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SRQ DAILY Jan 16, 2023

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"The statistics show that more and more young people are moving to Sarasota, and we are really noticing that shift in the bookstore. "

- Bryn Durgin, Bookstore1Sarasota.

[Politics]  Gruters Proposes Two At-Large County Commissioners
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Should Sarasota County have seven county commissioners instead of five? Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, said he plans to bring a local bill forward that would add two at-large commissioners to the board.

Such a move would again create a substantial change in the way a full commission is elected. Voters in 2018 approved a switch from electing all five commissioners in county-wide elections to instead electing them through single-member voting. In March last year, voters rejected a referendum that would have reversed course and returned to county-wide voting.

Gruters said he doesn’t want to change how the five existing seats on the commission are filled. But he still has a problem with every voter in the county only being able to elect only one member of the county commission.

“Sometimes one county commissioner is not enough,” he said at the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation meeting. “We saw it with Ian.” He said when the massive hurricane hit only South Sarasota County last year, it put an undue burden on one commission office. 

Adding two county commissioners, Gruters said, would mean three members of a seven-member board were directly responsive to every individual in the county.

It’s not an unprecedented structure. Manatee County elects five members through single member districts and two through at-large elections, similar to Gruters’ proposal. The City of Sarasota has five members on its City Commission, three elected in single-member districts and two at-large.

Of note, the Florida Legislature since 1982 has elected all its members in single-member districts. Gruters is the only state senator representing Sarasota County. Three state representatives serve portions of the county, but every citizen is elected by one senator and one representative.

A change to the county structure would need to be approved by voters in a county-wide referendum.

State Rep. James Buchanan, R-Sarasota, noted at the delegation meeting that Sarasota County is a charter county. That means a referendum could be brought forward three ways: though a local bill approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor; though a vote by the Sarasota County Commission; or through a measure proposed by the Sarasota County Charter Review Board.

No bill has been crafted and publicly released yet. A meeting for the legislative delegation to hear such a bill would need to be advertised in advance. 

Photo courtesy Sen. Joe Gruters Facebook.

[Bookstore1Sarasota]  Business Q and A with Bookstore1Sarasota
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

How does Bookstore1Sarasota serve as a model for local businesses looking to create a sense of community among readers of different generations? The statistics show that more and more young people are moving to Sarasota, and we’re really noticing that shift in the bookstore. Books are ageless and cross generations. With books, a 16 year old, a 30 year old and an 80 year old could be reading the same book, and that same book can appeal to them for different reasons. When you get those people together to talk about that book, it’s almost like time traveling. We have programs and events like the Banned Book Club and Poetry Life which bring together readers of all ages. As far as marketing to ages, we’re in such a unique position because the books do the talking. The new authors and classic authors bring people into the store, and people who come into the store want to talk about the books and what they’re reading.- Bryn Durgin, Bookstore1Sarasota 

[Recognition]  The Island Bookshop, The Englewood Art Center and Cocoa Yoga Cafe Honored with Spirit Awards

The Island Bookshop on Venice Island, the Englewood Art Center, and Cocoa Yoga Café in North Port are being honored with community spirit awards. Randy Moore, the owner of Triple 3 Marketing made the announcement today. Moore publishes Englewood Healthy Living and South County Healthy Living. The Island Bookshop owned by Aimee Odette and Michael Rank is receiving the Venice Spirit Award, the Englewood Art Center with the Ringling College of Art and Design is receiving the Englewood Spirit Award, and Cocoa Yoga Café owned by Whitney Zora Stetler is receiving the North Port Spirit Award. “All three award recipients have made meaningful contributions to the health and wellness of our region,” Moore said. “Their shared enthusiasm for creative expression and healthy living inspires area residents and visitors every day.” Triple 3 Marketing has presented 19 spirit awards since 2018. Their other community awards include the Lee Reid Englewood Lifetime Achievement Award, Venice Lifetime Achievement Award, North Port Lifetime Achievement Award, Wildlife Champion Award, and Inspiring Artist Award. A complete list of the award recipients is posted at EnglewoodHealthyLiving.com and SouthCountyHealthyLiving.com.



Pictured: Whitney Zora Stetler owns Cocoa Yoga Cafe. Photo courtesy of Triple 3 Marketing, LLC.

[Acquisition]  Purmort and Martin Insurance Agency Acquires Tampa Insurance Agency

Sarasota-based Purmort & Martin Insurance Agency, one of the area’s oldest and largest locally owned insurance agencies, recently acquired Lovinger Insurance in south Tampa. Located at 3210 South Dale Mabry Highway, Lovinger Insurance is a property and casualty insurance agency that primarily serves Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Lovinger Insurance will keep its current name as a DBA, while now operating under Purmort & Martin, and will retain all of its employees, including longtime owner Lynne Lovinger who will stay on as manager of the brand. Lynne Lovinger has over 25 years of experience in the insurance business and has run the Tampa agency for 20 years. 

[Airport News]  SRQ Finishes 2022 With Record Breaking Numbers

Last month 377,775 passengers traveled through the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport, compared to 347,268 passengers in December 2021. This represents an increase of 8.8%. Passengers traveling through the airport in calendar year 2022 totaled 3,847,606. This is a 21.6% increase over the previous calendar year record of 3,163,543 passengers.
Despite having 204 flight cancellations in December, partially due to Winter Storm Elliott, more passengers traveled through SRQ last month than any December in the history of the airport. The airport also shattered last year’s record of 3.1 million passengers by nearly 700,000 with over 3.8 million passengers using SRQ in 2022. In 2023, SRQ expects to continue our growth trend with record-breaking passenger numbers each month for the foreseeable future. Over the past 5 years, the airport has seen passenger traffic triple from under 1.2 million passengers in 2017 to over 3.8 million passengers in 2022. There continues to be great demand to live, work, and visit our boutique community, and its world-renowned beaches, partake in year-round outdoor activities offered, and experience arts and culture that you would normally only find in a larger city. This is why it is imperative the Airport Authority continues to expand the airport with additional aircraft gates, concessions, parking, and other amenities necessary to facilitate the increased demand impacting our community. 

[Income Tax]  United Way of South Sarasota County’s VITA Sites are Now Accepting Appointments

United Way of South Sarasota County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides FREE federal income tax preparation to individuals and families with a yearly
household income of up to $74,000. Tax preparation is completed by IRS-certified preparers and is by appointment only. Many members of the community are in financial distress this year and need all the assistance they can get. By using the VITA program taxpayers save between $200-$500 on tax preparation costs and gain tax credits and refunds! Appointments are now OPEN to schedule at one of our three VITA Locations (Venice, North Port or Englewood). You can schedule your appointment today by visiting: www.uwssc.org/vita. Our three VITA Sites will operate from February 1 st , 2023 through April 18 th , 2023. You must come to your appointment with the necessary documents. Without these documents, your appointment is subject to being rescheduled. Please visit: www.uwssc.org/vita for a full list of documents needed for your appointment. If you have questions, please contact Teri Andrews, Director of Programs, at tandrews@uwssc.org or by calling 941-484-4811 ext. 104. 

[Celebration]  SMH Behavioral Health Celebrates Construction Milestone

Sarasota Memorial celebrated the ongoing construction of the Cornell Family Behavioral Health Pavilion at SMH-Sarasota with a wall signing event on Thursday. Donors, leaders, and medical staff gathered to sign concrete walls with messages of love and hope, which will be sealed in the building forever. Construction on the state-of-the-art facility for both inpatient and outpatient care is slated to be completed by the end of 2023. 

[Event]  SB2 Luncheon

Join us on March 7, 2023 at Michael's On East for a dynamic luncheon symposium centered on conversations focused on regional philanthropic topics. The luncheon will include a panel discussion to explore the ever-changing world of non-profits and honor outstanding individuals who have made a meaningful impact within the community.  

Reserve Your Tickets Here

[SOON]  HEALTH: A Woman's Journey , March 3, 9:15 - 11:30 a.m.

Don't miss A Woman's Journey, on March 3rd at the Westin Sarasota. Since 1995, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s annual women’s health program A Woman's Journey provides new and compelling information about important issues affecting women's health. Through a selection of seminars presented exclusively by Hopkins faculty physicians, participants are able to hear first-hand about advances in medicine from the individuals performing the research, all the while interacting with a diverse group of attendees. Registration is $95. Click here to register: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/awomansjourney/upcoming-live-programs/florida-2023-sarasota.html

[SOON]  GALLERY: Contemporary Realism First Friday Gallery Walk at the Dabbert Gallery , January 6 – January 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Contemporary Realism First Friday Gallery Walk at the Dabbert Gallery. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 6, the Dabbert Gallery will host the First Friday Gallery Walk through its new contemporary realism exhibit. The exhibit runs through Jan. 31. For more information, visit dabbertgallery.com. Dabbet Gallery, 46 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , January 11 – January 22, During garden hours

The annual Rainforest Masks exhibition showcasing handcrafted art from the Indigenous Boruca tribe of Costa Rica is now on view! Experience (and purchase) vibrant, hand-carved and painted balsa wood masks featuring flora and fauna of the tropical rainforest. With over 400 spectacular masks on display, this year's display highlights the common motifs of the orchid, butterfly, hummingbird, frog, sloth, jaguar, and warrior found in the work of the Borucan artists. Proceeds from mask sales support the Borucan village and also benefit Selby Gardens’ education, research, horticulture, and scientific work. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit selby.org.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks at the Bishop , January 11 – March 18, During museum hours

Get inspired to create your own ‘towers of tomorrow’ with over 200,000 loose LEGO® bricks available in hands-on construction areas. Young and old will be limited only by their imagination as they add their creations to a steadily rising futuristic LEGO® metropolis inside the exhibition. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit bishopscience.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Winter Carnival at the Mall at University Town Center , January 12 – January 16, Hours vary

The annual Sarasota Winter Carnival will feature over 20 rides and will be located in Parking Lot 4 (East Grand Entrance) of The Mall at University Town Center. For more information and to purchase ride tickets, click the above link. The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Ranch Nite Wednesdays at Waterside Place , January 18, 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a night of fun at Waterside Place during Ranch Nite Wednesdays. The event features food trucks, live music, a night market, a vintage mobile bar and cornhole. Click the above link to learn more. 1561 Lakefront Drive.

[SOON]  FILM: Cinema at The Bay: Raiders of the Lost Ark , January 19, 7 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a free, outdoor movie at The Bay Park! Bring your blankets, chairs, family, friends and good dogs to enjoy a wonderful evening under the stars. The Nest, the new concession at The Bay, will be selling tasty food and beverages to make the evening a legit and fun movie-going experience for all. Click the above link to learn more.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Art Center Sarasota: Same Source , February 2 – March 11

The Same Source exhibit by Luca Molnar uses various media to explore the connection between historical figures and personal mythologies. The exhibit highlights the connection between private life, domestic spaces and memory. On Thursday, Feb. 16, Molnar will participate in an artist talk via Zoom from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibit runs from Feb. 2 to March 11. To learn more, visit artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Urbanite Theatre: Birds of North America , January 6 – February 12, Varied

"Birds of North America" runs January 6th-February 12th, 2023 at Urbanite Theatre. As birders, John and his daughter Caitlyn adore spending tender autumn days attempting to catch glimpses of elusive birds. But as seasons, the climate, and global politics change, the two find their connection as rare as a red-headed Woodpecker.  In a lyrical and endearing family portrait, Birds of North America unfolds in delicate, detailed layers like the scattered leaves of each passing year. For tickets and information contact Ph. (941) 321-1397, Email info@urbanitetheatre.com, Website www.urbanitetheatre.com

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 2nd Street Sarasota FL, 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: Therese , March 17 – March 25, Varied

Therese is an opera in two acts. Music by Jules Massenet. Libretto by Jules Claretie. A love triangle during the French Revolution is the setting for this rarely heard work. Therese is torn between love for her former lover and her affection and duty towards her husband. Moments of lyrical beauty are punctuated by the drama of the “Reign of Terror” in this opera. Sung in French with Translations in English. March 17th-March 25th For tickets visit sarasotaopera.org, Ph. +1 941 328 1300

Sarasota Opera , 61 N Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Man of La Mancha , May 10 – June 11, Varied

Considered by many to be one of the best musicals of all time, MAN OF LA MANCHA is brilliantly reimagined with a contemporary urgency by celebrated director Peter Rothstein, who immerses us in Miguel de Cervantes’s retelling of Don Quixote and his quest. This epic and poignant journey celebrates the perseverance of one man who refuses to relinquish his ideals and who is determined to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be. The winner of five Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, and featuring a soaring score, including “Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)” and one of theatre’s most beloved songs, “The Impossible Dream,” this classic musical celebrates the power of theatre, the bravery of holding strong to our dreams, and the resilience of imagination.

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Silent Sky , January 19 – March 5, Varied

At the turn of the 20th century, years before women had the right to vote, one woman’s breakthrough changed our perception of the stars. Full of wonder, humor, and heart, SILENT SKY is the remarkable true story of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the pioneering women astronomers working at Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s. You will be enthralled by the story of this extraordinary woman who took on the astronomy establishment in order to discover the mysteries embedded in the sky. Henrietta transcended the odds while navigating love, family, and the universe, going on to make a world-altering advancement to the field of astronomy that forever changed our view of the cosmos.  Written by one of today’s leading playwrights, Lauren Gunderson, this mesmerizing drama is directed by Seema Sueko, who recently brought this work to life at Washington D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre. 

Asolo Repertory Theatre

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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