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SRQ DAILY Dec 9, 2021

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"Our mission is to promote our community's diverse, locally-owned dining establishments"

- Sarah Firstenberger, Executive Director of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals

[Politics]  Ethics Commission Finds Probable Cause Baugh Abused Power
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The Florida Ethics Commission found probable cause that Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh abused her office when she helped select a vaccine pop-up site in her district and recommended a VIP list for shots that had her name on it.

The commission on Wednesday released a round of findings on complaints filed against public officials around the state. Baugh’s case, which earned national attention at the time, was among the most prominent.

“Probable cause was found to believe Ms. Baugh violated the constitutional amendment prohibiting the abuse of office to obtain a disproportionate benefit by placing her own name at the top of Manatee County’s randomly selected list of recipients to receive a COVID-19 vaccination,” the Ethics Commission release states.

“In addition, probable cause was found to believe Ms. Baugh misused her position or public resources to assign vaccine distribution priority to serve specific individuals and zip codes, contrary to Manatee County’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.”

Notably, Baugh never received a vaccine at the pop-up site, which was opened in February in Lakewood Ranch. The fact the site, located within Baugh’s county commission district, only served residents of two wealthy Manatee County ZIP codes at the time generated significant controversy over Gov. Ron DeSantis’ use of the short-term sites to serve populations not obtaining vaccines at a fast rate compared to the state as a whole.

Baugh issued a public apology when news broke in February of the VIP list. But she brushed off calls for her resignation as a county commissioner or as chair of the county board. She could face a fine of up to $10,000 or suspension from office, but that’s unclear as the finding of probable cause is just an early step in the evaluation process, something counsel for Baugh noted.

“The Commission’s decision to find probable cause is not an adjudication of guilt, but simply a decision to allow the matter to proceed to the next phase,” said Baugh attorney George Levesque.

“It was by no means a unanimous decision, which speaks to the real concerns as to whether any law was violated and the complex nature of these types of cases. Some Commissioners noted the clear political nature of the attacks, expressing significant reservations with moving forward. We look forward to this next phase of the proceedings to bring truth and perspective to the allegation and to demonstrate that Commissioner Baugh did not violate any law and did not violate any of her ethical obligation to her constituents.”


[Boutique Opening]  A Surge In Fashion Comes to Main Street
Emma Tufano, Emma@srqme.com

To all the fashion lovers and shopping addicts out there, you can add to your collection of favorite boutiques with the grand opening of Surge Style. This Friday, December 10, join the glam team of Surge on Main Street, downtown Sarasota to shop the latest and cutest clothing trends and accessories. Starting an online boutique was only the first step for Chloe Canterbury. Opening her first brick-and-mortar shop is the next. My love for fashion, and the satisfaction I get from making women feel beautiful inside and out, is why I love what I do. But I didn't want to open a boutique just to open a boutique,”she says. “I wanted to inspire and encourage other women to go after their dreams as well, no matter what they may be.” 

Surge Style carries everything from apparel, swimwear, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses and more. The Hillary Heels and the Celine Ribbed Dress make for a perfect date night while the matching Eyelet Smocked Shorts and Eyelet Off-Shoulder Top are a go-to for a beach hangout. “Whether you’re looking for a beautiful flowy beach dress, or a sexy silhouette for a night out on the town,” says Chloe, “we have you covered.”

Surge Style Boutique, 1440 Main St., Sarasota, 941-552-8432, shopsurgestyle.com, @shopsurgestyle 

Click here to shop

[Local Dining]  Sarasota-Manatee Originals Launching Holiday Dining Certificate Sale

Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO), a community of the area’s homegrown, independent restaurants, is launching its fall/winter Discount Certificate Sale, inviting fans to save 30% on local dining while checking off their holiday shopping lists. The Originals’ dining certificate sale starts at 7AM on Thursday, December 9, 2021. Certificates from over 60 SMO Member Restaurants - from the tip of Anna Maria Island to the southern beaches of Venice and every neighborhood in between - are included. The sale is offered online only at www.eatlikealocal.com.

“Our mission is to promote our community's diverse, locally-owned dining establishments,” said Sarah Firstenberger, Executive Director of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals. “And we offer our guests the opportunity to purchase these restaurant certificates at a significant savings as an illustration of our appreciation for their support.” The quarterly dining certificate sales program also supports the significant, ongoing marketing efforts of the SMO organization as they work to preserve and celebrate the unique culinary legacy of the area. The restaurant-specific dining certificates are offered in several price categories depending on the Member Restaurant’s menu and offerings, and range from $50 Certificates for $35 to $15 Certificates for $10.50. Favorites sell out fast. The vouchers are immediately emailed to the purchaser to be printed for use, with a  promotional value valid for six months. For more information on the SMO fall/winter Discount Certificate Sale, contact the Sarasota-Manatee Originals by email at info@dineoriginal.com or by calling (941) 365-2800. 

To see a full listing of restaurants click here

[Real Estate]  Forestar Announces D.R. Horton as First Homebuilder in Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch

Forestar Group Inc. ("Forestar") announced D.R. Horton as the first homebuilder in Star Farms, a multigenerational lifestyle community in Lakewood Ranch. D.R. Horton, America’s Builder, plans to build nearly 300 homes in Phase 1 of the resort ranch community. With 25 distinctive floorplans in Phase 1, D.R. Horton plans to feature single-family homes, townhomes and villas ranging from approximately 1,500 to over 3,100 square feet, showcasing its D.R. Horton, Emerald and Freedom Homes brands.  This will be the first community to offer the Modern homes series in the Sarasota area. As part of Phase 1, potential homebuyers will have the opportunity to tour nine models. Construction is currently underway with the projected opening in early 2022.

“Being part of this new community enables us to provide additional homebuying opportunities with an enhanced lifestyle in Lakewood Ranch," Tarak Patel, D.R. Horton Tampa South City Manager. "Our future homeowners can explore an array of single-family offerings, including our very popular Modern Series, paired villas, carefree one-story single-family homes and townhomes.  As the largest builder in the nation, D.R. Horton truly provides homes for every stage in life, which is something that will be resoundingly true at Star Farms.”

Surrounded by the natural beauty of Southwest Florida, Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch will offer a unique experience tailored to meet the needs of today’s diverse homebuyers. The thoughtfully designed, 700-acre, gated village that Forestar is developing will be a resort ranch hometown featuring 1,500 single-family homes, paired villa retreats and townhomes with a variety of amenities, clubs and hospitality services. Positioned within the award-winning master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch, Star Farms is minutes from dining, shopping, cultural activities and top-rated beaches. 

Visit starfarmslwr.com and join the VIP Club for the latest information.


[Top Hospitals]  SMH-Sarasota Earns Top Maternity Award from U.S. News & World Report

 Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Sarasota Campus earned the highest possible award for maternity care in U.S. News & World Report’s first “Best Hospitals for Maternity” list released today. To make the list, hospitals had to demonstrate superior performance on 5 quality metrics that matter to expectant families, including: newborn complication rates; C-section rates in low-risk women; the number of births scheduled too early in pregnancy; whether hospitals gave women the option for vaginal births after cesarean; and how hospitals supported mother-baby bonding and breastfeeding. SMH received high marks in all areas evaluated, and is the only hospital in the region to be make the list. Less than 10% of the more than 2,700 hospitals delivering babies received high enough marks across the board to be recognized in the national “High Performing” list for 2021-2022. This is the first time U.S. News has published a list of Best Hospitals for Maternity. Participating hospitals responded to a voluntary survey from the U.S. News health analysis team in the spring of 2021, reflecting clinical and quality data from 2019. Earlier this year, U.S. News awarded SMH “high performer” ratings in 15 other procedures and conditions common among Medicare patients, including heart and stroke care; hip, knee and spine surgery; cancer surgery; and more. 

To view the full listing click here

[Hospital News]  Blake Medical Center Welcomes New Chief Medical Officer Dr. R. Lee Biggs

Blake Medical Center is pleased to announce the hospital’s new Chief Medical Officer (CMO) R. Lee Biggs, DO, MPH, CPE, FACOG.  Dr. Biggs joined the hospital Monday, December 6. Before joining Blake, Dr. Biggs served as the CMO of Trident Health in Charleston, South Carolina in HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division. Prior to Trident Health, he served as CMO for HCA Healthcare’s Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Indiana. Dr. Biggs is a native of Asheville, North Carolina, and had a 26-year career as a Captain in the U.S. Navy and practicing Obstetrician and Gynecologist before joining HCA Healthcare. Dr. Biggs has maintained professional certification with the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (FACOG) and the American Association for Physician Leadership/American College of Physician Executives (CPE). In his clinical and leadership roles he has served as a Chief Clinical Officer, Medical Staff President, Director for Surgical Services, and Department Chair of Obstetrics. He has championed and led innovation in physician development, process improvement, quality, and patient safety. In 2010, he received the Department of Defense Patient Safety Award for advances in Obstetrical and Team-Centered Care. Dr. Biggs recently relocated to the Bradenton area with his wife Marie and their 12-year-old Airedale Terrier Aires. 

[Grant Awarded]  Van Wezel Foundation Receives Suncoast Credit Union Foundation Grant to Support Virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights

The Van Wezel Foundation (Foundation) is pleased to announce that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation to support virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights. Virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights serve to align children, caregivers, and families in the Hispanic/Latinx communities with targeted learning objectives, while providing them with tools and lessons they can continue at home to expand learning. During virtual Bilingual Family Art Nights, children are exposed to an artistic discipline alongside an academic or social-emotional learning competency, providing multiple means for understanding, strengthening learning in both arenas. It is designed to pair a variety of artistic disciplines (dance/movement, visual arts, drama, and creative writing) with English Language Arts and STEM subjects, with all materials now translated in Spanish. 

[Family Services]  Hispanic Resource Community Fair Offers Assistance to Spanish-Speaking Families

The School District of Manatee County is hosting two Hispanic Resource Community Fairs in December to assist Spanish-speaking families with much-needed services. The fairs are taking place from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15 and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 16 at the Wakeland Support Center, located at 1812 27th Street East in Bradenton.Volunteers are helping families with important information such as school or transportation registration, accessing student grades, applying for job opportunities, filing for rental assistance, learning about financial aid and opportunities, answering questions about healthcare access and more. Free coats and clothing will also be available. 

Community partners who are participating include: MCR Health, Manatee County Government, Manatee Literacy Council, Manatee Technical College, Project HEART and Unidos Now. For more information, families are encouraged to call the School District of Manatee County ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Program at 941-909-1999. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Jim McCue , December 9 – December 11, 7pm, 6:30pm, and 8:50pm

Jim has been featured on Comedy Central, Comcast Comedy Spotlight, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and “Roughing It” on NESN in his native New England. Jim McCue will perform from December 9 to 11 at 7pm, 6:30pm, and 8:50pm at The Green Room.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Crosley Theater Company: Crosley Christmas-Holiday Songs & Fables , December 9 – December 19

Crosley Christmas-Holiday Songs & Fables Runs from Thursday December 9 2021 to Sunday December 19 2021 at Bradenton Kiwanis Theater, 502 Third Avenue West, Bradenton. Approximate running time: 2 hours. The Crosley Theater Company is delighted to share sing-a-long songs & fun-tastic fables with you this holiday season. T’will be an evening filled with laughter & joyous celebration, and quite possibly…a bit of a mystery. After intermission, Gwendolyn Crosley will present her favorite Christmas classic ever. It was written by Master Storyteller, Charles Dickens, and is one of his famous, if not most famous story, “A Christmas Carol." Produced by the Powel Crosley Theater.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Orchestra: Masterworks: American Voices , December 10 – December 12, 8pm and 2:30pm

Maestro Teddy Abrams makes his Sarasota debut in a program of time-treasured works and brilliant American music on Friday, December 10 at 8pm, Saturday, December 11 at 8pm, and Sunday, December 12 at 2:30pm at the Van Wezel. Abrams composed Overture in Sonata Form as a genre-defying wonder. Pianist Conrad Tao performs Beethoven's treasured Piano Concerto No. 1. Petrichor by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid surrounds the audience in sound. The program concludes with Copland's soaring ballet music from Appalachian Spring and its uplifting Shaker tune "Simple Gifts."

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling: Flor de Toloache , December 10, 7:30pm

Having performed at Coachella and a NPR Tiny Desk Concert, this Latin GRAMMY-winning, New York-based ensemble is one of the finest all-female mariachi groups on the planet. The group began as a trio named for the delirium-inducing Mexican flower used as a love potion for generations. As it has grown in notoriety, the band has expanded to as many as ten members depending on the setting, forming a truly global ensemble with musicians hailing from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Italy, and the United States. Their highly anticipated new album "Indestructible", produced by 11-time Grammy-winner Rafa Sardina (Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, Rodrigo y Gabriela, among others), premiered via NPR First Listen, where NPR's Marisa Arbona-Ruiz said: "Flor de Toloache's new bilingual album Indestructible pushes the boundaries of mariachi music and its instruments through reimagined pop covers and original collaborations.” The band sparkles with reverence for mariachi music while introducing an intoxicating, contemporary twist on the genre with a powerful feminine energy. This performance will show on December 10 at 7:30pm.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: In-Studio Performance Series featuring Stephanie Bastos , December 10 – December 11, 7pm

¸Performance - Timeline. An autobiographical performance of a dancer's life illuminating the themes of resilience and vulnerability. The work is based on a true story of dancer, Stephanie Bastos, a Brazilian- American who dances with and without the aid of a prosthetic leg. It moves through an emotional landscape starting from childhood to the present, including the moment in which a car accident resulted in the loss of her right leg. Timeline illuminates’ themes of resiliency and vulnerability by providing a textured perspective into the human condition through movement, song, and spoken word. Timeline will take place In Person on Friday December 10 2021 & Saturday December 11 at 7pm, Masks will be required. Virtual Stream on Saturday, December 11 at 7pm.

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Ringling: Rhodnie Desir: Conversations , December 11 – April 3, Museum hours.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to welcome Haitian-Canadian artist Rhodnie Désir for the world premiere of her first gallery installation. Rhodnie Désir: Conversations, which opens Dec. 11 and will run through April 3, 2022 in the Ringling's Monda Gallery. Désir’s inaugural exhibition, Conversations, is a co-creation with artists Paul Chambers, Lighting Design; Engone Endong, Music Composer; Manuel Chantre, Video and Sound Design; and Cecilia Bracmort, Curatorial adviser, who combine video, light, and sound to sculpt the space to explore Désir's experiences on the BOW’T TRAIL and bring the onstage performance into a new gallery-based medium. The installation evokes a liminal space, which is the in-between or transitional space that is often accessible through visions and rituals. With a cumulative and polyrhythmic approach, the artist seeks to share new perspectives through a plural conversation between the past and the present.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Wintergreen Weekend at the Point: A Victorian Family Holiday , December 11 – December 12, 10am-5pm

The Wintergreen Weekend at the Point: A Victorian Family Holiday will take place on December 11 and 12 from 10am to 5pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Historic Spanish Point Campus. Enjoy timeless holiday favorites at the Historic Spanish Point campus. Carriage rides, yuletide readings by the Asolo Repertory Theatre, classic festive tunes, tasty treats, and much more throughout the weekend. Free for Selby Gardens’ Members and included with General Admission. Food and drink available for purchase.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Bradenton Gulf Island Concert Series Kick Off , December 11 – April 2

Star-studded performers highlight the Bradenton Gulf Island Concert Series which returns next month. Five popular acts will bring an array of hits – from classic rock to reggae – over a five-month stretch at The Center of Anna Maria Island. Bob Marley’s legendary band The Wailers kicks off the concert series on Dec. 11. Lou Gramm, the Juke Box Hero of Foreigner fame follows in January. February features Don Felder, best known as the Eagles’ lead guitarist and a member of the Musicians Hall of Fame. Grammy winner and seller of 30 milllion albums worldwide, Richard Marx is the featured artist for the March show. The concert series wraps in April with Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. The concert series is sponsored by the Tourism Development Council, The Sandbar Restaurant and Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages. Proceeds will benefit the The Center of Anna Maria Island, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, where each show will take place. Each ticket sold will support the members and community partners of The Bradenton Gulf Islands. The concert series is as follows: Dec. 11, 2021 – The Wailers, Jan. 22, 2022 – Lou Gramm, The Juke Box Hero, Feb. 20, 2022 – Don Felder, March 23, 2022 – Richard Marx, April 2, 2022 – Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals.

[SOON]  GALA: Designing Women Boutique: 20th Annual Gala , December 12, 5:30pm

Designing Women Boutique is celebrating 20 years of philanthopy honoring women with purpose during their 20th Annual Gala. Save the date for Sunday, December 12 at 5:30pm at Michael's On East, 1212 S. East Ave. Dress is cocktail attirre. RSVP now by calling 941-366-5293 or visiting designingwomenSRQ.org. For sponsorship opportunities contact Board President, Ida Zito at 941-726-6785.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Hermitage at The Bay: Muse(ic) and Poetry , December 12, 2pm

“Hermitage at The Bay: Muse(ic) and Poetry,” Sunday, December 12, 2pm: Discover the musicality of language with Hermitage Fellows and poets. Audre Lorde and Lambda Award winner Francine J. Harris shares work from her latest collection Here is the Sweet Hand, inspired by classic compositions. Renowned international poet Mae Yway from Burma (Myanmar) is an International Writing Program participant who presents work both in her native tongue and in translation. This event is presented in partnership with The Bay Park. Free with a $5 per person registration fee. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org. The Bay’s Civic Green (on the north side of the Municipal Building), 801 N. Tamiami Trail.

[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]  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]  FESTIVAL: Ranch Nite Wednesdays , November 10 – May 31, 6-9pm

Your favorite weeknight hangout has arrived at its new home, Waterside Place, the newest town center in Lakewood Ranch. Ranch Nite Wednesdays will take place from 6-9pm, every Wednesday, starting November 10, 2021 and through May, 2022. It will feature New food trucks + dessert truck each week, Weekly live music from local artists, Night market every 2nd Wednesday hosted by Main Street Market LWR, Outdoor bar hosted by Waterside Place tenant Good Liquid Brewing & Scratch Kitchen, and The 2nd largest recreational cornhole league in the nation hosted by MVP Sports & Social.

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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