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SRQ DAILY Sep 11, 2023

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"When you are wearing those goggles, it is as if you have x-ray vision."

- Dr. Ngoc Nguyen, Orthopedic Surgeon, SMH.

[Politics]  PragerU Resources Stir Classroom Controversy
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

State groups are asking Sarasota School officials not to bring PragerU materials into classrooms. School Board Chair Bridget Ziegler said she doesn’t have a problem with the education supplements, but said parents should be able to opt of their children using the materials if they object.

The Florida Department of Education in July approved PragerU Kids videos to be used as an educational resource in state schools. Produced by conservative radio host Dennis Prager since 2009, the material quickly caused concern among those who see the items as conservative indoctrination. That includes the state and local chapters of the League of Women Voters.

“PragerU is not an accredited university and it publicly says the group is a ‘force of good’ against the left,” reads an open letter signed by League of Women Voters of

Sarasota County Shawn Bartlett, League of Women Voters of Florida President Cecile Scoon and League of Women Voters of Florida Education Action Chair Jill Lewis-Spector.

“Prager himself announced on July 20 that his company’s videos, produced by a division called PragerU Kids, created in 2021, will be a resource for Florida schools. This is the first time his company’s videos have been approved for use by any U.S. state.”

Several videos have prompted scrutiny on the goals of materials, most notably an animated history cartoon depicting abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The video starts with the children watching modern news reports about riots and demands to abolish police, then travel back and speak to Douglass about why many founding fathers owned slaves.

“Children, our founding fathers knew that slavery was wrong,” the cartoon Douglas says. “And they knew it would do terrible harm to the nation. They wanted it to end but their first priority was to get all 13 colonies to unite as one country.” When the children press on the topic, Douglass says, “I’m certainly not okay with slavery, but the Founding Fathers made a compromise to achieve something great, the making of the United States.”

League of Women Voters members say the materials violate Florida’s own restrictions against politically biased materials being used in schools. “How does PragerU Kids’ curriculum help our children adequately prepare for the world they are to inherit? It doesn’t,” the open letter reads.

Ziegler said she doesn’t find the PragerU materials she has seen to be objectionable. But she said parents who don’t like the material have the right to object.

“I support any material that covers the incredible founding of our country, reinforces the concept of American exceptionalism and helps students become productive and positive contributors to our community. From what I have seen, materials from PragerU do just that,” Ziegler said.

“I will add, as has always been my position — parents should have the opportunity to conveniently access and review any materials that are accessible to their child and have the ability to opt them out of any material they find objectionable for their child.”

The League letter says that approach will create a difficult situation for educators, and would rather the district reject the PragerU resources entirely.

“If a parent says no, the teacher must make other accommodations — accommodations that will be harder to make because the state has cut out a great deal of curriculum that was used in the past, creating a resource desert for teachers,” the letter states. “The LWV of Sarasota recommends that parents pay particular attention to this supplemental curriculum and if they do not want their children indoctrinated by PragerU’s unsubstantiated curriculum, insist on the opt-out provision. 

Screenshot courtesy PragerU

[Airport News]  Breeze Offers 50 Percent off Base Fares to Both Sarasota-Bradenton Destinations as it Extends Sale Schedule Through April

Breeze Airways, the nation’s only ‘NLCC’ (Nice Low Cost Carrier) is unveiling “Make It Happen,” its biggest sale ever, as the airline extends its schedule through April 30, 2024. Starting today through September 7, travelers can book one-way or roundtrip flights at flybreeze.com, or through the Breeze app, and enter “IMGAME50” at checkout to get a 50 percent discount off the base fare from Sarasota-Bradenton, for travel between September 5 and March 7, 2024. Breeze serves two destinations nonstop including: Hartford, CT, and Providence, RI. Breeze offers its Guests both bundled, and ala carte options known as Nice, Nicer and, on flights operated with the Airbus A220-300, Nicest. The Nicest bundle includes two checked bags, priority boarding and Breeze Ascent – the carrier’s premium inflight experience featuring 2x2 recliner style seating and complimentary snacks and beverages, including alcohol. 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. Learn more about Breeze’s flight offerings via our site or the app. 

[New Hire]  Michaela Stamm Joins RE/MAX Platinum Realty

Michaela Stamm has joined RE/MAX Platinum Realty as a Realtor in the new Siesta Key office. A former mortgage lender who specialized in renovation loans, she has gravitated toward home flippers, relocations and first-time homebuyers. She also has a background in in-home remodeling sales. Stamm moved to Florida from Kansas City, Missouri, when she was 13 years old and earned her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. She is involved in the Moose Lodge and supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She enjoys critiquing new restaurants, performing pilates, traveling and watching documentaries. She is currently working on her Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI) certification. The Siesta Key office is located at 6633 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, Florida 34242. Stamm can be reached at (321) 960-8166 or Michaela.the.realtor@gmail.com. 

[New Hire]  Christopher Alan Homes Hires Chris Lincoln as Corporate Vice President of Purchasing

Chris Lincoln has joined Christopher Alan Homes as the corporate vice president of purchasing. In his role, Lincoln works with purchasing teams across the company to establish best practices and collaborate to create strategic sourcing opportunities for use in all markets. Lincoln has over 30 years of experience working with national homebuilding, development and engineering companies. His areas of expertise include production homebuilding procurement, purchasing strategy, project management and trade practices. Lincoln holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Illinois State University. 

[Real Estate]  Mick Jagger Sells Lakewood Ranch Home

Just three short months after putting their Lakewood Ranch home on the market, rock star Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and his long-term partner Melanie Hamrick, an accomplished author, retired ballerina and choreographer, have sold their home to a local couple. You can’t always get what you want but this house was just what these buyers needed! Located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, the home went to a fantastic local couple that had known of the house before and always appreciated its unique style. “They love the rare privacy that was created by Jagger and Hamrick and are thrilled to be taking over this now famous home,” said listing agent Christine Spelman of RE/MAX Alliance Group. Jagger and Hamrick took this house to another level from the original owner, but these accomplished business professionals will take it even further. They already have their plans in place to put their personal touches on it. Jagger and Hamrick enjoyed Florida and The Lake Club, but with their other homes around the world they found it was getting harder to travel to Florida as Hamrick’s businesses took off. This exceptional house was too great to sit idle. “When showing this property, everyone loved it, but it didn’t have the open floor plan that is commonly requested by Floridian buyers,” said Spelman. “Every private preview brought all positive responses, but it just wasn’t the right fit for them.” As the listing agent is a personal friend of the Hamrick family, so was the buyer’s agent to the buyers, who would like to remain anonymous. Together they were able to produce a smooth and private deal. “It was the perfect buyer at just the right time,” Spelman added. “When their representative first called me, we chatted for 45 minutes about his clients’ needs and I knew they would be the perfect owners of this singular home and I couldn’t wait to meet them.” The rest is now history. Jagger and Hamrick purchased the home for $1.98 million in 2020 and after making extensive privacy and decorative improvements to the property, sold it for $3.25 million. Located in The Lake Club gated community at 15809 Clearlake Avenue, the 5,726-square-foot home is bordered by water on two sides and includes four bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a saltwater pool, three balconies and a bell tower. Jagger and Hamrick, who have been together since 2014, have a 6-year-old son, Deveraux. Christine Spelman can be reached at (941) 713-3501 or SpelmanSellsFlorida@gmail.com. She represents RE/MAX Alliance Group from the University Park office at 8037 Cooper Creek, Sarasota.  

[Hospital News]  Augmented Reality Technology Gives SMH Spinal Surgeons X-Ray Vision

What if your surgeon had x-ray vision? It’s long been the dream for surgeons and now it’s a reality at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, thanks to the new xvision-spine augmented reality surgical navigation system. Created by Augmedics, the xvision system allows orthopedic surgeons to “see” through skin, muscle and even scar tissue—straight to the bone—as they perform delicate operations to correct spinal injury or deformity. “When you’re wearing those goggles, it’s as if you have x-ray vision,” said Dr. Ngoc Nguyen, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in complex spine surgeries at SMH. Designed as wearable technology that the surgeon can use while moving freely in the operating room, the xvision system is an easy-to-wear headset with a built-in high-speed processor and a transparent augmented reality display that the surgeon looks through while operating. With a CT scan providing the necessary anatomic data, the xvision headgear can project a fully detailed 3D model of the patient’s spinal structure onto the surgeon’s retina in real time. And using carefully pre-positioned markers on the patient’s spine, the xvision’s built-in tracking system ensures the 3D model perfectly aligns with the patient’s real anatomy. So when the surgeon looks down at the patient in front of them, it’s as if they are looking through tissue directly to bone, and from every angle, without the encumbrance of wires or bulky machinery. “This 3D-projected image of the vertebra shows you in real time what the anatomy is and takes any uncertainty out of the procedure,” Dr. Nguyen said. “You know exactly where you’re placing every screw. Before xvision, spine surgeons had to use a series of two-dimensional x-ray images to get an idea of what a patient’s spine looked like as they lay on the operating table. It could be a time-consuming procedure to ensure proper placement. Not so with the xvision headset. “This technology gives you a live 3D image,” Dr. Nguyen said. “You know exactly the angle that you need and you see it going in.” For complex spine surgeries, where surgeons have to place screws into the vertebra with pinpoint precision, the technology is a tremendous leap forward, he said. “The benefits to the patient are huge,” Dr. Nguyen said. “This technology allows for, potentially, 100% accuracy, so I know I’m putting the screws in the right place and I can do it very quickly.” 

[35 Under 35]  Nominate a Young Professional Today!

The 3rd Annual SRQ Magazine 35 Under 35 Competition recognizes and honors young professionals, innovators, scientists, creatives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists who have distinguished themselves with their leadership in the field. From pitching the next big idea to developing their bandwidth, young professionals are thriving in our region and leading the way for the next generation. Could you or someone you know be one of our 2023 Class of 35 Under 35 Honorees?  

Nominate Here!

[BOSRQ]  Upcoming 2024 Best of SRQ Local Nominations!

STAY TUNED! The 2024 Best of SRQ Local Competition is just around the corner with the nomination period beginning October 11, 2024. 

[SOON]  FOOD: Suncoast Largest Food Truck Festival 4.0 at UTC , November 11, 12-9pm
Featuring over 70 Food Vendors, and coinciding with the Grand Arrival of Santa Parade held at UTC. 140 University Town Center Dr., Sarasota.
[SOON]  GALA: Night of Hope and Healing with the Child Protection Center , November 9, 6 to 9 p.m.

Join us in bringing hope and healing to the fight against child abuse in our community. Night of Hope and Healing will feature a wide selection of tastings from crowd favorite restaurants, fantastic live and silent auctions, and most importantly, you will leave the event knowing that you are bringing change, protection, and hope to the most vulnerable children of our community. Sponsoring this event will expose your business to a compassionate, caring, and loyal community while providing the necessary support to give local children access to life saving services. These partnerships provide hope in raising awareness, hope in bringing comfort and joy, and hope in building a world where kids can just be kids. We look forward to seeing you there. Plantation Golf and Country Club, 500 Rockley Blvd., Venice, https://cpcsarasota.org/events/night-of-hope/.

[SOON]  GALA: Resilient Retreat Farm to Table , November 5, 4 pm

Please join us for the annual Resilient Retreat Farm to Table dining experience on Sunday, November 5, 2023 at 4:00 pm. The funds raised at the event are critical to Resilient Retreat to continue to serve survivors of trauma and first responders and helping professionals. Come immerse yourself among the majestic oaks at 84 acres of conservation land on the retreat. In true farm to table fashion, our local chefs will craft a tasting menu featuring the very best local seasonal foods. Dine under the stars nestled among the beautiful live oaks while experiencing al fresco farm to table dining. Farm to Table proceeds will benefit the Resilient Retreat mission to empower survivors of trauma to thrive through self care and community. Visit https://givebutter.com/farmtotable2023 for more information and to purchase tickets.

[SOON]  FOOD: Taste of New Orleans at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , October 28, 5:30-7:30pm

Taste of New Orleans will take place on Saturday, October 28th at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This event has developed an exceptional reputation, providing guests with hors doeuvres, live entertainment, and an unforgettable bayfront setting. Taste of New Orleans sponsorships are available at a variety of levels. Proceeds support Truly Valued programs, that increase confidence and better decision making skills through changed behaviors of the youth and families that we serve. Visit https://trulyvalued.org/taste-of-new-orleans to purchase tickets.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: 7th Annual Dream Walk , October 14, 8-10am
Family Promise of South Sarasota County is pleased to announce registration, donation information, and walk details for the 7th Annual Dream Walk. This event is a Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser with a charity walk that will be on Saturday, October 14, 2023. Funds raised from Dream Walk support FPSSC comprehensive programs for families with minor children. The event will feature a choice of a short or long walking path, engaging activities at each stop along the way, and culminates with a pancake breakfast. Funds raised will directly support our programs that help local working families achieve lasting housing stability. Venice Presbyterian Church, 825 The Rialto, Venice.
[SOON]  HEALTH: New Balance University 5k , September 30, 7am

Celebrate National Family Health & Fitness Day on Saturday, September 30, at 7am with
New Balance University, located at 315 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota. Whether you run, walk or jog, you’re invited to our free fun run or walk. Fun for the Whole Family! Join us in a whatever you want to make it 5K-ish marked course run or walk. There will be a digital clock, the ability to demo New Balance shoes, bathrooms, water and raffle prizes. Strollers and dogs welcome. Open to all ages & ability levels-runners and walkers. RSVP at stores.newbalance.com/Universitypark.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: SCORE Webinar, Cyber Security 101 for Small Businesses , September 27, 12 to 1 pm

all be washed away in a moment? Come learn the fundamental pieces of cyber security, including why disaster recovery is critical. Using free and inexpensive tools, learn how to begin protecting your dream with some basic best practices including password management, why you should use SSL on your website, and how to protect your business from hazards like ransomware and computer crashes.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Marketing on Main Sarasota Networking Event , September 27, 5:30-8:30pm

Exchange cards, explore and create powerful realationships by getting invovled in MonM. This event is filled with positivity, encouragement, motivation, and is built for those who are looking to make a difference. If you are a small business, just starting out in business, a multi-million dollar conglomerate, a career seeker, a student or just someone trying to be the change they would like to see in Sarasota...then Marketing on Main is a must attend. BOLD, Sarasota, 1680 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: SCORE Webinar, How Artificial Intelligence Can Take Your Social Media to the Next Level , September 20, 12 to 1 pm
Step into the whirlwind love story of AI and Digital Marketing: Love at First Byte. This engaging session spotlights the unexpected couple, Artificial Intelligence and Content Creation, redefining the rules of engagement in the digital marketing arena. We will delve into how AI is crafting compelling content, generating everything from catchy headlines to creative copy, with surprising effectiveness and wit. And, as any love story goes, there are a few complications. We will navigate the complex ethical terrain that comes with this tech-empowered creativity. Perfect for marketers, content creators, or anyone with a thirst for understanding the role of AI in the digital realm. Prepare for a journey full of wit, wonder, and the odd aha moment as we delve into the heart of the role of AI in content creation.
[SOON]  BUSINESS: SCORE Webinar, Procrastination...why you do it and how to avoid it , September 13, 12 to 1 pm
Is time slipping away from you with nothing to show for it? Entrepreneurs wear many hats, and in order to reach our goals, we need to be on top of our game…even when the tasks are not our favorite. Procrastination does not have to get the best of your intentions or results any more. Join us for this webinar where you will learn the 3 reasons why people procrastinate, how to overcome procrastination and the secrets to optimizing your workflow.

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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