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SRQ DAILY Jun 10, 2024

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"There are more people needing mental health help than there are therapists to help them with it."

- William Sever, TheraPurrs.

[Workforce]  USF, Steube Announce InfoSec GRC Program in Sarasota
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A cybersecurity certification program for the University of South Florida was announced at the Sarasota campus for the public university. Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook and U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, held an event Friday at the branch campus touting the professional program.

“At USF, we relentlessly pursue innovation,” Holbrook said.

The InfoSec GRC Analyst program will focus on information security governance, risk and compliance. The non-credit program will be offered online and available to the public. Applications can be sent now, and the first lessons will be accessible starting July 8, and students will have 60 days to complete the program once they begin.

Those who take the course will earn a USF certification through its digital micro-credential program. Lessons will be presented in four modules, starting with information security foundations and moving on to ways to implement security measures to protection against online threats and meet industry standards.

Steube secured a $2-million federal grant to develop the remote InfoSec GRC Analyst program. He said that was a worthwhile investment for Congress because it will contribute to better fortification online of government resources against threats. The program, which will be offered free to up to 250 initial students, will give enrollment priority to veterans, first responders and other public employees.

"There are nearly 30,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings in the State of Florida, representing an in-demand field with great job security into the future,” Steube said. 

“It's an honor to be part of connecting military veterans and others who have served our community with this new opportunity. I'm thankful to the USF leadership for their foresight and careful planning to execute this new program.

"As your representative, it’s my duty to ensure we can bring as many of your federal taxpayer dollars back to FL-17 as possible, and this project will certainly make a difference for many Floridians and our workforce in Southwest Florida."

USF President Rhea Law said the program would provide a critical service to the public.

"As cybersecurity threats become more prevalent and sophisticated, the need for professionals who are trained in reducing cyber risks continues to grow,” Law said. “The University of South Florida's expertise and partnerships in the business community make us uniquely positioned to help address this need, and we are proud to offer this innovative certificate program for those who are looking to upskill and advance in their careers.” 

Photo courtesy USF: U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, USF Sarasota-Manatee Chancellor Karen Brook spent at a Friday press conference.

[SRQ Talk]  Pawsitive Mental Health With TheraPurrs
Eliana Burns, Eliana@srqme.com

Meet a family of five talking cat-therapists—these 10-inch plush cats each have their own unique “purr-sonalities” to help adults prioritize mental health. TheraPurrs, the name of the company, was started by Apollo Beach residents William and Angelique Sever to provide specialized therapy for mental health practitioners. Specializing in comforting phrases such as, “I am here to help you,” TheraCat is designed to create a therapist-like dialogue with their owner. Another member of the TheraPurrs family Posicat is a tuxedo cat programmed with over 90 positive affirmations like “I am surrounded by love,” and “Good things are going to come to me.”

The couple developed the TheraPurrs concept during the Covid-19 pandemic after noticing the necessity for nurses and other frontline workers to have an emotional outlet. “There are more people needing mental health help than there are therapists to help them with it,” says William Sever, who was working as a Chief Marketing Officer at BenefitHub in Tampa at the time.  “Looking at the data, it had been getting worse and through Covid, the need for mental health help escalated even further.”

The Severs also noticed a trend of posts on popular mental health meme pages, often seeing funny posts that included cats and wine. Joking around one night, the pair came up with the idea of a talking cat when they suddenly had an epiphany. As a mental health specialist, Angelique Sever had been working in the children’s crisis unit at Gracepoint Wellness in Tampa for over three years. Her unit’s focus was on children that had been Baker Acted, or temporarily placed under involuntary detention in order to administer emergency mental health services. Under HIPAA regulation, Angelique is unable to divulge to her loved ones about the difficult situations she faces at work. However, she would be able to speak to a talking cat.

After developing the product, the couple decided to give their furry friends to professionals employed in mental health clinics and schools. In a TikTok posted to the account miss.gellar, a kindergarten teacher reveals how she utilizes PosiCat for her class’s morning affirmations, recommending TheraPurrs to students, parents and educators. Miss Gellar reached out to the Severs to detail how an emotional child used PosiCat to calm down, regulating his big emotions with the affirming animal. “He went to the cat right away and has been listening to it,” Gellar wrote. “He stopped crying without me coming to him and he’s just sitting there, listening.”

TheraPurrs are available for purchase on their website, and customer’s have the choice between English and Spanish speaking felines for the price of $50. You can also find a collection of paw-some shirts and other merchandise.

“It’s uplifting to see the reaction,” says William Sever. “We’re just trying to bring a little smile to people receiving emotional support. Everybody needs more of that.”

455 N US Highway 41 #2206, Ruskin, FL 33575, 1-813-443-9847. 

To learn more, visit.

[Real Estate]  Coldwell Banker Realty Luxury Listing With Rooftop Putting Green Sells for Record $12.5 Million in Lido Shores Area of Sarasota

The Coldwell Banker Realty luxury listing at 1325 Westway Drive in Sarasota, closed on June 7, 2024, for $12.5 million, a record price for the Lido Shores area and the third highest price ever sold in the 34236 zip code. It was an all-cash deal. Co-listed by Roger Pettingell and Nicholle DiPinto McKiernan with Coldwell Banker Realty, the property features an approximately 5,400 sq. ft., three-bedroom main house and a two-bedroom guest house. An enclosed courtyard is situated between the two homes with a 60’ heated lap pool. The property is on nearly a half-acre and offers approximately 75’ water frontage on New Pass, the waterway connecting Sarasota Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The home was built in 2011 by the sellers, David and Linda Hargreaves, and features a 4-car garage, boat dock with two boat lifts, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, gourmet kitchen, summer kitchen and rooftop putting green with unobstructed Gulf of Mexico views. David Hargreaves was a long-time executive for Hasbro, before retiring. Pettingell was recently included on the 2024 RealTrends The Thousand list, published in The Wall Street Journal May 31, 2024, for ranking among the Top 250 individual real estate agents in the United States. He also hosts a vlog, REALTALK™ with Roger Pettingell. According to Nicholle DiPinto McKiernan, who is partner of the DiPinto Group at Coldwell Banker Realty, the landmark sale propels her team's volume to north of $100 million in sales in the last 18 months.  

Photo/video credit: The Hover Bureau.

[Open House]  Sarasota County Fire Department to Host Fire Station Open Houses

The Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD) invites our community to a series of open houses at various fire stations throughout Sarasota County to educate and connect with our community through a series of engaging events. The free, family-friendly open houses will be held one Saturday a month from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., offering visitors the chance to meet their firefighters, see fire apparatus, learn about fire safety and prevention, hands-only CPR, how to use an AED, and more. Car seat safety inspections and bike helmet fittings will also be available. The schedule for open houses is as follows: Saturday, June 22 at Station 4, 3530 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota, Saturday, July 20 at Station 12, 3110 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, Saturday, Aug. 24 at Station 21, 721 Center Road, Venice, Saturday, Sept. 21 at Station 9. 6750 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, Saturday, Oct. 12 at Station 15, 9102 Bloomfield Blvd., Sarasota, Saturday, Nov. 16 at Station 22, 4531 Englewood Road, Venice, Saturday, Dec. 21 at Station 17, 5431 Desoto Road, Sarasota. SCFD is proud to open its doors to our community, bringing the tradition of open houses into our neighborhoods. These events are a great opportunity for residents to engage directly with their neighborhood firefighters. “We love serving and getting to know our community. Bringing the open houses directly into the neighborhoods allows us to better connect with our neighbors and educate families on fire safety and life-saving skills like hands-only CPR,” said Sarasota County Fire Chief David Rathbun. “These learning opportunities and donating blood are all ways for the fire department and our neighbors to work together to make Sarasota County a safer place to live.” For more information on SCFD and the list of open house dates, visit scgov.net/fire.


[Recreation]  Turtle Beach Campground Honored as Small Park of the Year

 Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources is proud to announce that Turtle Beach Campground has been recognized as the Small Park of the Year by the Florida and Alabama RV Park and Campground Association. This prestigious award celebrates the campground’s exceptional achievements in outdoor hospitality, accommodations and service. Located on the picturesque Siesta Key, Turtle Beach Campground is Sarasota County’s premier beachfront campground. Guests can have a unique experience of camping right next to the Gulf of Mexico with direct beach access. Guests can enjoy the amenities including a playground, paddle sport rentals and fishing piers at Turtle Beach Park. Additionally, the Breeze 77 Siesta Islander provides easy access to Siesta Village’s restaurants, shops and nightlife. Since its establishment as a Gulf Beach Campground in 1921, and its acquisition by Sarasota County in 2006, Turtle Beach Campground has consistently provided exceptional service. The dedicated staff continually receive top marks on customer surveys, contributing to an impressive year-round occupancy rate of over 95%. Campers are surveyed monthly about their experiences at the campground, and staff act upon reasonable recommendations. Survey results consistently average 4.8 - 4.9 out of 5. Turtle Beach Campground has had recent improvements including a WIFI upgrade, relocation of the camp host site and a $50,000 restroom renovation, enhancing comfort for campers. "We are thrilled and honored to receive this recognition," said Nicole Rissler, Director of Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. "Our team's commitment to excellence and our beautiful location make Turtle Beach Campground a truly special place for visitors." For more information about Turtle Beach Campground and to make reservations, please visit SarasotaCountyParks.com or call 311. 

[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]  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: Sarasota County Connect Business Networking and Panel Discussion , May 9 – July 11, 5:30-8pm

Offered in conjunction with 26 West, the State College of Florida Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation, the monthly Sarasota County Connect Business Networking and Panel Discussion series held through July is for those interested in entrepreneurialism. The program taps into the fast-growing small business climate. Upcoming sessions include: the May 9 workshop with Zeev Wexler, a digital industry leader, marketing automation disrupter and the CEO of a growing marketing firm, who will present on brand-boosting with AI, the June 13 session which features Problem-Solving for Entrepreneurs by Stephen Diasio, a podcaster and professor of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of South Florida, and July 11 Business IDEA Lab, community forum moderated by Chris Williams, managing director of a Sarasota digital marketing firm, offers an opportunity for participants to share business ideas and gain expert feedback. Sarasota County Connect events run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and are free with advanced registration required at 26west.scf.edu/sarasotaconnect.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Divorce Support Group , May 1 – January 6, Every Wednesday from 5-6:30pm

The Womens Resource Center presents a Divorce Support Group facilitated by Paula Falk, BS. This in-person, free program happens every Wednesday, 5-6:30 p.m., starting May 1, at the Womens Resource Center Sarasota, 340 S Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. Participants can attend one or all of the sessions. To register, visit www.mywrc.org/divorcesupportgroup. For more information, call 941-366-1700.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Byzantine Style Icons , April 7 – June 28, Gallery hours: Mon-Thurs. 9-1, and Sundays 11:30-12:30. June will have no Sunday hours.

All Angels Church is delighted to offer an exhibition of Byzantine-style icons by noted iconographer Christine Simoneau Hales. Since the beginning of Christianity, icons have been revered as aids to prayer and contemplation. They are visual reminders of the Saints and Gospel stories that have inspired all Christians throughout the ages. Ms. Hales has studied for many years and now teaches and produces icons for churches and private collectors. She is sought after for her modern, yet traditional icons for churches all over the world. She has won several grants and awards for her painting and is now a local Sarasota iconographer. She will share the icons she has crafted in the ancient Byzantine Tradition using egg tempera paints and gold leaf gilding on wood panels. There will be over twenty original icons on display, and all icons will be available for purchase by contacting the artist/iconographer. To learn more, visit allangelslbk.org/.

[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]  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]  FOOD: Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch , September 3 – September 30, 10am-2pm

Experience some of the best food and flavors of the region with more than 100, and still growing, curated vendors. The Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch has fast become a favorite weekly tradition for people from all over the region seeking farm-fresh produce, delicious prepared foods, and specialty items and gifts. Aside from all the goodies you can shop at the Farmers Market, find your flow in a free yoga class or have the kiddos get creative during weekly-hosted workshops. 1561 Lakefront Dr., Lakewood Ranch.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Awaken Outreach , May 30 – September 1, 9:00am

Awaken Outreach in North Port/Venice has a drive through food pantry every Friday from 9:00am-12:00opm. Food is supplied by All Faiths Food Bank. Food pantry for walk in clients is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9:00am - 1:00pm and Wednesday from 3:00pm - 7:00pm. The first Saturday of every month from 9:00 am- 1:00pm clients may get a hot meal, haircut, and shower, clothing and household items.

Awaken Outreach , 4940 Pan American Blvd. in North Port

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Free Second Sundays , March 10 – December 8, 11am-5pm
Enjoy a day of art and family fun at Sarasota Art Museum. On the second Sunday of each month, we offer free admission for visitors, special performances, and art-making activities for the whole family. To learn more, visit sarasotaartmuseum.org.
[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Magic, Myths, and Mysteries , July 1 – July 3, 8:30

There are many things to explore and discover at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature Summer Camp. Learn, explore, craft, play, snack, and have fun every day! Camp Times are 9am-3:30pm Monday through Friday with 8:30-9am Drop off & Pick up 3:30-4pm. $250 members/$300 non-members per week. Summer Science Camp is for campers in Grades 2-5, Ages 7-11 (starting second grade/Leaving fifth grade). Real or Magic? Truth or Myth? Who done it? Those are the questions we will be asking in this new and exciting mini-week.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. West Bradenton

[SOON]  FILM: On the Waterfront at Sarasota Opera , July 5, 7:30pm

From May 10th- October 18th, Sarasota Opera House will be showing classic movies as timeless as the theater itself. Our Classic Movies at the Opera House series begins on Friday, May 10. HD at the Opera House series begins on June 9. Tickets on sale now! One of the greatest films ever made, receiving twelve Academy Award nominations and winning eight. The film focuses on union violence and corruption among longshoremen on the waterfront of New Jersey. The musical score was composed by Leonard Bernstein. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint. Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

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

[SOON]  FOOD: Siesta Key Rum Distillery Tours , September 2 – September 30, Various times

Siesta Key Rum runs free year-round tours for guests to learn the story of the craft distillery, the awards they have won and the secret to how they make their rums taste so good. During our 30-45 minute tour we will discuss the following topics: history of Siesta Key Rum, an overview of the awards our small company has won, what makes our rums taste so good, the rum-making process from mashing and fermentation to distillation, barrel aging and bottling of our rums. After the tour, we welcome you to sample a freshly made Siesta Key Rum cocktail, stock up on your favorite rums and browse our gift shop. 2212 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota.

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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