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SRQ DAILY Nov 25, 2021

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"This is, if not one of then the strongest delegations in the state. We come together on issues, especially appropriations issues, that are important to our area."

- Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton

[Politics]  Leaders Present Local Needs to Manatee Delegation
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Local leaders in Manatee County pressed lawmakers Tuesday about the region’s greatest financial needs. The county’s political leaders came together for an annual Manatee County Legislative Delegation meeting.

County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh stressed the need for continued funding to clean up the Piney Point industrial site, where a breach in a reservoir resulted in untreated water being dumped in Port Manatee to avoid a flooding hazard for surrounding homes. “Piney Point has been a nightmare for our environment,” she said.

She also pushed for the state this year to address inequities in funding for child and family social services. On that front, Safe Children Coalition Brena Slater also spoke about a state formula that leaves the region with less dollars per child than many high-density parts of the state. The county is one of the top four counties for removal serves, and as recently as 2015 topped that list. But some counties have tens of millions more in funding.

“Our families deserve the same level of funding as other children,” she said.

School Board Chair James Golden told lawmakers the continued challenges faced by schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic should prompt the state for a third consecutive year to waive some of its quantitative performance measures. “The School Board requests the Legislature eliminate for another yea the ’21-’22 school year teacher evaluations and individual school and district grades,” he said.

Lawmakers said they would take all input into consideration. On matters of appropriations, representatives said they plan to work across the aisle together to secure as much funding as possible for Manatee County.

“This is, if not one of then the strongest delegations in the state,” said Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton. “We come together on issues, especially appropriations issues, that are important to our area.”

Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, D-St. Petersburg and the delegation’s only Democrat, said philosophical matters are put aside by local lawmakers when it comes to local demands. “Even though do sit across the aisle from each other, we find common ground with each other on the things we can,” she said.

Rep. Tommy Gregor, R-Sarasota, said all input from leaders will shape lawmakers’ actions when session starts in January. “We’re all taking notes, and we will take what we learn in these talks to Tallahassee with us,” the delegation chairman said.


[Outdoor Market]  A Festive Friday To Look Forward To
Emma Tufano, emma@srqme.com

There’s a new monthly, outdoor event downtown that kicked off November 5, 2021, and is returning for its second run on December 3. Fresh Fridays welcomes their holiday market, 'Shop, Stroll, Sing!' for those who love the holidays or are just looking to get festive. 

Lemon Avenue and State Street will become pedestrian-only from 8pm-11 pm on the first Friday of the most festive month of the year to listen to some Christmas music, admire the holiday lights and browse your favorite vendors. You never know, you could find the perfect gift, for you or that special person in mind.

There truly is something for everyone. A DJ will play holiday-themed music, and attendees can look forward to free party favors, free dessert bites, karaoke singing with accompanying gift raffle, snow machines, a step-and-repeat photo booth, Menora lighting and a big video screen with special video message from Santa. Desserts come courtesy of State Street Eating House + Cocktails, Element: Steaks. Seafood. Pasta., and Whole Foods Market. Drinks may be purchased within event zone and enjoyed al fresco on State Street and Lemon Avenue. The event will also feature special musical guests from the Sarasota Area Arts Organization. 

Grab a bite at your favorite restaurant off Main Street or enjoy a drink with friends before heading out to the event. “We really want people to feel like it’s a whole-day event,”  says Next-Mark president and event organizer, Joseph Grano. “and we hope our friends and neighbors can come out and support all the great locally-owned businesses that make the city so vital.” 


Photo courtesy of the organization

Learn more at freshfridayssarasota.com, @freshfridayssrq

[Nature]  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College Presents "Celebrating Florida's Wild Wonders"

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College (OLLI at Ringling College) presents “Celebrating Florida’s Wild Wonders,” a one-day event inspired by the book, The Wilder Heart of Florida, and featuring eight celebrated writers, poets, educators, environmentalists, architects and artists. 

Julie Cotton, a member of OLLI’s Advisory Council’s Strategic Program Committee, is the creative spark for the event and says that participants will “expand their emotional connection to Florida’s natural treasures and learn about places they never knew existed.” Cotton adds that audience members will have the opportunity to offer their own perspectives and interact with the guest speaker. The day will also include book signings and interactions with local environmental and art groups at display tables. Cotton encourages audience members to prepare for the event by reading The Wilder Heart of Florida, edited by Jack E. Davis and Leslie K. Poole, and The Palmetto Book by Jono Miller.  “Using the arts as our vantage point via evocative prose, poetry, painting, photography, architecture and film, we aim to engage hearts and minds in celebrating and safeguarding our precious wild wonders,” says Cotton.

Panelists include: Leslie K. Poole, co-editor of The Wilder Heart of Florida and assistant professor of environmental studies at Rollins College; Gianna Russo, assistant professor of English and creative writing at Saint Leo University, author of several poetry collections, and winner of a Florida Book Award; and Bruce Stephenson, professor of environmental studies at Rollins College and author of John Nolen: Landscape Architect and City Planner.

Other presenters include notable environmental writers, artists and educators, including: Jean Blackburn, contemporary artist, photographer, and naturalist who celebrates nature and the joy it can bring to human life; Susan Cerulean, multiple award-winning writer, naturalist, earth advocate, and author of three books, including the newly published I Have been Assigned the Single Bird, A Daughter’s Memoir; Pamela Callender, adjunct professor of eco-art history at Eckerd College, who has created a unique landscape design project called “Lifelines, Connecting Nature’s Habitat”; Joe King, the architect/developer who designed River Forest, the unique 26-home neighborhood on the Braden River, set among a lush native plants landscape; and Jono Miller, educator, activist, and natural historian who works to understand and protect wild places in Southwest Florida.

The event is Friday, March 11, 2022, 9 am - 5 pm at the Ringling College Museum Campus, 1000 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. General admission is $125; registration opens on December 7. The registration fee includes lunch and a complimentary reception. For more information and to register, call 941-309-5111, or visit OLLIatRinglingCollege.org 

Photo courtesy of Florida Press Blog

[Musical Performance]  Choral Artists of Sarasota Presents “What Sweeter Music”

Choral Artists of Sarasota’s 43rd season, “Carried Away,” continues with “What Sweeter Music,” Sunday, December 19, 5 p.m., at Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. The concert features spectacular brass, organ, and choral arrangements, notably by the Canadian Brass, of Christmas classics. Mezzo-soprano Amy Jo Connours, and organists Ann Stephenson-Moe and Sam Nelson join the 30 Choral Artists singers for this joyful holiday concert. Tickets are $35; $5 for students. 

The brass quintet will be featured in several solo pieces, including “Wachet Auf” by J.S. Bach and Morten Lauridsen’s ethereal “O Magnum Mysterium.” The featured soloist for the concert is Amy Jo Connours, mezzo-soprano, whose soulful and expressive renditions of holiday classics and newfound holiday gems are sprinkled throughout the program. Holiday favorites include “O Holy Night,” Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” and several carols for all to sing, including “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Organists Sam Nelson, director of music at Redeemer, and Ann Stephenson-Moe, music director emeritus at Redeemer and founding member of Choral Artists, will both accompany portions of the program.The Choral Artists of Sarasota comprises 32 of the region’s most notable professional singers. Eight young singers, ages 16 to 22, are also invited to join the group each year, as part of the organization’s educational outreach. One of these gifted singers will be awarded the Barbara Diles Apprentice Scholarship, a funding program to support either private lessons or vocal training at an institution of higher learning.  

Pictured: Choral Artists of Sarasota, Photo by Barbara Banks

For more information click here

[Holiday Meals]  Safe Children Coalition Provides Thanksgiving Meals for Families in Need

On Saturday, Safe Children Coalition provided nearly 800 full Thanksgiving meals to families in need through a drive-thru event at its main office in north Sarasota. Eligible recipient families who were required to pre-register for the event are those currently being served through Safe Children Coalition programs such as the Achievers, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Schoolhouse Link, and the Youth Shelter as well as other partnering agencies that serve low-income families. This is the 20th year that volunteers have distributed Thanksgiving meals to those in need, thanks to generous community donations – a tradition that began as a community service project for the teen participants in the Achievers program to give back to the community. Families received a turkey large enough for a family of eight, vegetables, sides and pie. The meals were provided by Publix, which offers the food at a discounted cost in support of the effort.

Over the past 20 years, approximately 4,700 Thanksgiving meals have been provided to families in need. Special thank-yous are in order for Sarasota lawyer and longtime turkey drive sponsor Dan Dannheisser for – as he has for 20 years now – spearheading the fundraising campaign and personally funding numerous meals, and to the Safe Children Coalition Achievers and Youth Shelter students, who helped coordinate the effort and distributed the food. Safe Children Coalition is also grateful to Construction Supply of Southwest Florida for providing trucks and staff to transport the turkey dinners to the distribution site. According to FeedingAmerica.org, more than 42 million people may experience food insecurity this year, including a potential 13 million children. The pandemic has only worsened the hunger crisis for families who were already at risk. Distributing Thanksgiving meals is just one of the ways Safe Children Coalition provides crucial support for families in need. 

For more information click here

[Grant]  Satchel’s Last Resort Awarded $7,800 from Community Foundation of Sarasota County to Support Animal Rescue Efforts

Satchel’s Last Resort has been awarded a Capacity Building Grant from the Helen C. Schwieder Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County in the amount of $7,800 to support Animal Rescue efforts in our Community. This grant provides the funding for custom built volunteer tracking software to help Satchel’s Volunteers coordinate and organize activities, manage hours and stay informed of important information. This will lead to increased volunteer satisfaction and retention. This grant also funds an update to the Satchelslastresort.org and creates a professional Youtube channel allowing the organization to increase its online presence to better reach the community. Satchel's Last Resort is a no-kill animal shelter/sanctuary whose mission is to rescue, rehab and rehome dogs and cats with nowhere else to go because of breed, behavior or medical issues. 

[SOON]  FOOD: Grove Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go , November 25, 10am-2pm

This Thanksgiving Day from 10am to 2pm, spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your loved ones. Let our team do the slicing, chopping, basting, and cooking for you! Your meal will be seasoned, prepared, and carefully packaged by our chefs and you will receive heating instructions. We will be offering our Traditional Thanksgiving Family Feast (serves 4-6) to-go that includes: Whole Roasted Turkey, House Made Stuffing, Sweet Potato Casserole, Broccoli Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Cranberry Sauce, Turkey Gravy, 8 Dinner Rolls, Whole Pumpkin Pie and a Bottle of Vista Point Chardonnay. Individual Meals and A La Carte items are also available. This Thanksgiving, PIER 22 and GROVE have once again partnered with the Tidewell Foundation to benefit the families in care by Tidewell Hospice and home health. As you plan Thanksgiving dinner for your family, please consider donating an individual dinner for a local family to support the Tidewell Foundation. With your help and kindness, patients and families receiving world-class care and compassion from Tidewell Hospice will enjoy a stress-free meal while spending quality time with their loved ones.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County: 67th Annual Christmas Tree Lot , November 26 – December 25, Varies.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County will be hosting their 67th Annual Christmas Tree Lot at the Westgate Shopping Center (Publix), 3913 Manattee Ave. W. Bradenton beginning on Friday, November 26 from 9am to 7pm and will be open Saturday, November 27 from 9am to 7pm. It will be closed Mondays - Wednesdays, open Thursdays and Fridays from 5pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 9am to 6pm and Sundays from 12pm to 7pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Steve Byrne , November 26 – November 27, 6:30pm and 8:50pm

Born to a Korean mother + an Irish father Steve Byrne’s unique background gave him the base comedic material for his first television show, Sullivan & Son, which aired on TBS. Movie credits include The Dilemma, Couples Retreat, Four Christmases and The Goods: The Don Ready Story. Steve Byrne will perform for this special event on November 26 and 27 at 6:30pm and 8:50pm in The Green Room.

[SOON]  THEATER: Florida Studio Theatre: Deck the Halls , November 27 – December 24, Varies.

A brand-new rendition of everything that makes the holidays in Sarasota special. With all-new songs and sketches, audiences should get ready to celebrate the holidays – Florida style – palm trees with decorations, swimming in the sea, sand snowmen, and more. An annual Sarasota holiday tradition, Deck the Halls invites families to deck the palms and join in on the fun at this interactive family show. Deck the Halls, by Sarah Durham and Caroline Saldivar, will play Saturdays and select Sundays from November 27, 2021 - December 24, 2021 in FST's Bowne's Lab. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale and can be purchased by clicking the button above or by calling the Box Office at 941-366-9000.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Venice Holiday Parade , November 27, 6:30pm

The Venice Holiday Parade returns to downtown Venice this year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 27. The parade officially begins at 6:30pm at the corner of Park Blvd. and W. Venice Ave (south side). It will proceed on the north side of W. Venice Ave. after crossing over Harbor Drive. From there, it will make a turn on Nokomis Avenue and go all the way down to Turin Street, where it turns right, ultimately making its way to the Venice Community Center, where the parade ends. For parade viewers wishing to be more socially distanced along the route, we encourage you to watch the parade from Nokomis Avenue. Masks are encouraged in crowded areas where social distancing is a challenge. The 2021 Holiday Parade will most likely be smaller this year, but traditionally exciting. For more information, please visit the parade website at veniceholidayparade.com or call 941-488-8780.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: St. Armands Circle: Holiday Soiree 2021 , November 27 – December 19, Varies.

St. Armands Circle has announced the event dates for its upcoming 2021 Holiday Soirée. Experience life on the circle and visit an assortment of some of the best merchants in the region. Holiday Soirée, a joint effort by the St. Armands Circle Association and St. Armands Business Improvement District, invites locals and tourists alike to immerse themselves and enjoy weekly events happening throughout the month of December. The Holiday Soirée will start Saturday, November 27. Is there a better place to spend the holiday season than on the Circle? Let it snow somewhere else. Come join an incredible series of holiday events presented by the St. Armands Circle Association. There will be six different events throughout the next month, the first starting on Saturday, November 27 as the circle kicks off the holiday season with the Let’s Go Shop Small event. Visitors can support local businesses on the Circle and get a head start on all their holiday shopping. The following week on Friday, December 3, features the Holiday Night of Lights. Beginning at 5:30pm, come enjoy the ceremonial tree lighting, sing along with carolers and witness Santa arrive on the Circle. Kids will have the opportunity to meet and take pictures with Santa from 6:30pm – 8pm. The final two weeks of the Holiday Soirée features two weekly events. Starting on Thursday, December 9 from 6pm to 9pm, enjoy the sweet sounds of the season by coming to Songs on the Circle. Stroll, shop and dine while you listen to this live music event. Then on Saturday, December 11, come see Porsches in the Park. Experience a day filled with beautiful automobiles and perfect weather. St. Armands Circle Association finishes its Holiday Soirée with its final two events on the week before Christmas. Ladies Night, which will be held on Thursday, December 16 from 6pm to 8:30pm, includes promotions from participating merchants for ladies. Shop and dine out on the Circle with a festive atmosphere that is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. The final event will conclude on Sunday, December 19. From 11am to 1pm, the Circle encourages you to enjoy a special holiday-themed mid-day soirée at its St. Armands Family Day.

[SOON]  THEATER: The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime: Outdoor Theatre Workshop , November 27, 12pm-2pm

This Outdoor Theatre Workshop will take place in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime on Saturday, November 27 from 12pm to 2pm. Presented by actors from Dingbat Theatre Project. Pay what you want. Ages 8 to 108.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Temple Sinai: Hands on Hanukkah , November 28 – December 5, 4pm-7:15pm

HANDS ON HANUKKAH is a Community Event taking place at the UTC Mall during the 8 days of Hanukkah. The family-friendly events feature arts & crafts, raffles & giveaways, food & photos, storytelling, live musical performances and end with lighting the hanukkiah. All events start at 4pm and end at 7:15pm. HANDS ON HANUKKAH runs Sunday, Nov. 28th - Sunday, Dec. 5th and is produced by Temple Sinai Sarasota.  

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Beneva Fruitville's Thanksgiving Drag Queen Bingo , November 28, 8pm

Come and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with a night of laughter, performances and Bingo with these fabulous Drag Queens that we give so much thanks for. This special event will take place on November 28 at 8pm in The Green Room.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Key Chorale: Sheer Grace , November 28, 4pm-6pm

Grace and beauty combine in an alluring program featuring Key Chorale and The Sarasota Ballet’s Studio Company and Trainees on November 28 from 4pm to 6pm at Sarasota Opera House. The elegance and dreaminess of Eric Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs, and his setting from the beloved children’s book Good Night Moon, contrasts with the cinematic drama of Ola Gjeilo’s Dark Night of the Soul and John Rutter’s tuneful and brilliantly colorful Magnificat. Crystalline soprano Mary Wilson adds her soaring voice to a perfect afternoon of ethereal beauty.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Cirque Dreams Holidaze , November 29, 7:30pm

CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE lights up the stage in this dazzling family spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the family! As lights dim and music plays, a fantastical cast of holiday storybook characters come to life presenting an elaborate wonderland, invoking the stories behind a child’s eye as they dream on the most magical of nights. Ballerinas, nutcrackers, snowmen, reindeer, ethereal aerialists, gingerbread people and colossal ornaments fly, juggle and stretch imaginations. This show will take place on Monday, November 29 at 7:30pm.

[SOON]  FOOD: Sarasota Opera: Moonlight & Melodies Dinner Series , November 1 – February 21, 6pm

Moonlight & Melodies Dinner Series is a new dining experience for opera lovers. This year Sarasota Opera welcomes our community into the Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard for an immersive themed dinner series that highlights composers from the season. As we come together to share our awe for the exquisite art these composers created, enjoy curated cocktails and food prepared by the best of Sarasota’s chefs in a setting that will transport you to a different location each evening. Make your reservations now so you won’t miss out on this exciting and new event. Moonlight & Melodies Dinner #1 will take place on Monday, November 1 at 6pm and Moonlight & Melodies Dinner #2 will take place on Monday, February 21 at 6pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Michael Londra's Celtic Yuletide , December 1, 8pm

Emmy® nominee & PBS host MICHAEL LONDRA brings an evening of “Christmas from Ireland” to the Van Wezel, told in song, dance and the festive stories of his youth. The famed Irish tenor, best known as the voice of Riverdance on Broadway and host of Ireland With Michael on PBS, sings beloved carols such as “O Come Emmanuel” and “The First Noel,” in his signature Celtic traditional style. Rounding out the evening are the breathtaking Celtic Fire dancers, performing traditional and modern dances. This show will take place on Wednesday, December 1 at 8pm.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office 5th Annual Holiday Toy Drive , December 1 – December 12, 7am-7pm

Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman is pleased to announce the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is hosting its fifth annual holiday toy drive benefitting the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program. There are currently more than 1,300 children from throughout Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and as such, appointed a Guardian ad Litem. Because the children range in age from newborn to 18 years old with varying personal needs, the sheriff’s office has chosen to focus the holiday initiative solely on toys and gift cards. Citizens are asked to refrain from donating clothing or stuffed animals and to make sure all donations are new and unwrapped. The initiative begins Wednesday, December 1 and continues until Sunday, December 12. Citizens can deliver donations to the agency’s headquarters located at 6010 Cattleridge Boulevard, Sarasota, every day between 7am and 7pm. The initiative launched in 2017 when the agency moved into its new headquarters facility on Cattleridge Boulevard in Sarasota. To date, with help from agency members, residents, local businesses and organizations, the sheriff’s office has donated more than 7,000 gifts including $20,000 in gift cards to the Guardian ad Litem program. Thanks to a partnership with the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Public Safety Department, public safety personnel are once again generously donating a holiday tree which will serve as the collection site for the toy drive. The tree will be delivered to the sheriff’s office headquarters on Monday, November 29 at 11am.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Sarasota Audubon Society Guided Walks: Oscar Scherer State Park , November 4 – April 7, 8:30am

Sarasota Audubon Society (SAS) Oscar Scherer State Park Walks will take place every Thursday, from November 4 through April 7. Meet 8:30am inside park at Lake Osprey Nature Center (fee). 1st, 2nd and 5th Thursdays led by Venice Audubon; 3rd & 4th Thursdays led by Peter Brown (508-241-5541).

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast: Annual Giving Tree Toy Drive , November 8 – December 3

Fifth Third Bank is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast for its annual Giving Tree Toy Drive campaign. The Giving Tree Toy Drive program will begin on November 8, 2021 and end on December 3, 2021. Each Fifth Third financial center will host a “Giving Tree” decorated with gift tags with specific information that pertains to the need of a child in the community. We encourage you to visit any local Fifth Third Bank financial center in South Florida during the month of November to pick up your gift tag. Your donation of a gift or gift card will help make a difference and ensure a brighter holiday season for the underserved youth in our community. All donations can be dropped off at any local Fifth Third Bank in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Broward and Palm Beach. To find the nearest location, visit 53.com.

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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