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SRQ DAILY Feb 19, 2024

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"Looking ahead, we anticipate a consistent growth trajectory, especially with the upcoming surge in spring break travel."

- Rick Piccolo, SRQ Airport

[Flight]  Airport Marks Continued Growth in January
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport continues to see record-breaking traffic increases. In January, the Sarasota airport saw a 5% jump in passenger flights from the prior year. That contributed to a nearly 11% increase in total traffic over a 12-month period.

“SRQ is pleased to begin 2024 with yet another month of record-breaking achievements, as we experienced a 5% increase in total passengers over January 2023,” said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of SRQ Airport. “Looking ahead, we anticipate a consistent growth trajectory, especially with the upcoming surge in spring break travel.”

The airport saw 395,993 total passenger flights over the course of January. By comparison, a total of 377,617 boarded or landed in Sarasota in January last year. In total, more than 4.34 million.

The growth from this January to a year prior shows a continued growth trend at the airport, though at a slower rate than the year before that. In January 2022, the airport saw 301,189 passenger flights. That’s means the air travel last month marked than a 30% increase in monthly traffic from the same month two years ago.

And the airport continues to add routes. Already this month, Allegiant announced nonstop service starting June 12 to Plattsburgh International Airport in New York, adding a 28th nonstop destination for SRQ. Piccolo noted that also provides a valuable connecting destination for many Canadian travelers.

The airline said the Sarasota market fit into its out strategy of growing presence outside large airports.

"Allegiant's unique business model, connecting small-to-medium sized cities to vacation destinations, creates accessible travel options not otherwise available in what we believe are underserved markets,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant chief revenue officer. “We know travelers enjoy the convenience of nonstop flights departing from their neighborhood airport."

SRQ airport has seen a massive increase in traffic since 2020, prompting a major expansion, including a $100-million terminal expansion adding five gates. 

Photo courtesy Allegiant.

[Construction]  Important Campus Upgrade Completed as 58th Street Connector Opens

 The 58th St. Connector, a road extension that has been part of the New College Campus Master Plan for nearly a decade, opened earlier this week. The connector extends 58th street to intersect with College Drive, creating an additional entrance and egress point for vehicles to reach College Hall and Cook Hall. “The completion of the 58th St. Connector is yet another tangible improvement to our campus over the last year,“ said Richard Corcoran, President of New College. “The upgrades that have been completed, are currently underway, and are in the pipeline for the years ahead will provide our students, faculty and staff with a campus befitting of America’s best liberal arts college.” Extending 58th St. between Bay Shore Road and College Drive improves both convenience and safety. The improved traffic circulation will reduce the traffic at the Dort Promenade pedestrian crossing and allows for faster response times for emergency vehicles to reach some parts of the campus. The project was approved by the New College Board of Trustees just over six months ago at its August 10 meeting. Funding for the project came from New College’s 2023 appropriations from the Florida Legislature. 

[Voting]  Voter Registration Deadline for the March 19 Presidential Preference Primary Quickly Approaching

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is reminding county residents that the deadline to register to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) is Tuesday, February 20—just one week away. Only registered Republican voters may vote in the March 19 PPP.  Turner noted that the February 20 voter registration deadline is also the last day to change political party affiliation for the PPP. “It’s important to remember that since the state Democratic Party already selected its candidate for the party’s nomination for president, only the Republican Party will hold a statewide presidential primary,” Turner said. “To vote in it, you must be a registered Republican by the voter registration deadline on February 20.”  An individual may register to vote, or a registered voter may change his/her party affiliation: Online at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov; In person at any of three elections offices in Sarasota, Venice or North Port; By mail (application and mailing address available by visiting SarasotaVotes.gov). Existing Sarasota County voters can go to SarasotaVotes.gov and click on the My Voter Status tool to review their voter information. For more information or assistance, call the elections office at 941.861.8619 or visit SarasotaVotes.gov. 

[Law Enforcement]  School Zone Speed Cameras Coming to Manatee County

The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has approved the installation of School Zone Speed Cameras throughout the county. The vote was unanimous to move forward with installation and monitoring of the speed zones. A 6-1 majority approved an agreement with the vendor, RedSpeed, to furnish, install and maintain the speed detection system, comply with FDOT placement and installation specifications and assist Manatee County Public Safety in the public announcement and awareness campaign. The lone dissenting vote came from At-Large Commissioner George Kruse. The move comes after the Florida Legislature passed Florida House Bill 657 last April which authorizes counties to enforce speed limits in school zones using speed detection systems. Drivers traveling more than 10 miles per hour over the posted school zone speed limit during designated hours would receive a $100 ticket in the mail. The speed camera zones would be active only at times when kids are heading to and from school. For up-to-date information about Manatee County Government, visit mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ManateeGov. 

[Hospital News]  Manatee Memorial Hospital's Watchman Program Reaches Landmark 1,500 Procedures

Manatee Memorial Hospital (MMH) has reached another milestone in structural heart procedures. According to Boston Scientific Corporation, Manatee Memorial ranks 8th in the country for total Watchman implants since 2015, out of more than 650 major medical centers in the United States. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, currently affecting up to seven million Americans.1  People with AF may be at greater risk for stroke than those with normal heart rhythms. The WATCHMAN FLX implant closes off an area of the heart called the left atrial appendage (LAA) to keep harmful blood clots that can form in the LAA from entering the blood stream and potentially causing a stroke. By closing off the LAA, the risk of stroke may be reduced and, over time, patients may be able to stop taking blood thinners. Watchman implanters are highly experienced and complete a detailed training program specific to the Watchman Implant. Leading the program is Medical Director Dr. Daniel Friedman, who has implanted more than half of all the implants at MMH since its inception. Dr. Jared Collins and Dr. Joseph Pace are also leading implanters who are approaching three hundred implants each. “I am thrilled to announce the success of our structural heart program at Manatee Memorial. This program has been providing innovative treatments, such as the Watchman device, to our patients for years. We are proud to serve Manatee County and its neighbors with high-quality care. Our team of experts is committed to improving and saving lives every day with mutual focus on excellence, innovation and compassion.” Tom McDougal, CEO of Manatee Memorial Hospital. On Tuesday February 20th and Saturday February 24th, the public is welcome to learn more about the Watchman implant when Dr. Friedman presents, “Atrial Fibrillation: No longer a lifetime of blood thinners.” Both presentations will be held at MMH’s main auditorium. RSVP to 941-708-8064. 

[Park]  Veteran's Memorial Park Planned for Manatee County

The Manatee Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has approved funding for the initial plans and design work to establish a Memorial Park to salute Veterans on a 24-acre piece of County-owned property at 5431 Buckeye Road in Palmetto. Plans call for permanent memorials paying respect to participants in every American-involved armed conflict, from the American Revolution through the Iraq War. Each branch of the armed services will be honored, as well as hometown heroes, women Veterans and the Manatee County Veteran of the Year. The proposed park would be built adjacent to a future school site along the south side of Buckeye Road. The south side of the park would be bordered by the Artisan Lakes subdivision. “This is going to be a park like no other,” said Manatee County At-Large Commissioner Jason Bearden, who made the initial motion to pursue further planning and design for the park. “Those that took the ultimate sacrifice deserve our best, and that’s what we’re doing here.” Initial designs have drawn inspiration from the Veteran Memorial Park and Museum off US 301 and the Tampa Bypass Canal in Hillsborough County, which includes 14 war memorials to past military engagements, such as the Vietnam War and World Wars I and II. The park also features walking trails, picnic pavilions and a Veterans’ resource center. The vote to move forward on the design and initial construction of the park was unanimous. Staff also has been instructed to seek out alternative funding sources, such as grants and other fundraising to help pay for the initiative. For up-to-date information about Manatee County Government, visit mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ManateeGov. 

[Recognition]  Sheriff Hoffman Holds Promotion Ceremony

Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman is proud to announce the promotion of five sheriff’s office members in a ceremony held on February 13, 2024.Emergency Operations Supervisor Victoria Rake was hired by the sheriff’s office in March of 2019 as a communications operator. Sergeant Sarah Sanchez was hired by the agency’s Victims Assistance Unit in 2015 after volunteering for them a year earlier. Corrections Lieutenant Jessica Evanish was hired by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in 2014 as a mail clerk in the courts and corrections division. Lieutenant Chris Schale was hired by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in November 2011. Captain Jeff Lane was hired by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in June 1990. 

[Education]  Lawsuit Claiming Infringement of Academic Freedom at New College Ends in Dismissal

The lawsuit filed by NCF Freedom, Inc., claiming that academic freedom had been violated at New College of Florida by SB266, has been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs. The lawsuit was dismissed six months after it was initially filed. A motion by NCF Freedom seeking a temporary injunction in the case was denied in early November. "We are crossing the Rubicon," said New College President Richard Corcoran. "New College of Florida is making significant progress toward becoming the top liberal arts college in the nation. It is time to put this lawsuit behind us and come together to realize the immense potential of New College as a thriving educational institution." During the course of the lawsuit, several notable achievements have highlighted New College's readiness for growth and the preservation of academic freedom. The Fall 2023 semester saw a record number of first-time-in-college students and transfers enroll. New College has also made significant faculty hires, adding highly-accomplished experts in numerous fields from across the country. The campus has already begun significant improvements, and New College is actively updating its Campus Master Plan to accommodate further enrollment growth, enhance academic offerings, and improve the overall student experience. Additionally, New College has successfully carried out key initiatives such as the Reimagining Pei Competition and the Caples Mansion Historic Tours, which celebrate its rich historical roots. 

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Inspire Your Marketing with AI Generated Content , February 21, 12-1pm

This webinar is for anyone curious about artificial intelligence content generation and how it works and who wants to learn how AI can save time and make marketing efforts more effective. In this session, you will discover how to incorporate AI into your marketing and recommendations to ensure your messages are compelling to your audience. Uncover what AI is and how it works, how to use AI in marketing to save time and inspire your messages and tips for using AI-generated content. Free, online webinar. score.org/manasota.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Wild About Nature Festival , April 6, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Join us for a day of fun and outdoor adventure at the Wild About Nature Festival on Saturday, April 6, 2024 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Reconnect with the great outdoors and help foster a love of nature in the next generation as you spend a day in the sun on the beautiful shores of Little Sarasota Bay at Bay Preserve. Families of all ages are encouraged to take part in this fun-filled day of nature-based education and exploration. The wide variety of activities includes dip-netting, face painting, hula-hoop lessons, crafts, games, and more. There will be live music and food trucks making this a guaranteed good time. This is a FREE family festival open to all. Registration is not required. The event will take place at our Bay Preserve headquarters located at 400 Palmetto Ave. in Osprey. For more information, visit conservationfoundation.com.
[SOON]  GALA: Third Annual Polo for Parkinsons , March 24, 11am
The third annual Polo for Parkinsons fundraiser will be held at the Sarasota Polo grounds on Sunday, March 24, 2024. This annual fundraising event presented by Parkinson Place raises awareness for Parkinson Place Center, where community members with Parkinsons disease and other movement disorders, as well as their caregivers, can come together for support and participate in over 85 classes and activities. Companies, organizations and individuals have the opportunity to participate in this Luau-themed event. Sponsorships range from $10,000 to $1,000 with individual tickets priced at $100 per person. Parkinson Place Center will welcome you to the Polo Pavilion on Sunday, March 24, 2024 at 11am. Lunch will be catered at Noon with the Polo match starting at 1pm. For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities please call Suzanne Hudson-Smith, CFRE at 941-210-6275 or shudsonsmith@parkinsonplace.org.
[SOON]  THEATER: The White Chip , March 20 – April 12, Various times

The 2024 Stage III Series lineup at Florida Studio Theatre features three daring plays penned by award-winning playwrights. The third play in the series, White Chip, follows the character Steven. Steven is on top of the world: he is married, has good friends, and is steps away from his dream job running one of the hottest theatres in the country. He also happens to be an alcoholic spinning out of control. Follow his life from first sip to first love, critical hit to critical care, all the way to rock bottom, where he carves an unusual path to sobriety. Part of The Recovery Project, The White Chip is a wry and wild theatrical journey to recovery. Learn more and purchase tickets at FloridaStudioTheatre.org.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Dawn of Civilization with David Miano , March 17 – April 21, 2-3:30pm
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new line of live online courses featuring the expertise of Dr. David Miano. In this six-part series, we will study the emergence of the first complex societies in the ancient Near East, beginning with the earliest settlements in the Epipaleolithic period and finishing with the development of the first empire in the mid-third millennium BCE. We will pay special attention to how societies grew across the expanse of time, from small hunter-gatherer villages to large consolidated states, taking a close look at the invention of agriculture, the wheel, bronze metallurgy, writing, literature, and the development of religion and government. To do this, we will rely on material remains, primary source documents, and art, which illuminate the unique features of ancient Near Eastern societies. Enroll now to take advantage of this exclusive opportunity to learn from one of the best, live on Zoom. To enroll and learn more, visit mianoacademy.org.
[SOON]  SPORTS: Wellen Park Half Marathon and 5K , March 16, 7:45am

Wellen Park invites the community to participate in its second annual Half Marathon and 5K, presented by Hotwire Communications, Saturday, March 16, 2024. The 13.1-mile course is certified by USA Track and Field. Both races start and finish at Solis Hall in Downtown Wellen, with an awards ceremony to recognize male and female winners in the following categories: overall, masters, grand masters, senior grandmasters, veterans grandmasters and top three finishers in each age group. Runners and attendees are encouraged to dress up and celebrate St. Patricks Day with festive green gear. Attendees will also enjoy live music from Solis Hall’s outdoor stage, beverages and food from different Downtown Wellen restaurants and The Yard eateries. The half marathon is open to runners 15 and older and starts at 7:30 a.m. The 5K run starts at 7:45 a.m. and is open to runners and walkers of all ages, with strollers and leashed dogs permitted. The half marathon and the 5K have also been cleared for disabled runners. The course is flat, paved and will be well-marked. Entry fees are $85 for the half marathon and $35 for the 5K, spots are limited. Registration for the half marathon and 5K closes March 15 at 5 p.m. Registration and event details, such as race packet pick-up, are available at runsignup.com/Race/FL/Venice/WellenParkHalfMarathonand5K.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Tropical Muse Makers Mart , March 9, 3-5pm
The team at Pansy Bayou is thrilled to invite you to a very special pop-up event we are hosting Saturday, March 9th from 3-5pm. For our first-ever Tropical Muse Makers Mart, we have teamed up with the innovative womens surf gear maker Vital Surf Gear to host a sip and shop party. Five percent of the profits from this special event will go to the Suncoast Water Keeper to support their essential mission to protect swimmable, drinkable and fishable water for the Suncoast. In addition to the Vital Surf Gear offerings like wetsuit bottoms, beachy haircare products and more, we will have some special new vendors for this shopping event as well as fresh takes on some beloved favorites. From our new range of gorgeous quick-drying Turkish towels from Fouta Harissa and throws to vibrant new patterns of our popular Wolfum games and trays, roll up to Pansy Bayou in historic Burns Court, say hello to the makers and team at Pansy Bayou while enjoying light refreshments and fabulous shopping. Learn more at pansybayou.com.
[SOON]  SPORTS: Oyster Boys Fundraiser with the Baltimore Orioles , March 4, 1:05pm
Support the Oyster Boys and enjoy a spring training game with the Baltimore Orioles on March 4. $5 of every purchase made through the following link goes directly towards the Oyster Boys Conservation. https://fevo-enterprise.com/event/Oysterboys20240212-14581004
[SOON]  BUSINESS: Using Mergent Intellect to Find New Customers , February 28, 12-1pm
This webinar is perfect for anyone looking to identify who your prospective customers are and create targeted B2B and B2C prospective customer lists. Discover the power of Mergent Intellect, which contains detailed company profiles, industry overviews, and forecasts powered by Dun and Bradstreet, custom market research, residential contact information and consumer data powered by Claritas/Nielsen. Learn how to filter and export lists at will based on company criteria like location, size, revenue, and industry NACIS/SIC codes, to target your B2B potential clients, or based on demographics to target your B2C prospective customers. Once you have the lists, you can use traditional or digital marketing channels to nurture and sell to them. We will also give a brief overview of other business resources available from Manatee Libraries, free to access with your library card. Free, online webinar. score.org/manasota.
[SOON]  SEMINAR: You Are Worthy Life Enrichment Workshop , February 15 – April 11, 6-8pm
The Womens Resource Center presents You Are Worthy, an eight-week series moderated by Chris Florand and Denise Whalin. This in-person series is part of the Womens Resource Center’s life enrichment programs and helps participants improve self-confidence, boundary-setting, and negotiation skills. No program the week of March 14. The program is $25 for all sessions and takes place at WRCs Sarasota office at 340 S. Tuttle Ave. To register, please call 941-256-9721 or visit mywrc.org/youareworthy.
[SOON]  SEMINAR: Downtown Sarasota, Hindsight, Insight and Foresight , January 24 – February 28, 6-7:30pm
Downtown Sarasota: Hindsight, Insight and Foresight is a four-part speaker series conceived to spark an informed and constructive community-wide discussion about the future of our downtown. The six-week series will take place at Art Ovation Hotel and explore the evolution of downtown Sarasota over the last two decades with a group of four distinguished speakers, Andres Duany, David Houle, Mitchell Silver, and Victor Dover. Speakers will address vital topics including the current downtown master plan and how it was shaped two decades ago, how downtown has developed since then, the macro-level forces affecting the city, effective current downtown planning practices, and insights drawn from successful urban planning in other locales. Lectures will be held on Jan. 24, Jan. 31, Feb. 14 and Feb. 28. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit architecturesarasota.org.
[SOON]  SEMINAR: Global Issues , January 9 – March 29, Various times
2024 marks the 53rd anniversary of Sarasota Institute of the Lifetime Learning Global Issues series. This hard-hitting series, which runs January 9-March 29, features 24 internationally renowned experts discussing a vast range of domestic and global issues. The lectures are presented on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Sarasota; Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m. at the Venice Community Center in Venice; and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the Cornerstone Church in Lakewood Ranch. Lectures will also be available for purchase on video. https://sillsarasota.org/index.htm.
[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.

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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