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SRQ DAILY Jan 16, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The same natural resource that draws us here and defines our way of life has been pushed to a tipping point of impairment. We must act now to reverse it. The Playbook is our guide for that action. "

- Mark Prichett.
 

-Backyard Island, as seen in SRQ's January 2021 edition. Click for the full feature article.
[Gulf Coast]  A "Do List" to Improve Water Quality
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

Healthy, beautiful water defines our sense of place here in Sarasota County. I challenge you to find a piece of promotional material for tourism or economic development that doesn’t feature a prominent visual of our sparkling waters. Our region’s economy, reputation, and quality of life depend on clean waterways.

But when a water crisis comes along—which seems to happen more and more often—we tend to have more questions as a community than responses. Following a harmful algae bloom, sewage spill, or fish kill, many people ask, “Why doesn’t someone do something?” or “What can I do to help stop this?”

A new resource published last week answers those questions. 

The Community Playbook for Healthy Waterways is a “how to” manual for transforming the environmental quality of water in our region through coordinated, community-wide action. It recommends 43 specific activities to secure the health of our waterways, wildlife, and lifestyles.

This interactive website, available at www.WaterQualityPlaybook.org, addresses everything from wastewater treatment and stormwater management to fertilizer use, landscaping practices, and wetlands restoration. Users can easily access and organize the site’s rich information according to their particular interest, role, or expertise.

The Playbook is aimed at decision-makers in all sectors and at all levels of our community: Policymakers and government staff. Business and agricultural leaders. Natural resource managers. Nonprofit environmental organizations. And HOA boards that oversee rules and contracts for things like lawn care and water use in their communities.

Because we all have a part to play, the team that compiled this comprehensive Playbook (over more than a year of intense research, analysis, and discussion) includes experts from science, agriculture, resource management, and more. Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Jon Thaxton chaired this steering committee. You can see who joined him by going here. 

Jon, who has worked for decades on environmental conservation in our region, is quick to note that we aren’t starting from zero. He points to Sarasota County’s pioneering efforts in fertilizer and stormwater management, seagrass restoration, and watershed land conservation as instructive examples of collaborative success. But for generations, we have created lifestyles, landscapes, and industries that increasingly contribute nutrient pollution, particularly nitrogen, into our waterways. The same natural resource that draws us here and defines our way of life has been pushed to a tipping point of impairment. We must act now to reverse it. The Playbook is our guide for that action. 

Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s vision in conceiving and creating this resource is that Sarasota County’s waterways meet their designated human uses—drinking, shellfish harvesting, swimming, fishing—while sustaining healthy ecosystems that support natural processes and resilient native plant and animal communities. By following the Playbook, we can turn back the hands of time to correct mistakes of the past while also preparing for inevitable new pressures of the future. These actions will create healthier waterways for a healthier economy and healthier wildlife and habitat.

There’s an economic imperative to take the actions laid out in this manual. There is also a social obligation. Alan Jones, owner of Jones Potato Farm and a respected statewide leader in sustainable agriculture, is part of our Playbook team. He summed it up this way: “The Playbook is really a broad perspective of concerned citizens and concerned organizations in our community coming together in an effort to achieve a common goal. At the end of the day, I would like to think that all of us want to leave the world a little bit better place than we found it.”

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

[Argus]  We Can Learn From The Emerging Miami Tech Wave
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

The City of Miami, and especially its Mayor Francis Suarez, has decided to seize upon the heavily taxed state business exodus and unroll the red carpet for tech companies. Mayor Suarez has been aggressive and he has been very clear that Miami is open for business. He is seizing the moment and doing so with purpose.

Mayor Suarez has personally chased companies expressing a willingness to move out of California’s Silicon Valley and New York’s silicon alley on Twitter.  Last month, Varda Space co-founder Delian Asparouhov tweeted, “ok guys hear me out, what if we move silicon to Miami.”  Mayor Suarez wrote four simple words in a Twitter response that started a nationwide buzz about Miami becoming a new tech hub, “How can I help?”

Those four simple words from that elected leader has the nation taking notice of Miami.  It wasn’t a hand off to staff, it was an aggressive action that shows that Mayor Suarez isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.  The response went viral and the buzz has lasted for weeks.  

Mayor Suarez has been so successful in his personal recruitment and messaging, that according to various news reports, he plans to appoint a Chief Technology Officer in 2021 to help him with all of the inquiries. It does not appear he is letting up on the gas pedal.

Mayor Suarez is nurturing this tech company hub push from all sides. He understands the tech ecosystem and the important relationships of venture capitalism, start-ups, and the tech industry. He also is working to ensure that this creates local opportunities for home-grown young residents, especially minorities.

Suarez has also enlisted the help of the business community in this effort. Just days after the “How can I help” viral tweet, he took to Twitter again to ask for help in his efforts from the community. He heard from some important people who took notice of the open for business attitude, out of town business accelerators, investors and those in the science field.

The confidence and business climate he has built in the community created a wave of interest. Just this week, Suarez held a public talk on cryptocurrency with Gemini Trust Company co-founders, a company that is considering going public that started in New York. Suarez’s tweet caused the company to reach out to Suarez to consider a headquarter move to Miami. In the conversation, Suarez’s first question was about problematic regulation, which dominated much of the conversation.  

This bold vision and aggressive personal public pursuit of tech companies is a fascinating study of government being truly open for business in words and actions, genuinely understanding the ecosystem of the targeted industry, and creating the right environment.  Suarez did all of these things and had Miami positioned well for this opportunity.

Miami is a great case study for Sarasota’s local governments to look at for our own future.  We don’t want to be Miami, but we want to be successful in economic development. Aggressive local elected officials who are willing to get actively involved, understand the ecosystem, and most importantly, create the business climate with an open for business government attitude and reputation will be key to our own future.

Christine Robinson is the Executive Director of The Argus Foundation. 

[On City]  Preserve Streets of Paradise
Willa Tinsley

I am writing to voice how crucial it is that the city of Sarasota allow local nonprofit Streets of Paradise to provide free showers and hygiene services to our city’s houseless.

In 2019, our Sarasota community spent months raising money for a completely hygienic, disability accessible shower truck with a washer/dryer for free use by our city’s houseless. It was a game changer: hygiene is a basic need for any human being but absolutely urgent in Sarasota, one of the hottest and wettest places to live in the United States. Highly contagious skin infections, such as MRSA, have become a real danger to those on our streets. SOP’s shower truck provides the only outdoor, sanitized, COVID-19-friendly, accessible, free showers within Sarasota city limits.

City opponents of SOP’s shower services say that they are “redundant” and better offered by government partners. However, the Resurrection House showers are not disability accessible and the Salvation Army showers are not free and accessible to everyone. The SA enforces a strict 10-minute shower-time limit and they are a “no touch facility.” People in wheelchairs must undress, shower, re-dress and get out of the bathroom with no help in under 10 minutes. As an SA representative told me, the showers only work for “totally self-sufficient” disabled people. SOP makes their showers and laundry facilities work for every single person they can.

On SOP’s first shower day, an elderly woman in a wheelchair got her first shower in an entire year. A few months later, despite the best efforts of SOP and many others in the community, the city had successfully banned the shower truck. Every week city officials continue this cruel ban; they are stealing health and well-being from people like this elderly woman. The City claims to represent the interests of all Sarasota residents— are the homeless not residents of Sarasota, too?

My friend, Devon Oppenheimer, who volunteers with SOP, said that prior to the pandemic someone on the streets would want a hug, but then say, “‘Oh, you shouldn’t come too close to me, I stink’... it’s absolutely heartbreaking,” she told me. “No one should have to go without love and physical touch because they feel ashamed.”

Hygiene is paramount to mental health and wellbeing. City officials have said that SOP’s services “enable people to remain homeless.” The only thing they enable people to remain is alive. In this dark time of losing loved ones by the thousands each day to suicide and COVID-19, the city of Sarasota is preventing people from services that improve their mental and physical wellbeing is unconscionable. During this crisis of eviction and unemployment, they halt services that enable people to get jobs and housing. No one will hire or rent to a person who seems like they cannot take care of themselves physically.

The Sarasota government pledged to protect its homeless citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have utterly failed. The pandemic response work the local government homeless initiative says they did in their articles was actually done entirely by SOP. In the early days of the pandemic, the governmental organizations to help the homeless shut their doors— there was no one else feeding, registering people for COVID-19 tests, or providing hygiene except SOP.

After the homeless staged protests against the Sarasota government’s inaction, they installed public downtown “hygiene stations” in April 2020. Then in September 2020, the same week they extended the state of emergency due to COVID-19, city officials had the public hygiene stations removed. The pandemic is worse now than it has ever been. The Sarasota government should be thanking SOP for doing their job for them and striving to follow their lead to help our most vulnerable citizens in this unprecedented time of hardship. Instead, they are choosing to waste everyone’s time and money on a campaign to prevent Sarasota residents from providing free hygiene to our brothers and sisters on the streets.

Willa Tinsley is a 20-year-old student at New College of Florida. 



[In This Issue]  Step Up, Stay Fly

Nightclub Cardio at Fly Dance Fitness Studio. 

Click here to read the full article in SRQ's January 2021 edition.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Institute for the Arts & Education: Sarasota Fine Art Show , January 23 – January 24, 10am-5pm

All art is original and personally handmade by the artist present at the show on January 23 and 24, 2021 outdoors at Phillippi Estate Park from 10am to 5pm - there is something for everyone, in all price ranges. Free Admission and $5 close & convenient parking supports Institute for the Arts & Education, non-profit organization with focus on visual arts, cultural diversity, community enrichment and fostering art education among youth. Juried by art professionals, criteria for judging is based on originality, technique/execution and booth appearance. As part of our commitment to bring art education into the community, the events integrate a Youth Art/Budding Artist Competition within the art shows. This one-of-a-kind program encourages all young artists in grades K-8/6-12 or ages 5-13/9i-19 to enter his/her original and personally handmade art that is publicly displayed within the show. There is $250 in youth art awards as students begin to learn the rules and are exposed to the entrepreneurship opportunity of doing art shows for a living.

Phillippi Estate Park

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Ignite Teacher of the Year Awards Celebration , January 21, 5pm

Join the Education Foundation on January 21 at 5pm for an awards celebration honoring Sarasota county teachers. This virtual experience is no cost to attend but registration is required.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Women Today and Tomorrow: What to Cherish, What to Change , January 21, 7pm

On January 21 at 7pm, to celebrate the inauguration of the first female Vice President of the United States and to commemorate the anniversary of the Woman’s March on Washington, the Sarasota Chapter of the Brandeis National Committee will be hosting a virtual event via Zoom with feminist pioneer Letty Cottin Pogrebin in conversation with Journalist Carrie Seidman. The evening conversation entitled "Women Today and Tomorrow: What to Cherish, What to Change" will cover a number of  wide-ranging topics about women’s on-going struggle for equality in the workplace, politics, academia, and family life; the
state of American Feminism today; the Women’s March: its promises and pitfalls; how women change power and how power changes women; ideas for effective activism; raising children without sex stereotypes; and, highlights from Letty's experiences as a co-founder of Ms. Magazine and as editorial consultant to Marlo Thomas’  "Free to Be: You and Me", and so much more. The evening program is in support of the Brandeis University Library Campaign called Honoring Our History, which will transform the university’s unique and priceless collections of books highlighting social justice into digital format. Tickets are $18 per household and are fully tax-deductible.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Architectural Foundation: January House Tours , January 23, 11am-2:15pm

SAF resumes its monthly house tours on Saturday, January 23, 2021. Take this opportunity to explore both the interiors and exteriors of the iconic Umbrella House, Cocoon House, and the Revere Quality House, which is rarely open to the public. Tickets sales are very limited; be sure to book your tours today. Masks will be required. Tour the renowned Umbrella House at 11am, described by Architectural Digest as “One of the five most remarkable houses of the mid-twentieth century”. Experience the rare opportunity to tour the interior of Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph’s historic 1950 Healy Guest House, also known as Cocoon House at 1pm or 2:15pm. Join SAF in this rare opportunity to tour the Revere Quality House located on Siesta Key at 1pm or 2:15pm. Make a day of it and purchase the bundle ticket to tour the Revere Quality House and the Cocoon House (located across the bayou). Tickets are limited, be sure to secure yours soon.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Children's Garden: Dragon Lair Dish Gardens , January 23, 10am-11am

You don't want to miss this fun morning because we are making "Dragon Lair Dish Gardens" Dragons live in caves and love shiny things, so that is what we are making along with adding some succulents & a dragon of course on Saturday, January 23 from 10am to 11am. We are serving Dragon juice too. This special program is by prepayment & reservations only as space is limited. The cost is $10 plus tax for the craft fee per child. Please note this does not include the garden's admission for children & adults if you are not a garden member.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Suncoast Science Center: Water Bottle Laser Engraving Workshop , January 23, 2pm-7pm

The new year is upon us and the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab is inviting you to get motivated to crush your health and fitness resolutions through a unique, hands-on workshop. Using the Fab Lab's high-tech laser cutter, workshop participants will laser engrave an insulated water bottle with the design of their choice. Hydration is key to reach your goals so get ready to take it up a notch! Your name, a motivational quote or even a logo. The possibilities are endless. Hour-long sessions are available from 2pm to 7pm on Saturday, January 23 in the Fab Lab at 4452 South Beneva Road. No experience is needed for the workshop, just a willingness to explore and have fun. Up to three family members or adults are permitted per $50 registration. Registration includes one water bottle. Additional bottles may be purchased at registration. BYOB: If you wish to bring your own water bottle to engrave, please contact the lab to ensure the bottle is compatible with the machine before registering. In an effort to keep workshop participants and lab staff as safe as possible amid COVID-19, limited slots are available each hour. Additionally, participants over age 12 are required to wear a face covering. Participants under age 12 are highly encouraged to wear a face-covering but not required. Face coverings are available at the lab for anyone who does not have their own.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Bookstore 1 Sarasota: The Mindful Reading Book Club led by Roxanne Baker , January 25, 6pm

This month we are discussing This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson on January 25, 2021 at 6pm. A fee of $34 is required for participation. This includes a copy of This One Wild and Precious Life and the Zoom book club meeting. The fee is $39.50 to have the book shipped. The New York Times bestselling author of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful tackles the loneliness epidemic, encouraging readers to view solitude through a spiritual lens, and embrace the art of being alone. Ticket purchase required for Zoom link.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Van Wezel: Reza - Edge of Illusion , January 25, 7:30pm

Reza has taken the art of illusion to a new level, delivering his rock concert style magic show to audiences across the globe. Young and fresh, Reza’s new show, “Edge of Illusion,” has earned various awards including “Magician of the Year.” Don’t miss this Sarasota premiere – live on the Van Wezel stage at 7:30pm on January 25, 2021. A world-class entertainer, Reza’s unique brand of illusion has landed him on popular reality shows across 31 countries, including recent US TV appearances on A&E’s Duck Dynasty and The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us. Audiences can expect to witness such mega illusions as passing through the spinning blades of an industrial fan, a record-breaking recreation of Houdini’s most famous stunt and the appearance of a real helicopter, live on stage. More than a magic show, Reza infuses state of the art production elements, masterful comedic timing and numerous interactive & inspirational moments, allowing the audience to experience the magic first hand.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail

[SOON]  BUSINESS: The Limelight Market , January 16, 10am-3pm

On Saturday, January 16 the spotlight will be on The Limelight Market. From 10am to 3pm special guest vendors will be outside in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. Enjoy food from Hamlet's Eatery, stock up on local honey, browse local jewelry, art, and so much more while enjoying afternoon live music. Support locals and check out the 25+ vendors inside The Bazaar. Rescue dogs from Tenderheart Charities will also be there looking for fur-ever homes. Located at 821 Apricot Avenue. Free parking, masks required and plenty of room to social distance

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Bishop: How to Use Your Telescope , January 16, 4:30pm-6pm

If you're looking at your telescope and wondering "How do I use this thing?" this hands-on workshop on January 16 from 4:30pm to 6pm at The Bishop is for you. Our experts will help you get comfortable setting up and using your telescope so you get the most out of it and avoid many pitfalls that can lead to frustration. Weather permitting, you'll see the moon and stars with your own telescope by evening's end. Then, when you head home, you'll be well equipped to enjoy the rich hobby of astronomy. This is a BYOT program - Bring Your Own Telescope. Cost is $35 and includes admission to the January 27 Stelliferous program on Zoom.

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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