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SRQ DAILY Dec 16, 2021

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"We were always following the court rules, the federal rules and the state rules and trying to thread the needle between all that."

- David Verinder, Sarasota Memorial Hospital

[Health]  SMH Won't Require Vaccines Absent CMS Direction Change
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System isn’t enforcing vaccine mandates on its own employees. But CEO David Verinder said he’s still very much encouraging individuals to get the shot.

“We were always following the court rules, the federal rules and the state rules and trying to thread the needle between all that,” Verinder said.

President Joe Biden earlier this year issued a mandate, enforced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, for health care workers to have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or obtain an appropriate waiver. But Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law last month that forbid such mandates in Florida.

With the state and federal direction in conflict, Verinder in a memo to employees earlier this month said the hospital had to operate under the federal direction because violating that would put payments from Medicaid and Medicare at risk.

Then this week, a federal judge in Louisiana put a halt to all such mandates nationwide. “As soon as the federal court in Louisiana issues a stay on that CMS order, we backed off within a half an hour of that,” Verinder said.

On Wednesday, the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals issued another ruling allowing the mandate to be enforced in 26 states, including Florida. But for the moment, CMS has suspended its own mandate with litigation regarding other states pending. “We will be looking to CMS for further guidance before we implement our own vaccine policy,” said SMH Public Relations Manager Kim Savage.

But while it won’t mandate employees get the jab, the hospital continues to work one-on-one with its employees who have concerns about vaccinations. Doctors working with the hospital have aggressively pushed for the wider community to get vaccines to contain the pandemic. Save said about 85% of SMH staff members have gotten the shot.

“We are highly encouraging people to get vaccinated,” Verinder said. 

[Holiday Gifts]  A Holiday Trip to Motel Therapy
Emma Tufano, emma@srqme.com

Motel Therapy has you covered for last-minute holiday gift shopping. With two different gift guides, you are sure to find the perfect piece to give to those who you hold near and dear. 

Motel Therapy’s “Gifts under $75” guide includes jewelry and accessories, as well as oversized, vintage t-shirts. The ACDC Money Talks Tee and the Beastie Boys Tee are hip, comfy standouts to give to your favorite rock-and-roll enthusiast. And the Loop Chain Earrings are a great add-on to any holiday dinner party outfit.

Meanwhile. the boutique’s “For the Modern Momma'' gift guide includes all of the best sets, jackets and sweater dresses for Florida winter. Match the Dreamland Sweatshirt and the Perfect Sweat Pant Mahogany for an outfit ideal for a relaxing night with family and friends. The Cozy Sweater Dress  makes for a stylish and comfortable outfit for dining outdoors on a brisk December night in Sarasota. 

Whether shopping on a budget, or trying to impress friends or your S.O. with an unexpected cute gift, Motel Therapy's holiday gift ideas sleigh.

Motel Therapy, 532 S Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-960-2277, moteltherapy.com, @moteltherapy  

Click here to shop online

[Electric Bikes]  Sarasota Bike Tours Brings Electric Rides to Siesta Beaches

Grab your friends, family and loved ones visiting for the holidays from out of town to experience a fun, relaxing and informative ride down the entire length of the #1 Beach in the country. Sarasota Bike Tours' new RadRover Step-Thru Electric Fat Bikes offer comfort and power that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and physical activity levels. These fit-for-anyone Ebikes offer a low center of gravity, pucture-resistant fat tires for riding acorss the crystal sands of Siesta, 5-level peddle assist and a power on demand throttle allowing you to use as much, or as little, effort as you desire while cruising the coastline. The leisurely ride includes the quaint roads of Siesta Village as well as the white quartz beaches of Siesta Key Public Beach and various vantage points along the way to Sunset Point to view an epic Siesta Key sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. During sunset, guests will have an opportunity to participate in a daily tribute to our American flag and U.S. Military. If you have a loved one who is presently serving or has served in the military, you will be given a chance to honor them by name and branch of service at this ceremony. Bikes, helmets, water, snacks and knowledgeable local tour guide are included. The morning guided tour of 7-9 miles takes two hours and is now available from 9am-11am daily.  

Photo courtesy of @sarasotabiketours

Learn more about Sarasota Bike Tours here

[New Director]  Sarasota Chamber Welcomes CareerEdge Program Director

Drawing upon decades of experience that ranges from executive coaching and training to program development, to fundraising and community relations, Pavitra Ciavardone brings a passion for workforce development to her new role as Program Director of CareerEdge. Pavitra is a natural relationship builder, networker, and strategic planner. For the past four years, she has successfully developed strong business and nonprofit partnerships for Goodwill Manasota, while spearheading their community engagement and development efforts. Pavitra understands the importance of cultivating a skilled and prosperous workforce through goal-oriented initiatives that will benefit the Greater Sarasota community. A former healthcare professional and wellness consultant for SHAPE Magazine, Pavitra believes in volunteerism as part of overall health and well-being. Pavitra focuses her volunteer activities on youth leadership and family services, enjoying many years as a public speaking coach for Girls Inc. and co-creator of Easterseals’ “Cope with Hope” program for parents of children with special needs.  

To learn more click here

[Airport News]  SRQ Passenger Numbers up 203% in November

Last month 321,643 passengers traveled through the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, compared to 106,195 passengers in November 2020. This represents an increase of 203% and is the second highest passenger month in the history of SRQ. Passengers traveling through the airport year-to-date total 2,816,275. Airlines continue to add and resume seasonal flights: this week Allegiant begins new nonstop service to Tulsa and Washington, DC; Delta restarts seasonal service to Minneapolis and Detroit; and JetBlue resumes service to Newark. In January the airport welcomes a new airline, Avelo, with nonstop service to New Haven, Connecticut; and in March, Allegiant will begin new nonstops to Akron-Canton, Ohio and Appleton, Wisconsin. These new and returning services are expected to propel the airport past the three million passenger mark for the year, with projections for a very busy 2022.

“With the Christmas and New Year holidays fast approaching, we again want to remind travelers to ake a little extra time getting to the airport. We recommend you arrive two hours before departure, check to ensure your flight is on-time, and make sure your carry-on and checked baggage is TSA compliant. Our aim is to make your travel through SRQ as stress-free and enjoyable as possible,” stated Rick Piccolo, President, CEO of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. 

[Hospital Growth]  SMH Closes 2021 with $1 billion+Investment in Health of Community

This month, as Sarasota Memorial Health Care System reflects on an unrelenting year of hardship, challenge and growth, the health system is celebrating several milestones that amount to a billion-dollar investment in the health of the community. In the midst of a global pandemic that left workers, materials and other essential resources in short supply, Sarasota Memorial opened Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice, a 65-acre medical campus and new 110-bed hospital in Venice on Nov. 4, the same day it unveiled the heart of its new Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute, an 8-story oncology and surgical tower on its Sarasota campus. The health system also spent the past several weeks paving the way for construction to begin on a new, state-of-the-art behavioral health pavilion in the New Year. 

Collectively, the much-needed projects represent a $1.2 billion capital investment and the most significant expansion in the publicly owned, not-for-profit health system’s nearly century of service. All are designed to address pressing community needs. Sarasota Memorial's inpatient volumes have increased by more than 30% over the last 5 years. The hospital's Sarasota campus was regularly at capacity before the onset of COVID-19, and stretched beyond its limits during pandemic-related patient surges. The two recently opened facilities have increased system-wide inpatient capacity from 839 beds to 1,005 beds, allowing the organization to better respond to evolving patient needs and improve access to care. Meanwhile, the behavioral health pavilion will expand essential services at a time when COVID-19 has disrupted lives and led to an increase in people struggling with mental health challenges.  

To learn more about the new facilities, click here

[Grant Awarded]  Child Protection Center Expands to Meet Increased Need for Services

Concurrent issues of a pandemic, which is bringing increased mental health challenges, and the shortage of trained counseling professionals is putting rising strain on the systems designed to help victims of child abuse. In response, the Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) is expanding staff as well as the organization’s operations in order to meet the increased need as the waitlist of verified victims of child abuse has grown to more than 70. A $175,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation will assist the organization to bring on more staff to lower wait times.

The Child Protection Center’s mission is the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse, which is carried out through four core programs: Personal Safety and Community Awareness Program (PSCA), Child Protection Team (CPT), Children and Families Supervised Visitation Program (CFSVP), and Therapy Programs (consisting of the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program and the Kid Kindness Program). Each of these programs require highly trained and specialized staff, in addition to a thorough and effective administrative team. Last year alone, CPC’s therapists provided 3,458 hours of therapy and the Child Protection Team conducted 298 medical examinations to assess signs of abuse and neglect. The Child Protection Center envisions a community where children are safe from abuse and free to thrive. For over 40 years, CPC has been serving Sarasota and DeSoto Counties in the State of Florida, and is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance.  


For more information click here

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: DreamLarge: Purposeful Holiday Evening in Support of Mothers Helping Mothers , December 16

DreamLarge, the first registered benefit corporation on the Gulf Coast of Florida and the organization behind PINC and RADD, is excited to announce a purposeful evening in the Rosemary District to celebrate the holidays and support those in need through a toy drive for local nonprofit, Mothers Helping Mothers. On the evening of Thursday, December 16, all are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to 600 Central Avenue, the western end of the RADD Night Market. In celebration, multiple free events will take place in the Rosemary Art & Design District including a festive RADD Night Market, BLVD Bike Rides: Merry on Main, and a storefront holiday display hosted by the Rosemary District Alliance. Mothers Helping Mothers is a local 501c3 organization committed to supporting families in need by fostering resiliency, self-sufficiency and family stability in our community. The entire community of visitors, vendors and riders can support Mothers Helping Mothers by bringing new, unwrapped toys to the market and participate in the free evening festivities. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Janet Williams aka The Tennessee Tramp , December 16 – December 18, 7pm, 6:30pm, and 8:50pm

She's middle age, trailer trash, truck drivin', oversexed, potty mouthed, unsophisticated, southern sass. Janet Williams will perform from December 16 to 18 at 7pm, 6:30pm, and 8:50pm in The Green Room.

[SOON]  FILM: Virtual: This Light Of Mine: The Making of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe , December 17 – December 31

The dream of one man became a cultural tour de force for Sarasota’s performing arts community. In 1999, actor and playwright Nate Jacobs founded the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, establishing a unique dramatic company to present and explore the Black experience. After twenty years of challenges and hard-won triumphs, the troupe experienced one of its toughest years yet in 2020. The killing of George Floyd ignited a national reckoning on race, and the COVID-19 pandemic made theatres go dark. Drawing on the resilient spirit that carried the troupe across previous hardships, WBTT has reimagined ways to stage its performances and fulfill its mission to promote inclusion and diversity in the arts. As a new generation of artists comes onboard, the troupe also finds successful approaches to address racism and lift others up through opportunity, mentorship and outreach. Produced by WEDU PBS in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with generous funding from the George J. & Alice Pugh Donor Advised Fund. The film is available at https://www.wedu.org/shows/documentaries/this-light-of-mine/

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Key Chorale: A Holly Jolly Holiday , December 17 – December 18, 7:30pm and 3:30pm

Your holiday season won’t be complete without attending this time-honored tradition as Key Chorale joins Music Director Troy Quinn and The Venice Symphony for “A Holly Jolly Holiday.” Classic carols O Come All Ye Faithful and O Holy Night, beloved standards Sleigh Ride and White Christmas, and music from The Nutcracker are just a few of the highlights. Key Chorale will bring you to your feet on December 17 from 7:30pm-9:30pm and December 18 from 3:30pm to 5pm and 7:30pm to 9pm at Venice Performing Arts Center with Handel’s majestic Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. A sing-a-long with surprises, Chanukah music and holiday film favorites round out this festive program.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: In-Studio Performance Series featuring SCDE: Winter Showcase , December 17 – December 18, 7pm

In-Studio Performance Series featuring SCDE: Winter Showcase will take place on December 17th and 18th at 7pm at SCD Home Studio, 1400 Boulevard of the Arts. Tickets are $20. The SCDE Winter Showcase will feature works choreographer by SCDE Co-Directors Melissa Rummel and Xian-Xuan Yang Dancingers.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: WSLR + Fogartyville: A Mingus Holiday with the Michael Ross 5 , December 17, 8pm

Michael Ross has made himself a fixture on the Florida jazz scene. A pivotal moment in his career occurred in the early 1980s when he joined, and soon led, Liquid Bebop, one of the most formidable jazz units to ever call Tampa Bay home. During its nearly two-decade tenure, the band featured such top-tier players as saxophonists David Pate and Mickey Wells, pianist Chuck Owen, percussionist Gumbi Ortiz and drummer John Jenkins. As the new millennium approached, Ross sought a more active outlet for his own composing, and he started performing as the Michael Ross Quartet. For this performance, the band will consist of: Daniel Jordan- Tenor sax and flutes, David Pate- Tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, Liston Gregory III – piano, Michael Ross-Bass, and Josh Platt- drums. The show will be mostly Mingus with a few of Ross’s originals and a couple of hipper holiday tunes. This performance will take place on Friday, December 17 at 8pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Crosley Theater Company: MITI's Best of BROADWAY JUNIOR revue-Pure Imagination , December 18, 11am and 2:30pm

MITI's Best of BROADWAY JUNIOR revue-Pure Imagination Runs from Saturday December 18 2021 at 11am and 2:30pm at Stone Hall, 502 Third Avenue West, Bradenton. Approximate running time: 1 hour and 30 minutes. Come see a our youngest stars of the stage perform the national premiere of MTI's Best of BROADWAY JUNIOR REVUE. This performance is the culmination of 12 weeks of training in the disciplines of Dance, Theater, and Music. This show will feature children and young adults ages 7-17 performing number from hit shows like "James and the Giant Peach JR.", "Fiddler on the Roof JR.", "Legally Blonde JR.", "Into the Woods JR.", Disney's High School Musical JR", "Children of Eden JR.", Disney's Aladdin JR.", "Sister Act JR." "Disney's Mary Poppins JR." and many more...

[SOON]  BUSINESS: The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime: Limelight Market , April 23 – December 17, 10am-3pm

Every 3rd Saturday from 10-3 The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime opens their outdoor space for guest vendors, dog rescues, and live music. Check out the 40 local creators and curators inside The Bazaar every Thursday - Saturday. Enjoy a delicious lunch and support local. Free, until you buy something amazing! 

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: South Gate Community Center: Holiday Market , December 18, 11am-3pm

You will not want to miss this local Holiday Market on Saturday, December 18 from 11am to 3pm. The event will be on the grounds of the South Gate Community Center at 3145 South Gate Circle, Sarasota. The tree lined area is tucked away on the east side of the Tuttle roundabout. Plenty of parking. A family and pet-friendly event. Great lineup of vendors and artisans for this 1-day event. There will be tons of giveaways throughout the day from our local vendors, food for purchase, holiday music, SNOW from Kona Ice Sarasota, adorable adoptable dogs from Satchels' Last Resort, and of course lot of amazing shopping. Bring your friends and holiday shopping list because for sure you will find some great gifts and also treasures for yourself. Support local small businesses and eliminate any concerns over holiday shipping delays.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: St. Armands Circle: Family Day , December 19, 11am-1pm

St. Armands will be hosting Family Day on December 19 from 11am to 1pm. Start the day at the St. Armands Visitor’s Center, located on 21 Fillmore Dr. Families are encouraged to participate in a scavenger hunt, children can take home a souvenir from the talented balloon artist, and then get creative with arts and crafts. Enjoy a nice stroll around the Circle with the whole family, plus many great places to treat yourself along the way. Presented by St. Armands Circle Association and the St. Armands Business Improvement District. 

[SOON]  MUSIC: Guitar Sarasota: Emerging Artist Series: Robert Phillips , December 20, 7:30pm

Join Guitar Sarasota for a six-concert series that showcases local and regional musicians who perform a 45-minute concert, followed by a question and answer session. Free and open to the public, thanks to a generous and ongoing grant from the Vera and Imre Hecht Foundation, these concerts entertain, educate, and raise awareness of the beauty of classical guitar music. Robert Phillips, Classical Guitar, will take place at 7:30pm on Monday, December 20, 2021 at St. Paul Lutheran Church. Robert has brought his brilliant interpretations to a diverse range of venues – from traditional concert halls including New York’s prestigious Town Hall, and Lincoln Center to jazz nightclubs. His performance in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall was sold out. In addition to the standard repertory, Robert performs his own compositions, and has premiered works by three-time Pulitzer nominee, Frank Brazinski, Eric Ross, Alfred Giusto, and Meyer Kupferman, as well as a concerto written for him by three-time Grammy winner, Michael Colina. The works by Kupferman and Colina were written for him.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Docent-Guided Tour of Arts Advocates Gallery , November 3 – June 1, 11am-11:45am

For the first time since its founding in 1969, Arts Advocates has its own gallery to display works from its collection of Florida artists. Located in the Siesta Mall, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 119, in Sarasota, the opening exhibit features works by Sarasota Art Colony artists. Docent-guided tours of the exhibit are open to the public from 11am to 11:45pm on the first Wednesday of each month: November 3, December 1, January 5, February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1. Tours are $10 per person, or $5 per person for Arts Advocates members, and can be booked below. Attendance is limited to 10. Group and special tours can be arranged by contacting Stephenie Frasher, docent team leader, at docent@artsadvocates.org.  

[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]  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: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Kaleidoscope Community , November 13 – January 15, 9am-12pm

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a collaborative, student-centered teaching method that improves critical thinking skills and fosters inclusive community-building dialogue through facilitated discussions of visual images. A huge bonus to VTS is you do not need special art training to use this strategy and the pedagogy is developmentally appropriate across all age and learning levels. Workshop participants will experience VTS first hand and explore opportunities for student application. This workshop is led by Embracing Our Difference's Education Director, Ben Jewell-Plocher and will take place on Saturday, November 13, December 11, and January 15, 9am-12pm at Easterseals of Southwest Florida, 350 Braden Ave. It is designed for educators, administrators, and aides who work in ESE, Life Skills Education, or who work with neurodivergent individuals and/or individuals with disabilities. We welcome all participants, and will discuss artistic adaptations based on educational and community spaces. The cost of this workshop is $5-$25. Please only choose the "Pay What You Can" option if you are a classroom educator.

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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