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SRQ DAILY Jan 24, 2022

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"I would put 'private companies' in quotation marks. This is tax-subsidized sports entertainment."

- Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota

[Sports]  Gruters, Gregory Want Anthem Mandates at Pro Games
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Should baseball teams be required to play the national anthem at the state of every game? Legislation filed by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, and Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, would mandate a commitment to do so in the contracts for any sports franchise accepting Florida taxpayer dollars. That would apply to the Major League Baseball teams with contracts in Sarasota and Manatee counties — the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates — when It comes time to renew the deals or adjust them in any way.

“I will be shocked and disgusted if any of them come out in opposition,” Gregory said. “It’s important to look to the symbols and sacred history of this country, and the songs and the flag are part of that. We should have a sense of national unity and should be prideful about being the great melting pot of the world.”

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee this week already advanced a version of the bill in the upper chamber of the Florida Legislature. Gruters, who acknowledged all the teams taking public dollars to operate in Florida already play the anthem at every game, said mandating that puts but a small requirement on the franchises.

“Florida is the Freedom State,” he said, “and if you want taxpayer dollars for your stadium, you will have to play the national anthem. It is reasonable and appropriate to think we would continue to play ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at tax-funded stadiums.”

So far, no major sports franchises have come out against the proposal, though it’s drawn some philosophical objection in the lawmaker world. Former Florida Speaker of the House Jose Oliva, a Republican with a notable libertarian bent, has voiced upset at the proposal. “A government enforced mandate requiring private business to engage in displays of allegiance for the purpose of advancing freedom is the antithesis of freedom,” he tweeted, tagging Gruters. “Let’s rethink that one.”

Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, voted against the bill in committee, saying compelling speech actually violated the idea Florida represents Freedom. “That bill appears to be government overreach in terms of telling private operations how to run their business,” he said. “We cannot pick and choose when to be free.”

Gregory counters that professional teams in Florida in some cases have collected tens of millions in public funding to upkeep stadiums. He’s opposed to that, and considers public subsidizing of sports to be about the worst use of local tax dollars governments make in terms of return on investment. But since it happens, playing the anthem is a small price teams should pay in return. A staff report notes eight teams headquartered in Florida that have collected millions from Florida’s Professional Sports Franchise Program alone, including the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“These aren’t private companies,” Gregory said. “These stadiums and the entities that run them are receiving as much as $140,000 a month just in tax dollars for contracts with local, state and federal government. I would put ‘private companies’ in quotation marks. This is tax-subsidized sports entertainment.”  

[Voting]  Ballots for March 8 on Their Way to Military/Overseas Voters

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner will begin mailing today vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots for the March 8 countywide School District Millage Referendum and a County Charter Referendum to military and overseas voters. Turner said more than 1,900 ballots will be mailed to active duty military personnel and their spouses and dependents who are absent from Sarasota County, and to registered voters living overseas. The mailing is required by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), which ensures all eligible citizens can apply to register to vote and vote by mail (absentee). Following this initial mailing, ballots will be processed and mailed to UOCAVA voters as requests are received. Turner noted that an additional 115,116 vote-by-mail (absentee) ballots are scheduled to be mailed to domestic voters beginning January 27. “I want to take this opportunity to remind Sarasota County voters to vote and return ballots promptly, whether you are an overseas or domestic voter,” Turner said. Voters may contact the elections office at 941.861.8618 or votebymail@sarasotavotes.gov for more information. 

[Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota and Desoto Counties]  Steak & Burger, Youth of the Year Celebration

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties will honor 6 outstanding Club members at the annual Steak & Burger, Youth of the Year Celebration on Friday, February 4, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club. Club members who compete for the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership service, academic service and healthy lifestyles. This premier recognition program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America celebrates the extraordinary achievements of Club members. Candidates compete at the local Club, state and regional levels before attending the national celebration. 

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[COVID Support]  Girls Inc. Receives Support to Bolster Programs from Joint COVID-19 Response Initiative

Despite financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Girls Inc. of Sarasota has been able to continue providing life-changing programming thanks to the generous support of the COVID-19 Response Initiative of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. While the core elements of the program, including research-based curriculum, trusted mentoring relationships, and a pro-girl environment have remained constant, the pandemic has impacted the organization and the families it serves dramatically. 

President & CEO of Girls Inc. of Sarasota, Angie Stringer says, “We have seen the percentage of girls we serve on scholarship double since 2019, and we know that the majority of our families are experiencing significant hardship due to the fallout of the pandemic. The families we are currently serving have been some of our highest need families.”

At the start of summer 2021, both Gulf Coast and Barancik Foundation provided Girls Inc. with grants to cover the increased need for summer camp scholarships. As the school year began amidst the rapid spread of the delta variant, Girls Inc. was forced to cancel their largest fundraiser of the year. Once again, the foundations along with community donors stepped in to cover the loss, which enabled the organization to fund more scholarships for its afterschool program.

“Many families in our region cannot afford after-school care. Girls Inc. of Sarasota not only provides a safe and caring environment for girls to grow and thrive, but they also provide critical services to families in need,” says Mark Pritchett, President|CEO of Gulf Coast. “We are honored to support their exemplary efforts.” 

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[Mentors]  Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast Celebrates National Mentoring Month

Longstanding studies show long-term, one-to-one, staff-supported volunteer mentoring works. As we mark National Mentoring Month this January, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast is honoring all who make up their successful community –parents, volunteers, staff, and donors who work together to make a mentoring match strong, enduring, and successful. Behind every successful mentoring match is a team of selfless, dedicated believers. Of course, there is the volunteer who makes time in their schedule to commit to helping a child reach their full potential. There is the parent or guardian, most often a single mom or grandmother who courageously seeks support to give her child every opportunity to succeed. Then there is the staff person, a professional who uses facts from interviews, references, experience, and intuition to match the right child and family with the right volunteer. And behind every relationship are the donors, whose financial resources make it possible for our mentors, mentees, and parents to get the ongoing support, guidance, and resources that help them establish and maintain the kind of dialogue, communication, and understanding that are behind Big Brothers Big Sisters’ successful long-term one-to-one mentoring relationships. Big Brother of the Year John Barringer says, “when I first volunteered to be a Big Brother, I did not know what to expect and I did not have any experience in this area.   It was over 5 years ago I met Lamar and one thing that stands out to me is the fact I volunteered to help a child in need, I never expected the positive impact it has had on my life. I feel so grateful every time Lamar’s Mom says that I am a blessing to them, well it works both ways.  I truly feel blessed and grateful to have them in my life, they have become family to me and I have enjoyed watching Lamar mature over the past 5 years. I have every intention for this to be a lifelong connection." 

Photo Credit: Big Brother of the Year John Barringer enjoys spending time with his Little Brother Lamar

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[Funding]  Resilient Retreat Receives Funding for Furnishings

Resilient Retreat recently received funding from William G. and Marie Selby Foundation to provide furnishings for their under-construction retreat center for survivors of trauma, first responders and helping professionals. The grant will provide kitchen appliances, dining and bedroom furnishings for their residential retreat center slated to open in November 2022. Resilient Retreat provides free evidence-based programs to survivors of abuse, first responders and helping professionals. Advancements in neuroscience research reveal that witnesses to trauma may experience vicarious trauma, which can lead to PTSD and other visible symptoms. Abuse survivors and first responders often share similar underlying conditions. Covid-19 has exacerbated and already troubling situation with abuse rates on the rise and first responders and helping professionals pushed to work longer hours under heightened health risks. “We’re excited to be contributing to such a vital project for survivors of trauma and first responders and helping professionals to have a safe place to heal from the impacts of trauma," said Carol Butera, Executive Director of the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. 

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[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Jersey Boys , January 25 – January 26, 7:30pm and 1:30pm

They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their first note. While their harmonies were perfect on stage, it was a very different story off stage — a story that has made them an international sensation yet again. Go behind the unmistakable music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony® and Grammy Award®-winning true-life musical, JERSEY BOYS. This show will take place on Tuesday, January 25 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30pm and 1:30pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota High School Theatre: I Never Saw Another Butterfly , January 26 – January 28

Sarasota High School Theatre's I Never Saw Another Butterfly will show January 26-28, 2022. Over 15,000 Jewish children passed through Terezin, and only about a hundred were still alive at the end of the war. One of the survivors, Raja, having lived through it all, teaching the children when there was nothing to teach with, helping to give them hope when there was little enough reason for hope, creating a little world of laughter, of flowers and butterflies behind the barbed wire, tells the true story of the children. There were no butterflies at Terezin, of course, but for the children, butterflies became a symbol of defiance, making it possible for them to live on and play happily while waiting to be transported.

[SOON]  THEATER: Florida Studio Theatre: Babel by Jacqueline Goldfinger , January 26 – February 18, Varies.

In this version of the future, expectant parents learn within the first few weeks of pregnancy which traits their child will have and what behaviors it is likely to exhibit. This intriguing new play follows the extreme lengths two couples go to in order to have a baby. Babel probes the world of modern eugenics, explores the societal value of a baby, and asks us what we are willing to risk for love. NNPN Rolling World Premiere. Babel will show from January 26 to February 18, 2022.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Ringling: Bringing Art to Life in the Museum , January 26, 2:30pm-4pm

New College Students will be stationed in gallery 21 ready to share their research and insights on a selection of nineteenth-century artworks. This event is the culmination of an independent study project focused on "Bringing Art to Life in the Museum" and directed by Professor Katherine Brion, a specialist in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century French art. This event is included with Museum Admission and will take place on January 26 from 2:30pm to 4pm.  

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Angels for Artists: Art Auction and Music , January 26 – January 27, 5:30pm-7pm and 5:30pm-8pm

Halo Arts Project presents the 3rd annual Angels for Artists Art Auction and Rock n' Roll Benefit. Funds support Visual Artists Fellowship Award. The Virtual Auction will take place on Wednesday, January 26 from 5:30pm to 7pm. The Silent Art Auction will take place on Thursday, January 27 from 5:30pm to 8pm at MARA Gallery, 1421 5th St. and will feature cocktails and a meet the artists. Join the Halo Arts Project for 2 fun filled evenings that include live rock n' roll music by a local favorite, and over 100 artworks by local artists auctioned on January 26 and 27 with bids starting at $75. This is a great opportunity to add exceptional art to your home or office collection.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Orchestra: Chamber Soirees: Inheritance , January 27, 5:30pm

Each of these extraordinary composers learned the "family business" from his father on Thursday, January 27 at 5:30pm at Holley Hall. Inspired by Bruce Weigl's The Harp. This program consists of Beethoven Quintet Op. 16 for Piano and Winds, Michael Tilson Thomas Street Song, and Mozart String Quartet No. 17, K. 458, "The Hunt."

[SOON]  GALA: Van Wezel: 20th Annual Inspiration Gala , January 27

The Van Wezel Foundation announced the return of its annual Inspiration Gala on January 27, 2022, featuring a performance from Grammy® and Emmy® Award-winner Harry Connick Jr. Now in its 20th annual year, the Inspiration Gala further enables the Foundation to fulfill its mission to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts. Harry Connick Jr. has exemplified excellence across multiple platforms in the entertainment world including music, film, television and Broadway for over three decades. But music and live performances remain the foundation of his art, and he will showcase classics from his remarkable career. Susan Travers and Kathy Martella are returning co-chairs for this year's Inspiration Gala, which also includes a Host Committee of dedicated benefactors. The evening will feature a program that boasts a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner, live auction and other special surprises, all leading to Harry Connick Jr.’s performance on the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall stage. As part of the annual celebration, the evening will also announce the Appleton Arts Integration Award, honoring an individual who best incorporates arts integration techniques in their approach to better our community. The Award is made possible by a legacy gift from Mrs. Louise Appleton, a local philanthropist who had a passion for arts and its connection to education. Sponsorship opportunities for the Gala are available from $50,000 to $10,000. Sponsorships can be reserved online by following this link: https://bit.ly/3zooiIF. To request additional information or inquire about becoming an event sponsor, please contact Carly Evans at 941-271-4185.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Dance Makers 2022 , January 27 – January 30, 7pm and 2pm

This year, Dance Makers features new imaginative dance pieces created by nationally acclaimed contemporary choreographers. This year’s program includes dances from Dazaun Soleyn (San Francisco, CA), Jennifer Nugent (NYC), and Christal Brown (NYC) who was recently in residency at Jacob’s Pillow. Excitingly, Dance Makers will also revive Kinda Cagey, the fan-favorite grand piano and dancer duet from SCD’s 2nd season, performed by Leymis Bolaños Wilmott and Francis Schwartz. The choreography is diverse, the impact profound, and the dancers utterly captivating. Dance Makers will take place Thursday, January 27, 2022 through Sunday, January 30, 2022. All shows are at 7pm, except Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $10 - $45. Available Virtually Friday, January 28, 2022 through Sunday, January 30, 2022. Virtual Tickets are $25.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Harry Connick Jr. , January 27, 8:30pm

HARRY CONNICK, JR. has exemplified excellence across multiple platforms in the entertainment world — in music, film, television and Broadway — garnering Grammys®, Emmys® and Tony Awards® and nominations. But music and live performances remain the foundation of his art, as he will showcase classics from his remarkable career. This show will take place on Thursday, January 27 at 8:30pm. You are invited to party with a purpose. Join us for cocktails by the bay, an elegant dinner and premium performance seating all while raising fund to support arts education for our community. Now in its 20th annual year, the Inspiration Gala further enables the Van Wezel Foundation to fulfill its mission to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts. For more information on the Foundation, visit https://vwfoundation.org/. For sponsorship and table sales, please call 941-366-5578 or visit the Inspiration Gala Page.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Sarasota Art Museum: Curator Talk: Inside Look , January 27, 6pm-7pm

Curator Talk: Inside Look for Fall/Winter Exhibitions will take place on Thursday, January 27 from 6pm – 7pm at Sarasota High School Alumni Auditorium. This event is FREE for Members and $20 for Not-Yet Members. Join Assistant Curator Emory Conetta in exploring this season’s new exhibitions. The program will discuss the Museum’s newest initiatives and provide insight into the behind-the-scenes work that made these exhibitions possible. Enjoy the exhibitions prior to the program. Gallery hours are extended until 6pm this evening.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling: An Untitled Love by Kyle Abraham/AIM , January 28 – January 29, 7:30pm

Born into hip-hop culture in the late 1970s and grounded in Artistic Director Kyle Abraham’s artistic upbringing in classical cello, piano, and the visual arts, the mission of the company is to delve into identity in relation to personal history. His work entwines a sensual and provocative vocabulary with a strong emphasis on sound, human behavior and visual representations in an effort to create an avenue for personal investigation. Founded in 2006 by choreographer Kyle Abraham, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is a Black-led contemporary dance company that provides multifaceted performances, educational programming, and community-based workshops. The mission of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is to create a body of dance-based work that is galvanized by Black culture and history. The work, informed by and made in conjunction with artists across a range of disciplines, entwines a sensual and provocative vocabulary with a strong emphasis on music, text, video, and visual art. While grounded in choreographer Kyle Abraham’s artistic vision, A.I.M draws inspiration from a multitude of sources and movement styles. This performance will show on January 28 and 29 at 7:30pm. Post show talk back following the Saturday evening performance.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Ballet: Program 4 - Love & Betrayal , January 28 – January 31, 7:30pm and 2pm

Program 4 – Love & Betrayal sees the return to The Sarasota Ballet’s renowned triple bills, with the choreography of Royal Ballet alumni Dame Ninette de Valois, Sir Frederick Ashton, and Johan Kobborg coming together for the first Program of the new year. Ashton’s Valses nobles et sentimentales holds a special place in the history of The Sarasota Ballet. Having worked with Ashton on the 1987 revival, Webb returned the ballet to the stage after almost 25 years for The Sarasota Ballet’s 2012 American Premiere, reviving the almost-lost ballet and allowing audiences to experience Ashton’s vibrant musicality. In contrast to Valses’ romanticism is de Valois’ The Rake’s Progress, a dramatic cautionary tale of betrayal and excess, showcasing the downfall of a wealthy merchant’s heir through de Valois’ extraordinary choreography and theatricality. Kobborg’s production of August Bournonville’s Napoli rounds out Love & Betrayal. This marks the world-famous dancer, choreographer, and director’s return to Sarasota since 2014. Love & Betrayal will take place on January 28 2022 at 7:30pm, January 29 2022 at 2pm and 7:30pm, January 30 2022 at 2pm and 7:30pm, and January 31 2022 at 2pm and 7:30pm at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 North Tamiami Trail.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Kansas: Point of Know Return , January 28, 8pm

With a legendary career spanning nearly five decades, KANSAS has firmly established itself as one of America’s iconic classic rock bands. This "garage band" from Topeka released their debut album in 1974 and has gone on to sell more than 30 million albums worldwide. Composing a catalogue that includes sixteen studio albums and five live albums, KANSAS has produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-platinum albums (Leftoverture, Point of Know Return, Best of KANSAS), one platinum live album (Two for the Show), one quadruple-platinum single “Carry On Wayward Son” and another triple-platinum single “Dust in the Wind.” This show will take place on Friday, January 28 at 8pm.

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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