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SRQ DAILY Mar 11, 2023

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"We serve our region with integrity, collaboration, innovation and inclusivity."

- Dr. Carol Probstfeld, President, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

[Under The Hood]  More Than Ideology At Play
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The Legislative Session has begun Tallahassee, which means 60 days of anything-can-happen lay ahead. But the greatest uncertainty right now may revolve around a tort reform package carried by state Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Lakewood Ranch.

One of the most high-profile pieces of legislation in the state this year, the bill could rework the relationships Floridians hold with insurance companies, trial attorneys and even the medical field.

Gregory in press conferences has called the bill an attempt to “bring balance to the civil justice system.”

Indeed, it’s a bill that’s decades in the making, with the business and legal lobby long fighting over what truly has driven up the costs of insurance in the state. Executives and advocates for insurance companies say the litigious environment in Florida, one illustrated with attorney billboards and television ads promoting high damages won in court, has created uncertainty and expenses.

Attorneys, fully aware they make an easy political target, have tried to tell a different story. They view the legislation developed by lawmakers as an attack on consumers, one that will most hurt those plaintiffs with the strongest case against insurance companies and the parties who did them harm.

Who is truly to blame? There’s likely blame to go around, but it’s certainly worth asking if a litigious environment in Florida exists because it gives consumers the opportunity to bring legitimate action.

Politically, tort reform has always served as a bit of a political Rorschach test. Consider two statements: ‘Corporations are getting rich off exploiting poor people.’ ‘Moochers are constantly taking advantage of the system.’

You may think both statements are, to an extent, true. They are also certain oversimplifications of the complex economic and social issues facing the nation. But one of these probably resonates more deeply with you and may even prompt you to pump a fist in the air. That likely serves as a test of whether you identify, in more over-simplification, as a liberal or a conservative.

Complex issues, though, deserve more than bumper sticker logic. Fortunately, when it comes to this issue in Tallahassee, the matter seems to be deliberated in full, even as super-majorities in the House and Senate fast track a range of other conservative priorities from universal school vouchers to a six-week abortion ban.

That may be because there aren’t just two groups of people in Tallahassee. Sure there are Republicans and, rumor has it, Democrats. But lawmakers also band together in regional struggles. Sometimes you see school rivalries burst out, whether playfully or in the actual division of state resources.

And you have professional groups. The part-time Legislature has doctors, small business owners, accountants and insurance agents. But there’s one group more represented than any other— attorneys.

Of note, Gregory is both an attorney and a conservative economist. Expect him to hear from colleagues in and out of the Legislature. He agreed this week to some pretty significant concessions on claims of bad faith and allowing one-way attorneys’ fees in cases on denial claims.

Traditionally, the House in Tallahassee passes bills with more strident ideology, and indeed these changes occurred after even some Republican members of the state Senate voiced serious trepidation about the law.

This could be the bill to watch if you want a legislative process instead of passing ideological bills with little debate.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

[Higher Education]  Your Open-Access State College
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

At State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, we are dedicated to the mission of providing an engaging and accessible learning environment to all. We are an open-access institution where anyone willing to do the hard work it takes to pursue their academic goals is welcomed and supported as part of the SCF community.

SCF has a tradition of delivering on our promises responsibly and transparently, we boldly engage our partners to achieve the dynamic future we envision, and we define best practices and create opportunity with forethought. We serve our region with integrity, collaboration, innovation and inclusivity.

SCF serves more than 25,000 individuals annually, with an estimated 10,000 more coming to our campuses for events hosted by third-party collaborators. It has been my purpose since becoming President in 2013 to expand access to SCF through every avenue possible; partnerships, services, academic programming, multipurpose facilities and grants.

Our dual enrollment programs allow qualified high school students to enroll in select college courses satisfying requirements for high school graduation and an associate degree at no cost. Gator Engineering at State College of Florida is a collaboration between the University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and SCF. The program allows a cohort of students to begin their coursework at SCF and gain admission to UF as early as after their first spring semester. Our collaboration with FleetForce Truck Driving School is responsive to the national shortage of commercially licensed drivers and promotes high-wage employment.

SCF’s Collegiate Schools in Bradenton and Venice afford local students a unique dual enrollment program with an opportunity to complete an associate degree while receiving their high school diploma. Our summer and spring camps expose elementary, middle and high school children to the excitement of higher education. SCF’s Summer Bridge, Tampa Bay Bridge to Baccalaureate and College Reach-Out programs aim to increase the number of low-income, educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in postsecondary education and increase the likelihood of their success once in college. Go Live with SCF Online, SCF’s Weekend College and Flex Start courses allow individuals to take classes when convenient.

Responsive to emerging trends and growing demands in the local workforce, SCF has consistently expanded our academic programming to provide rapid credentialing, associate and baccalaureate degrees, certificates and training. Last year, we added three new associate in science degrees in music production, business analytics and hospitality and tourism, and two baccalaureate degrees in elementary education and exceptional student education. In total, SCF offers 31 associate in science degrees, 36 college credit certificates, and seven workforce-oriented baccalaureate degrees.

SCF Bradenton’s Library & Learning Center provides the region with a technology-driven, collaborative learning environment that mirrors private industry practices and provides us with an adaptable platform that can respond to future workforce needs. 

The 26 West Center hosts a suite of innovative services dedicated to making entrepreneurship, small business growth and careers in technology accessible to students and residents of the Suncoast region. For example, SCF’s Coding Academy teaches the skills needed to launch a career in a high-demand technology job in less than six months. Anyone can start training for coding, cloud computing, digital marketing and cybersecurity careers.

Our new Studio for the Performing Arts expands access to the fine and performing arts with a 150-seat recital hall, choir rehearsal room, percussion rehearsal suite, music library and individual practice rooms. 

Through grants such as TRIO Student Support Services, Title III and Child Care Access Means Parents in School, received from the Florida and U.S. Department of Education, SCF is “paving academic pathways for student success” by reducing the number of barriers that prevent many from pursuing higher education. These grants provide access to expanded student support services, financial assistance, free access to college-prep classes and tools for a guided degree pathway. 

The combination of these partnerships, services, academic programs, multipurpose facilities and grants allows us to serve credit or non-credit seeking students, individuals looking to continue their education or perhaps reinvent themselves, and those who need exposure to the possibilities of what higher education can offer – opportunity.  

When we say we’re open access, one needs only to apply. At SCF, we meet you where you are. We’re everyone’s college.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is President at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

Image courtesy SCF

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 2023 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature , February 12 – June 26, During garden hours

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ 2023 Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature showcases the creativity and innovation of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The first exhibition of its type to be presented in a botanical garden, the exhibition highlights the inspiring connection between Tiffany Studios and the natural world through unique horticultural displays in the Tropical Conservatory and the Gardens, accompanied by seminal examples of Tiffany’s work on view in the Museum of Botany and the Arts. To learn more, visit selby.org. Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: ObSEUSSed- A Seussical Celebration Flower Show , March 10 – March 11, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Manatee River Garden Club presents ObSEUSSed, a Dr. Seuss-themed flower show. The show is atribute to Dr. Seuss and his whimsical books and art. There will be 24 artistic floral designs competing in 6 different classes. Educational exhibits will cover Butterflies and The Homegrown National Park Project. Botanical Arts exhibits will include Artistic Crafts and Photography. The show will be judged by nationally accredited Flower Show Judges on Friday morning and will be open to the public from 2:00 until 5:00 pm on Friday, March 11, and 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday, April 17. The show is free to the public. Food will be available for purcahse. Manatee River Garden Club, 3120 First Avenue West, Bradenton. manateerivergardenclub.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Manatee Pride Festival , March 11, 12 to 5 p.m.

Manatee Pride is a fun family event with all proceeds benefiting ALSO Youth. ALSO Youth provides Advocacy, Leadership, Support, and Outreach for LGBTQ+ youth in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and is dedicated to supporting, affirming, encouraging, and empowering all LGBTQ+ youth, their families, and allies via two youth centers that host weekly programming, support groups, scholarship opportunities, and more. Our annual Manatee Pride festival will showcase incredible live entertainment, music, delicious food, refreshments, health checks, and more. We would like to give a special thanks to Craig Byers for our beautiful logo for this incredible event. Riverwalk Pavilion and Event Area, 452 3rd Avenue W. Bradenton, alsoyouth.org. 

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Friendly City Flea Market , March 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Meet us at Oscura in Downtown Bradenton for our March Friendly City Flea. Outdoors there will be over 70 artisan vendors and a DJ. Indoors there will be jazz and brunch with a specialty food and beverage menu. Oscura, 816 Manatee Ave E., Bradenton, friendlycityflea.com.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Sarasota Jazz Festival , March 13 – March 18, Various times

The Jazz Club of Sarasota presents the Sarasota Jazz Festival. A variety of jazz styles will be on display for audiences. The event will feature four evenings of main stage performances, a jazz trolley tour, late night jam sessions and jazz films. Programs will be held at University Town Center/Nathan Benderson Park and the Burns Court Cinema. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit sarasotajazzfestival.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: History Hop Trolley Tours in Englewood, Sarasota and Venice , March 14 – March 16, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Join us for History Hop, our annual week-long celebration of Sarasota County history in partnership with the Lemon Bay (Englewood), Sarasota and Venice Historical Societies. Explore one community each day, or visit all three. Each 2-hour tour offers guests a narrated tour of each community and the chance to “hop” off the trolley at various historic sites to learn from docents about each community’s history in Sarasota County. A percentage of net proceeds will be donated to each participating partner to support the programs and services they provide that keep Sarasota County history alive. discoversarasotatours.com

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Ken Ludwigs The Three Musketeers , January 11 – March 26, Varied

Adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Directed by Peter Amster. Harrowing adventure, bravery, and friendship take center stage in Ken Ludwig's THE THREE MUSKETEERS, a thrilling adaptation of the popular novel by Alexandre Dumas. One of the world’s most enduring comedies, this classic tells the tale of a daring young man who finds himself in the company of the world’s greatest swordsmen, as well as some of the world’s most dangerous men and women. Directed by Peter Amster, who most recently directed Asolo Rep’s smash hit Murder on the Orient Express in 2020, this play promises to be a fast-paced, witty, swashbuckling good time. All for one, and one for all! 

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SOON]  THEATER: Network at Florida Studio Theatre , January 25 – March 19, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to present Network, a fast-paced drama following the downward spiral of Howard Beale, a longtime news anchor who has worked at a television network, UBS, for 25 years. When Beale learns that he is being fired for poor ratings and low viewership, he unravels live on air during his final broadcast. As a result, his show’s ratings soar, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on television. Seeing Howard as a new populist prophet, UBS decides to leverage Howard’s newfound popularity to boost its bottom line. Network begins playing January 25, 2023, in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets to Network range from $25-39. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Reel Music at the Florida Studio Theatre , February 15 – June 25, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre presents the original music revue, Reel Music, celebrating the movies that helped create the soundtrack to the last century. Featuring classics like “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Circle of Life,” and “My Heart Will Go On,” this new Cabaret traces how films—and the music highlighted in them—have evolved over the past one hundred years. Created by Richard Hopkins, Rebecca Hopkins, and Sarah Durham with musical arrangements by Jim Prosser, Reel Music begins playing February 15, 2023, in FST’s Court Cabaret. Single tickets for Reel Music
range between $18-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: Don Giovanni , February 25 – March 25, Varied

Don Giovanni is an Opera in two acts. Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Mozart’s most famous opera is a comic and tragic masterpiece. Set in 17th century Spain, this tale of obsession, betrayal, crime, and retribution centers around the infamous lover Don Juan, who leaves a path of broken hearts wherever he goes. Sung in Italian with English Translations in English. February 25th-March 25th. For tickets visit sarasotaopera.org, Ph. +1 941 328 1300, 61 N Pineapple Ave Sarasota, FL 34236

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

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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