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SRQ DAILY Feb 8, 2021

Monday Business Edition

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"If our staff is getting COVID-19, or if they are simply exposed to COVID-19 and have to go into quarantine, it certainly could put us into having a staffing crisis."

- Jonathan Fleece, CEO of Stratum Health System and Tidewell Hospice

-Galvanizing the Economy, as seen in SRQ's February 2021 edition out now. Click photo for the full article.
[Medical]  Tidewell, Stratum Workers Face Vaccine Access Challenges
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

While few disagree health care workers needed to be the very first individuals vaccinated when COVID-19 inoculations became available, home care workers and hospice workers have largely been left out of the mix. That’s according to Jonathan Fleece, president and CEO for Stratum Health System and Tidewell Hospice.

Of the 1,000 or so such employees of the not-for-profit, which serves Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, less than half of workers have been able to receive a vaccine. And those who have recieved the vacine came out it largely thanks to luck. “We have a great collaborative relationship with our local hospitals, and we have been getting their leftovers, to be candid,” he said. “It’s disappointing we didn’t get a higher priority, like the federal government had hoped.”

At the federal level, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services deemed both home health care and hospice workers as “essential.” But the state of Florida has vaccinated medical workers primarily by distributing to hospitals and health departments, the latter group focused primarily on reaching those age 65 and older. Those medical professionals who work in individuals' homes or float between multiple facilities often end up with no space in line.

But Fleece said these workers deal with some of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens, so the oversight has consequence. In fact, Stratum and Tidewell workers have treated about 963 patients as of Friday who had COVID-19, and 141 of Fleece’s employees have contracted the coronavirus. “This is a real impact and a real issue,” he said. “We need to be able to continue to serve.”

Yet these workers deal with some of the most vulnerable patients— and their families. It’s not just about the risk of introducing the virus into homes. Workers who are not vaccinated can have their work disrupted by the pandemic the more it spreads in the community.

“If our staff is getting COVID-19, or if they are simply exposed to COVID-19 and have to go into quarantine, it certainly could put us into having a staffing crisis,” Fleece said.

It’s not just an issue locally. Less than half of the 20,000 hospice workers statewide have received vaccines. Home health care workers have faced similar challenges, Fleece said. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice last week sent a letter to members urging all to get the vaccine.

The health executive continues to make appeals to state and local leaders. He communicated with Rep. Vern Buchanan, who last week urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to make sure hospice workers receive priority for vaccinations.

DeSantis’ office has not responded to requests for comment. The governor in the past month has focused on expanding administration of vaccines into nursing homes, even working with faith institutions to reach minority communities. An executive order from the governor on front line health care workers’ eligibility for the vaccine does include home care and hospice workers, but there’s been confusion at sites about who qualifies. Surgeon General Scott Rivkees make clear at a state Senate hearing last week health departments should allow appointments for such workers.

Fleece has offered the services of Tidewell and Stratum to administer vaccines and also reach the vulnerable populations it serves, and hopefully find an avenue for its staff to receive vaccines. 

Photo courtesy Tidewell Hospice

[Top Attorneys]  In Conversation With 2020 Elite Top Attorney Honoree Matthew Kowtko

For the February 2021 edition of SRQ Magazine, we interviewed 2020 Elite Top Attorney Honoree Matthew Kowtko of Kowtko Law Group, P.A. Below is an excerpt published in the In Conversation marketing feature in which Matthew shares his professional insight with SRQ readers on finding the right attorney.


First priority is finding someone who communicates with you, the client. My biggest referral source is from my current clients or former clients. Often times when clients fire their prior lawyer and come to me, the biggest explanation that I hear from them is that their attorney didn't communicate. That's why I built our firm to have skilled lawyers at every turn. My assistant is a barred attorney; my paralegal is a barred attorney. My clients get responses within 24 business hours. When you hire me individually, you get two lawyers on the team, not one. It's important that you can trust in your lawyer, in their experience and expertise. I tell clients regularly in both criminal and family law, "that this is not a battle, it's a war. If you go in to win every single battle, you're likely going to deplete yourself, and you're going to lose the war." This why I say communication because you need to have a lawyer that will explain their entire strategy. That way, when you, as the client, have to make a temporary decision on temporary issues, you will understand that it's part of a long-term strategy to get to a specific end. 

This is an excerpt from In Conversation with Matthew Kowtko published in the February 2021 edition of SRQ Magazine. Click here to see the full article.  

View the Feature Here

[Online Seminar]  Women’s Resource Center Hosts A Free Woman-Owned Business Webinar

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, new business applications are up over 26 percent compared to last year with many of those coming from companies started by women. A recent study found that, between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21 percent to a total of nearly 13 million companies, representing 42 percent of all U.S. small businesses with revenue topping $1.9 trillion—growing at double the rate of all U.S. businesses. Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is hosting a free online webinar, February 17, 12pm-1pm, to help connect women to free resources to help them evaluate this potential career path. The session is part of WRC’s monthly Career Connections program to link women to quality jobs and funded trainings. Participants can attend by phone or computer and will be able to ask questions via a chatbox. Register at www. mywrc.org/womenowned or call (941) 256-9721 for more information. 

Click here for more information.

[Zoom Event ]  Alyson Gernert of Universal Orlando Resort to Speak About “Striking the Balance in a Year of Transformation”

The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) is hosting “Striking the Balance in a Year of Transformation” on February 17 at noon, featuring Universal Orlando Resort’s Alyson Gernert, APR, CPRC. As the Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Gernert will be discussing how her team worked to strike the balance amidst a global shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including finding new ways to communicate, care for their guests, care for their employees and care for self. Gernert has worked on Universal’s communications team for more than 12 years and also serves as the state president for Florida Public Relations Association. Tickets for the program are $10/FPRA members, $15/guests; cost includes access to the recordings after the event. To register, visit cwcfpra.com/events. This event is virtual via Zoom. 

Click here for more information.

[Promotion ]  Tandem Construction Announces Promotion of Donnie Siegert and Matthew Sims to Senior Project Manager

Tandem Construction is pleased to announce the promotions of Donnie Siegert and Matthew Sims to Senior Project Manager. These promotions are recognition of Mr. Siegert’s and Mr. Sim’s commitment to Tandem’s clients, their constant attention to detail, quality and safety, and their unparalleled professionalism. 

Click here for more information.

[Milestone]  Michael Saunders & Company Celebrates 45th Anniversary After Record-Breaking Year in 2020

The leading broker and number-one independent real estate company in the region has much to celebrate - 45 years of real estate service to Florida’s Gulf Coast, a record-breaking annual sales volume and its largest MSC Foundation grant distribution. Following a strong start to 2020, the market came to an abrupt halt due to an unprecedented pandemic causing a shelter-in-place order, only to later experience a robust rebound, resulting in the company’s $3.49 billion in annual sales volume and commanding market share of 24.12% in the luxury market and 12.38% in the overall, all price point market. “When Michael Saunders & Company opened in 1976, I don’t think I could have predicted the ebbs and flows our firm would weather, but I knew the value of investing in people,” said Michael Saunders, Founder and CEO. “Our success in 2020 is a testament to our people and the core values we share –  integrity, mutual profitability, excellence and communication." 

Click here for more information.

[New Position]  Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee Proudly Announces the 2021 Board of Directors

Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee proudly announces the 2021 Board of Directors. Mark Goodson, Community Volunteer, will Chair the Board of Directors with Jackie Barron of Mosaic Company serving as Vice Chair. Jamie DiDomenico, Cool Today, is named Treasurer. Kathy Martella, Community Volunteer, is named Secretary and Susan Kramer, Cablish & Gentile Certified Public Accountants, will serve as Member-at-Large. The 2021 Directors are: Lisa Barnott of Lakewood Ranch Communities, Steve Bayard, Community Volunteer, Christi Bock of TDS Construction, Andy Guz of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, Natalee Herrig, Community Volunteer, and Carl Reynolds of Carl Reynolds Law. 

[Performance Update ]  Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Returns to Live Performances with ‘Light Up the Night!’

“Light Up the Night!” features a live band led by Resident Music Director (and bass player) James “Jay” Dodge II, accompanying a variety of popular WBTT artists – including favorites like Raleigh Mosely, Henry Washington and more – as they perform soul hits of the 1970s. "With the pandemic, it’s felt like every time we take one step forward, we’ve been forced to take four steps back. It breaks our hearts to see our beautiful, new theater building still sitting unused," said Nate Jacobs, WBTT’s Founder/Artistic Director. "We are excited to begin performing again and I can guarantee patrons are going to leave our performing arts center feeling energized and happy." 

Pictured: WBTT's Resident Music Director James

Click here for more information.

[Virtual Show ]  The Van Wezel Announces a Free Virtual Performance

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Van Wezel Foundation announce a free virtual performance of the acclaimed stage musical, Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. The performance is streaming on-demand now through February 15, 2021. In addition to the streamed performance, the Van Wezel will offer a virtual talk back with film producer and memoir author Lynda Blackmon Lowery, whose story is portrayed in the production, on Thursday, February 11 at 7pm via Zoom. Kelli Maldonado, Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall said, “We are thrilled to bring this powerful piece to the Gulf Coast. This production presents a moving, real life story, depicting the fight for civil rights. It is a piece that inspires and encourages conversations. The opportunity to have Lynda Blackmon Lowery herself available to answer questions directly from our audiences is truly remarkable.”



Click here to register.

[In This Issue]  Coconut Confection

Swooning for macaroons. 

Click here to read the full article in SRQ's February edition - out now!

[SOON]  SPORTS: The Founders Golf Club: Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate Tournament , February 7 – February 9

The Founders Golf Club will be the host site for the inaugural Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate tournament February 7 through 9. Fifteen women’s NCAA Division 1 golf teams from the Big 10, Big 12, SEC, and ACC Conferences will join for a 54-hole stroke play charity tournament benefiting the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund. The charity golf event, one of the top women’s collegiate golf events in the country, will feature teams competing on the community’s Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course. Events surrounding the tournament, hosted by Purdue University, will include The Charity Golf Outing Dinner & Auction on Monday, Feb. 8. Proceeds will benefit the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, a non-profit organization focused on casualty assistance, recovery, transition, and providing financial support beyond what the government and Veterans Affairs can offer to U.S. Army Rangers and their families who have been impacted by combat.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: Sarasota County STEM Fair Judging , February 8 – February 18

Sarasota County Schools strives to continue our long-standing commitment to stimulating student, teacher and public interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with the annual county STEM Fair. We will not be hosting the same in person event at Robarts Arena this year. The format of the 2020-2021 STEM fair will be virtual due to COVID-19 and the implementation of district safety protocols. We are looking forward to this new opportunity to showcase our student's talents in a new format. Open Registration for Judges in December and January, Sarasota County Virtual STEM Fair Judging from February 8 until the 10, and Announcement of Winners on February 18. We are looking for community support for judging our student projects. The virtual nature of this year's STEM Fair will offer a much more flexible opportunity for you to help. Student projects, with virtual displays and videos, will be available for 3 full days (2/8-2/10/2021) so you can judge at your convenience from anywhere on your own device! Internet access is required to participate as a judge.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: In Love with Shakespeare , February 4 – February 14, 7:30pm and 2pm

February 4 through 14, The Players Centre for Performing Arts presents, In Love with Shakespeare, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Featuring scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet and more. Experience passion through Shakespeare’s words because, as the Bard wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Masks are required for this outdoor event. Temperature checks will be conducted, and patrons will be socially distanced. Hamlet's Food Truck will be available Thursday through Sunday (will be closing 30 minutes prior to performance). Seats are provided. NO TICKETS will be printed for this event. Upon making your purchase your name will be on a reservation list. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12.50 for students (under 24). Performances February 4-6 and 9-13 will begin at 7:30pm and performances on February 7 and 14 will begin at 2pm.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Uptown Gallery: Color & Clay , January 30 – February 26, 11am-5pm, 11am-3pm, 12pm-5pm

Color & Clay, an installation by Joan Libby Hawk, ceramist, and Jana Millstone, painter, presents a unique conversation between artists and mediums at Art Uptown gallery, Sarasota. Artists Joan Libby Hawk, a ceramist, and Jana Millstone, a painter, present Color & Clay - A Duet, their unique conversation between artists and mediums. The collaborative exhibit of clay objects and paintings, on view at Art Uptown from January 30 to February 26, 2021, celebrates color, light and form. Sharing a contemporary visual sensibility, the artists explore the connections between their three-and two-dimensional work, riffing off the play of light, negative space and transparent color. The artists will host a Zoom conversation in early February to talk about their collaboration and the installation’s visual goals. Details to come. Visit this engaging installation at Art Uptown, located at 1367 Main Street, open Monday through Friday, 11am to 5pm, Saturday, 11am to 3pm and Sunday, 12pm to 5pm. You can meet the gallery artists all day on Saturdays. Private appointments can be arranged by calling 941.955.5409. The gallery continues its commitment to visitor and staff safety by the use of masks, sanitizer, frequent cleaning and social distancing.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Mote Marine: Wild Kratts: Ocean Adventure , January 30 – June 6, Museum hours.

Wild Kratts: Ocean Adventure - a new exhibit created by Minnesota Children's Museum and the creators of the top-rated PBS Kids TV series "Wild Kratts" - will open soon at Mote Aquarium. The exhibit focuses on building STEM-based skills for children ages 3 to 9. It will be at Mote from January 30 to June 6, 2021. Wild Kratts: Ocean Adventure transports visitors to the Wild Kratts world, immersing them in whole body explorations of ocean habitats. Using Wild Kratts technology and the powers of science and teamwork, children and their families will join the Wild Kratts team to solve problems, help marine animals, and foil the villains' nefarious plans. 

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Bishop: Sea of Stars: Sail Through the Milky Way , January 29 – February 28, Times vary.

Have you ever wondered what happens when a star is born? Our newest Planetarium show helps you find out. “Sea of Stars: Sail Through the Milky Way” takes you on a journey to visit baby stars in a stellar nursery, see the nebulas left by dead stars (like the one pictured to the right), and explore the supermassive black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. Prepare to be star struck. Also showing: "Mars Revealed," where we fly you from Earth to the Martian surface where you’ll discover some of the geographical features that could indicate whether life ever existed on the Red Planet, and "Flight Through Our Solar System," which takes you from the sun past Pluto to the icy outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud. Show times include “Mars Revealed” 10:30am and 12:30pm Wednesday through Saturday and 12:30pm and 2:30pm Sunday, “Sea of Stars: Sail Through the Milky Way” 11am and 2pm Wednesday through Saturday; 1pm and 3:30pm Sunday, and “Flight Through Our Solar System” 12pm and 2:30pm Wednesday through Saturday; 2pm and 4pm Sunday. Planetarium shows are included in the price of admission. Due to social distancing guidelines, guests are asked to sign up for their preferred showtimes when they arrive at the Museum.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Florida CraftArt: Members' Show: Contemporary Craft at its Finest , January 29 – March 20, 6pm

Members’ Show: Contemporary Craft at its Finest is a juried exhibition of original art showcasing the best of handcrafted work by Florida CraftArt members. Forty-six artists created 79 pieces from intricate jewelry to glass sculptures. Visitors will have the opportunity to virtually meet the artists and the show’s judge Susana Weymouth at the virtual opening reception on Friday, January 29 at 6 p.m. The Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82206474125. The show runs through March 20 when the People’s Choice Award will be presented at the closing reception. People can vote for their favorite work of art in the Florida CraftArt Exhibition Gallery.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Virtual: Key Chorale: "Bach" Together Again , January 29 – February 21

Key Chorale Chamber Singers, orchestra and soloists will come together virtually on January 29 for "Bach" Together Again. Originally scheduled as an in-person concert, this celebration of Baroque music, will be professionally recorded and made available online from the premiere on January 29 until February 21. Trumpet, timpani and jubilant choral writing are ever present in Bach's Magnificat, his first large-scale work composed for the churches in Leipzig. Vivaldi's spiritual magnificence and Italian mastery make his Gloria his greatest choral masterpiece. Soloists include tenor Matt Morgan, soprano Lorraine Murphy, bass Jamal Sarikoki, soprano Michelle Caulkins, and contralto Amy Connours. The concert will be recorded in the round at Church of the Redeemer, a church with seating for more than 400 people, with the performers spread throughout the entire venue. Tickets to watch the 75-minute streaming video are $30 per household; patrons will receive a viewing link that can be activated any time during the streaming run. To purchase, go to keychorale.org.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Bishop: Badlands to Bradenton: Lessons from the Field , January 28 – June 6, Museum hours.

Since 2011, The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature has partnered with the Toomey Foundation for the Natural Sciences to lead more than 50 Manatee County teachers on paleontology expeditions to the Nebraska Badlands, allowing them to gain hands-on experience they can bring back to their classrooms. Starting January 28, The Bishop will share these expeditions with guests through its newest special exhibition, Badlands to Bradenton: Lessons from the Field, which showcases some of the most fascinating fossil finds and tells the story of these summer paleontology digs and how they can support learning. Badlands to Bradenton: Lessons from the Field will be open through June 6 and visiting is included in the price of admission. Badlands to Bradenton also includes interactive features for smartphones and tablets, including 3D models of fossils and paleoart commissioned especially for the exhibition.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Virtual: 2021 Black Muse Exhibition , January 26 – March 5

Art Center Sarasota (ACS), The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), and the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (SBAC) recently announced the winners of the 2021 “Black Muse” exhibition. The three groups collaborated to present this year’s exhibit, which solicited work from artists of African descent throughout the state of Florida. The exhibit was juried by Elizabeth Goodwill, MFA, education for Art Center Sarasota; and artist and SBAC board member Alyssa Lazin. The winning works will be presented virtually on all three organization's websites through March 5. The $1,000 first prizeaward went to Krystle Lemonias, a Jamaican-born artist who lives and works in Tampa. The $750 second prize was given to Jesse Clark, a Haitian-American photographer and Ringling College of Art and Design student. Honorable mentions went to Cora Marshall of St. Petersburg; Musa Kunene, a Swaziland-born student at Ringling College of Art and Design; and Greg Rumph, vice principal and Riverview High School in Sarasota. 

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Center Sarasota: Staying Connected , January 26 – March 5, Times vary.

Staying Connected is an in the gallery, all media, all subject, open to all, juried exhibition that will be on view from January 28 until March 5. Receiving in person will be January 18 and 19 from 10am to 6pm. Online submissions will be from December 18 to January 16 at midnight. Jurors Open Critique will be online Tuesday, January 26 at 6pm for a Zoom virtual discussion. Jurors will talk about the work that they picked for the Prize Winners and Prize Winners are encouraged to talk about their piece that won. Opening Reception and Awards will be online Thursday January 28 at 6pm for a Zoom virtual opening. Awards will be announced. After that, participants will be able to gather virtually in breakout rooms to chat with other artists and art patrons in smaller groups. Next week we have our receiving for our upcoming show, Staying Connected, and we need volunteers to help us out. We have made some changes to our receiving process in order to keep our volunteers, staff and artists safe: Volunteers will be spread out and interacting with artists outside, under tents, with minimal contact. Volunteers that will be inside the building will be those that are bringing the artwork in and those hanging it on the walls. In person receivings are scheduled for Monday, January 18th and Tuesday, January 19 from 10am to 6pm. We are keeping the number of volunteers at the bare minimum and scheduling in two different shifts. The shifts are 10am to 2pm or 2pm to 6pm. Volunteers, Staff and Artists will all be required to wear masks. Please call 941-365-2032 or email barbara@artsarasota.org for more information or to sign up.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual Lecture Series: History of American Architecture: Cranbrook Visitors , January 25 – February 22, 11am-12:15pm and 7pm-8:15pm

Virtual Lecture Series on Mondays, January 25 through February 22, 2021  from 11am to 12:15pm and 7pm to 8:15pm. Lecturer is Kevin Adkisson, Associate Curator at Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research. $75 for Adults and $25 for Full-time Students with ID. Free for Cranbrook Academy of Art and Cranbrook Schools Students (Cranbrook students must register by sending an email from their Cranbrook address to center@cranbrook.edu). Advance registration required (Fee includes all five lectures). This lecture series is eligible for American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Credits (AIA/CES).

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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