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SRQ DAILY May 12, 2022

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"Our airboat tour is about an hour long and goes down the Peace River. You’ll see gators and whatever wildlife is out."

- Lisa Newman, Peace River Charters.

[Charter Tours]  Escape to the Peace River
Dylan.Campbell. Dylan@srqme.com

This weekend, take a trip out of Sarasota and travel back into a different time to the historic Peace River. Not only is the Peace River home to some of the oldest fossils in the country, but the flora and fauna that populate the area also harken back to a different era - the dense foliage, wild cattle, and yes - an abundance of alligators.

While the Peace River can be explored and enjoyed in a variety of ways, the most exciting might just be with Peace River Charters, a custom charter outfit operating out of Arcadia, Florida - about an hour away from Sarasota. Peace River Charters offers a bevy of different tours throughout the Peace River - most notably their airboat, swamp buggy, and horseback tours.

“Our airboat tour is about an hour long and goes down the Peace River. You’ll see gators and whatever wildlife is out. Then we have our swamp buggies, which are kind of like a jacked up monster truck that plows through trails in the forest. That one is a half hour tour where you’ll see llama and wild cattle. We also have a horse trail that’s an hour long tour and meanders down by the river as well,” says Lisa Newman of Peace River Charters.

The airboat tours, however, remain the outfit’s biggest draw. “They go about 30-35 miles per hour - mostly over water but they also take a little section of the tour to go over the land. It’s a beautiful river and typically guests get to see quite a bit of alligators. Afterwards at the gift shop, they can hold the baby gators, feed the larger ones and experience our petting zoo as well,” adds Newman.

Peace River Charters, 4192 SW Adventure Way, Arcadia, FL 34266. Phone: 1-863-444-0693. 

Pictured: The Peace River airboat tour is popular for locals and tourists. Photo courtesy of Peace River Charters.

To learn more, visit

[Politics]  Pine View Student Says School Wants to Censor Him
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The class president at a Sarasota County school earned national attention after revealing administration asked him not to discuss politics in a graduation speech.

Zander Moricz, a senior at Pine View School and the school’s first openly gay class president, said he sat down with the school’s principal two weeks ago for what he thought was a routine meeting. Instead, the principal told him not to discuss his political activism during his remarks at a graduation ceremony or his microphone would be cut off.

“He began with a convoluted explanation that my passions were cool and he supported them, but that they were inappropriate or too controversial for a school setting,” Moricz said. “I was told that a discussion of my identity or my human rights would be upsetting to the ceremony's pleasantness and that it would disrupt the fun of graduation.”

Principal Dr. Stephen Covert did not return calls from SRQ on Tuesday and Wednesday. The school district released a statement to media outlets stating: "We honor and celebrate the incredible diversity in thought, belief, and background in our school, and champion the uniqueness of every single student on their personal and educational journey."

No speech has yet been submitted for final review.

Moricz said up until now, he’s had a good relationship with administration. “Pine View has been a safe space for me and now I feel sick in the morning when I go to school,” he said.

Moricz is one of the individual plaintiffs in Equality Florida’s lawsuit against the state of Florida over a controversial parental rights law dubbed by critics as the “don’t say gay” bill. That law restricts instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, and requires curriculum about the issues at other grade levels to be age appropriate. Moricz this year led a student walkout at school to protest the bill while the Legislature was considering it.

Of note, Sarasota School Board Member Bridget Ziegler, a supporter of the law who stood by Gov. Ron DeSantis when he signed it, somewhat surprisingly suggested schools show restraint when it comes to limiting topics in student speeches. While she would not speak to litigation or a particular student's situation, she said students should be able to share their own story of coming through the local schools.

"I believe we should empower all students to be able to tell their story in a manner that's consistent with the district's review process," Ziegler said. "I strongly believe in every student's ability to share their journey and perspective."

Even before the law came up, Moricz has been involved in politics, which is how he connected with Equality Florida.

The 18-year-old isn’t sure yet how he will handle graduation on May 22, but he feels an obligation to say something about what he considers censorship, and a quashing of speech he feels likely ties directly to educator fears about the “don’t say gay” law’s restrictions on appropriate school subject materials.

But if nothing else, he hopes taking a stance inspires others. “You shouldn’t have to fight to exist,” he said.


[Local Schools]  Sarasota Military Academy: The Passion to Learn, The Courage to Try

In the May 2022 issue of SRQ Magazine, we ran a BrandStory marketing feature on Sarasota Military Academy. Below is an excerpt.

The students at Sarasota Military Academy (SMA) are cadets who show a level of respect and integrity not often found in young people. This comes from the core ethical values of the JROTC program that shape the expectations of an Academy-wide culture.

As the sun rises over formation, everyone is completely silent at attention and awaiting their Cadet Commander to give the order for the raising of the National Flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Peer cadet leaders inspect uniforms which are worn proudly as an outward sign of everything a cadet has individually participated in, accomplished, and earned. This series of events will play out every weekday on both SMA campuses.

Cadets learn how integrity is the foundation of their today and tomorrow regardless of the path they choose. “The path is not easy, but I was supported every step of the way,” recalls Jessiah Straw, Class of 2013. Each cadet’s journey in academics is strengthened not only by their determination, but with the knowledge that peers and faculty are there to lend support. “SMA will always have your back,” says Sophia Hoffman, Class of 2022.

Classes are 85 minutes long on a “4x4 Block” schedule in which cadets take four classes every semester covering a full year’s curriculum. The benefits are that it provides a deeper learning opportunity through enhanced lesson plans and fosters greater intellectual curiosity in more subjects. Most importantly, this unique schedule allows for the development of a stronger bond between faculty and cadet as stated by Jennifer Walcker, Class of 2023, “I want to be the impact that my teachers were for me!” 

Sarasota Military Academy High School Campus, 801 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota, 941.926.1700.

To read the full article, click here.

[Children's Book Review]  Fiction Review of Papa’s Little Truck Written and Illustrated by Mori
Dylan.Campbell. Dylan@srqme.com

In Papa’s Little Truck, the illustrations are equally if not more impressive than the words themselves. Mori juxtaposes Papa’s tiny pickup truck with creatively enlarged animations of the world around it - a peek into how his daughter, our narrator, imagines their world. The welcoming sun takes the form of a giant yellow giraffe, a bump in the road morphs into a seagull flying the truck further into this imaginative world. This juxtaposition between the truck and the outside world gives the story a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs feel, as if the little girl can conquer anything when in Papa’s little truck.

More than just an interesting canvas, Papa’s Little Truck tells the touching story of a daughter’s relationship with her father. Their journey in the truck becomes a metaphor for the trials and tribulations that she’ll eventually have to face on her own - from breaking down in scary places to traveling through dark tunnels. From their time spent in the truck, however, this girl will always have her father’s guiding presence by her side.

Publication Date: April 2022 by Reycraft Books, New York, ISBN: 1478875526. Ages 5-8. 

[Scholarship Awarded]  A Second Southeast High Senior Named National Merit Scholar

On May 11th, National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced this year’s $2,500 Scholarship winners. A Southeast High School senior is among 2,500 Merit Scholar designees from a talent pool of more than 15,000 Finalists. Jonathan P. Xavioer, National Merit $2,500 Scholarship, Interested in studying Computer Science. National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies, according to a press release. There are only 131 students from Florida named $2,500 Scholarship recipients. Most of these single-payment scholarships are financed by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university. National Merit $2,500 Scholarship winners announced today are part of the distinguished group of nearly 7,500 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth more than $28 million. Seven high school seniors from Manatee County’s traditional public schools were named National Merit Scholarship Finalists. Last month, Alexander Aldama-Apodaca from Southeast High School was announced as a recipient of a corporate-sponsored scholarship award. More winners will be announced through July 2022. High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Last fall, more than 16,000 Semifinalists were designated for being the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one-percent of the nation’s seniors. 

Pictured: Jonathan P. Xavioer.

[Art Exhibitions]  Upcoming Events at Creative Liberties

Creative Liberties, based on a foundation of artists helping artists, is presenting a “Blooming Art Show Artists Market,” Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; “Wine & Design—A pARTy!” Thursday, May 26, 5:30-8 p.m.; and the company’s first open exhibition, “Here Comes the Sun,” June 9-30, with the opening reception on Thursday, June 9, 5-8 p.m. There is a call for artist submissions for this exhibition: Submit work in person: Wednesday, June 1, between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Creative Liberties Artist Studios is located at 901-B Apricot Avenue, Sarasota, in the Limelight District. For more information, visit www.creativeliberties.net or call 941-799-6634.  

Pictured: Creative Liberties Studio Artist Jay Li.

[SOON]  GALLERY: As long as there is sun, as long as there is light: Selections from the Bring Gift and The Ringling Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art , November 21 – August 13, Museum hours.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to announce the opening of As long as there is sun, as long as there is light. Selections from the Bring Gift and The Ringling Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition will run Nov. 21, 2021 – Aug. 13, 2023, in the museum’s Searing Wing. In 2020, The Ringling received a significant gift of art from Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring, in support of the modern and contemporary collection. Highlights from the gift include an important minimalist work by Anne Truitt and a monumental work on canvas by Gene Davis, both artists affiliated with the Washington Color School, an art movement during the 1950s to 1970s in Washington D.C., made up of abstract expressionist artists Additional works in the gift represent a generation of prominent artists who work, or have worked, in abstraction, including Clement Meadmore, Jules Olitski, Beverly Pepper, Rebecca Salter, Kenneth Snelson, and Yuriko Yamaguchi, among others. Also on view are sculptures and paintings by distinguished African American and Latin American artists from The Ringling collection, including William Edmondson, Eduardo Mac Entyre, Omar Rayo, Baruj Salinas, and Joyce de Guatemala.  

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Art Museum: Jazz Thursdays , January 13 – January 12, 5:30pm-8:30pm

Jazz Thursdays at Sarasota Art Museum will runs through January 12, 2023 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. FREE for Members, $20 for Not-Yet Members. Sarasota Art Museum invites you to be our guest at our first Jazz Thursday at SAM, featuring Hot Club of SRQ. Sarasota Art Museum is partnering with the Jazz Club of Sarasota for Jazz Thursdays. Join us for our special late-night performances on the Marcy & Michael Klein Plaza. Jazz Thursdays will occur on the second Thursday of each month until January 12, 2023. Galleries + Bistro + Shop will be open.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre: Laughing Matters , February 9 – June 19, Varies.

Laughing Matters, FST’s hit musical sketch comedy show, is back for round six! And this time, nothing and no one is safe from a good-spirited roast. From never-ending Sarasota construction and the perpetual hunt for downtown parking to Mother Nature’s increasingly wild mood swings and our endless quest to stay young, Laughing Matters delivers fast-paced comedy inspired by the culture and politics of today. Laughing Matters, by head writer Rebecca Hopkins with contributing writers Kevin Allen, Sarah Durham, Stephan deGhelder, and Jim Prosser, will play beginning February 9, 2022 through June 19, 2022 in FST's Court Cabaret.

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Ringling: Metadata: Rethinking Photography from the 21st Century , March 6 – August 28, Museum hours.

The exhibition features work from the past decade by an international selection of artists and visual activists that are working to make palpable the unseen information, or metadata, that undergirds the image regime. This includes not just the tags or descriptors attached to image files, but the power relationships, biases, and economic interests that are not always visible in the image itself. The exhibition emphasizes an expanded concept of photographic practice that includes research-based projects, installation, conceptual work, and activism as well as analog and digital photographs. Artists featured are Mohsen Azar, Viktoria Binschtok, Mladen Bizumic, Joy Buolamwini, Jason Lazarus, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Lilly Lulay, Trevor Paglen, and Penelope Umbrico. Metadata: Rethinking Photography in the 21st Century will be held at The John and Mable Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida from March 6 through August 28th, 2022. The exhibition is curated by Christopher Jones, Stanton B. and Nancy W. Kaplan Curator of Photography and Media Art.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: FST Improv: Comedy Freestyle , April 2 – May 28, 7:30pm

FST Improv Presents Comedy Freestyle Beginning on April 2 and through May 28, 2022 at 7:30pm. What happens when you take some of your favorite improv games…and remove all the rules? Anything goes at Comedy Freestyle, an off-the-wall improvisation potpourri. Featuring a mashup of both short-form and long-form styles, audiences get the best of the art form when styles and techniques collide! We’ll set our performers free from all of the traditional dos and don’ts of improv, and you get to watch them figure out what comes next, completely on the spot. Tickets are $15 per person and the performance will take place in FST's Bowne's Lab.

[SOON]  THEATER: Florida Studio Theatre: The Legend of Georgia McBride , April 6 – May 22, Varies.

He's young, he's broke, his landlord's knocking at the door, and he's just found out his wife is going to have a baby. To make matters even more desperate, Casey is struggling with his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a run-down, small-town Florida bar. When the bar owner brings in a B-level drag show to replace his act, Casey finds that he has a whole lot to learn about show business - and himself. The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez will play beginning March 30, 2022 through May 22, 2022 in FST's Gompertz Theatre.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Uptown Gallery: Different Strokes , April 30 – May 27, Gallery hours.

The newest artists at Art Uptown Gallery will be featured in the May exhibit, "Different Strokes," showcasing their paintings. Diane Boone, intuitive abstract painter, and Gillian St. George, hard-edge abstract painter, are both local, full-time residents of national recognition. Meet the artists on May 6 from 6pm to 9pm at the First Friday public reception at the gallery and Saturday, May 7 from 11am to 5pm, The exhibit opens on Saturday, April 30 and runs through Friday, May 27. Art Uptown Gallery welcomes patrons and friends at 1367 Main Street where the diverse art works of local, award-winning artists are exhibited. Telephone 941-955-5409 or visit www.artuptown.com for hours and further information.

[SOON]  GALLERY: M A R A Art Studio + Gallery Presents "black+white" Monochrome Expression by 9 Artists , May 1 – May 31, Varies.

M A R A Art Studio + Gallery presents “black+white,” featuring monochromatic works by nine artists: Grace Howl, Jack Shapiro, Jana Millstone, Ralph Berger, Lisa DiFranza, Craig Palmer, Dan Wilkerson, Sam Wuerfel, and MARA Torres, May 1-31. The opening reception is Friday, May 6, 5:30-7 p.m. The gallery is at 1421 5th Street, Rosemary District, Sarasota. For more information, call (941) 914-8110 or visit MaraStudioGallery.com

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Eureka Day , May 13 – June 4, Varies.

An illness is spreading through the progressive and painstakingly accepting Eureka Day School–and it’s more than the mumps. When the outbreak threatens to become an epidemic, it’s a race to see what will destroy this community first: the disease or each other. Despite the safe-space mentality, gluten-free scones from the local bakery, and open marriages that have moved beyond monogamy, secrets and lies still run rampant and childhood vaccinations ignite fury. An explosive comedy that skewers sanctimony and the nature of our politics, Eureka Day asks: when does “us” become “them”?  Contains mature themes and language. Recommended for age 16+. Eureka Day will show May 13 - June 4, 2022 with Previews May 11-12, 2022.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: In-Studio Performance Series featuring SCDE: Spring Showcase , May 13 – May 14, 7pm

"SCDE Spring Showcase" Featuring works choreographed by SCDE Co-Directors Melissa Rummel and Xiao-Xuan Yang Dancigers, as well as guest artists Kathleen Candales and SCD Company Member Monessa Salley. This performance will take place on Friday May 13th at 7pm and Saturday May 14th at 3pm and 7pm and its Virtual Stream will take place on Saturday May 14th at 7pm.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Orchestra: Discover Mozart: Genius of Youth , May 14, 7:30pm

Musical prodigies have always fascinated. Britten wrote his Sinfonietta No. 1 at age 18, dedicating the ingenious work to his teacher. Mozart's highly dramatic Symphony No. 25, composed at 17, shows extraordinary musical maturity. Teen cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing makes her Sarasota debut playing Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, proving that young people of rare talent are not just the stuff of legend and will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 7:30pm at the Sarasota Opera House.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Poets Unplugged: An Evening of Spoken Word and Music , May 14, 7pm

Fogartyville will present the final event in their “Poets Unplugged” Spoken Word series on Saturday, May 14. Doors will open at 7pm as DJ Rozay sets the mood with his musical mix. At 8pm there will be a curated Open Mic featuring some of the best poets from the previous spoken word events. The featured poet this month will be local spoken word artist and series host Melanie Lavender. Tickets are $5 and are available online at www.Fogartyville.org. Food will be available for purchase from C&D’s Sandwich Shop.


[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre's Broadway on the Bay , May 17 – May 20, Varies.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts is back with the popular Broadway on the Bay series titled, The Sarasota Divas, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (1534 Mound St, Sarasota, FL 34236) May 17-20, 2022. This year some of your favorite Sarasota divas including Kathryn Parks, Alana Opie, Berry Ayers, Jennifer Baker and Eve Caballero will perform some of your favorite Broadway tunes. No food or drink will be sold at this event. Seats are provided. NO TICKETS will be printed for this event. Upon making your purchase your name will be on a reservation list.

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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