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SRQ DAILY Nov 11, 2021

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"This legislation is critical to learning if prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, are a contributing factor in veteran suicides."

- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota

-Orange Moon Interiors brings a renovated Longboat Key home a palette of blues to their seascape sanctuary in November's edition of Nest.
[Mental Health]  Buchanan Pushes VA to Address High Suicide Rate
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Ahead of Veterans Day, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, filed legislation addressing a disproportionate number of suicides among former service members. He has now sent a letter to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee calling for consideration of the bipartisan bill. His letter was co-signed by Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Virg., who co-sponsored the legislation.

The Veteran Overmedication and Suicide Prevention Act would demand the Department of Veterans Affairs to review all veteran deaths by suicide or drug overdose in the last five years. Beyond seeking out patterns and trends, Buchanan believes the data will help develop better treatment for mental health and substance abuse through the VA.

“The high rate of suicide and drug overdose deaths among veterans is unacceptable," Buchanan said. “This legislation is critical to learning if prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers, are a contributing factor in veteran suicides. I encourage my colleagues on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to pass this bill to further address these untimely deaths.”

The VA reports at least 60,000 veteran deaths by suicide between 2008 and 2017, accounting for about 15% of all suicides in the U.S. over that time.

The Disabled Veterans Empowerment Network said there have already been 6,589 veterans suicides this calendar year. That organization said rates are particularly high among combat veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts that stretched over most of the last 20 years. By year’s end, the group says there are about 3.9 million veterans of those conflicts. There’s also another 7.2 million veterans of the Vietnam war still alive, many still dealing with mental health issues dating back to their service.

Several veterans groups have endorsed the Buchanan bill, including the Veterans Service Organizations: the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and AMVETS. “This legislation will help illuminate the seriousness and scope of this causation,” reads a statement from the VFW. “Reducing the number of service members and veterans who die by suicide has been a priority for the VFW and will remain so until it is no longer needed. We must do whatever it takes to save the almost 20 service members and veterans who die by suicide every day.” 

Photo courtesy VA: Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery.

[Aquatic Apparel]  Vital For Your Winter Water Wardrobe
Emma Tufano, emma@srqme.com

Winter is fast approaching in the Sarasota area, lowering the gulf temperature, and calling for wetsuits in order to stay in the water. Founded locally by gulf coast gurfer (girl surfer), Keera Belviy left her long-time career as a hairstylist to create Vital Wetsuits. Built on a passion to bring all-inclusive, grassroots water apparel to the community and industry, the collection caters to women of all shapes, sizes and body types, and, is specifically designed—while keeping the planet in mind—for the temperatures of the Gulf. 

“Being a tall, full-figured woman myself, I was inspired to design wetsuits and swimwear that complimented my frame,” says Belviy. “I knew I couldn't be the only one that had an issue finding proper fitting water apparel. I find it truly essential in this day in age that there be a surf brand showcasing all water women in their truest form.”  

And on top of being a body positive brand, Vital Wetsuits remains mindful of its environmental impact and carbon footprintshipping all over North America without plastic packaging. Sustainably-made from Yulex, a stretchy textile similiar to neoprene, Belviy sources the FSC-certified renewable material made from rubber trees, noting, she didn't want to contribute to more pollution if she can avoid it. Traditional limestone neoprene, she shares, uses 23x times more kilowatts to manufacturer. Meanwhile, the suit's lining is made from recycled polyester and laminated with solvent free, water-based glue. 

In the collection, turn your attention to the signature Premium Wetsuit Leggings. Equipped with a key pocket, these 2mm-thick leggings prove “vital” to your water adventures when water temps soon dip below 70°F but you still want to go out paddleboarding, diving or surfing.

Comfortable. Warm. Eco-minded. Chic. Functional. All the traits a woman water enthusiast could want in a wetsuit. Your thin Floridian blood will thank you the first cold snap of the season. 

Photo courtesy of Keera Belviy, @vitalwetsuits

Shop Vital Wetsuits here

[Retreat]  A Creative Spin on Wellness and Professional Development

The Metamorphosis Retreat returns to the Sarasota-Bradenton area for its second iteration February 18-20, 2022. The event is hosted by MTV’s Siesta Key reality star, Chloe Trautman, international artist, Alexis Fraser (a.k.a. Lipstick Lex), and entrepreneur, coach, and speaker, Jen Smith. The dynamic trio, all hailing from different generations, backgrounds, upbringings, and careers paths, set out to offer a unique personal and professional development experience to women from around the country. The team has joined forces with a myriad of partners to deliver a dynamic retreat to give attendees a transformational and safe space to turn inward, connect, and explore health, wellness, mindset, spirituality, self-development, business, and more. Presenters include a thoughtful lineup of professional experts, healers, practitioners, and businesswomen working together to revolutionize thoughts, expand minds, build relationships, network, and level up in all areas of life. 

“We wanted to provide a profound, beautiful weekend away that would offer our fellow women, mothers, wives and entrepreneurs time to reconnect with themselves, connect with each other and learn from the best in order to return home with heaps of inspiration, new contacts and actionable goals to uplevel their lives. For us, it’s about making relationships that last a lifetime and lifting up our guests with real-life stories and knowledge that will undoubtedly help them elevate their confidence and put their dreams into action!” says co-founder Alexis Fraser.

This year, event organizers have partnered with local entrepreneur Amber Duncan and the team at the headquarters of her thriving Bradenton-based subscription styling brand, Jackie, where Saturday and Sunday’s event will be hosted. Meanwhile, presenters include a lineup of professional experts, healers, practitioners, and businesswomen working together to revolutionize thoughts, expand minds, build relationships, network, and level up in all areas of life.

The 2022 Metamorphosis Retreat offers two tiers of tickets, with steeply discounted presale rates starting at $249 for the three-day event being released to the public on Tuesday, November 9 at 10:00am EST. Ticket prices will increase on November 23, 2022.  

Photo courtesy of @themetamorphosisretreat

For more information on the retreat or to purchase tickets, visit themetamorphosisretreat.com

[Blood Drive]  Children’s World Celebrates Neighborhood Toy Store Day with Blood Drive

This year’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day will be a celebration of play and supporting local. On Sat., Nov. 13th, Children’s World will join hundreds of locally owned stores across the country to celebrate the annual national Neighborhood Toy Store Day, a celebration in which independent toy shops kick off the holiday season with special events to introduce consumers to the benefits of shopping local. Children’s World will offer fun, child-friendly activities including free craft projects, writing letters to Santa Claus, meeting local children's author Darlien Simos. author of  The Adventures of Scooter and Smack, getting to meet some furry friends from the Humane Society of Sarasota County, and a chance to make a difference by donating blood to the Suncoast Blood Mobile.  As a result, neighborhood toy stores offer a carefully curated product selection and provide trusted recommendations on quality toys that offer good value. Because they needn’t adhere to a national sales plan like major chains, they can customize their offerings to specific community needs. And because they source products from both big-brand manufacturers and small, entrepreneurial companies, they introduce children to a world of toys that, often, can’t be found elsewhere. Neighborhood Toy Store Day takes place on Saturday, November 13, 10am - 4pm at Children's World -  4525 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota. 

[Hospital Safety]  SMH Receives Straight A’s Again for Patient Safety

The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety report cards were released today, and Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Sarasota Campus continued its straight-A streak for keeping patients safe from medical errors, infections, accidents and other harm to patients in their care. The Leapfrog Group assigns hospitals across the nation A, B, C, D or F safety grades in the spring and fall of each year, to help patients choose the safest hospitals for their care. The safety grades are based on more than 30 national performance measures reflecting quality and safety data, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm.SMH-Sarasota has earned straight A’s since it began participating in Leapfrog’s voluntary hospital safety survey in 2016. Of the nearly 3,000 U.S. hospitals graded in the Fall 2021 report card, 32 percent earned an A, 26 percent earned a B, 35 percent earned a C, 6 percent a D and less than 1 percent received an F. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD, said the hospital’s continued high marks demonstrate the dedication and diligence of the entire team.


To learn more, click here

[Recognition]  Doctors Hospital of Sarasota Consistently Ranked 'A' Grade Hospital

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota earns another “A” safety grade from the Leapfrog Group. This is the 15th time in a row the hospital has earned the distinction. This national award recognizes the hospital for keeping patients safe.

“The past year and eight months have been the most challenging in healthcare. With COVID-19 we had to make quick adjustments as we learned more about the virus. Through it all our caregivers made serving our community safely their top priority,” said Robert Meade, CEO of Doctors Hospital of Sarasota.  

The Leapfrog Group, is an independent national watchdog organization. It assigns “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” letter grades to hospitals across the country based on data from errors, injuries, accidents and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. Grades are updated twice a year, in the fall and spring. 

Photo of the Leapfrog A Team, courtesy of the hospital

[New Exhibition]  The Ringling Opens New Art Exhibition

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to announce the opening of As Long as There is Sun, as Long as There is Light. Selections from the Bring Gift and The Ringling Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition will run Nov. 21,2021 – Aug. 13, 2023, in the museum’s Searing Wing. In 2020, The Ringling received a significant gift of art from Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring, in support of the modern and contemporary collection. Highlights from the gift include an important minimalist work by Anne Truitt and a monumental work on canvas by Gene Davis, both artists affiliated with the Washington Color School, an art movement during the 1950s to 1970s in Washington D.C., made up of abstract expressionist artists Additional works in the gift represent a generation of prominent artists who work, or have worked, in abstraction, including Clement Meadmore, Jules Olitski, Beverly Pepper, Rebecca Salter, Kenneth Snelson, and Yuriko Yamaguchi, among others. Also on view are sculptures and paintings by distinguished African American and Latin American artists from The Ringling collection, including William Edmondson, Eduardo Mac Entyre, Omar Rayo, Baruj Salinas, and Joyce de Guatemala. Museum guests may view the exhibition, located in the Searing Wing, as part of their museum admission.  

For more information click here

[Staff]  Van Wezel Foundation Names Mark Cole Chief Advancement & Marketing Officer

The Van Wezel Foundation (Foundation) announced that after a national search led by WittKieffer, Mark Cole has joined the Foundation’s executive leadership team in the newly created position of Chief Advancement & Marketing Officer. Cole is an accomplished senior philanthropy and marketing executive with over 20 years of experience across education and performing arts organizations. He will drive the transformative fundraising campaign to build the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center on The Bay. 

Cole brings a breadth of artistic and operational expertise from 13 years at Miami City Ballet as their production director, and then general manager. Cole played a critical role in the Ballet’s 5-year strategic plan, philanthropy growth, and marketing rebranding, while also representing the Ballet’s interest as a resident company during the planning, construction and opening of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

“I am pleased to be joining the Foundation at this pivotal moment," says Cole. "I know the future Sarasota Performing Arts Center will have a profound impact in advancing education and enriching our community for generations to come.” 

[SOON]  GALLERY: Madeby Gallery: 8th Annual Alumni and Veterans Show , November 11 – December 13, Gallery hours.

The Eighth Annual Alumni and Veterans Show will run from November 11 to December 13, 2021 with a Zoom Reception on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 from 5pm to 6:30pm. You are invited to view exciting new work by Ringling College Alumni and Veterans. This multi-media exhibition includes artwork from this extraordinary group. The show features a wide variety of media, styles, and approaches from emerging and established alumni and veterans practicing a diverse range of art using mediums including painting, digital design, drawings, prints, and mixed media. All artwork will be on display online only on this page from November 11 through December 13. To purchase please call 941-822-0442 and make arrangements for curbside pickup or shipping.

[SOON]  MUSIC: WSLR + Fogartyville: Riverhawk Music Festival , November 11 – November 14

Riverhawk Music Festival will be held Thursday, November 11th through Sunday, November 14th at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City Florida. The festival features over 20 Nationally touring bands on multiple stages including Shinyribs, SugarCane Jane, Appalachian Road Show and Blue Mother Tupelo. Riverhawk Music Festival is a four-day music festival with an eclectic array of music featuring Americana, Bluegrass, Jamgrass, Celtic, Newgrass, Cajun and more. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Mike Paramore , November 11 – November 13, 7pm, 6:30pm, and 8:50pm

Mike Paramore has performed at the Just for Laughs Festival, Cleveland Comedy Festival, winner of Laughing Devil Festival in NYC, winner of the Laugh Fest's best in the midwest competition, winner of Best of the Fest in the 2018 Big Pine Comedy Festival and was a featured on AXTV's Live at Gotham in NYC, and is a featured comedian on FOX's hit show "Laughs." He will perform from November 11 to 13 at 7pm, 6:30pm, and 8:50pm.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: 2021 Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival , November 12 – November 15

After making the difficult decision to cancel last year's festival due to COVID-19, The Siesta Key Chamber is excited to announce the dates for the 2021 festival! This November 12-15th, twenty-four premier master sand sculptors will be competing for 1st place on Siesta Beach. The Siesta Key Crystal Classic is a visual and cultural arts festival now in its 11th year and has hosted over 300,000 attendees on the best beach in the USA! In only 24 sculpting hours, (spanning the four-day event), the master sculptors create sand masterpieces and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an amazing outdoor art gallery. And it is more than just sand...the festival also features live music throughout the event along with a large village of shopping and food and drink vendors. Other activities include the popular three-day Quick Sand competition, sand sculpting lessons and an amateur sculpting competition. The festival will be open Saturday night until 9 pm with live music by Fleetwood Max, The Definitive Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band. A full live music line up will be announced in October. The party tent will be open and the sculptures will be lit through a fabulous light display.

Siesta Key Crystal Classic

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Architecture Sarasota: MOD Weekend , November 12 – November 14

Architecture Sarasota's MOD Weekend will take place November 12 through 14 and will celebrate Philip Hanson Hiss, the primary catalyst of the modern architecture movement in Sarasota. Their 8th annual MOD Weekend will feature a VIP Reception, The Vision of Philip Hiss, Party Under the Banyan Tree at Hiss Studio, The Symposium, Guided Trolley Tour of Hiss-Commissioned Schools, Guided Trolley & Walking Tour of Lido Shores, Tropical Modernism: Philip Hiss’ Lido Shores Self-Guided Walking Tour, The Hiss Dinner, North Siesta Key Guided Kayak Tour, and Grand Canal Kayak Tour. The three-day event will celebrate Hiss’s forward-thinking ideas and how they gave rise to the origins of the Sarasota School of Architecture (SSA).

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sunshine from Darkness: Inspiring Hope Dinner , November 12, 6:30pm-9:30pm

Inspiring Hope Dinner will take place on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive. This inspirational evening will feature entertainment and celebrity speakers Darryl Strawberry, The retired Major League Baseball great will talk about his mental health and addiction journey, and Steve Ford, The actor and son of former President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford will discuss his struggles with addiction and depression, who will be recognized for their mental health advocacy and achievements in an evening supporting this vital cause. The rest of the lineup will be announced by May.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Florida Countryfest 2021 , November 12 – November 14, 4pm-10pm, 11am-10pm, and 11am-6pm

Free Concert on November 12, 13 & 14 at J.D. Hamel Park, Gulfstream & Main On the Bayfront, Downtown Sarasota. On Friday, November 12 from 4pm-10pm, Saturday, November 13 from 11am-10pm, and Sunday, November 14 from 11am-6pm. Friday: Randy McNeely Band, 5:30-7:30, Soul Circus Cowboys, 8-10. Saturday: Mike Tozier, 1-3, Chas Collins, 3:30-5:30, Cadillac Blue Band, 6-8, Craig Campbell, 8:30-10, and An intimate evening with Craig Campbell unplugged. Sunday: Side Project Duo Noon-1:30, Dr Dave Band 2-4, and James Otto, 4:30-6. On Facebook - Sarasota Country Music Festival. 

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Sunshine from Darkness: Journey to Wellness Symposium , November 13, 8:45am-12:15pm

Journey to Wellness Symposium will take place on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 from 8:45am to 12:15pm at Hyatt Regency, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts. Free and open to the community. National and local mental health scientists will address new treatments, discoveries, and insights into the emotional well-being of your child, loved one, family member or friend. Topics will include better treatments for childhood disorders, creating a trauma-informed community, the impact of COVID-19 on young people, childhood and adolescent anxiety, and the nature of depression; a Q&A will follow the program. The goals of the symposium are to raise awareness of mental health and addiction disorders and to help erase the stigma surrounding them. Three Continuing Education (CEU) credits will be available at no charge for LCSWs, marriage and family therapists, and mental health counselors.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: The Hermitage Artist Retreat: 2021 Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration , November 13, 11:30am-2pm

The Hermitage Artist Retreat’s annual Artful Lobster: An Outdoor Celebration will be Saturday, November 13, 2021, 11:30am to 2pm Now in its 13th year, the Artful Lobster raises valuable funds for the Hermitage’s renowned artist residency program. The event takes place outdoors beneath a large tent on the Hermitage’s historical beachfront campus, located at 6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood. Ticket information and additional details will be announced later in the year. For sponsorship inquiries, call 941-475-2098, Ext. 2. The 2020 Artful Lobster was one of the first live fundraisers in our region since the start of the pandemic to establish a new model for safe and socially-distanced gathering. With limited capacity and added safety precautions, 150 guests attended the sold-out feast and performance. Ralph Farris, an acclaimed Hermitage Fellow and founding violist and artistic director of the genre-bending string quartet ETHEL, headlined the event, impressing audiences with his original compositions created at the Hermitage, as well as his unique medley of Philip Glass, John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and “America the Beautiful.” Michael’s On East served a plentiful barbeque and much heralded lobster luncheon.

[SOON]  GALA: Anna Marie Island Privateers: Black Tie Fundraising Gala , November 13, 5pm-10pm

This year the Anna Maria Island Privateers, one of the oldest Not For Profit 501(C)(3) organizations in this geographic area, is celebrating its 50th year providing support and services to our community. In recognition of this accomplishment, we have put together a calendar of unique and exciting events to help you celebrate with us. One of our newest events is the "Black Tie Gala", scheduled for November 13 at from 5pm to 10pm at IMG Academy Golf Club, which will be a venue for honoring our past scholarship recipients. This event will benefit local scholarships and will feature seated dining, a cash bar, cocktail hour, and silent auction. We are currently looking for businesses and individuals who would like to partner with us for this event. For more information on the many ways you can be a part of this gala, visit our website at amiprivateers.org or contact Black Tie Gala event Chair, Kelly "Moulin" Sparkman, at flowergirlkelly@yahoo.com, 941-545-7871.

[SOON]  FOOD: Resilient Retreat: Farm To Table Feast , November 14, 5pm-9pm

Please join us for Resilient Retreat’s OUTDOOR Farm to Table dining experience on Sunday, November 14, 2021 from 5pm to 9pm at Resilient Retreat, 13010 Fruitville Road. Our goal this year is to raise $60,000+ at our inaugural Farm to Table event. The funds raised at the event are critical to Resilient Retreat to continue to serve survivors of trauma and first responders and helping professionals. Come immerse yourself among the majestic oaks at Resilient Retreat’s 84 acres of conservation land. In true Farm to table fashion, our local chefs will craft a tasting menu featuring the very best local seasonal foods. Dine outside under the stars nestled among the beautiful live oaks while experiencing al fresco farm to table dining. Farm to Table proceeds will benefit Resilient Retreat’s mission to empower survivors of trauma to thrive through self-care and community. Get involved with this important, festive, and fun event. We look forward to celebrating with you on November 14, 2021. Tickets are $325. Rain Date is December 2, 2021. 

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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