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SRQ DAILY Nov 13, 2021

"Every one of our professional and emerging scientists at New College has shown a resolute commitment to preserving this natural ecosystem, and we honor their hard work."

- Patricia Okker, New College of Florida

[Under The Hood]  Good Map For Buchanan? It Should Be.
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The release of potential congressional maps for the midterms seemed to deliver excellent news for Vern Buchanan. Campaign officials liked draft maps coming out of the Senate Reapportionment Committee staff, maps that presented the best news in how little news they made.

Florida’s U.S. House District 16 on all four draft proposals looks, well, pretty much like it looks today. For an incumbent who has won three elections under those lines, that’s a good thing. “Congressionally, Vern Buchanan is one of the early winners,” said Max Goodman, a campaign consultant who has worked with Buchanan since his first run for Congress.

The little change proposed includes shedding swingy parts of Hillsborough County in exchange for more of Sarasota County — parts which are more reliably Republican. “He picks up more of the “red” section of Sarasota County that he represented when he was initially elected to Congress,” Goodman said.

A demonstration? Buchanan in 2020 beat Democrat Margaret Good by 11 percentage points, but in Hillsborough he only beat her by three points. By comparison, he beat her by five in Sarasota, and that was in arguably the bluest section of the county. And Buchanan keeps all of deep red Manatee. Despite being targeted by national Democrats the last two election cycles, the district as it exists today is probably Buchanan country until he’s ready to retire. And it just got friendlier for him.


Two days after these awesome winds, there seemed a minor quake in politics that could ignite a fringe base that could create a threat to Buchanan from the right, not the left. Mike Flynn, a former national security advisor to former President Trump who has become a bit of a leader on the far-far right, moved to Englewood recently and started to cultivate a cluster of crazy in south Sarasota County. And he just endorsed Martin Hyde, the anti-establishment candidate challenging Buchanan in a Republican primary.

Flynn has been as controversial a figure in local politics as on the national scene. His presence elevated an anti-vaccine event earlier this year when some doctors were handing out medical exemptions for school mask mandates like Halloween candy. Still, many traditional political leaders I know still consider Flynn and company as extremists of questionable influence.

In Buchanan world, the idea Hyde could ride a right-wing surge has been routinely dismissed. He lacks outside funding and a political record of success. Besides, Buchanan has faced Tea Party challengers before and done well, a sign the conservative flank of the party trusts the incumbent.

One wonders the effect as his boundary slinks back south into areas represented now by Rep. Greag Stebe, R-Sarasota. That congressman, whose district is set to became as rural as ever, has downplayed insurrectionists at the Capitol as trespassers. He voted against certifying Joe Biden’s win for president after the riots, while Buchanan did not. I’m guessing these moves, while controversial, have the support of his district, part of which will likely become Buchanan’s district.

I hope this is all an illusion. That insurrection hasn’t become something cool, and that the embrace of extreme conspiracy theorists isn’t something that can change the dynamics of a Sarasota area Republican primary.

By all traditional measures, Buchanan just had a very good week. He should seem a heavier favorite today than he already was a month ago. The question is if political tradition is out the window. It will be next August before we know for sure.

Jacob Ogles is SRQ MEDIA contributing senior editor. 

Photo courtesy Twitter: Vern Buchanan speaks at a Veterans Day event in Sarasota.

[Bayfront Resources]  New College's Marine Research and Sailing Dock is Officially Open
Patricia Okker, Ph.D.

I am thrilled to announce that, after a full summer of on-campus construction, our dock on the New College bayfront is now complete.

This incredible resource for marine science research and waterfront recreation will serve the College, our entire community, and our beautiful Sarasota Bay, for years to come.

I am especially grateful to the state, and to our Florida legislators, for making this project possible. Because Sarasota Bay is so often our classroom at New College, this new dock will tremendously help our faculty and students conduct research to enhance the health of our local waters.

The dock will bolster New College’s traditionally strong and popular programs in marine biology and environmental studies, as well as our summer marine biology education programs for teens in Sarasota and Manatee counties. And it will be the home port for our sailing and waterfront recreation program.

New College professors and students regularly study the effects of red tide; monitor the health of sharks, manatees, dolphins and other marine life; and collect data to improve the sustainability of mangroves and various native plants in the region. Because of this dock, our researchers can conduct their work much more easily and efficiently. The dock is also ADA compliant, with a boat lift for individuals with mobility issues.

But where exactly is this dock and what does it look like? The L-shaped dock is six feet wide and extends 294 feet west from the shore of the New College Caples campus and then 144 feet to the southwest. The site is about 50 feet south of The Ringling museum sea wall, and it was selected for its environmental compatibility and proximity to deep water.

The dock was constructed with eco-conscious materials: Surestep PVC open deck grating, designed for maximum sunlight penetration to underwater aquatic life; and high-density polyethylene piling wraps that protect the water from any chemicals in the treated wood pilings.

Our dock construction team, headed by New College Project Manager Itza Frisco, worked closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Southwest Florida Water Management District to ensure full compliance with the stringent permitting requirements governing Sarasota Bay. Our construction partners at the Tignor Group, ATP Engineering South, Willis Smith Construction, Custom Dock & Davit, and Hall Darling Design Studio did a remarkable job of building the dock.

The dock now serves the New College marine biology program’s 32-foot pontoon research boat, Limbatus; a smaller research skiff; and a rigid inflatable rescue vessel.

We look forward to this dock enabling our students and faculty to devote more time and energy to their environmental research. Every one of our professional and emerging scientists at New College has shown a resolute commitment to preserving this natural ecosystem, and we honor their hard work.

For example, New College Associate Professor of Biology Jayne Gardiner, Ph.D. and her colleagues recently received a $165,111 grant from the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund for the study of blacknose and great hammerhead sharks in the bay. New College thesis student Cecilia Hampton was just awarded a Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation scholarship for her research with Professor Gardiner into bull shark movements in the Manatee River. This groundbreaking research will have lasting effects on our Florida waters and our planet as a whole, and our dock will only generate more efforts like these.

Our list of supporters for the construction of this dock is lengthy, and it includes individuals like Florida Representatives James Buchanan, Fiona McFarland and Tommy Gregory; Senators Jim Boyd and Joe Gruters; Congressman Vern Buchanan; and officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

We couldn’t be more appreciative of everyone who helped make this dock a reality—for believing in New College, and for prioritizing and championing scientific research. We are so grateful.

Patricia Okker, Ph.D. is the president of New College of Florida. 

Pictured: The dock ribbon cutting, courtesy of the college

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Suncoast Science Center: Weekend Science Classes for Kids Return at the Fab Lab , October 2 – December 31, 10am-1pm

The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab’s STEAM Saturdays classes are back by popular demand. The weekly courses provide students from grades 1-12 with a unique opportunity to explore various science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) areas through engaging hands on activities and the use of high-tech Fab Lab equipment such as laser cutters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers and more. STEAM Saturdays run weekly from 10 am-1 pm beginning Saturday, October 2. Returning classes include Robotics, Engineering, Chemistry and Art Lab, while new courses like Coding & Artificial Intelligence, Electric Engineering, and Build Your Brand have been added. All students are invited to spend their Saturday at the Fab Lab. There are classes to suit every age and interest, from creating spooky pumpkin volcanoes in “Halloween Chemistry” to programming a robot to travel across a zipline in “Engineering” class. No experience is required. Classes are $40 and include all supplies and take-home projects. Limited spaces are available, and sessions sell out quickly. For the full schedule and more information, visit https://suncoastscience.org/steam-saturdays.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Seeing the Invisible , September 25 – August 31, 10am-5pm

The most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology will premiere at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, opening on September 25, 2021 and ongoing through August 31 2022, as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries. Seeing the Invisible features works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin—including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition downloadable to smartphones and tablets. Forging new links between botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe, the exhibition fosters collaboration between institutions, artists, and audiences, highlighting the power of art to connect people around the world.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Sarasota Art Museum: David Budd: Motion Within Stillness , October 9 – March 20, Museum hours.

David Budd: Motion Within Stillness from October 9 to March 20, 2022. After painting for only six years, David Budd (1927-1991, Florida) dove into the New York art scene in the 1950s —immersing himself in Abstract Expressionism and working alongside iconic names of the movement, such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. His paintings, like others of the time, relied on the bodily relationship between the artist and canvas —each stroke and mark of the artist encapsulated in viscous gestures of paint—and spontaneity; although, this is not to say that Budd painted hastily—each mark was placed with intention to animate the canvas’s surface.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions: War Paint: Profiles of Courage , November 1 – December 10, 10am-3pm

WAR PAINT: Profiles of Courage was created as a tribute to the bravery of veterans who have served and those currently serving our country. Ringling College of Art and Design students, faculty, and local artists will create portrait profiles of veterans in variety of mediums. The images tell stories from WW ll, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and current enlisted troops that will enrich the Ringling College community for years to come. This exhibition will be held from November 1 to December 10, 2021 at Ringling College’s newest gallery, Project Space 340, located in the Arcos Building at 340 Central Ave., in the heart of Sarasota’s historic Rosemary District. The exhibition, War Paint: Profiles of Courage, was organized by the Galleries of Ringling College and Matthew Troyer, president of the Ringling College Veteran’s Club. Matthew is a combat veteran, former combat photographer, and is currently majoring in Photography and Imaging. Admission is free and open to the public, Monday - Friday 10am-3pm.

[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]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Selby Gardens: The Orchid Show 2021: Aerialists from the Tree Top to the Big Top , October 9 – November 28, 10am-5pm

Selby Gardens’ annual Orchid Show, from October 9 to November 28, brings together two of Sarasota, Florida’s most renowned legacies —orchids and the circus. Presented in collaboration with the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (The Ringling), The Orchid Show 2021: Aerialists from the Tree Top to the Big Top!, is presented by Better-Gro®, celebrates the breathtaking beauty of orchids in tree-top canopies high above the forest floor with the artistry and spectacle of the circus, particularly the aerialists who perform extraordinary feats of human ability high above captivated crowds. Pairing astonishing air plants with amazing aerial acts enables a fascinating exploration of the intersection of nature and entertainment. The show is deeply rooted in Selby Gardens’ status as possessing the world’s best scientifically documented collection of orchids. As always, the Orchid Show highlights the diversity and richness of the Orchidaceae family, one of the largest families of flowering plants on earth. The synergy with Sarasota’s extensive circus history fortifies the theme of this year’s show. Once the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the city remains the home of many circus performers and their families. In addition to The Ringling, housing the finest circus collections in existence, Sarasota is home to the Circus Arts Conservatory and associated Sailor Circus Academy, the oldest youth circus in America.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Circus Secrets Of Sarasota , January 1 – December 31

Learn about the rich circus history of Sarasota on an unforgettable trolley or van tour. Pass by key city landmarks as our informative and passionate tour guide, Bob Collins, tells stories about the colorful cast of circus characters, showmen, and performers who called Sarasota home. Meander through historic neighborhoods such as the Rosemary District, known for its vibrant food and art scene. Learn about the rich history of the Ringling brothers, the five brothers who owned and operated the circus renowned as the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Pass by the 21-gallery museum John Ringling constructed to house his extensive artwork collection, which opened to the public in 1931. Explore several other locations intimately involved in Sarasota’s circus history, including Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Circus Arts Conservatory, and the Circus Ring of Fame on St. Armands Circle. This 90-minute trolley or van tour is perfect for all ages and shows you a whole new side of Sarasota. Get ready for a fun-filled circus adventure during this show on wheels. It’s an illuminating experience you don’t want to miss. 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]  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]  GALLERY: The Ringling: Prints, Ceramics, and Glass from Japan , August 15 – January 16, Museum hours.

The exhibition includes pioneering artists such as Iwami Reika (1927–2020) who found new possibilities in Geometric Abstraction, while others, like her contemporary Shinoda Tōkō (1913–2021) were stimulated by Abstract Expressionism. These movements were themselves the products of decades of cross-cultural dialog; for example, the emphasis on calligraphic brushstrokes and spontaneous gesture in the latter was informed, although often unacknowledged, by the work of avant-garde calligraphers and popular discourse on Zen Buddhism. Drawing from The Ringling’s collection and loans from Christine and Paul Meehan and Daphne Rosenzweig, Abstract Impressions introduces some of Japan’s most innovative printmakers active between the between the 1950s and the present. Prints, Ceramics, and Glass will be on display until January 16, 2022 and is located in the Pavilion Gallery, Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Center for Asian Art, this double-bill exhibition features modern and contemporary works on paper, glass, and ceramic sculpture from The Ringling and private collections.

[SOON]  THEATER: FSU/Asolo Conservatory: Everybody , November 2 – November 21, Varies.

A modern take on the fourteenth-century morality play Everyman, this new play follows the character of Everybody (chosen from amongst the cast by lottery at each performance!) as they journey through the meaning of life, and most importantly, of death. A finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, the play is absurdly witty, very moving, and unlike anything you’ve seen in the theatre. Everybody will take place November 3-21, 2021 with Previews on November 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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