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SRQ DAILY Feb 21, 2022

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"While people say we are waking a sleeping giant, it has also woken up advocates for public education who want to stand up and say we can help."

- Sarasota School Board Member Shirley Brown

[Education]  Advocates Push for School Tax Renewal
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota County voters for nearly 20 years have maintained a property tax on themselves to help fund local schools. On March 8, a special election will determine if that levy remains.

The legislation seems on the road to passage. At stake is more than $71 million, money that would be used to keep an extra 30 minutes in the school day, fund a Summer Learning Institute and expand science, technology, engineering and math resources. 

School Board Member Jane Goodwin feels confident the measure will once again pass. “We need the money and it goes to a good effort,” she said. Also, there’s no organized opposition to date, and the election is barely more than two weeks out now. More than 40,000 voters already cast ballots. 

Criticism has come up at school board meetings. Parent Melissa Bakandi, while criticizing a contract selection at a Feb. 15 meeting, suggested the board isn’t fiscally responsible. “This School Board wants the taxpayers of Sarasota County to pass the tax referendum,” she said. “But why should we? The money does not filter down to the parents or the teachers. Where does your hard-earned tax money go? To exploding, unprecedented and unsustainable legal fees.”

There’s been general criticism of schools in the last year, and of the Sarasota school district in general, largely over opposition to mask mandates. The majority of support for the tax referendum has gone up every four years when it came up for renewal since its initial passage in 2002 — it passed with 78.63% support in 2018. Still, School Board Member Shirley Brown wonders if the same will happen this year.

“It might come down this time because of the backlash to school boards,” Brown said, “but at the same time I know we’ve got people who support the public schools. More people are paying attention, and yes, we have detractors. But while people say we’re waking a sleeping giant, it’s also woken up advocates for public education who want to stand up and say we can help.”

The referendum this year comes up as the Governor seeks to financially punish districts who implemented mask mandates after he issued an executive order forbidding them. Sarasota had a requirement in place this school year for three weeks.

Regardless, even groups who criticize the school district support continuing the tax. Christine Robinson, executive director of The Argus Foundation, in an SRQ Daily column Saturday criticized limits on public input at School Board meetings but still wrote of the importance of continuing the tax. “In light of COVID-19 and the amount that our kids have suffered in their education over the past two years, we need to make sure we are properly funding education and helping students achieve now more than ever,” she wrote.

Goodwin said a poll done by the Citizens for Better Schools showed a majority of parents supported the mask mandates; she did not share full results.

Both major parties endorse the tax. The Republican Party of Sarasota, while highly critical of the Democrat-majority board, backs the levy. “This is a specific, local tax,” said acting Republican Party of Sarasota Chairman Jack Brill. “It’s a millage specifically for teachers, school counselors and schools. It has an independent oversight board. It has to be renewed every four years. We feel that the education of our children is paramount to the success of Sarasota County.”

Goodwin suspects the impact of another county-wide referendum, on electing county commissioners countywide instead of single-member elections, will impact turnout and who votes. But the broad spectrum of support for the tax has her suspecting the measure passes, regardless of the margin. 

Photo courtesy Citizens for Better Schools: Jane Goodwin campaigns to renew the schools sales tax.

[Relocation]  Bookstore1 Expands

After 11 years on Main Street, the independent community bookstore has relocated around the corner to The Mark. The new store at 117 S. Pineapple Ave. is open and airy with big windows and an entrance on Pineapple Ave.

The great selection of books that is a trademark of Bookstore1 has not changed. The new space allows easy browsing, with attractive display tables and well-spaced shelves. 

The store’s upstairs mezzanine is a new feature that provides a comfortable space for poetry readings, book club meetings, book signings, author talks, workshops, and community events. 

Georgia Court, the owner of Bookstore1, was looking for a storefront to purchase for several years. The new location will assure the long-term life of the store. And, she says of The Mark, “it’s the coolest condo building downtown.” 

[Higher Learning]  Meeting Students Where They Are

In the February 2022 issue of SRQ Magazine, we ran a BrandStory  featurIMG State College of Florida. Below is an excerpt.

Students attending college for the first time, transfer students in need of a more personalized learning environment, working professionals and lifelong learners all come together at SCF. Some come to a campus daily, while others complete online work in the evening. There are students accelerating through a full schedule of courses and others making progress one class at a time.

Juwaan Jenkins moved away from Florida after high school to chase his dream of playing college football. When things didn’t go as planned, Jenkins sought the familiarity of his home. After transferring to SCF, Jenkins immersed himself in campus life, becoming president of the Student Government Association and being recognized as a Florida College System Activities Association Student of the Month. He graduated in December 2021.

Autumn Nelson didn’t go to college immediately after high school. Now she balances working full time and raising her son with her studies at SCF. Nelson paces herself by taking one class at a time but uses SCF’s accelerated classes with flexible start dates to still finish multiple classes each semester. With a steady, dedicated approach, she has earned a two-year degree and is making progress on a four-year degree and workforce certificate simultaneously. 

SCF students all start somewhere different and have different end points in mind. We help all of them find their way. 

At SCF, we meet you where you are. We’re everyone’s college.™

SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. W. Bradenton, FL 34207, 941-752-5050. 

Pictured: Autumn Nelson. Photo courtesy of SCF.

Click here to see the full article

[SRQ Competition]  2022 Women Who Roar Nominations

SRQ MEDIA recognizes women who have deeply contributed to our community through their business, philanthropic, health and wellness, entrepreneurial, cultural, science, technology and educational endeavors throughout the year through the Women Who Roar Initiative. We invite our readers to nominate an individual who best exemplifies the attributes of professional acumen, philanthropic passion, personal integrity and community leadership. 

Click here to nominate someone! 

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

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

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Celtic Thunder: Ireland , February 23, 7:30pm

The CELTIC THUNDER IRELAND live theatrical show embodies the essence of the public television stars, delivering a blend of lively, fast-paced and upbeat songs: “A Place in The Choir,” “The Galway Girl” and “Raggle Taggle Gypsy,” classic ballads “Mountains of Mourne” and “The Wild Rover” and renowned Irish love songs such as “She Moved Through The Fair” and “Danny Boy” — all with a special Celtic Thunder twist, of course.Drawing from their most popular public television specials (as seen on WEDU) and hits since their inception, Ireland features the songs and performances that launched Celtic Thunder into the hearts and homes of audiences across the U.S. and Canada, winning them the mantle of Top World Music Act in Billboard five times over. The production has something for everyone and is perfect for the whole family. This performance will take place on Wednesday, February 23 at 7:30pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Stayin' Alive , February 24, 8pm

STAYIN' ALIVE offers to their audiences the songs and sights of a full Bee Gees playlist, singing blockbusters such as “Night Fever,” “Jive Talkin’,” “How Deep is Your Love,” “You Should be Dancing,” “Nights on Broadway” and “Stayin’ Alive.” In addition, they perform softer poetic ballads such as “I Started a Joke,” “Massachusetts,” “Fanny be Tender,” “Words” and “To Love Somebody” among other great hits. Stayin’ Alive is the quintessential tribute band to the Bee Gees, offering big screen video clips, photos and dazzling imagery. This performance will take place on Thursday, February 24 at 8pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Ruby , January 12 – February 24, 2pm and 7:30pm

Originally scheduled for the 2019-2020 season and highly anticipated, the next production is “Ruby,” a world-premiere musical. It tells the story of the 1952 murder in Florida of a white doctor by a black woman, guaranteeing a conviction for the woman bold enough to commit such a shocking crime and bringing celebrated writer Zora Neale Hurston to town to cover the story for a northern newspaper. This powerful and haunting musical explores the secrets just beneath the surface of the idyllic, genteel exterior of a quaint Florida town. The book and lyrics are written by Michael Jacobs, Nate’s brother; Nate will direct. Runs from January 12 to February 24, 2022, Evenings at 7:30pm and Matinees at 2pm. Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Hermitage Sunsets at Selby: Violin: Dope, Honest, & Evolved , February 24, 6pm

Hermitage Sunsets at Selby Gardens: “Violin: Dope, Honest, & Evolved” with Hermitage Fellow Lady Jess, Presented in partnership with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, will take place on Thursday, February 24 at 6pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Downtown Campus. A soloing member of pop superstar Beyoncé’s band and Artistic Director of New York’s Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, violinist Lady Jess offers an informal concert of music composed for acoustic violin and electronics. Exploring the stages of hope, mania, and revelation borne of an isolated lockdown experience as a Black Woman in 2020-21, including her ‘break-up’ with classical music, the program concludes with a deep dive into the artist’s work and process.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Concert Association: Violinist Benjamin Beilman with pianist Yekwon Sunwoo , February 25, 7:30pm

Violinist Benjamin Beilman with pianist Yekwon Sunwoo will perform on Friday, February 25 at 7:30pm at the Riverview Performing Arts Canter. Benjamin Beilman displays his astonishing virtuosity along with Van Cliburn gold medalist Yekwon Sunwoo in works by Gershwin and Kreisler, as well as Ravel’s dazzling Sonata No. 2 and John Adams’ adventurous Road Movies.

[SOON]  FILM: The Ringling: Rize , February 25, 6:30pm
Celebrated fashion photographer David LaChapelle makes his documentary filmmaking debut with a visually arresting film shot on the streets of Los Angeles' gritty South-Central neighborhood. After his community is nearly destroyed in the days of violent race riots after the 1992 Rodney King verdict, dancer Tommy "The Clown" Johnson creates a kinetic, athletic form of hip-hop competitive dancing that he dubs clowning, which later breaks through to the mainstream as krumping. Rize will show on February 25, 2022 at 6:30pm at the Historic Asolo Theater.
[SOON]  GALLERY: SPAACES Gallery: Seeking Love: The Journey , February 25 – February 28, Gallery hours.

A Commemorative Exhibit of Ian North’s Works “Seeking Love: The Journey." Ian North invited the viewer to derive their own meaning from his artworks, to discover their own story in his mixed media assemblages. Ian had a successful solo exhibition at SPAACES in February of 2021. The day the exhibition closed he suffered a fatal heart attack. His talent extended far beyond the visual arts. Ian was a musician and songwriter, releasing groundbreaking music in the ’70s and ’80s. He was a Sarasota community icon, well respected for his visual art and music contributions. To commemorate his art and his life, this show will exhibit a collection of his life’s work and the art card collection he lovingly created for his wife over the last 21 years. Opening Night Reception is Friday, February 25th, 2022 from 6pm to 8pm. Saturday Brunch Reception is Saturday, February 26th, 2022 from 11am to 2pm. By Appointment Only on February 28th & 29th.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: In-Studio Performance Series featuring Karim Manning and Monessa Salley , February 25 – February 26, 7pm

"Freestyle through life," A collaborative performance with freestyle musician Karim Manning and SCD Company Member Monessa Salley, bringing a unique and interactive experience to SCD's Home Studio. This performance will take place on Friday February 25th and Saturday February 26th 2022 at 7pm and Virtual Stream will take place on Saturday, February 26th at 7pm.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Hermitage Artist Retreat: Theater Today: Process & Production with Tom Kirdahy , February 25, 5:30pm

Artists & Thinkers: “Theater Today: Process & Production” with Tom Kirdahy will take place on Friday, February 25 at 5:30pm at Town Center of Longboat Key. Broadway producer Tom Kirdahy, a Tony Award-winning champion of new work and resident of Longboat Key, speaks with fellow Tony Award winner and Hermitage Artistic Director Andy Sandberg about the inextricable link between theatrical development and production, and the multi-year creative journey from an idea to production. Following a successful event in 2021 hosted on the Hermitage Beach – part of the Hermitage “Artists & Thinkers” series – Kirdahy and Sandberg continue their candid conversation in the town of Longboat Key in February of 2022.

[SOON]  THEATER: Florida Studio Theatre: Hare & Tortoise , January 8 – February 26, Varies.

Hare & Tortoise is a whimsical retelling of one of Aesops best-known fables about two friends who have opposite approaches to just about everything. Hare wants nothing more than to speed through everyday life and make time pass faster. Tortoise prefers to take her time, tending her garden and celebrating each season of life. This fun, treasured tale tells a timeless story of friendship, change, and the excitement of growing up. Hare & Tortoise, by Brendan Murray, will play Saturdays and select Sundays from January 8, 2022 - February 26, 2022 in FST's Bowne's Lab. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale and can be purchased by clicking the button above or by calling the Box Office at 941.366.9000.

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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