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SRQ DAILY Feb 17, 2022

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"It's a special characteristic of Florida to have such colorful and interesting birds all year long."

- Peter Brown, Sarasota Audubon Society

[Politics]  Are Voters Done With Single-Member Districts?
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota County voters in 2018 elected to begin picking county commissioners through single-member district elections. In March, they will decide whether to stay that course.

A county-wide special election takes place on March 8. All registered voters regardless of party can vote on a charter amendment that, if passed, will reinstate county-wide elections for commissioners. 

Sarasota County Commissioner Christian Ziegler sees it a chance to correct an error. He won his seat in 2018 in the last county-wide commission election, on the same day the switch to single-member voting was approved. He feared then voters did not understand that they were giving up their voice.

“Everyone lost 80% of their representation and 80% of their accountability,” he said. “They lost the right to vote for four of five county commissioners, and you need a majority to get anything done.”

But Kindra Muntz, president of the Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, said voters understood the benefits of single-member districts in a growing county where it’s increasingly expensive to run countywide. She’s upset that less than four years after passing a charter amendment, commissioners have put the matter to a new vote— and with ballot language that doesn’t even mention the single-member voting change that just occurred.

“It is unnecessary and insulting to the people of Sarasota,” she said. “Almost 60% of all voters passed this in 2018 and now they are trying to overturn it in a quick special election.”

Sarasota now stands as Florida’s 15th most populous county, and only four of the 17 largest hold county-wide elections, she said. The reason is that it’s simply costly to conduct a campaign in turf stretching from North Port to the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and everywhere in between. And the result is county commissioners more beholden to wealthy industry donors like developers than they are to the people.

Ziegler disagreed, and said his own experience countywide informed him of voter opinions throughout the county. He noted that while River Road falls outside his District 2, he committed to voters to improve the road largely because he needed votes in south county. A majority of commissioners since has approved a road swap with the state and construction on improvements will soon begin. But the impact of that improvement may have little impact on his District 2 constituents.

He characterized single member voting as a Democratic plot to pick off a county commission seat in a GOP county— and based on a newly approved county map it may be his. District 2 is now a Democrat-leaning seat. While Ziegler said he’s confident he’ll win re-election anyway — Sarasota Mayor Hagen Brody announced he’s running as a Democrat against the Republican Ziegler — he said any scheme to get a big government liberal on the board in a conservative county should concern voters.

Muntz, though, said the accusation of partisanship was baseless. The groups backing the single-member initiative in 2018 and who want to keep the system in place today include Democrats, Republicans and independents, and the shift would not have been approved without broad political support.

Moreover, she points to the 2020 elections, the only time so far commissioners were elected in single-member elections since the 2018 charter amendment passed. The closest a candidate came to unseating a sitting county commissioner was actually Republican Mike Hutchinson, who came within 365 votes of incumbent Commissioner Mike Moran in a GOP primary.  

Image courtesy Pixabay

[Bird Watching]  Sarasota's Secret Treasure
Dylan.Campbell. Dylan@srqme.com

Every area of the country has its hidden gems, its secret treasures only accessible to those who live there. In Sarasota, the treasures are many but perhaps none as secretive as the different species of birds that populate the area. Specifically, the diverse array of native and migratory birds that can be found in Oscar Scherer State Park and the Celery Fields.

Peter Brown, a volunteer with the Sarasota Audubon Society leads guided walks of the Celery Fields and Oscar Scherer State park on a weekly basis. According to Brown, "Many folks that go on these walks know they can go to the beach and eat outside at nice restaurants, but the idea of seeing and connecting to nature is brand new for them.” 

The Celery Fields, which serve as the stormwater retention area for the Phillippi Creek Drainage Basin, are home to over ten miles of walking trails across the site’s ponds and wetlands. ‘Mount Celery’, the 55-foot high observation mound is one of the highest points of elevation in the county and the park contains boardwalks that jut into the marsh - a natural site for birds to nest, feed and roost. Exotic looking species such as the Roseate Spoonbills, cormorants, and herons often reside near the boardwalks.

“It’s a special characteristic of Florida to have such colorful and interesting birds all year long,” says Brown. In the winter, the Celery Fields are home to migratory species such as Ring-Necked Ducks, Northern Shoveler, Blue-Winged Teal, and many more.

Oscar Scherer State Park, which offers 15 miles of hiking trails, also hosts a multitude of migratory bird species including Great Horned Owls and Bald Eagles of which Brown recently found, a nest with two eaglets. The Florida Scrub Jay, an at-risk species native to the area, also populates the park.

“My favorite thing is not birding alone, but rather birding with a group,” says Brown. By leading the guided walks, Brown can not only spend time outside, but share with others what is often a new and interesting way to connect with the wildlife around them.

February Event Calendar:

Sarasota Audubon Society, 941-312-6533. 

Pictured: The Florida Scrub Jay. Courtesy of Oscar Scherer State Park.

To learn more, visit

[Elite Real Estate Agents]  JAN22 Elite Real Estate Agents - Warren Group Sarasota

Warren Group Sarasota prioritizes quality of rela- tionships over quantity of transactions. This ensures a personalized client experience that instills confi- dence and promised results. Warren Group Saraso- ta prides itself on more than 19 years of dedicated service to the Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch Communities. Our sincere desire is for all our clients to love where they live. 

Coldwell Banker Realty Warren Group Sarasota | Pat Warren c: 941-350-7044 | Julie Warren c: 941-350-7439 | Patrick Warren c: 941-400-4436

Click here for full JAN22 Elite Real Estate Agents flipbook.

[Grant Awarded]  Samaritan Counseling Services Awarded Grant from COVID-19 Response Initiative

Samaritan Counseling Services was awarded a $20,000 grant from the COVID-19 Response Initiative of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to provide mental health counseling sessions for Sarasota County clients in need, with first priority given to those referred by nonprofit partners, including Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Samaritan Counseling’s team of highly trained, state licensed psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors and interns will work closely with uninsured and under-insured men, women and children on their therapeutic goals. Sessions will be provided for those experiencing anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance abuse, or other serious life challenges.  

To learn more click here

[Fundraising Celebration]  Impact100 SRQ Big Reveal

Impact100 SRQ’s annual Big Reveal event will announce how many members have joined the collective giving organization for 2022 on March 8 at the Nathan Benderson Finishing Tower. The open event welcomes everyone to join in this celebratory announcement where the community will learn about the funds going directly to nonprofit organizations in Sarasota and Manatee Counties for the 2022 Giving Year. In just three years since this local chapter’s inception, the women of Impact100 SRQ have funded nine grants and donated $974,000 to local nonprofits. Its collective giving model is simple – at least 100 women come together, each invests $1,000, and grants are funded in increments of no less than $100,000. As its membership grows, more grants can be funded and the impact of Impact100 SRQ will be magnified throughout our community. The grants are awarded by members within five focus areas: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment & Recreation, Family, and Health & Wellness. The Big Reveal event will take place from 5-8pm and offers a fun opportunity to bring family and friends together to enjoy activities such as local food trucks, a digital photo experience, networking with grant recipients and members, a DJ and more. RSVP for the event at this link: www.impact100srq.org. 

[Dental Hygiene]  Little Smiles, Lots of Fun

Parkwood Dental is hosting a community outreach event "Little Smiles, Lots of Fun" on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Dr. Hernandez and his team are opening their doors on Thursday afternoon to meet kids in Manatee County in an effort to improve dental health in the community. This event is open to families and they welcome children under the age of 12 to receive a free exam, cleaning, and fluoride treatment. Parental permission and supervision is required. Dr. Hernandez and his team believe early education for parents is important to help prevent cavities and allows them to address bad habit correction or improve dental alignment that may affect child’s development and speech. This 4th annual event is a follow-up to the ‘No Cavity November’ where dental hygienists from Parkwood Dental demonstrated good brushing and flossing skills while giving out toothbrushes and paste to Manatee County schools as a dental health awareness community outreach effort. On March 3rd local residents with kiddos are invited to join for a free kid’s dental cleaning and enjoy balloon animals, prizes from the Treasure Chest, Face Painting and more! Thursday's event will run from 2:00 pm. to 6:00 pm. at the EAST office located at 5315 4th Ave Cir East off SR64. Appointments are needed. Call or text (941)254-2595 to reserve a spot. Parkwood Dental specializes in preventive care, dental treatments, cosmetic dentistry and orthodontic services. The office is led by Dr. Oscar Hernandez, Jr.; a licensed general dentist with over 28 years experience creating healthy smiles for happy patients. Dr. Hernandez works hard to raise public awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and great dental hygiene starting at a young age. 

For more information click here

[Fundraising]  Asolo Rep Achieves Phase I Fundraising Goal; Grand Opening June 2022

Asolo Repertory Theatre has reached its goal for Phase I of the Staging Our Future Capital/Endowment Campaign and is well into construction. Phase I covers a new structure at the Robert and Beverly Koski Center on Tallevast Road, including the Margot and Warren Coville Rehearsal Hall and other new spaces vital to the Asolo Rep strategic plan for advancing artistic excellence, expanding educational and community enrichment programs, and evolving Asolo Rep revenue streams. New construction is set to be completed on schedule in June 2022. Details on a ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow shortly.Fundraising for Phase II of the campaign has begun, with $7 million remaining to complete the next leg of the project. Phase II will fund necessary renovations to the existing Koski Center buildings, providing comprehensive creative infrastructure that includes additional rehearsal space, classrooms, studios, physical therapy and medical support facilities, artistic offices, and a dedicated on-site suite for costume fitting, construction and storage. The total project budget for Staging Our Future is $21 million, including a $5 million endowment for operating expenses for the new and newly renovated spaces. Asolo Rep has currently raised 85% of this endowment goal. As of February 10, 2022, more than 90 generous donors have contributed to the Staging Our Future Campaign. 

To learn more, visit

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 24th Annual Thunder By The Bay Music & Motorcycle Festival , February 18 – February 20

The 24th Annual Thunder By The Bay Music & Motorcycle Festival is a three day event held at the Sarasota Fairgrounds to benefit Suncoast Charities for Children. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy continuous live music with featured headliner FireHouse performing Saturday - February 19th. This year’s Festival includes a “Born To Be Wild” Kickoff Party, a “United We Ride – America Strong” charity motorcycle ride, 17 Class Bike Show, Stereo “Sound Off” contest, burnout contest, great food, and so much more! Dry & full service camping is available on site. Gate admission on Friday and Sunday is $5 and gate admission on Saturday is $10 - 12 and under free.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: The Daughter of the Regiment , February 19 – March 18

The Daughter of the Regiment (La fille du regiment) by Gaetano Donizetti with poetry by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard. Love for Marie, a girl raised by a French regiment, will lead the young Tonio to unexpected lengths in this colorful comedy set in the Tyrol during the Napoleonic Wars. The Daughter of the Regiment will run from February 19 until March 18, 2022.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Lido Beach Fine Art Festival , February 19 – February 20, 10am-5pm

Join us on February 19-20, 2022 at Lido Beach in Sarasota, FL for the 5th Annual Lido Beach Fine Art Festival. The event is produced by Paragon Festivals and graciously hosted by the Downtown Sarasota Enrichment Association with the Humane Society of Sarasota a Special Guest. The visions and talents of artisans from across Florida and throughout America in fine arts and fine crafts will create an outdoor gallery of extraordinary and original fine art in mediums such as sculpture, jewelry, painting, photography, glass, ceramics, mixed-media, metalwork, fiber art, woodworking and more. Represented will be artisans with works found in the top private and public art collections in the nation. If you do not find exactly what you wish, consider commissioning a piece made specifically for you. Hours of the Lido Beach Fine Art Festival are Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. Admission is free. Bring your sense of discovery and appreciation of the beautiful. Find that piece of art for home or office to enrich your life and inspire you each day.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: Cane River , February 19, 1pm

In Louisiana, the heir to a wealthy African-American family fortune crosses paths with an outspoken yet poor woman. Despite her reservations, he strives to win her affection. The pair navigates a burgeoning romance in defiance of the class tensions that govern their world. Written, produced, and directed by Emmy Award-winning documentarian, Horace B. Jenkins, and crafted by an entirely African American cast and crew, Cane River is a racially-charged love story in Natchitoches Parish, a "free community of colour". Cane River will show on February 19 at 1pm at the Historic Asolo Theater. Black Love Film Showcase will take place February 17-19. Celebrate Black love with five films in three days! Let’s journey through time sampling the depiction of Black love by Black Screenwriters and filmmakers. Each film offers a window into a particular perception of black romance, and we will see how that view changes over time.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: Their Eyes Were Watching God & Talk Back with Valerie Scoon , February 19, 6:30pm

A young free-spirited African-American woman searches for love and happiness in 1920s America by plunging into three marriages with very different men, challenging the morals of her small-town community in Florida. Based on Zora Neale Hurston's novel. This film is part of the Black Love Film Showcase. Talk-back with the Curator Following the film Valerie Scoon will provide a talk back. In addition to curating this film series for The Ringling. Ms. Scoon worked as a Creative Executive for Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films, as a Story Analyst for Creative Artists Agency and as a Studio Executive for Warner Bros,. Her credits include "Their Eyes Were Watching God." Their Eyes Were Watching God will show on February 19, 2022 at 6:30pm at the Historic Asolo Theater. Black Love Film Showcase will take place February 17-19. Celebrate Black love with five films in three days. Let’s journey through time sampling the depiction of Black love by Black Screenwriters and filmmakers. Each film offers a window into a particular perception of black romance, and we will see how that view changes over time.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 40th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival , February 19 – February 20, 10am-6pm

Celebrate local coastal heritage during the 40th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival on February 19 and 20 in the historic fishing village of Cortez. Every February for the past four decades, people have gathered in one of Florida’s last true fishing villages to celebrate the cultural history of the region and honor the men and women who supply us with fresh local seafood. Due to COVID, the 2021 Festival was cancelled, but the Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.) and the village of Cortez are thrilled to report they are GEARING UP to welcome the public back to the shores of Sarasota Bay for the 40th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival on February 19 & 20, 2022 from 10am to 6pm at 4415 119th St. W., Cortez. Come on out February 19 & 20 to celebrate a real working waterfront community dedicated to preserving their fishing way of life. The University of Florida and Florida Sea Grant have partnered with this event for 40 years to put on “Dock Talks,” that educate the public on local marine life and the value of our commercial fisheries. After you feed your appetite for science, soak in the sunshine along Sarasota Bay while you boogie to live local music, peruse aisles of original artwork and nautical crafts, sip cold beverages and sample some really tasty seafood. Check out the Florida Maritime Museum and the Cortez Cultural Center, which are steeped in history of the region. Buy a raffle ticket to be entered to win one of the beautiful, refurbished custom boats lovingly restored by the F.I.S.H Boatworks. So grab your sunglasses and your appetite, and come on out to celebrate on the shores of Sarasota Bay during the 40th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival. This party with a purpose has something for everyone. Admission is only $5 and kids under 12 are free.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Venice Gallery Open House Darkroom Tours , February 19, 9:30am-4:30pm

Join us for a day of darkroom tours with Clyde’s assistants on Saturday, February 19 from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Tours are 45 minutes long. Tickets are $5 each and must be purchased in advance. We are limiting the size of tour groups and expect this event to sell out. Masks will be required. Here’s your chance to learn about the printing process and how Clyde makes his mural-sized photographs. At 2,200 square feet, it’s the largest privately-owned darkroom in the United States. In addition, the gallery will be open for viewing Clyde’s larger-than-life silver gelatin photographs, books, and gifts. The gallery staff will be available to assist. 

[SOON]  SPORTS: World Champions Welcome Weekend , February 19 – February 20, Varies.

CoolToday Park, the Spring Training Home of the Atlanta Braves, announce the World Champions Welcome Weekend (WCWW) event, slated for February 19-20, 2022. This exciting event will celebrate the Braves’ World Series win as they return to North Port for the 2022 Spring Training season. The two-day celebration includes various free activities for the whole family from 11am to 3pm each day, followed by a ticketed concert each evening. The activities will take place on the plaza out front as well as inside the stadium, and will include: The World Series trophy on display, Budweiser Clydesdale parade and photo opp, Autographs by Braves legends, First look at spring merchandise, Wellen Park Fun Zone with competitive speed pitch, iHeartMedia Scavenger Hunt, and City of North Port’s Braves Bash with inflatables and DJ. All concession stands will be open, serving up the best in ballpark fare and craft beer. The Superior Pools Tomahawk Tiki Bar & Grill will also be open, serving drinks only. The night of Saturday, February 19, the B Street Band will grace the stage with their #1 Rated and Longest Running Tribute to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. Gates open at 5pm with a showtime of 7pm. On Sunday, February 20, Nashville to North Port country superstar John Stone will take the stage at 5pm with gates opening two hours prior at 3pm. Tickets to each concert are $18, or a bundle is available for $30 that includes a general admission ticket to both nights. VIP is also available and comes with four (4) seats and four (4) beverages for $90. All concert tickets are available on ticketmaster.com.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Urbanite Theatre: The Smuggler , January 14 – February 20, Varies.

The Smuggler by Ronán Noone Directed by Brendan Ragan will run from January 14 to February 20, 2022. Irish immigrant Tim Finnegan wants to be a writer in America but struggles to find his path. That all changes when a stranger arrives with a plan to make people “disappear and reappear.” In this mischievous, one-man, rhyming-verse comedy, Tim learns the price he must pay to become an American.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Venice Theatre: Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill , January 21 – February 20, Varies.

The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s final performances. Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill by Lanie Robertson will show from January 21 to February 20, 2022 at the Venice Theatre.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Paul Anka - Greatest Hits: His Way , February 20, 7pm

With the release of his new album, Making Memories, a brand-new collection of reimagined classics and new recordings including duets with Olivia Newton-John, Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli and Il Divo, PAUL ANKA is not only excited about this new music — but getting back on the road to perform in concert for his fans. This performance will take place on Sunday, February 20 at 7pm.

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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