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SRQ DAILY Jul 3, 2023

Monday Business Edition

Monday Business Edition

"We have seen great demand from the Sarasota-Bradenton region and know it is a highly trafficked airport for guests looking to more easily and affordably travel to the Northeast and Providence"

- Tom Doxey, Breeze Airways President.

[Politics]  Gruters Alimony Bill Signed by DeSantis
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

An overhaul of Florida’s alimony laws represented one of the last open questions from the legislative session as June closed. But ultimately, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill championed by state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota.

The bill was one of the last two signed by DeSantis, along with legislation updating the Florida Retirement System. The new law went into effect on Saturday, hours after it was signed, and largely did away with permanent alimony cases in Florida moving forward. Rehabilitative alimony can last no longer than five years now.

“I appreciate the governor signing SB 1416 legislation into law,” Gruters said “It's long overdue and a win for Florida families.”

DeSantis offered no comment on why he signed the bill this year, after vetoing similar legislation sponsored by Gruters in 2022. Last year, the Governor said he nixed the prior bill because it would be partly retroactive and impact existing divorce settlements.

Critics of the bill retain that fear.

“On behalf of the thousands of women who our group represents, we are very disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign the alimony reform bill,” said Jan Killilea, a spokeswoman for the First Wives Advocacy Group. “We believe by signing it, he has put older women in a situation which will cause financial devastation. The so-called party of ‘family values’ has just contributed to erosion of the institution of marriage in Florida.”

That said, much of the speculation around DeSantis’ plan with the legislation centered around the fact Gruters has publicly supported former President Donald Trump’s campaign for President over the Governor. Gruters credited that fact with Sarasota suffering a disproportionate share of line item vetoes in the budget this year.

But Gruters felt the alimony bill this year had as much agreement as possible by both sides. For the first time, the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar endorsed the final language.

“Importantly, and differentiating it from past legislation, this bill did not include provisions that would negatively impact existing alimony awards or otherwise be harmful to Florida’s families,” read a joint statement from Family Law Section Chair Sarah Kay and immediate Past Chair Philip Wartenberg. 

Florida Family Fairness, which has pushed for years to end permanent alimony, praised the change to state law.

“Florida Family Fairness is pleased that the Florida Legislature and Gov. DeSantis have passed a bill that ends permanent alimony and codifies in statute the right to retire for existing alimony payers,” said FFF Chairman Michael Buhler in a statement. “Anything that adds clarity and ends permanent alimony is a win for Florida families.” 

Image courtesy Facebook: Joe Gruters and Ron DeSantis.

[Hospital News]  SMH Breaks Ground on $75 Million Research Facility

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System broke ground today on a new, $75 million Research and Education Institute. Designed to promote collaboration, discovery and innovation in medical education and research, the 5-story, roughly 80,000 square-foot facility will house Sarasota Memorial’s expanding clinical research division, clinical and graduate medical education programs, medical library and a new, state-of-the-art simulation center designed for hands-on training. “Bringing together skilled physicians, clinical investigators and nurse educators, the new Research and Education Institute will centralize everything we do under one roof, providing our physicians, clinical staff, residents and fellows enhanced opportunities to work collaboratively in an innovative clinical education environment,” Sarasota Memorial Health Care System President & CEO David Verinder, who recognized members of the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board, physician researchers and clinical educators, the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation and community members supporting medical education and research during a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. Sarasota Memorial serves as a training ground for the next generation of caregivers and is ranked by Fortune/Merative among the top 40 teaching hospitals in the nation. With Florida State University as its academic partner, Sarasota Memorial provides residency and fellowship training programs that help attract and retain physicians to our community. SMH also collaborates with nursing education programs throughout the region. Close to half of the residents have stayed on at Sarasota Memorial after completing their training, while nearly 70% remained in Florida. Sarasota Memorial Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD, said the health system’s clinical research and education programs have tripled in size in recent years, with nearly 70 resident physicians and fellows completing residency and fellowship training each year, and more than 50 active research studies under way. Currently, SMH's education and training programs are located inside the Sarasota hospital. Consolidating those programs into the adjacent facility will enhance interdisciplinary opportunities, while creating more clinical space in the Sarasota hospital for bedside care. Slated to open in 2025, the research facility is being built at the intersection of Arlington Street and Laurent Place, the site of the former Doctors Gardens medical office building. The 1950s-era building was demolished last year to make room for the new facility and a parking garage for about 300 vehicles.


[Recognition]  Eight Icard Merrill Attorneys Selected as 2023 Florida Super Lawyers

Icard Merrill is pleased to announce the inclusion of eight attorneys in the 2023 edition of Florida Super Lawyers  and Rising Stars. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Icard Merrill attorneys selected to the list of 2023 Super Lawyers are Drew Clayton, Securities Litigation; Thomas F. Icard, Jr., Construction Litigation; William W. Merrill III, Land Use & Zoning; Alyssa M. Nohren, Real Estate; and Telese L. Zuberer, Real Estate. Attorneys named to the list of 2023 Florida Rising Stars are Worth Graham, Securities Litigation; Bianca N. Manos, Family Law; and Jordan Riccardi, Estate Planning & Probate. Attorneys chosen as Rising Stars are recognized as the top up-and-coming attorneys under the age of 40. Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. The annual selections are made using a rigorous process, including a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. 

[Construction]  Halfacre Construction Company Welcomes Six New Hires and Celebrates Several Project Completions

Halfacre Construction Company, a Lakewood Ranch-based commercial construction company, recently welcomed six new hires to accommodate for the firm’s growth and increasing project roster. New to the Halfacre team are Chuck Evans, Scott Cornett, Jeremy Baker, Gaby Garcon, Sheila Castillo and Linda Collier. Evans and Cornett joined the commercial construction company as project managers. In their new roles, they will be tasked with scheduling, budgeting, cost estimating and value engineering services throughout the projects. Evans has over 41 years of experience in project management and Cornett has 27 years. Baker joins as an assistant project manager. His day-to-day responsibilities include coordinating safety duties for the company, helping facilitate the flow of information, and ensuring projects meet deadlines, quality requirements and project goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Florida and previously worked as an engineer in manufacturing. Garcon and Castillo were added to the accounting department as accounting assistants. Garcon most recently worked as a bookkeeper with a certified public accountant, and Castillo previously held a position as a team assistant at H&R Block. Both will be tasked with accounting and clerical support. Collier joins Halfacre as a project administrator who will primarily be tasked with bid preparation and bid packages. She has over 31 years of experience in construction. With over 53 years of quality construction projects and service to the southwest Florida community, Halfacre Construction Company has continued to grow at an accelerated pace. The team has had several prominent projects in the community under its belt already this year, including Team Success Charter School, Venice Yacht Club and Harvest House Life Enrichment Campus, among others. The commercial construction company also created an internship and mentor initiative in order to develop a pipeline of entry level professionals starting a career in the industry. This summer’s internship program has four participants: Olivia Givens, Kolby Crist, Will Evans and Jake Windham. Through the program, Halfacre has experienced repeat interns, as well as interns that have been hired full-time upon completion of their internship and schooling. Throughout all their growth, Halfacre’s goal is to remain a driving force for a diverse workforce in the region.  

[Recognition]  The Stiver First International Team Makes RealTrends The Thousand List

The Stiver First International Team at RE/MAX Alliance Group was recently recognized in the 2023 “The Thousand” list by RealTrends + Tom Ferry. The Stiver First International Team placed #41 among medium teams by transaction sides, based on 2022 performance, which also qualified the team for the RealTrends “America’s Best” list. Consisting of six Realtors and four administrative staff members, the Stiver First International Team remains #1 in total sales since 2016 for Englewood, Rotonda West, Cape Haze, Manasota Key, Gulf Cove, South Gulf Cove, and East Englewood. RE/MAX Alliance Group is the #1 RE/MAX franchise in Florida and the #1 RE/MAX franchise in Florida for contributions to the Children’s Miracle Network. The company now offers residential and commercial real estate solutions through 13 offices in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. For more information, please visit https://www.alliancegroupfl.com. 

[Grand Opening]  Leading Crunch Franchise Announces the Grand Opening of Its 52nd Location in Parrish, Florida

Crunch Franchisee, CR Fitness Holdings, the leading franchise of Crunch Fitness, today announced the Grand Opening of Crunch Parrish, a five-million-dollar, 28,000-square-foot fitness facility with state-of-the-art fitness equipment that will be in a newly renovated space of the Creekside Commons Shopping Mall at 8840 US 301 in Parrish Florida. Crunch Parrish will be the 52nd club to open for CR Fitness and the 20th in the Tampa Bay region. Crunch Parrish will have a Grand Opening Celebration and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Saturday, July 8th, with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony taking place at noon. The celebration party is from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M. The Crunch Tyrone Grand Opening Celebration is open to members and non-members alike and will feature a special $1 to join and get your first-month free offer to prospective members. There will also be local vendors, food, fun, and more! Fusing fitness with entertainment to make serious exercise fun, Crunch Parrish will offer top-quality strength training equipment, hundreds of pieces of premier cardio equipment, a Group Fitness Studio, the HIITZoneTM, a Cycling Studio, Dry Saunas, HydroMassage® Tanning, spacious locker rooms, and more. CR Fitness Holdings LLC. is operated by Vince Julien, Geoff Dyer, Tony Scrimale, and Jeff Dotson, who combined have more than 100 years of experience in the fitness industry. The CR Fitness team operates 51 locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. Crunch is known for its innovative group fitness programming and offers a wide range of activities across gyms, including BodyWeb with TRX®, Zumba®, Cardio Tai Box, Yoga Body Sculpt, Fat Burning Pilates, and the HIITZoneTM, a proprietary high-intensity interval group training program. This is in addition to free weights, machines, cutting-edge equipment, and expert instructors and trainers. 

[Groundbreaking]  Forestar Breaks Ground on First Amenity Campus for Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch

Forestar Group Inc. ("Forestar"), one of the largest single-family community developers in the nation, celebrated breaking ground on The Resort Club, the first amenity campus for Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch. Attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony held on May 16, 2023, were members of the Forestar team including Tony Squitieri, Florida Regional Vice President; Ted Gadoury, Land Development Amenity Manager; John Barnott, Investments and Development Director; and Christian Cotter, Homeowners Association Manager. The social hub of Star Farms, The Resort Club will be an innovative, amenity-rich campus including a hospitality-staffed clubhouse, where members can explore interests, stay active and connect with friends. Phase One will feature a resort pool and spa, poolside cabanas and beach areas, pet park, Trade Route Coffee Shop, Star Fit Wellness Complex - Fitness and Performance Centers, community lawn, courtyard, golf cart parking, and mail kiosk. Future phases are planned to showcase a poolside bar and grill, outdoor activities area, event center and The Terrace – Chef’s Patio. Upon completion, Star Farms will offer four resort campuses: The Resort Club, Junction Place, Adventure Retreat and Cabana Corner, in addition to greenways and trails. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Southwest Florida, Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch is a multigenerational lifestyle community that offers a unique experience tailored to residents. The thoughtfully designed, 700-acre, gated village is a resort ranch hometown featuring 1,500 single-family homes, paired villa retreats and townhomes with a variety of amenities, clubs and hospitality services. Positioned within the award-winning master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch, Star Farms is minutes from dining, shopping and cultural activities as well as top-rated beaches. Whether exploring new adventures, discovering new passions, meeting new neighbors or finding new ways to connect with nature, Star Farms is an extraordinary place to call home. Visit www.starfarmslwr.com and join the VIP Club for the latest information.  

[Airport News]  Breeze Begins Nonstop Service From SRQ to PVD

Breeze Airways, the newest, nicest domestic low-fare airline, will be inaugurating its newest route from Sarasota-Bradenton to Providence on Sunday. Flights will be operated twice weekly, with fares starting from just $85* one way. “We are very pleased to see the continued growth of Breeze at SRQ and the added service to Providence. Our services to the New England region continue to expand and we are confident this new service will do well,” stated Rick Piccolo, President, and CEO of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “We have seen great demand from the Sarasota-Bradenton region, and know it is a highly trafficked airport for Guests looking to more easily and affordably travel to the Northeast and Providence,” said Breeze Airways President, Tom Doxey. “We hope our Guests are enjoying Breeze’s elevated onboard experience and product as we strive to be the nation’s Nice Low Cost Carrier.” From Sarasota-Bradenton, FL to: Providence, RI (Thurs and Sun, starting July 2, Nice from $85*). Breeze offers its Guests both bundled and ala carte options known as Nice, Nicer and Nicest. The Nicest bundle includes Breeze Ascent, two checked bags, and complimentary snacks and beverages, including alcohol. Breeze currently flies both regional and transcontinental flights within the U.S. on a fleet of Embraer 190/195 and Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The carrier has ordered 80 A220s, with options for 40 more.  Seat pitch for a Standard Economy seat is 30 inches on the A220s and 31 inches on the E 195s, while seat pitch for Extra Legroom is 32 inches on the A220s and between 34 and 39 inches on the E-195s, depending on the row selected. Ascent features 39 inches of seat pitch, 20.5 inches of seat width, and special features including a footrest for added comfort, and in-seat AC power and USB/C ports.  Breeze doesn’t charge change or cancellation fees up to 15 minutes prior to departure and offers other benefits such as free family seating and a la carte pricing. With seamless booking, no change or cancellation fees, up to 24-months of reusable flight credit and customized flight features delivered via a sleek and simple app, Breeze makes it easy to buy and easy to fly. Flights are now on sale at www.flybreeze.com and via the Breeze app. 

To learn more, visit

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Creative Personal Development Workshops , July 3 – July 31, 7:30 to 8:30 am

Artist Laine Nixon is offering a new personal development workshops for the month of July for anyone looking to add a spark of creativity to their routines. The Creative Habits Lab is a daily, structured hour to build a consistent creative morning routine.  The lab meets every weekday morning during July. To learn more and register, visit lainenixon.com/workshops.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sculputure Anatomy Classes with Stephen Perkins , July 3 – July 17, 2 to 5 pm

Solid anatomy study should be the foundation for all figurative art. But have you ever studied anatomy from a round or 3-D perspective? This way of learning is a game-changer for bringing your understanding of anatomy back into your drawing and painting. Whether you choose to explore this class in charcoal or clay, you’ll benefit from Stephen’s in-depth guidance of the subtleties of the beautiful and suggestive gestures and anatomy of the hands and feet. Stephen Perkins is recommended by some of the top sculpture organizations in the world including the National Sculpture Society, The Posey Foundation, and the American Numismatic Society. To learn more and enroll, visit mianoacademy.org.

[SOON]  SPORTS: Publix Fireworks 5K on The Lake , July 3, 7 pm
Festive family fun to kick off the 4th of July. Join us for the best patriotic party in the Sarasota area with a festive 5K Race around the lake at Nathan Benderson Park. Celebrate Independence Day with a patriotic-themed race, then stay for the fireworks and fun. To learn more and register, visit raceroster.com.
[SOON]  THEATER: The Mantle , July 7 – July 9, Various times

The Players Centre is happy to produce the 2020 winner of The Players New Play Festival, The Mantle by Jalex Scott. Directed by Amanda Schlachter, this production will take place in The Players new black box theatre in the Rosemary District, Space is limited, and there will be a talkback after each performance led by Artistic Director Steven Butler. On the anniversary of the most traumatic experience of his life, Benny Craft records a suicide note and sets it up to post on social media at midnight. Armed with a to-do list and pursued by a handsome, pushy stranger, he sets off on his last day to visit his therapist and the two most important women in his life. But is Benny really looking to say goodbye or desperately searching for a reason to not have to? 1400 Blvd. of the Arts, Suite 200 (Second Floor), Sarasota, theplayers.org.

[SOON]  THEATER: Off The Charts , July 2 – July 9, 10 am

Journey with us from the jukebox to the iPhone as we celebrate the universal language of music. This energetic music revue features family-friendly versions of some pop greatest hits, from Hound Dog and I Want to Hold Your Hand to Shake it Off. With over a dozen chart-topping songs from the past eight decades, Off the Charts explores music’s ability to make us think, feel, and connect across generations. Florida Studio Theatre, Bownes Lab, 1265 First St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Black Pearl Sings , June 28 – August 6, Various times

In 1935 Depression-era Texas, two women from very different backgrounds discover the other holds the key to everything they have each been searching for. Susannah is an ambitious Library of Congress musicologist, determined to record undocumented slave songs. Pearl is an African American woman with a soulful voice, a steely spirit, and a sentence in a high-security female prison. Pearls memory is a treasure-trove of unrecorded slave era music, but can she hand over her ancestors’ songs without giving up something of herself? Black Pearl Sings tells the evocative story of an unlikely bond, preservation of musical heritage, and the human need for hope and healing. Florida Studio Theatre, Keating Theatre, 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota, floridastudiotheatre.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[SOON]  GALLERY: 55 Frida Project , June 18 – August 18, Various times

Maverick, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo painted 55 self-portraits in her short and tragic life. View the commemorative exhibit by artist Beck Lane of her work at UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, her artwork merges extraordinary creative vision and innovative technique and has been collected and shown in pop-up galleries, solo shows, galleries, and private collections in Boston, California, New York City, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami, Brussels, Switzerland, South America, and Israel. On her YouTube Channel, Catalyst and Co., Beck records herself painting live, while offering encouragement to fellow artists, and sharing her experiences as an artist and her painting process and techniques. These mixed medium works pulsate with powerful, vibrant energy, fluid color and rare style. On Sunday, July 16, Lane will be painting live from 12-2 pm at the Lexow Gallery. UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, 3975 Fruitville Rd., www.uucsarasota.com, www.becklaneartist.com.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Surfer Boys at Florida Studio Theatre , June 13 – August 13, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre kicks off its Summer Cabaret Series with The Surfer Boys,an energetic tribute to the music of The Beach Boys. Featuring such hits as California Girls, Good Vibrations, Barbara Ann, and Surfin USA, The Surfer Boys is filled with the honey-tinged harmonies and unforgettable melodies that defined 1960s California and pop music. The Surfer Boys begins playing June 13 in the FST Goldstein Cabaret. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Summer Circus Spectacular , June 9 – August 12, Various times

Circus fans of all ages, from near and far, can beat the heat this summer at reasonable prices while experiencing the best of the circus arts, thanks to the continued partnership of The Circus Arts Academy and The Ringling. The Summer Circus Spectacular returns this year, with exciting acts signed on for the one-hour, action-packed show. The 2023 Summer Circus Spectacular, which has become a seasonal highlight for locals, visitors, families and groups alike, takes place from June 9 through August 12. Tickets are $20 for adults, $13 for children 12 and under, and tickets for the 7 p.m. opening night performance and celebration on Friday, June 9, which includes a gala reception with the artists, are $50. To complete their circus experience, Summer Circus Spectacular patrons can enjoy access to the Circus Museum on the day they attend a show for an additional $5. Visit Ringling.org or call the Box Office at 941-360-7399 to purchase tickets and learn more. The Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: She Engineers at the Bishop , January 24 – July 30, During museum hours

SHE ENGINEERS is a bilingual (English and Spanish) poster exhibition highlighting eight women in various engineering fields. In their own words, the women share their passion and what inspired them to become engineers. If we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Eco Engineers , April 12 – September 3, During museum hours

Eco Engineers are plants and animals that profoundly impact their ecosystem. Through their presence or behavior, eco engineers create microhabitats, or unique areas within an ecosystem. Other species have taken notice of these microhabitats and decided to move in! In this exhibition, explore nine of Florida’s eco engineers and discover why our landscape wouldn’t be the same without them. Eco Engineers is a bilingual (English and Spanish) special exhibition created by our own Museum curators. Included with museum admission. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, bishopscience.org.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: From the Chambers Honoring John Sims at Ringling Museum , May 6 – August 6, Museum hours

In December 2022, the innovative artist, activist, writer, and filmmaker John Sims passed away suddenly at his studio in Sarasota. The tragic loss of Sims left a deep impact on the art world. His art, informed by mathematics, design, sacred symbols, and poetic text, boldly confronted white supremacy, the Confederate flag, and the deep disparities and division within our society. The Ringling is honored to have had the opportunity to work closely with Sims, who was their artist in residence in 2020. The exhibition From the Chambers, Honoring John Sims brings those two works together, on view publicly for the first time, in conjunction with John Chamberlain’s sculpture Added Pleasure. The exhibition serves as just one part of the significant legacy the artist leaves behind, in Sarasota and beyond. On view May 6 through August 6, 2023 in the Searing East galleries. Ringling Musuem, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org

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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