« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

SRQ DAILY May 10, 2021

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"It was almost an act of rebellion to let her stay with me, to say this is an unfair requirement,"

- Christie Leonard, Palmetto Video Editor

[Workforce]  Bradenton Employment Case Tests Discrimination Protections
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A termination dispute at a Bradenton church could test the limits of discrimination protections and the limits of religious exemptions. Christie Leonard, a former video editor for Gospel Crusade, said she lost her job for living with her best friend amid rumors of a same-sex romantic relationship, even though none existed.

Church leaders have denied that’s why Leonard was let go. But a legal challenge will test how the courts apply two recent Supreme Court rulings.

Leonard said she worked at the church roughly 15 years, starting as an intern then working part-time  as a video editor at the conference center there and eventually going full-time while picking up accounting duties. She also developed a close friendship with a woman at a time when both her and Leonard’s marriages were facing trouble. The friend invited Leonard to video a missionary trip to Africa, and Leonard said the two were allowed to go together only on the condition they not socialize for 30 days ahead of time. Still, when the two returned her friend was promptly fired.

“I was told, ‘We want to keep you on,'” Leonard said, “but you can’t live with that woman.”

It seemed a demand outside the auspices of an employer. At first she complied, but as their marriages broke apart, the two women did end up living with one another. Leonard said when she told the church pastor she was fired too. “It was almost an act of rebellion to let her stay with me, to say this is an unfair requirement,” she said.

Kevin Sanderson, Leonard’s attorney, believes it’s not only unfair but unconstitutional. The Supreme Court last year ruled civil rights protections shied from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and Sanderson argues that covers those perceived as LGBTQ. Considering men in the church were making allegations and only women were punished, he said there’s a case that this was discrimination on the basis of sex.

Sunu Chandy, legal director for the National Women’s Law Center that houses the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, in fact sees the case as a potential landmark civil rights case. She said a ruling will not only test what those discrimination provisions intend but also test religious exemptions. They exist for those considered ministers, which the church early on in the complaint process said include Leonard’s accounting and video editing roles. Chandy fears if that legal interpretation is allowed to stand, it will erase all discrimination claims for any religious organization like charities and even some hospitals.

“They could define this more broadly, which makes us fear for anyone who works for any religiously affiliates employers,” Chandy said.

Of note, the church itself now says job performance was the chief concern in firing Leonard, something she said makes no sense as the organization months later asked her to do one-off work.

Regardless, the outcome of Leonard fighting the termination could have ramifications throughout Florida for employers and employees.


Image from Pixabay

[Job Opportunity ]  Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center To Host Job Skills Boot Camp

Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center will host a Job Skills Boot Camp in partnership with Manatee and Sarasota Counties’ Gator Clubs. The Job Skills Boot Camp will be attended by high school students and adults affected by vision loss on Saturday, May 15, 2021, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, in the parking lot, at the Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center, 7318 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 

Click here for more information.

[New Hire]  Centerstone Names Jeffrey Lilley New Hospital Administrator

Jeffrey Lilley, CPA, MHA, has been appointed hospital administrator for Centerstone Behavioral Hospital & Addiction Center. In this role, Lilley will oversee all operations on Centerstone’s hospital campus which provides inpatient and residential behavioral health treatment to patients throughout the region. 

Click here for more information.

[Animal Release]  Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Releases Seven Rehabilitated Sea Turtles

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium said a fond farewell to seven juvenile green sea turtles today as they were released in Ormond Beach. The seven turtles came to Mote's care after stranding on the east coast of Florida due to cold stress. Cold stress can be potentially fatal as the turtle's body functions slow down, leaving it susceptible to predators and boat strikes, allowing for algae to grow on their backs, and more. After being cleared for release, the seven turtles were given a last physical check and implanted with a PIT tag (passive integrated transponder). These small microchips function much like a pet microchip does, so the animals will be able to identified if they strand again.  

Pictured: One of the sea turtles is measured prior to its release.

Click here for more information.

[New Hire]  Allegiant Private Advisors Welcomes Three Team Members While Surpassing $1 Billion in Assets Under Management

Allegiant Private Advisors, a Sarasota-based independent firm that recently surpassed one billion in assets under management, has welcomed three new team members: Administrative Assistant Ali Hays, Paraplanner Tucker Horsley and Senior Operations Specialist Shana Thomas. 

Click here for more information.

[Diversity Program]  Preferred SHORE 'The Florida Realtors' Team Prioritizes Diversity and Inclusion

Veronica Brandon Miller, a realtor with Preferred SHORE, formed her ‘Florida Realtors’ Team in 2019 and is proud to announce the addition of a new team member, Milagros Iliana Chunga (Mili). Miller and Chunga have partnered for a diversity initiative created to help represent the variety of demographics in the community. “Diversity creates space, inclusion provides a seat and a voice,” said Veronica Brandon Miller, REALTOR© with Preferred Shore. “This is an exciting and necessary opportunity to expand our horizons – to be a strong voice for real estate in our community, we must appreciate the role of diversity as an important factor in helping embrace ‘homeownership’ regardless of the communities that are served." 

Click here for more information.

[New Show]  At Home Free Virtual Recital Featuring Ilya Gringolts

The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast’s PMP Alumni: At Home free virtual recital featuring violinist and PMP alumn Ilya Gringolts will be released on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 11:00am. Ilya Gringolts first joined the The Perlman Music Program as a Summer Music School student in 1998. He is first violinist of the Gringolts Quartet, which he founded in 2008. 

Click here for more information.

[New Building ]  The Players Centre Announces Temporary Indoor Performance Venue

The Players Centre for Performing Arts (TPC) is thrilled to announce a new, indoor performance space in Sarasota. The new venue is in The Crossings at Siesta Key (3501 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130, Sarasota, FL 34239) behind Conners Steak & Seafood. This venue has been dubbed “1130” for the time being and will house the theatre until the new performing arts center is ready in Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch. “We at The Players could not be more excited about the possibilities presented by this space. With the recent demolition of our former theatre, it seems almost serendipitous that we are starting to unveil the future,” says Players Centre CEO William Skaggs. “This venue will allow us to bring audiences out of the elements and back to an indoor setting. There are so many amazing things on the horizon and we’re excited to take the community along with us.” 

Click here for more information.

[Animal Rescue]  The Venice Cat Coalition Receives Grant

Medical assistance for local cats will be available again this year due to a new grant awarded by the Helen C. Schwieder Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to the Venice Cat Coalition rescue group. In 2021, the VCC will receive $12,000 in grant funds, to be matched with funds from its donors to help with veterinary care, medicines and other support that is targeted to save more than 300 cats and kittens. Members of the public seeking assistance with their cats or kittens can send an email request for help to the Venice Cat Coalition at info@venicecatcoalition.com or leave a voice mail at 941-525-4568. 

[Scholarship]  Local Nursing Scholarships Strengthen Suncoast Region’s Workforce

The first day of National Nurses Week, the Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) announced the award of 33 scholarships totaling $125,000 to bolster the region’s nursing workforce. The annual scholarships are part of SNAC’s multi-pronged action plan to increase the number of local nursing students earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), as well as working nurses advancing their education with BSN and graduate degrees. 

Click here for more information.

[Military Services]  The Ringling is a Blue Star Museum

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art announced it will join museums nationwide in the Blue Star Museums initiative, a program that provides free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families this summer. The 2021 program will begin on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, 2021, and end on Labor Day, Monday, September 6, 2021.  

Click here for more information.

[Top Realtors]  Top Agents In Real Estate is Now Online

Looking for a local realtor who is outstanding in their field? Published in the May magazine but now available to view and download, Top Agents in Real Estate showcases some of the area's leading professionals in the real estate market.  

View the Feature Here

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Amish Experience Tour , November 1 – May 31

Hop aboard our trolley or van tour to learn about the vibrant Amish and Mennonite cultures here in Sarasota. Learn about the beliefs, traditions and differences between these two religious orders from our knowledgeable and passionate tour guide, Kendra Cross. Visit the Pinecraft community, a small working neighborhood that attracts many members of the Amish and Mennonite orders. Many families travel to this Sarasota haven during the winter months to escape the harsh weather in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and several other northern states. Slow down and enjoy the small pleasures in life on our tour of this rustic and charming neighborhood. Enjoy the tour stops at Alma Sue’s Quilt Shop, The Carlisle Inn and Der Dutchman Amish Kitchen Cooking Restaurant for a sample of their delicious pie. Gain a new appreciation for the rich culture of Sarasota’s Amish and Mennonite communities on this informative trolley or van tour. Book your tickets online today. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour tickets are $34.99 and include FREE Parking.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Public Art Tour , October 1 – May 31

Sculpture has long been an integral part of Sarasota’s cultural legacy. On this 90-minute trolley or van tour, you visit more than 50 of the city’s public art sculptures, monuments, and murals in charming neighborhoods and downtown Sarasota. Sit back and relax as painter and public art expert Jerome Chesley helps you see the city through new eyes. Get ready to discover beautiful public pieces you may have never noticed before! Admire Jorge Blanco’s “Bravo” on the roundabout at Ringling Boulevard and Orange Avenue. Catch a glimpse of John Henry’s “Complexus,” standing over 60 feet tall. Pass by Seward Johnson’s iconic bayfront sculpture, “Unconditional Surrender,” a larger-than-life recreation of the famous photograph taken on V-J Day in Times Square. Ready to learn more about what makes Sarasota a true arts mecca? See all this and more on this unforgettable public art trolley or van tour. Book your tickets online today. This tour is 90 minutes, open to ages 12 and up, departs from 1826 4th Street, from October to May. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour ticket includes FREE Parking.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: For Real This Time , December 20 – May 16

Ringling Museum of Art's video exhibition Real This Time will showcase the work of artists including Bear Witness from April 23 until May 16. During this extraordinary time, video has become the key medium contributing to the public sphere. Video, often captured on cellphones and shared through social media, exposes social justice issues and matters of civic life to a global audience. For Real This Time features video-based works that examine the current state of American society and pose uncomfortable yet vital questions about personal and collective attitudes toward issues of race and inequality. The exhibition is presented in a sequence of individual screenings. Each work brings to light narratives of systemic racism and offers a unique inquiry that evokes historical exchange to illustrate the expansiveness of the issues affecting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) today. For Real This Time opens up a space for deeper reflection on the common experience of resilience across cultures in order to create a shift in our psyches that inspires tangible and effective change.

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Ringling: Larry Rivers: Boston Massacre , February 14 – May 16, Museum hours.

Also opening February 14 is Larry Rivers: Boston Massacre. In this series of 13 mixed-media prints, Larry Rivers, one of the pioneers of Pop Art, reimagines the tragedy of the Boston Massacre. This event, marking the beginning of the American Revolution, occurred March 5, 1770, when British Army soldiers fired their muskets into a crowd of civilians gathered on the streets of Boston, killing five colonists and galvanizing American sentiment for independence from Great Britain. Two hundred years later, Rivers revisits this moment in a series that disrupts traditional depictions of historical narrative through fragmentary visual references to the past that intermix with imagery from the political unrest of the 1960s. This exhibition presents the Boston Massacre portfolio from The Ringling's permanent collection. The exhibition will run until May 16, 2021. On February 23 at 10:30am, the Ringling will offer a Virtual Conversation: Images of Conflict. Guests will join curators Ola Wlusek and Sarah Cartwright in a conversation about artworks depicting conflict and trauma in The Ringling's collection. While focusing on the exhibition Larry Rivers: Boston Massacre, in consideration with examples of European Renaissance and Baroque art, representations of power and violence across time will be explored and how these images can help us understand conflict and address societal change today.

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Ringling: Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade , February 14 – May 16, Museum hours.

Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade will run Feb. 14, 2021 through May 16, 2021. The Ringling's portrait of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, by the Dutch Baroque master Frans Hals (1582/83 - 1666), is one of the museum's treasures. Renowned in his own day for his lively brushwork and uncanny ability to capture the vitality of his sitters, Hals continues to be a favorite among art lovers, collectors and artists alike. In this exhibition, organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, The Ringling's painting, which was executed about 1639, will be displayed side-by-side with a second portrait by Hals of Olycan (private collection), painted about 10 years earlier. Through close examination and comparison of these two portraits of the same person, the exhibition will shed light on Hals's revolutionary painting technique, and will explain how his work evolved over the decade of the 1630s. On March 18, at 10:30am, Dr. Sarah Cartwright, Ulla R. Searing Curator of Collections, will present a Virtual Gallery Conversation: Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Selby Gardens: Roy Lichtenstein: Monet's Garden Goes Pop , February 13 – June 27, 10am-5pm

This exhibition showcases the legendary Pop artist's screen prints based on Monet's world-famous paintings of waterlilies and haystacks from February 13 until June 27, 10am to 5pm. Lichtenstein's rarely seen Water Lilies and Haystacks provide an unexpected homage to a staple of the public imagination - Monet's paintings of his garden and home at Giverny that inspired them. The display of Lichtenstein's art in the midst of a horticultural evocation of Giverny creates a unique experience for more than 100,000 garden visitors. Selby Gardens, transformed into Monet's famed gardens at Giverny through the Pop Art lens of Roy Lichtenstein, includes iconic elements of Monet's garden such as the green Japanese bridge, trellises, and benches. This conjuring of Lichtenstein's world also serves as the dynamic backdrop to the lush plantings and mixed borders for which Monet's paintings were renowned. An avid gardener, Monet once said, "My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece." Marie Selby Botanical Gardens evokes this crowning achievement with a surprising Pop Art twist.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Off to the Races , February 20 – May 23, Museum hours.

The entertainments to be found on the circus lot at the end of the 19th century were not limited to those that took place in and above the rings. When American circuses expanded their performance areas from one ring to two and, eventually, three, the space that encircled the rings became an additional space for special presentations. Called the hippodrome track to align its displays with the pageants and contests of Ancient Rome, the track became the site of some of the most exhilarating and mad cap features of the circus – the races. Enjoy this exhibition at the Circus Museum from February 20 through May 23 during museum hours free with admission.

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

Copyright © 2024 by SRQ Media Group, 331 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Powered by Sarasota Web Design | Unsubscribe

Read More

A New Chapter

A New Chapter

Laura Paquette | Feb 1, 2024

From Osprey to the Olympics

From Osprey to the Olympics

Dylan Campbell | Feb 1, 2024

A Royal Performance

A Royal Performance

Interviewed by Wes Roberts, Edited by Barbie Heit | Feb 1, 2024

Go With the Flo

Go With the Flo

Laura Paquette | Feb 1, 2024