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SRQ DAILY Dec 18, 2023

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"The findings of the Transition Report are both enlightening and inspiring. They underscore our district's strengths, such as our dedicated staff and a strong sense of community, while identifying areas where we can grow and improve."

- Terry Connor, Sarasota County Superintendent.

[Education]  Sarasota Superintendent Optimistic After First 100 Days
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota County Superintendent Terry Connor marked his first 100 days in office by releasing a Transition Report on the state of the schools. Meanwhile, the state released annual grades for schools and districts, showing Sarasota County schools maintaining or improving their grades from last year.

The update on the nuts and bolts of the district came while various controversies and personal scandals dominate School Board meetings. But the superintendent’s report stresses the state of schools remains in good shape in the A-rated school district.

“The findings of the Transition Report are both enlightening and inspiring,” Connor said in an announcement. “They underscore our district's strengths, such as our dedicated staff and a strong sense of community, while identifying areas where we can grow and improve. This balance is crucial, as it ensures that our approach to education remains grounded in our successes and ambitious in addressing our challenges.”

The report said commits to a collecting data on progress and assessing the alignment of strategic plan initiatives.

It also has a section devoted to deliverables in the future, which touches on union negotiations that best incentivize great teachers working in the “most fragile schools,” establish better protocols for handling constituent inquiries and disseminating information to the public. The report also makes note in several parts of a desire for students to receive a personalized education approach preparing them for the modern world.

“The Sarasota County School District stands on the cusp of transformative growth, buoyed by the commitment of our educators; the engagement of our parents/families; the enthusiasm of our students; and the invaluable input from our community,” the report’s conclusion reads. “The lessons we have learned are now the seeds of a strategic plan that will blossom into initiatives that will foster academic achievement, real world skill development, and the holistic growth of our students.”

The report came out the same week the state released school grades. Sarasota High School had an incomplete grade. But all other schools in the district maintained or improved on grades from last year.

The lowest graded school in the county remained Suncoast School for Innovative Studies, which had a D, as it did in 2022. But 18 of the districts 25 elementary schools received A grades, up from 10 last year; that includes the newly opened Dreamers Academy. Five of the districts middle schools have A grades, compared to four last year. Three of the six high schools in the county maintained their A grades. 

[Suncoast Science Center]  Get Ready to Rumble
Youth Reporter Griffin Roberts

This past Sunday, as it drizzled outside, it was blossoming with energy inside as 12 teams battled against each other using robots. These 12 elementary school teams along with 16 high school student mentors over six weeks had built, coded, and tested robots. This event called LEGO® RoboRumble took place for the first time at Suncoast Science Center (SSC) where the teams had their robots confront challenges of varying difficulty, dueling for awards and prizes.

The founder of RoboRumble and current SSC Robotics Director April Pan is a long-term enthusiast of teaching kids robotics who was encouraged by SSC Founder Ping Faulhaber to launch this inaugural competition “It’s amazing,” said Pan. “The kids are learning very quickly. This is a program-based project so every time they learn something, they put it into their project. Gradually their projects become bigger and bigger and it's amazing to see.”

In the main room of the SSC, there is a giant table filled with spinning obstacles and balloons, making up the battlefield for the robots. Kids were everywhere conversing with their teams on strategy, redesigning their robots on the spot to fit the challenge. Then sitting in the middle were RoboRumble’s three judges Aaron Laine of RND Automation, Fab Lab supporter Don Burrer, and retired Pine View teacher Roger Siegel. In front of the judge’s table, each current competing team lined up with their robot creation, nervously scanning the elements of the board. “Three, two, one, LEGO!

Bouncing with enthusiasm, ten-year-old Jacek of Team Kirby Clan said, “I loved being every second with my team. and even when I depart from them, I know that this will be the best moment in my whole life.”

The Grand Champion winner for 1st to 3rd grade was the team The Sharks composed of team members nine-year-old Nico from Bay Haven School and seven-year-old Arthur from Lakeview Elementary. The Grand Champion winner for 4th to 5th grade was Team Pizza with homeschooled students eleven-year-old Blake, ten-year-old Grayson and eleven-year-old Jadon. 

Caption, left to right: Youth SRQ DAILY reporter Griffin Roberts, Jacek, Chris and Rowan of Team Kirby Clan; photo by Wes Roberts

For more about the Suncoast Science Center.

[Recognition]  35 Under 35 Celebrated at Aloft Sarasota

On Thursday, December 14th, we celebrated the 3rd annual SRQ Magazine 35 Under 35 Competition, recognizing and honoring young professionals, innovators, scientists, creatives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists who have distinguished themselves with their leadership in the field. The event was held at Aloft Sarasota and sponsored by presenting partner, Fifth Third Bank. Congratulations to this years 35 exceptional individuals on their achievements and for inspiring the next generation of leaders who will soon follow in their footsteps.  

Pictured: Members of Fifth Third Bank team, including honoree Joshua Day at the 35 Under 35 Awards Ceremony. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Recognition]  PGT Innovations Announces Prominent Feature on HGTV’s Rock the Block

 PGT Innovations, Inc. (NYSE: PGTI), a national brand and innovation leader in the fenestration and garage door industries, is pleased to announce that products from its WINDOOR and PGT Custom Windows and Doors brands were used in every home featured on season five of the popular HGTV show Rock the Block. The show was filmed on location during November in Treasure Island, Florida, and is set to premier in March 2024. Hosted by Ty Pennington, the television series features well-known HGTV renovation stars who compete against one another to renovate identical properties and maximize their value. For the first time in the show’s history, four teams that have been on the show in the past and lost, will compete for redemption in the renovation showdown — Bryan and Sarah Baeumler from Battle on the Beach, Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas from Bargain Block, Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis from Unsellable Houses, and Page Turner and Mitch Glew from Fix My Flip. The teams were given just six weeks and a $250,000 budget to transform four waterfront homes, each featuring a pool and boat dock, into luxury residences that feature stunning design and glass products. All four of the coastal homes on season five of Rock the Block feature WINDOOR specialty doors and entry doors, as well as PGT windows, sliding glass doors, French doors and patio doors. Blake Building, a PGT Innovations builder partner, was the general contractor for the homes. Several PGT Innovations products featured inside the four coastal homes on Rock the Block will also be on display at the 2024 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.   

Pictured: L-R, Row 1- Stephanie Cz, PGT; Suzanne Nault, PGT; Ty Pennington, Rock the Block; Brianna Bibb, PGT ; Erik Matson, PGT. Row 2-Denine Harper, PGT; and Noah Copenhaver, PGT in Treasure Island.

[Groundbreaking]  Halfacre Construction Company Celebrates Groundbreaking for Gulfside Hospice

 Halfacre Construction Company, a Lakewood Ranch-based commercial construction company, recently broke ground on Gulfside Hospice, a non-profit organization offering hospice, skilled home health care and palliative care for serious, chronic and late stage illnesses.  Located at 5299 Deer Park Drive in New Port Richey, the $11 million project includes a single-story hospice facility that has 24 private beds, new sitework, parking and landscaping. Clerestory windows will be incorporated to encourage natural lighting, as well as a waterfall feature situated in the lobby. The team celebrated the launch of the project with a commemorative groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, Dec. 8. During the event, attendees heard from Gulfside Hospice’s president and CEO, a chair of the board of directors, the medical director and more. Halfacre team members were also present for the ceremony. The project will launch this month, with an estimated completion of December 2024.  Gulfside Healthcare Services is a non-profit organization that has served for more than 30 years. Its three lines of business include Gulfside Hospice, offering care for patients at end of life, Gulfside Palliative Care, providing treatment options for those with chronic illness, and Gulfside Home Health, helping patients stay independent through skilled nursing and rehab at home.   

Pictured: L-R: Matt Ward, Dean Crowley, Mauren Freire, Ray Bolduc, Richard Borelli, Laura Adcock and Craig Emery.

[Leadership]  Mark Sherwin Joins The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota as General Manager

 The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, a distinguished landmark on Florida's Gulf Coast and the region’s foremost luxury resort, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Sherwin as the property’s General Manager. Sherwin will oversee operations for all facets of the resort, including its award-winning dining venues, exclusive beach club and golf club, and newly renovated spa, ensuring the highest standards of service and hospitality. His strategic vision and innovative approach will further elevate the hotel's reputation as a pinnacle of luxury and sophistication.With an illustrious career spanning over 30 years in the hospitality industry and a proven track record of leadership, Sherwin brings a wealth of experience to his new role, including several years as General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, Va. and as Regional Vice President, Sales & Marketing for The Ritz-Carlton brand in Chevy Chase, Md. Recently, he served as Executive Vice President, Operations for Sonesta International Hotel Corporation, where he was responsible for the success of the brand’s managed portfolio of 266 hotels, including five distinct brands. Sherwin is a graduate from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. He went on to achieve his post graduate studies at Georgia State University’s Robinson School of Business, where he received a Master of Business Administration degree. For more information or reservations, please visit http://www.ritzcarlton.com/sarasota and to download Sherwin’s headshot, please click here. 

[New Homes]  New Model Homes From Cardel Homes Florida Are Now Open at Riverfield in North River Ranch

Cardel Homes Florida has officially opened two model homes at North River Ranch. The homebuilder’s Brighton and Southampton model homes are open for touring in the master-planned community’s Riverfield neighborhood. Cardel Homes Florida will offer four home designs at North River Ranch – the award-winning flagship community of local land developer Neal Land & Neighborhoods. Cardel Homes Florida is building out 40 homes in the gated neighborhood. The homebuilder’s four ready-to-build home designs start in the mid $400s and range from 2,010 to 2,746 square feet: Brighton; three to four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage, Northwood; three to four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage and Southampton and Windsor; four to five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage. Riverfield also currently offers quick move-in and ready-to-build homes from David Weekley Homes, while a selection of Homes by WestBay homes is still available in the Brightwood neighborhood of the amenity-rich community. Wildleaf – featuring winding streets, cul-de-sacs, and water and conservation views – is currently the only neighborhood offering a mix of villas and single-family homes from Neal Communities and single-family homes from Pulte Homes. Pricing in Wildleaf starts in the $340s +. For more information on North River Ranch, please visit www.northriverranch.com.  

[SRQIST]  Two Worlds Colliding
Interviewed by Wes Roberts and Editied by Barbie Heit

TWO WORLDS COLLIDING | Former NASA engineer Evelyn Miralles visits Ringling College of Art + Design, December 2023. 

Read Here!

[December 2023 - Spirit of Giving]  Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties

Join us for the inspiring stories of philanthropic work by our Sarasota and Bradenton Area's nonprofit organizations as we celebrate the season of giving. Explore ways you can make an impact through the programs of 13 of this year's SRQ Giving Champions.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties has been one of the leading youth-serving organizations in the area for over 50 years. Thousands of kids and teens, ages 6 to 18, across Sarasota and DeSoto counties depend on the Boys & Girls Clubs to access critical resources that empower them to achieve their full potential. The organization is dedicated to helping every individual Club member succeed after high school graduation through its slate of award-winning programs that inspire them to excel in school, become leaders, practice healthy habits, and explore career paths. 

To read the full article, click here.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Listening to Women Series , January 18 – February 22, 1pm

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College, OLLI, presents its fifth annual Listening to Women, a six-session series that recognizes women whose brilliance and fortitude have reshaped industries and who are making a difference in our communities. The series takes place on Thursdays at 1 pm, from Jan. 18-Feb. 22, 2024, at Sarasota Art Museum, the Ringling College Museum Campus, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Registration for the complete series is $81 for OLLI Gold Members and $90 for OLLI Silver Members and general admission; register at www.OLLIatRinglingCollege.org.

[SOON]  GALA: 2024 Inspiring Hope Dinner , January 12, 6:30 pm

Sunshine From Darkness, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the funding of local mental health services and programs and mental health research, has announced its 2024 Inspiring Hope Dinner. This annual fundraising event will take place on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive. The keynote speaker will be American comedian, actor, producer and writer Tom Arnold, who will speak about his journey with anxiety and longtime battles with addiction. The evening will feature Faces Behind the Stories, shining a spotlight on the personal, sometimes difficult journeys of four members of our community. The event will also feature the awarding of the 2024 Lee and Bob Peterson Legacy Award to Bunny Skirboll, founder of Compeer, Inc., a lively paddle raise, live music with Quintessence, featuring some very special guest vocalists, including Chris Eisenberg, and dancing. Tickets are $350; proceeds will benefit Sunshine From Darkness blue door services, which will focus on emotional literacy for youth, and youth mental health research. For more about Sunshine From Darkness or to purchase tickets to the Inspiring Hope Dinner, visit sunshinefromdarkness.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College Winter Semester , January 8 – March 1, Various times

Registration is open for the 2024 winter semester at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, OLLI, at Ringling College, which offers noncredit educational opportunities for adults to pursue new interests, expand intellectual horizons, and enrich their lives. The semester, which runs Jan. 8-March 1, 2024, features more than 50 courses, workshops, lectures, and special presentations covering a wide variety of topics, including arts and entertainment, history, music appreciation, health, literature, philosophy, religion, and science. Semester highlights include Searching Dr. Google. What Should I Believe, The History of Psychiatry: Winners and Losers; Voting Behavior and the Electoral Process; Glass: The New Hot Contemporary Art Form; and The Historic First Federal Prosecution of a U.S. President. Classes are offered at the Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College of Art and Design, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; and online via Zoom. To register, or for more information about becoming an OLLI member, visit www.OLLIatRinglingCollege.org or call 941-309-5111.

[SOON]  FOOD: Book Launch Celebration with Award Winning Journalist Carrie Seidman , December 18, 5-6pm

In the tradition of such beloved food writers as Ruth Reichl, Laurie Colwin, and Calvin Trillin, Carrie Seidman, an award-winning newspaper journalist for 45 years, has written A Place at the Table, a collection of essays that explores the intersection between what sustains us physically and how it binds us emotionally. Join us as we celebrate her book's release with a Q and A, reading, and book signing. A Place at the Table will strike chords of remembrance and nostalgia in readers at a time when health and heritage have assumed a high priority and food has become an avenue for creativity, solace, and connection. Bookstore1Sarasota, 17 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-365-7900, sarasotabooks.com.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Product Development Process, Shark Tank Entrepreneurs Share Their Journey , December 19, 1pm

They pitched their products on the hit show Shark Tank and survived to tell you the tale. Join this informative webinar featuring a panel of Shark Tank veterans hosted by invention expert and inventor coach Brian Fried. In this webinar, our panel of experienced entrepreneurs will share their product development process from inception to commercialization, examining pivotal moments, challenges and triumphs that have led them to where they are today. During this engaging and interactive session, learn how to transform your creative concept into a market-ready product or service, the essential steps to bring your idea to life and reach your target audience, strategies for navigating the competitive landscape and scaling your business and how to approach investors/partners and present your business effectively. Live attendees will receive free business resources and a link to this webinar recording. Free, online webinar. score.org/manasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Collaborative Coworking Meetup at UTC , September 1 – December 27, 11am-4pm

Attention all business professionals, join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event at Panera Bread at the UTC Mall every Friday. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. Panera Bread, 215 N. Cattlemen Road, Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Lets Connect at Oscura in Old Manatee , August 31 – December 26, 8:30-10am

Connect with local business owners at every Thursday at Oscura. Lets Connect is a community of collaborative business professionals from the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend, admission is free.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Business Networking and Cowork Session , August 22 – June 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Attention all business professionals. Join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event every Tuesday at Out and About Coffee in downtown Sarasota. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. O and A Coffee Supply, 1316 Main St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Working Conditions at The Ringling , August 26 – March 3, varied times

Explore labor through The Ringlings Working Conditions photography exhibit, running until March 3, 2024. The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed the nature of human labor. That era is defined by a global shift from producing goods by hand to manufacturing by machines and technologies that emphasized efficiency. Working Conditions explores the myriad ways in which photographs have communicated ideas about labor since the nineteenth century through examples from The Ringlings photography permanent collection. For more information, visit ringling.org.

[SOON]  THEATER: Deck the Halls Returns to Florida Studio Theatre , November 25 – December 24, 10am and 12pm

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is excited to bring children and their families the magic of the holiday season with the latest iteration of Deck the Halls. This interactive family-friendly, music-filled show celebrates everything that makes the holidays in Sarasota special. Since Deck the Halls was first produced in 2016, the show has become a holiday tradition for many families on the Suncoast. This year, the festivities return with all-new sketches, all-new songs, and all-new memories ready for the making. Created by Caroline Saldivar and Sarah Durham with additional material by Dellan Short and Jeremy Weinstein, Deck the Halls plays select Saturdays and Sundays with showtimes starting at 10am and 12pm in FST’s Keating Theatre. For more information, visit FloridaStudioTheatre.org.

[SOON]  FOOD: Miracle at Tamiami Tap , November 28 – December 31, Various times

The famed holiday cocktail pop-up bar Miracle is open at Tamiami Tap for the 2023 holiday season. Featuring festive original cocktails, over-the-top decorations, and exciting new mug designs to bring the holiday season to life, the Miracle at Tamiami Tap location will offer a menu of cheerful libations and saturated, floor-to-ceiling holiday decor, ranging from nostalgic to contemporary and everything in between. The themed cocktail menu returns with fan favorites such as the Christmapolitan and Christmas Cricket. New this year is Rudolphs Replacement, The Krampus, and Marshmallows and Unicorns. At the end of this year, Miracle HQ will donate 10 percent of all proceeds from the sale of Santa Pants, Christmas Carol Barrel and Santa Heads signature glassware to the Seva Foundation, a global nonprofit eye care organization that works with local communities around the world. Miracle at Tamiami Tap is located at 711 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, https://tamiamitap.com/.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Community Kwanzaa Celebration , December 7 – January 1, Various times

Kwanzaa is a beautiful celebration that honors African-American heritage and history. In order to celebrate Kwanzaa, the Friends of the Betty Jean Johnson North Sarasota Public Library and the African American Cultural Resource Center will conduct a series of candle-lighting ceremony events that feature family-friendly activities during the seven days of Kwanzaa, which runs from Tuesday, December 26, 2023, through Monday, January 1, 2024. These events are also free and open to the public. bettyjjohnsonfriends.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Crafternoon at The Makery , December 16 – December 23, 12-2pm

Every Saturday this December, The Makery invites parents to indulge in some holiday me-time while their little ones delve into a world of creativity at our Crafternoon Kid Drop-Off sessions. Through Dec 23rd from Noon-2pm, parents can enjoy a guilt-free break as their kids, ages 6 plus embark on a festive journey filled with captivating crafts, including slime and ornament-making, clay fun, DIY delights, and more. Our skilled instructors and local artists will guide the children through these hands-on adventures, fostering imagination and artistic expression. Amidst the jingle bells and cheer, our Crafternoon Kid Drop-Offs at The Makery promise an engaging, safe, and inspiring environment for children to explore their creative sides while parents take a well-deserved moment for themselves. Join us at The Makery this December for Crafternoon Kid Drop-Offs, where creativity knows no bounds. For more information or to reserve a spot, please visit www.themakerysrq.com.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Holiday Music with David Munoz and Emily Baar , December 23, 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Local Honey features guitarist David Munoz with vocals by Emily Baar. The duo serenades our guests with holiday melodies, standard classics, and their original compositions. Tickets are $10.

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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