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  • 16 Nov 2020 8:48 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Plans for a new Mote Science Education Aquarium took a significant leap forward with a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at Nathan Benderson Park. The facility, which expects to attract 700,000 visitors through its doors each year should serve both as a major tourism attraction and an asset to education in the region.

    “It also opens the door for growth and development for our international worldwide marine science, as well as our innovative educational programs at our other campuses,” said Dr. Sam Seider, chairman for Mote Marine Aquarium’s board of directors.

    The new aquarium will include three state-of-the-art STEM teaching labs, Mote officials said, which will be offered up for free use to the school districts in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

    Mote officials have stressed the opening of an aquarium near Interstate-75 won’t bring the closure of facilities in the city or other locations in the state, but rather will allow more research at existing structures. “Mote has operated significant facilities on our campuses, including some of the most iconic areas in Florida,” said Dr. Michael Crosby, president and CEO. “Charlotte Harbour, Siesta Key, City Island, the Florida Keys, and now right here at Nathan Benderson Park.”

    Crosby imagine Mote SEA serving as an ideal gateway to the entire Sarasota-Manatee region, one easily accessible to 3 million residents within an hour drive of an attraction at the county line between the communities.

    Elected officials also stressed the value of Mote to the area ecology and economy.

    “When we’ve had problems in estuaries, when snook died in Charlotte Harbor estuary, Mote was there to help,” said U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. “When we had the BP oil spill, Mote was there. When we need research for red tide, Mote’s there. When we need research for all the different things that we’re trying to do to make water quality in the State of Florida along the coastline the best water quality in the nation, Mote is there.”

    State Rep. James Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said the new aquarium will serve as a physical manifestation of the partnerships where Mote provides a foundation.

    “There’s been so many conversations, partnerships, drawings on paper—all conceptual,” he said. “And now this becomes a reality for all Floridians and the folks that come to visit the great State of Florida. The vision of Mote SEA is to take science to all of you—to the public, to our elected officials, our policymakers, our educators and the next generation in order to protect Florida’s natural resources, and in keeping Florida’s coastline safe and resilient to sea level rise.”

    Mote officials said the facility will serve as a visible attraction, but support the many intangible benefits for the region. “It’s important for us to continue to find ways to revitalize and sustain the ocean through research and education,” Seider said. 


  • 13 Nov 2020 1:40 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Students from Ringling College create greeting cards for veterans served by Goodwill Manasota

    SARASOTA, FL – While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted nearly every area of life – and mostly not for the better – it has not resulted in a loss of compassion. As a recent collaboration of Ringling College and Goodwill Manasota shows, our community’s prolific desire and willingness to help others has remained “virtually” unchanged.

    In order to keep students connected with community service opportunities, Ringling College of Art and Design adapted its traditional community service-related freshman orientation activities to include its first-ever virtual volunteer fair. Six area nonprofits participated in the Zoom meeting, which took place during the college’s orientation week in early September, discussing their missions as well as pitching volunteer projects on which the more than 100 students participating could be of assistance.

    Upon hearing from Margie Genter, Goodwill Manasota’s vice president of mission services, 10 Ringling students joined Genter in a separate “meeting room” to implement the project: creating cards for veterans. Over the course of the session, Genter and the students chatted about their lives and how college was going so far. By the end of the session, the students had beautiful cards to display; some of them included their school P.O. box address on the card in case the recipient wanted a pen pal.

    “While this year has proven to be unique, I wanted to make sure that I still offered local nonprofit partner support,” said Susan Saulnier, Ringling College’s coordinator of student volunteerism and service-learning. “In a time when physically going to help someone is restricted, we are lucky to have technology to help us stay connected. But there is something special about a physical letter or a card that helps us connect in a personal way. We hope that through ‘thank you’ and ‘thinking of you’ cards, we can brighten someone’s day.”

    As part of Ringling College’s Orientation Program for first-year students, half of a day is dedicated to service projects with nonprofit partners in the community. Saulnier notes that for many of these students, this is their first time in Florida and, sometimes, the United States. She says that the community service projects help students to become better acclimated to their new off-campus community.

    Saulnier hosted two follow-up card-making events and continued to collect cards beyond the initial session with Genter; she delivered the resulting cards to Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program office in early November. The cards were distributed to veterans served by Goodwill during its Veterans Day Celebration.

    “It is truly heartwarming to see young people who are so committed to helping others, even as their own college experiences are being negatively impacted by the pandemic,” said Genter. “I extend my thanks and appreciation to Susan and Ringling College for enabling area nonprofits to benefit from the volunteerism of their students as well as working to inspire a lifetime of community service.”

    For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.

  • 12 Nov 2020 8:40 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    SARASOTA, FL – On Veterans Day, Todd Hughes – a veteran of the U.S. Army who serves as the manager for the Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services Program – was honored by the Sarasota County Veterans Commission with the John H. McLain Veteran of the Year Award. Recipients of this prestigious award are selected based upon their service to other veterans, active military and their families, patriotic endeavors, educating the community about veterans’ historic impact on democracy throughout the world, and other community service. This is the highest honor that the commission bestows annually upon a veteran.

    "This nomination was easy because Todd easily met all of the criteria for the award: contributions to patriotic endeavors, educating the community about veterans, service to veterans' widows and children, and more," said Ted Smith, 2nd vice president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission. "But what really stands out is his appreciation for America: he has seen the devastating impact of dictatorships and poverty in Iraq, especially on children who are the same age as his own. I and others have always sensed his incredible heart and concern for fellow veterans."

    Hughes joined the National Guard at the age of 17, while still in high school, and then went on active duty two years later. He was deployed to Iraq in 2004, with numerous responsibilities, including serving as a perimeter guard and driver for the company commander. He was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) and, although he did suffer some immediate health impacts, he completed his tour of duty and returned home a few months later. Several months after returning home, his headaches continued to get worse and he began to suffer symptoms of PTSD. Eventually, he was diagnosed with a serious closed head injury, which significantly impacted his day-to-day well-being as well as his ability to keep a job.

    He used his GI Bill benefits to enroll at the University of South Florida; while on campus, he worked to help veterans who were also returning to school to complete paperwork in the admissions office. He was integral to the groundwork being laid for a veterans program at USF Sarasota-Manatee and then became the first administrator of the Veterans Program at USF Sarasota-Manatee. Then, while in that position, Hughes helped to raise the funds to build a dedicated veterans center. His work with veterans who benefited from services through Goodwill Manasota's Veterans Services Program led to an invitation to join the staff there.

    At Goodwill, Hughes – along with his service dog, Ghost – works to eliminate barriers to employment, provide opportunities for higher-paying positions for veterans and their families, and connect veterans with needed social services. The overall goal of the program is to help veterans reintegrate into their families, communities and jobs.  

    In addition to helping veterans at Goodwill Manasota, Hughes serves as Senior Vice Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Post 97, a member of the Vietnam Brotherhood Alpha Company, and coordinator for the Lutz Buddy Up program, which connects area veterans with one another for networking and support. His wife, Jessica – whom he met while the two were at "missile school" at Red Stone Arsenal – also serves veterans in her job with the Jewish Family & Children's Service veterans' program.

    The Veterans Day event was held at VFW Post 3233. Highlights included a color guard, invocation and benediction as well as a flute performance by Jan Solomon, featured speaker Ted Smith, who is the 2nd vice president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, the Veteran of the Year presentation - among other honors - by Sarasota County Veterans Commission president Carlos Moreira, "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" performed by singer Lauren Nielson, the performance of "Taps," and more.

    For more about Goodwill Manasota and its service to veterans, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721, ext. 451.

  • 12 Nov 2020 8:35 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Veteran's Day may have been yesterday, but there's no harm in celebrating the individuals who've served and sacrificed, or who are currently serving, our country every day. Particularly, the members of The Founders Golf & Social Club had a special announcement and exciting event to announce for veterans recently. The private Sarasota Golf Course and Country Club may usually bond over competitive camaraderie, the game of golf, fine dining and drinks, but they also connect on a common thread of community and philanthropy. The Founders Club will be the host site for the inaugural “Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate” golf tournament on February 7-9, 2021. Events surrounding this 54 hole stroke play tournament will benefit The Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund, an active duty, causality assistance, recovery, transition and veterans nonprofit organization that provides financial support b eyond what the government and Veterans Affairs can offer to U.S. Army Rangers and the families of those who have died, been disabled or who are currently serving around the world.

    The organization is headed and co-founded by James (Jim) and Mary Regan, in memory of their son Sgt James J. Regan who was killed in action in 2007. “We are so excited to be joining The Founders Golf Club, Purdue University and the rest of the collegiate field and our charity supporters for this very unique and powerful event,” says James Regan. "We are grateful to Devon Brouse [Head Coach of Purdue's Women's Golf] for teaming up with the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, a foundation formed to honor the life and legacy of our son. The funds we raise at this event will go towards supporting the ongoing financial needs of the Rangers and families of the elite Special Operations 75th Ranger Regiment, well beyond what our government can offer."

    Hosted by Purdue University, the tournament is said to be one of the top women’s collegiate golf events in the country, featuring 15 women’s NCAA Division I golf teams from the BIG 10, BIG 12, SEC and ACC conferences. "We look forward to welcoming players and coaches from all the teams, their fans and alumni and the supporters of the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund," shares The Founders Golf Club General Manager Juliette Valin. The collegiate teams will compete in a 3-day stroke play format beginning Saturday, February 7. The Founders Club has hosted USGA Championship qualifiers in the past including the Men’s US Open and the Men’s US Senior Open, so the team is confident the Club grounds and golf course will provide the ladies with a fun and challenging venue to determine the 2021 Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate champion.

    “College athletics has been part of my entire life so to see these talented collegiate ladies compete on this challenging golf course will be quite a spectacle," shares Coach Lou Holtz, featured speaker and football coach/analyst. "But most importantly, to be able to help raise some money for those Army Ranger families whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice, or who endured life-changing injuries and continue to put the pieces back in their lives truly pulls at my heartstrings. At the end of the day, we have the freedom to do what we do because of the actions of these true American heroes.”

    More information about the Heroes Ladies Intercollegiate can be found by contacting jrasho@thefoundersgolfclub. com. For more information on the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund, additional sponsorship opportunities or ways to make a contribution, visit leadthewayfund.org or contact golf@leadthewayfund.org 


  • 05 Nov 2020 12:12 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Sarasota Best Law FirmNOVEMBER 5, 2020 – For the eleventh straight year, Icard Merrill has been named to the list of “Best Law Firms” by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. The firm has achieved this ranking every year since the program started in 2010. Firms included in the 2021 edition of “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

    Many of the firm’s clients provided reviews reflecting the firm’s high caliber of quality of legal services, saying:

    “Our team at Icard Merrill has managed to guide us through one of the most complex projects in the Southeast with relative ease and complete professionalism.”

    “Icard Merrill has represented me for over 20 years and is truly the top professional legal firm in Sarasota.”

    “I have worked with Icard Merrill since 1980. They are creative, knowledgeable, well connected, and have always produced the best possible results.”

    “Icard Merrill not only understands the law today but completely understands the value in helping to shape it for their clients in the future. Hands down, there is no better.”

    In addition, Icard Merrill is regionally ranked in nine practice areas: Tier 1 in Construction, Land Use & Zoning, Construction Litigation, and Real Estate; Tier 2 in Commercial Litigation, Family Law, Land Use & Zoning Litigation, and Real Estate Litigation; and Tier 3 in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

    The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process. The 2021 rankings are based on the highest lawyer and firm participation on record, incorporating 8.3 million evaluations of more than 110,000 individual leading lawyers from more than 22,000 firms.


  • 05 Nov 2020 8:29 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Fifth Third Bank is partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast–Collier County for its annual Giving Tree Toy Drive campaign. The Giving Tree Toy Drive program will begin on November 2, 2020 and end on November 30, 2020. “Fifth Third Bank is proud to support Big Brothers, Big Sisters Annual Giving Tree Toy Drive program. During the month of November, the Bank will host “Giving Tree’s” in each of our 77 financial centers throughout South Florida,” said John Slavik, SVP, Retail Executive for Fifth Third Bank. “By allowing our financial centers to host a “Giving Tree”, we hope to create awareness around supporting those families in need during this holiday season.” 


  • 05 Nov 2020 8:28 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Sarasota Memorial is honoring its past, while celebrating its future as the hospital marks 95 years serving the Suncoast region. Sarasota Hospital, opened its doors in the fall of 1925. Local residents raised $40,000 to build the 32-bed hospital, replacing a 6-bed facility that was being used to care for tuberculosis and emergency patients. Today, Sarasota Memorial is a thriving regional medical center, with 7,000 staff, it’s also one of the region’s largest employers. Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder attributed the health system’s strength to its longstanding community mission. “Our greatest strength comes from the community we serve,” he said. “Just like the citizens who built the first hospital, Sarasota Memorial remains as focused today on its core mission as it was 95 years ago.” 


  • 03 Nov 2020 9:52 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Up to half-hour sessions will determine if community members qualify for free legal services

    BRADENTON, FL – Community members who have legal questions are invited to take advantage of free consultations with attorneys from Gulfcoast Legal Services at Goodwill. The attorneys will meet potential clients at no cost, for up to 30 minutes, to determine if they are eligible for services in the following legal areas: family, housing, immigration, elder, consumer and/or victims of crime.

    The consultations will take place on Thursday, November 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Community Connection office on the Goodwill Manasota Corporate Campus (2705 51st Ave. E., Bradenton).

    The event is geared toward residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties who earn at 250 percent of the poverty level or less; that equates to just over $2,500 per month for one person or nearly $6,300 for a family of four. Community members must bring a photo ID and proof of income, such as a paystub, SSI (supplemental security income) or SSDI (social security disability insurance) statements, W-2, or a bank statement showing deposits.

    “We are dedicated to serving vulnerable individuals, offering high-quality comprehensive civil legal services provided by Florida Bar licensed attorneys,” said Robin Stover, managing attorney, financial stability for Gulfcoast Legal Services. “Often our most vulnerable residents go without legal representation due to an inability to pay. We thank Goodwill for providing a venue and access to individuals who could benefit most from our services.”

    “We are grateful to Gulfcoast Legal Services for recognizing that Goodwill serves many people who have legal concerns but who may not be able to afford an attorney," added Goodwill Manasota vice president Margie Genter. “We urge community members to call and make an appointment so that they can address pressing legal concerns.”

    While walk-ins are welcome, appointments are highly recommended to ensure access. To reserve your spot, call (941) 355-2721, ext. 160.


  • 03 Nov 2020 8:26 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    On November 7, frozen turkeys and side dishes will be distributed at Van Wezel (777 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota), starting at 9am and continuing as long as supplies last. To find a list of locations, dates and times, go to All Faiths’ website, on the “Food Finder” page. “It is terrible to imagine that our friends and neighbors are hungry at any point in the year," said Veronica Brady, director of advancement for The Bay Park Conservancy, "on November 7, it will be our pleasure to welcome those who are in need to ensure that they can enjoy a delicious meal during the holidays and feel hope for brighter days to come." 


  • 30 Oct 2020 10:33 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee held a socially-distanced, outside groundbreaking today to ceremonially begin the renovation and expansion of the Larry & Mary Greenspon Family Campus for Jewish Life outside on the  32-acre campus. 

    Federation President Randon Carvel said, "This groundbreaking begins a transformational period in the history of the Jewish Federation here in the Sarasota-Mantee area. Due to the generosity of our donors we'll be able to change lives for the better of not only our Jewish community but also non-Jewish residents with our planned outreach." The Federation and Carvel hope the expansion will, "engage people from young to old in a meaningful way for generations to come." 

    Of the Federation's future plans Carvel elaborated, "we intend to have adult education for the community in addition to a summer day camp that will be open to children of all faiths. This will be a great way for people to learn more about and expierence our new campus."

    Larry & Mary Greenspon made the lead gift to name the campus in 2018. Mary Greenspon feels strongly that this new campus will be an important step forward towards "co-embracing Jewish and non-Jewish kids to help foster acceptance." She continues, "It's our honor to do this. We want to help close the generational gap between grandkids and grandparents. Having a place to congregate will help the younger generation embrace their Jewish heritage and culture." Larry added, "This will bring people in and help create a 21st century dynamic Jewish community. This will be a place to grow the Jewish community, where we are inclusive and loving to all."

    The Federation, through its JFED PROUD & STRONG campaign, has procured seven more lead gifts from the following donors: Joel & Gail Morganroth, Mitchell and Dawn Epstein, Jonathan and Michelle Mitchell, Karen & Tommy Bernstein, Bob and Esther Heller, Jules and Carol B. Green and  a legacy gift by Bea Friedman. 


Recent Member News





Hook Kids on Fishing

 

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)

 a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, in partnership with Fisherman’s Village, is coordinating its engaging Hook Kids on Fishing Program to be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am- 12:00pm at Fishermen's Village (1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda).

 Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 kids registered and complete the training will receive a free rod and reel to take home! Registration is mandatory by calling King Fisher Fleet at 941-639-2628.

 This hands-on, conservation-minded program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, boating safety, tackle box essentials, catch and release tactics, fishing habitats and conservation, and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers.

 Community support also provided by Fisherman's Village, King Fisher Fleet, local bait and tackle shops, and local Captains, Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Canoe Outpost-Peace River, Coastal Angler Magazine, Diiachi Hooks, Fish Florida Foundation and Rio Villa Bait & Tackle

AFC’s mission is to inspire new generations of marine stewards through angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation practices. For more information, please visit www.AnglersForConservation.org.

 Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Theresa at tellershaw@aol.com or call me 321-433-3340/302-6260

If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Heather Sears at Heather@AnglersForConservation.org or 321-474-8202.

Hook Kids on Fishing

 

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)

 a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, in partnership with Fisherman’s Village, is coordinating its engaging Hook Kids on Fishing Program to be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am- 12:00pm at Fishermen's Village (1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda).

 Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 kids registered and complete the training will receive a free rod and reel to take home! Registration is mandatory by calling King Fisher Fleet at 941-639-2628.

 This hands-on, conservation-minded program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, boating safety, tackle box essentials, catch and release tactics, fishing habitats and conservation, and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers.

 Community support also provided by Fisherman's Village, King Fisher Fleet, local bait and tackle shops, and local Captains, Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Canoe Outpost-Peace River, Coastal Angler Magazine, Diiachi Hooks, Fish Florida Foundation and Rio Villa Bait & Tackle

AFC’s mission is to inspire new generations of marine stewards through angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation practices. For more information, please visit www.AnglersForConservation.org.

 Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Theresa at tellershaw@aol.com or call me 321-433-3340/302-6260

If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Heather Sears at Heather@AnglersForConservation.org or 321-474-8202.

8430 Enterprise Circle, STE 140
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

941-757-1664 | info@lwrba.org

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