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SRQ DAILY Jun 13, 2022

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"We can make this difficult but we don't have to."

- Mark Hawkins, Sarasota County Commission candidate

[Politics]  Contractor Hawkins Runs on Workforce Housing
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A vote to retain single-member district voting heartened Mark Hawkins. “The people of Sarasota County won one,” he said, “and we need to win.”

He hopes as Sarasota County District 4 voters elect a commissioner in a district election this fall for the first time in decades, they will view Hawkins as their voice. The Republican candidate brings an agenda on building affordable housing, reducing pollution in waterways and cutting taxes.

It’s the second time Hawkins has run for a seat on the board, but plenty has changed besides the way commissioners win election. He ran in 2010 against incumbent then-County Commissioner Nora Patterson as a Democrat. A child of union members from the Midwest, he said he never questioned being a Democrat but he quickly realized over the course of the campaign his core views aligned more with Republicans, and he changed his registration shortly afterward.

He points to a list of successful political leaders including Patterson, former County Commissioner Carolyn Mason and former state Sen. Pat Neal who shifted registration from Democrat to Republican over the course of decades. “If people want to point their finger at me and say you were a Democrat at one point in your life, I think that’s kind of weak,” he said.

Now running in a heavily GOP district, he hopes voters care more about his commitment to the region. He moved here 62 years ago, at age 8, and made a career as a contractor in a competitive climate. 

That gives him an understanding of construction, a field closely tied to the work of the county commission. That gives him an understanding of a long-ignored issue that seems to arise only as a campaign talking point: workforce housing. Hawkins said the county owns plenty of unused parcels of land that could be used for low-cost housing if the county were willing to give itself the same sort of density increases it gives private developers all the time.

He notes a project approved at the corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road, where housing will be developed at about twice a previously allowed level. But that will be high-cost housing brought online while the real estate market sees values rising. Why not consider the same type of maximization of value on land the county fully controls and build townhouse developments affordable to families making $35,000 or $40,000 a year?

“We can make this difficult but we don’t have to,” he said.

He also said the county can reduce its own negative impact of the environment, such as wastewater emission at Phillippi Creek. Infrastructure improvements and septic conversions in the region have been a long priority of the county.

Hawkins has put $20,000 out of pocket into a campaign account, on top of $3,770 raised from outside donors. He faces Joseph Neunder in a Republican primary, and Neunder has raised $113,695. But he hopes voters in District 4 will be eager this year to hear his message. The primary will be held on Aug. 23. 

[Expansion]  Millennium Physician Group to Add Medical Office in Wellen Park

Millennium Physician Group is coming to Wellen Park, adding another layer of health and wellness to the growing master-planned community. The Fort Myers-based group is building a 12,000-square-foot medical office on U.S. 41, which will offer primary and urgent care, radiology and lab services, and wellness advocacy and programs. “Providing residents with easy access to opportunities promoting improved wellness and a healthy, active lifestyle within the community is central to our vision for Wellen Park,” said Rick Severance, president of Wellen Park. “Millennium Physician Group complements and elevates that mission by bringing top healthcare and medical services close to home.”

The medical building will have offices for three primary care physicians and offer a full-service radiology department, lab and walk-in medical clinic for urgent-care needs with extended hours. Construction is expected to start soon with an anticipated opening in late 2023. Millennium Physician Group’s new building will provide convenient access to healthcare for Wellen Park’s existing 9,500 residents and the more than 50,000 residents planned at build-out.

“We are always looking to tend to the needs of our surrounding communities,” said Liza Fernandez, Millennium Physician Group’s director of marketing and public relations. “We look forward to caring for the residents in the new and vibrant community taking shape at Wellen Park.” Fernandez said the Wellen Park office will also offer health and wellness programs services for patients 65 and older. “Half of our patients are over 65 and we will be focusing on wellness and advocacy for them,” said Fernandez. “We currently offer diabetes education, smoking cessation, weight-loss and Medicare education programs. We also specialize in Medicare quality programs.” Patients will have the option to establish with the office’s primary care providers. Millennium is actively recruiting doctors and medical staff for the new building. 

[Commercial Property]  SVN Commercial Advisory Group Manages $3.65 Million Sale of Stearns Bank Property

Seller, Stearns Bank, N.A., will lease the property at 201 Center Road from BPE Holdings Venice II, LLC. The law firm and title company that acquired the building will operate its business on the second floor, while the bank will occupy the ground floor under a 10-year lease with options. The buyer is performing about $1 million in renovations. Lindberg, who represented Stearns Bank in the deal, has managed several other bank property
transactions during the past two years. These include a Stearns facility at 7555 MLK Jr. St. North in St. Petersburg, Fla., – another sale-leaseback. “The industry is undergoing a lot of change; banks don’t require the huge footprint they once occupied,” Lindberg said. “Now many of them are looking at long-term sale-leasebacks. A large brick-and-mortar building is no longer as necessary as it once was.” In response to this changing real estate market, some bank properties have been selling for uses other than banking. For example, a large medical office building is under construction on the site of the St. Petersburg bank whose sale Lindberg managed in May 2021.  The main driver of the current industry change is the widespread consumer shift from traditional banking to online banking, Lindberg said. “A lot of people no longer even own a checkbook,” he said. “Because so many people bank online, there just aren’t many who need to go into a bank building anymore.” 

Fore mor info.

[Turtle Release]  Public Invited to Attend Sea Turtle Sendoff Celebration

Waterline Villas & Marina, Mainsail Vacation Rentals, and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch & Shorebird Monitoring are inviting guests and the public to attend a sendoff celebration for sponsored female loggerhead “Esther”. The event will include the official tagging and release of a nesting female loggerhead sea turtle – “Esther” – the resort and its community conservation partners are cosponsoring for the 15th Annual Tour de Turtles. Created by the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the annual Tour de Turtles “marathon” event uses satellite telemetry to track the migration of turtles released from beaches in Costa Rica, Panama, Nevis, Anna Maria Island and other parts of Florida. The turtle that travels the most miles over the three-month period will be named the winner of this year’s marathon, which begins August 1.  Monday, June 20 – 6 a.m. tagging begins, 8:30 a.m. turtle release. (Date and time subject to change depending on weather and the nesting turtle.) Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island, Florida (specific location TBD) 

For more info.

[Staff Announcement]  Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast Welcomes New Nature Interpreter

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf is pleased to announce Jenna Biggs as their new Nature Interpreter. Jenna Biggs joined the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast in May 2022. In her new role, she will create outdoor experiences for adults and families that connect them to nature on land protected by Conservation Foundation, as well as their own backyards, underscoring the importance of nature. Biggs is a Certified Interpretive Guide Trainer and a Project Wild Facilitator with 15 years of experience as an Environmental Educator working for Zoos, Aquariums, and the resort industry. Biggs’ past work history includes, training groups on how to communicate their missions, changing behaviors to be sustainable and environmentally minded, and educating teachers on how to get their students outside. The new Nature Interpreter position was made possible by Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

Click for more.

[Volunteer Opportunity]  Robinson Preserve Planting, June 18, 9am to Noon

Join the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources for a workday at Robinson Preserve! We will be planting native grasses and groundcovers in the Robinson Expansion area. Afterwards, free lunch will be provided for all volunteers in the pavillion area. Meet at the north end of the Robinson Expansion parking lot located at 10299 9th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209. Tools, gloves, and plants will be provided. Participants should wear long clothing and closed-toe shoes comfortable for working outdoors, sun protection, and bring a water bottle. There are restrooms and water fountains on-site, and water coolers will also be provided. Students may earn three community service hours for volunteering. 

Register online.

[Giving Back]  Hundreds of Area Youth Volunteers help All Faiths Food Bank Fight Hunger

A recent effort has proved that – no matter how young or old, or what their previous experience in charitable works may be – all community members can, indeed, make a difference in the lives of others. All Faiths Food Bank’s High School Hunger Heroes program first launched in January of 2021; during the 2021-2022 school year, 246 students contributed a total of 3,729 volunteer hours in the effort to provide nutritional assistance to individuals and families in need in Sarasota County.

The students – who hail from Booker, Cardinal Mooney, Lakewood Ranch, North Port, Pine View, Riverview, Sarasota and Venice High Schools – volunteered monthly at 10 mobile distributions over the course of the school year as well as packed boxes of food at the Food Bank’s warehouse.

On June 9, All Faiths hosted an end-of-year luncheon for high school students who participated in the inaugural year of the High School Hunger Heroes Peer Leadership Program. The students were treated to lunch, played some ice-breaker games, tested their knowledge of the food bank with trivia questions, and took a tour of the facility and warehouse. They also provided valuable feedback for ideas to grow and improve the program moving forward. Before they left, the students were challenged to recruit a friend to participate in the program for the next school year.

Area students are encouraged to accumulate 120 hours of community service throughout their high school career. The High School Hunger Heroes program gives students the opportunity to use their time and talents to not only complete volunteer hours but also to make a lasting difference in their community.

“I believe the majority of students get involved initially to satisfy their community service requirements but they remain in the program because they’re making friends, learning valuable lessons from the more mature and experienced volunteers they’re working with, gaining a broader perspective of the world around them, and experiencing the fulfillment that comes from helping those in need,” says Victoria Hasselbring, All Faiths Food Bank’s community engagement & volunteer coordinator. 

To learn more about the High School Hunger Heroes program, contact Hasselbring at 941-549-8156 or vhasselbring@allfaithsfoodbank.org.

[SOON]  FOOD: Savor Sarasota 2022 Annual Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week , June 1 – June 14

Summer never tasted so good! Are you ready for the annual #SavorSarasota Restaurant Week from June 1-14 when dozens of restaurants featured prix-fixe, multi-course lunch and dinner menus for just $20 and $35 per person! Home to award-winning and legendary restaurants, there’s no better time to explore all the culinary experiences Sarasota County has to offer. From Peruvian palates and French cuisine to American classics and fresh seafood, you’ll feel like a local foodie in no time. Participating Restaurants include Duval's Fresh Local Seafood, Amore Restaurant, The Bistro @ Concession Golf Club, 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop, Tripletail Seafood & Spirits, Bavaro's Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria, Cafe Evergreen, Michael's On East Restaurant, Libby's Lakewood Ranch, Libby's Neighborhood Brasserie, Opus Restaurant & Lounge, Ristorante San Marco, The Reserve Retreat, Andrea's Kitchen, Cafe Venice Restaurant & Bar, Dolce Italia, The Ringling Grillroom, C'est la Vie!, Rodizio Grill, Bijou Garden Cafe, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Selva Grill, Chaz 51 Steakhouse, Miguel's, Lucarelli's Restaurant, Pop's Sunset Grill, Fins at Sharky's, Bevardi’s Salute! Restaurant, Farlow's On The Water, Cafe Barbosso, Overture Restaurant & Gallery Lounge in Art Ovation, Flavio's on Main, Chef Rolf's New Florida Kitchen, Bohemios Wine and Beer Tapas Bar, Mattison’s Forty-One Restaurant and Catering Company, Green Zebra Cafe, and 1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails.

[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]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre Returns to Summer Programing with RABBIT HOLE , June 8 – June 19

The Players Centre for Performing Arts presents the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play Rabbit Hole at Studio 1130 located in the Crossings at Siesta Key mall (3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239) June 8-19, 2022. Becca and Howie Corbett have a picture-perfect family life in the suburbs of New York until a random, tragic accident takes the life of their four-year old son. Soon after, Becca’s younger, irresponsible sister, Izzy, announces that she is pregnant. As Becca and Howie grow apart, Becca’s mother, Nat, badgers Becca about her grieving process, and Jason, the young driver who killed their son, continually shows up to ask forgiveness, the group is on a bumpy road to healing with no road map in sight. Rabbit Hole delves into the complexity of a family navigating deep grief and learning what it means to live a fruitful life when things fall apart. 

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Florida Center for Early Childhood: Mind Matters Symposium , June 22, 9am-3pm

Join The Florida Center for Early Childhood for a full-day, virtual course on understanding and supporting early childhood brain development and mental health on Wednesday, June 22 from 9am to 3pm. Learn to identify brain differences, their implications, and strategies to address them.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Women Contemporary Artists Members Spring Exhibition , June 3 – June 24

The Women Contemporary Artists Members Spring Exhibition 2022 will take place at Ringling College of Art & Design Lois and David Stuhlberg Gallery, 1188 MLK Way, from June 3 – 24, 2022. The exhibition is open to active WCA members who may submit two entries only, $30 for one entry and $35 for two entries. Art specs are 2D - 36” x 36” max, mid-sized and smaller works preferred. All media. Diptych and Triptychs allowed, but must fit into size requirements and sold as one painting. 3D work 72” x 20” max. Pedestals are available. If accepted into the show, be prepared to sit for one sitting in the gallery, if needed, from 9-12 or 12-3 on Monday through Friday for the length of the show. You can do this with a friend. Awards are $600 for 1st, $400 for 2nd, $300 for 3rd, and 5 Merit Awards $100 each. Receiving on Tuesday, May 24 between 10 AM and 2 PM and Jurying on Tuesday, May the 24th at 3 PM.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions Opening Receptions June 10th , June 3 – June 24, 5pm-7pm

Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions invites you to attend two opening receptions for: Petticoat Painters, exhibiting June 3 - June 24 in the Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. Gallery and Women Contemporary Artists, exhibiting June 3 - June 24 in the Lois + David Stulberg Gallery. Join us on June 10th, 5-7 pm for the opening reception in each gallery and meet the artists. Both galleries are on the Ringling College campus and are open M-F 9-3 pm. While you're on campus don't forget to stop by Valetta's exhibition in the Thompson Gallery. Valetta will be exhibiting June 3 - August 12.

[SOON]  SPORTS: 6th Annual Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic at The Meadows Country Club , June 24, 7:30am

The 6th Annual Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic will take place on Friday, June 24 at The Meadows Country Club course only. Player check-in and breakfast will be from 7:30am to 9am, with a shotgun start at 9am. $800 per foursome, which includes continental breakfast, tee sign, and lunch. The tournament is limited to 36 foursomes on a first come first served basis and two golf carts will be provided to each foursome. For more information and registration, visit suncoastsummerfest.org or call 941-706-3685.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Seeing the Invisible , September 25 – August 31, 10am-5pm

The most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology will premiere at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, opening on September 25, 2021 and ongoing through August 31 2022, as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries. Seeing the Invisible features works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin—including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition downloadable to smartphones and tablets. Forging new links between botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe, the exhibition fosters collaboration between institutions, artists, and audiences, highlighting the power of art to connect people around the world.

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Hood , June 3 – June 26, Varies.

The world’s sexiest thief. A pair of history’s greatest lovers. The Merry Band that made redistributing wealth cool. Here, finally, is the real story of the disgraced nobleman, forced into the wilderness, who seeks revenge not only for himself but against an unjust system. He rescues the damsel, or perhaps along the way, discovers she doesn’t need any rescuing. Five-time Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane–who re-invented Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella so deliciously–reunites with Lewis Flinn, his Give it Up/Lysistrata Jones collaborator, to bring to life this hilarious and stirring new musical adventure. Contains mature themes. Recommended for age 14+. Hood will take place June 11 - June 26, 2022 with Previews June 3-10, 2022.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Urbanite Theatre: Athena , June 10 – July 10, Varies.

Athena by Gracie Gardner Directed by Summer Wallace will run from June 10 to July 10, 2022. Mary Wallace and Athena are brave young fencers training for the Junior Olympics. They practice together, they compete against each other, they spend their lives together. They just wish they were friends.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Summer Circus Spectacular , June 10 – August 13, 11am and 2 pm

The Circus Arts Conservatory and The Ringling are happy to partner once again to present the Summer Circus Spectacular at the Historic Asolo Theater. Don’t miss this family-friendly show that runs Friday, June 10 through Saturday, August 13! The Summer Circus Spectacular showcases some of the finest circus artists from around the world, performing acts to thrill audiences of all ages. The Summer Circus Spectacular takes place at the Historic Asolo Theatre at The Ringling (5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota). Show times are 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturdays. 941-360-7399.

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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