will have the opportunity to enter a picture of your best “BLUE” costume. On October 29th from 6:30-8:00 pm, NAMI will host a Live Online Zoom event emceed by entertainer Jonathan Cortez and featuring local artists and talent all in support of NAMI. Our evening will wrap up by announcing the Costume Contest winners with a “Best in Blue” winner in each category. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to have fun creating a “Bluetiful” costume along with an enjoyable – and safe – evening of entertainment.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: 2020 AIA Gulf Coast Sarasota Design Conference , October 29 – November 1

For over three decades, AIA Florida Gulf Coast Chapter has hosted the Sarasota Design Conference, a unique event in a unique city. The Conference aims to be motivational for both attendees and speakers and has created a history of featuring design-innovative speakers both established and up-and-coming who are able to interact with their attendees in a casual setting that encourages dialog and learning. This biennial event is well attended by industry professionals, primarily architects in the Florida Caribbean region. Registration for virtual attendance is open now through October 25, 2020

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Author Virtual Events at Bookstore1Sarasota , November 1 – November 30

The Downtown Sarasota local book shop, Bookstore1 is now open for browsing with masks and gloves and payment by credit card only from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. Side-door pick is also still available. Upcoming Virtual Book Clubs will also continue to be held throughout October 2020 and throughout November, 2020. All book clubs presented via Zoom, registration is required. Ticket purchase required for Zoom link. Please feel free to contact Andrea Ginsky, Web Editor/Public Relations, if you have any questions. For the featured authors and books for each meeting, visit the link below.

Bookstore1 Sarasota

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: SarasotaMOD Weekend , November 6 – November 8
Please join in celebrating the architectural legacy of Carl Abbott FAIA at this year's SarasotaMOD.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Online: Live from the Sarasota Opera House , November 13, 7:30pm

Sarasota Opera's first live-streamed performance will take place on Friday, November 13 at 7:30 PM at the Sarasota Opera House, featuring favorite opera selections by Verdi, Rossini, Puccini, Wagner, and Mozart, accompanied by piano. A limited number of tickets will be available for an in-person, distanced audience at $25-45. Tickets for the live stream are $10. The live stream will be available for viewing for two weeks.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: SCD + Piazzolla Collaboration with Ann Pilot , November 19 – November 22, 7:30pm except Sunday 2:00pm

Back by popular demand, SCD continues to bring their collaborations to a nuevo level with renowned harpist, Ann Hobson Pilot. This performance is originally choreographed by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, inspired by la música of Astor Pantaleon Piazzolla. Pilot’s arrangement for the harp, violin, and bandoneon, inspired by Piazzola’s compositions, infuses the composer’s melodías into a contemporary mix of música de tango with jazz and classical influences. Through an invigorating visual and emotional experience, SCD brings a passionate and poignant performance to the Historic Asolo Theater with Piazzolla from November 19, 2020 until November 22, 2020. Performances at 7:30pm, except Sunday at 2pm.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Selby: Sarasota Opera at the Gardens , November 19, 5:30pm

Two outdoor concerts featuring songs celebrating nature and accompanied by piano will take place on Tuesday, November 17 at 5:30pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota and on Thursday, November 19 at 5:30pm at Historic Spanish Point. The musical program will be identical at both garden locations. Attendance at each concert will be limited to 100 people, with tickets at $35.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Art Lecture Series with Baila Miller: Photographer Francesca Woodman Lived 22 Years , November 17, 1pm-2:30pm

Join Historic Spanish Point for incredible stories on the artists that shaped and influenced history around the world. We are proud to offer this art lecture series with Baila Miller as part of our monthly programming. Baila’s unique storytelling presentations will connect you to the art world in a whole new way. All presentations take place at Historic Spanish Point’s Visitor Center Classrooms. Tickets: $15 for Historic Spanish Point members and $20 for future members.

[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]  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]  PERFORMANCE: Ballet Film - Sleeping Beauty , October 18, 1:30pm

This sumptuous ballet, choreographed by the great Rudolph Nureyev, returns to the stage with magnificent sets created by Oscar winner Franca Squarciapino, and Felix Korobov conducting the extraordinary score by Tchaikovsky. International superstar Polina Semionova stars as the lovely Princess Aurora, who after being cursed by an evil fairy (Beatrice Carbone), must fall into a death-like sleep until a handsome prince (Timofej Andrijashenko) awakens her with a kiss. From Teatro La Scala.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime: Saturday Courtyard Market , October 17, 10-2pm

Special guests outside in the courtyard including: Myakka Gold Apiary Honey, Your CBD Shop, Kiln Fired Diffusers, Koontz Kultery, EB Henna, Ioni’es, There is No Nomal, and two adorable young girls making masks and lanyards with a portion going back to charity. Plus, rescue dogs looking for their fur-ever home.

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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