11-22-2017 Community Happenings

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The week’s latest announcements

Learn How to Protect Your Children from Predators

Selah Freedom, a nationally renowned nonprofit working to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited, has announced their first presentation dedicated to equipping parents and those who work with youth to protect their children from predators. “Sex, Lies & Media” will walk participants through setting safety guards on their phone, educate them on how a predator can lure in innocent children, what red flags to look out for, and how to properly initiate conversation with youth around this subject. The evening will also focus on pornography and how it is infiltrated into even the most common apps tweens and teens popularly use, and how a parent can set up ways to monitor devices including text messages, location tracking and phone call logs.
With over 300,000 American children at-risk from sex trafficking and exploitation each year, Selah Freedom is dedicated to equipping both parents and youth in order to prevent them from falling victims to predators. The material covered in this presentation is sure to enlighten adults in the ever-changing arena of digital exploitation targeting youth. “Sex, Lies & Media” will take place on December 5th, 2017 from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at Bayside Community Church’s Bee Ridge Campus, 8200 Bee Ridge Road. Tickets are $25 for individual tickets, $40 for couples and are available at

Renowned photographer Clyde Butcher holds first public appearance in new St. Armands Circle gallery

Legendary and iconic landscape photographer Clyde Butcher will hold his first public appearance for a meet-and-greet holiday open house at his newest gallery on St. Armands Circle, which is now open at 55 S. Boulevard of the Presidents.

On Saturday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. guests will have the opportunity to meet Butcher, who will give talks throughout the day and autograph and personalize books, calendars and photographs for holiday gifts. Free and open to the public, visitors can also hear about Butcher’s photographic processes and peruse the varied collection of spectacular and inspiring photographs of Butcher’s home state of Florida along with photos from all across America.

On Friday, Nov. 3, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate and commemorate the opening of his third gallery with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

“Unique in its concept, history and beauty, St. Armands Circle provides an unforgettable experience for visitors from all over the world,” said Butcher, an environmental conservationist. “It’s the perfect location to welcome new and long-standing friends and showcase some of Florida’s richest and purest landscapes. I hope visitors will appreciate the elaborate detail and intricate textures expressed in the photographs. I love Florida’s brilliance and beauty, and I want to share that splendor and educate others on these remarkably remote and undisturbed wild places.”

Located next to The Met, the gallery is open on Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon – 5 p.m.

Butcher’s immense and beautiful black and white photographs have captured the diversity, dignity and beauty of nature in the U.S. on film for more than 50 years. Home to the largest dark room in the U.S., his two other galleries include the Venice Gallery & Studio in Venice, FL and the Big Cypress Gallery, which is located on 13 acres in the center of the Everglades in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

For more information on Butcher’s St. Armands gallery, call 941-702-8818 or visit

Goodwill program to feature renowned photographer, wildlife advocate and author

Nature enthusiasts are invited to join Goodwill Manasota in Bradenton on Saturday, December 2, 1-4 p.m. for a special program. Award-winning animal photographer, wildlife advocate, author and speaker Larry Allan will join Goodwill at its Manatee Avenue Art & Bookstore (5512 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton) for a special photography exhibition and book signing event. The program will feature an exhibition of Allan’s wildlife photography. Copies of his book, “Florida Animals for Everyday Naturalists,” photographs, and children’s DVD, “Little Lost Mountain Lion,” will be available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Allan’s work will go to Goodwill Manasota; he will sign his books and DVDs for cash donations that will directly benefit Goodwill. In addition to meeting attendees and signing his work, Allan will also give two presentations on some of his personal encounters with Florida wildlife – stories told in his book – at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Drawings for a free photograph or DVD will be held after each presentation. For more information about this event, go to or call (941) 355-2721.

Asolo Rep announces its 2017-18 IllumiNation Series, promoting cross-cultural conversations in the community. Held during select Wednesday and Saturday performances throughout the 2017-18 season, IllumiNation events begin one hour prior to curtain with a reception on the mezzanine, continue with the performance, and conclude with a free and open-to-the-public community conversation where audience members can further explore the topical and social issues that they have just seen played out on stage. Five-play and three-play ticket packages are available for the series. 
The first event of the season kicks off on December 6 at 6:30 p.m. with&nbsp Evita  and features pre-show tango lessons and dancing, and Argentinean light bites. The 7:30 p.m. performance features Spanish supertitles. Following the performance, audience members will have the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the topical and social issues in Evita in a community conversation facilitated by Maria Schaedler-Luera. Maria Schaedler-Luera is the Program Manager for Arts Integration with Any Given Child Sarasota at the Sarasota County Schools and the Managing Director of Atomica Arts. She is a Brazilian-born educator administrator, and performing artist with extensive work experience and knowledge in theater, music, arts and literacy, cross-cultural engagement, ESOL, interpreting, and immigrant communities. 

“In addition to producing great stories brilliantly told, Asolo Rep believes theatre can be a critical part of building social capital. Every show is an opportunity to create connectivity, enhance mutual understanding and, most vitally, develop true empathy,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “Our IllumiNation Series is at the heart of this mission. Along with our other community programming, we aim to deepen the experience for all who come to see the work, as well as to reach new audiences.”

This season’s IllumiNation events also include Morning After GraceRoeGloria and Ragtime. In order to effectively reach these audiences, Asolo Rep is working closely with an IllumiNation Advisory Committee, comprised of community pillars who are committed to broadening the diversity of the theatre.

The committee is headed this season by Mary Braxton-Joseph, an Emmy Award-winning journalist and media consultant. An Asolo Rep Board member, Mary Braxton-Joseph is Immediate Past Chair of the Lillian’s List Action Fund of North Carolina. 

“The IllumiNation Series provides an opportunity for a public conversation about race, identity and cultural intersection,” said committee chair Mary Braxton-Joseph. “I got involved because I wanted to participate in the dialogue and move the conversation forward. I have been amazed and uplifted by the quality of the conversations that take place after the performances.”

View 2017-18 IllumiNation Series Schedule and Ticket Info here. 

A Motown Christmas

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe invites the community to ring in the holidays with its musical revue, “A Motown Christmas.” The production was created by WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs and had its world premiere in 2015. The show features some favorite traditional carols as well as many original Christmas songs written and recorded by Motown’s most celebrated artists such as The Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. “A Motown Christmas” is not included in the season subscription. Runs November 29 – December 23, 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2:00 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $42/adults, $20 students or active military with valid ID. Call the Box Office (941-366-1505) or go to

It’s All About BAZ: Planned Parenthood Celebrates the Legacy and Leadership of Retiring CEO

A Cocktail Affair Celebrating Barbara A. Zdravecky and Featuring National Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards
After more than 24 years of service Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida (PPSWCF) CEO Barbara Zdravecky is retiring. To honor her work, PPSWCF will be hosting All About BAZ, a night to celebrate Ms. Zdravecky and her legacy. Event chairs for the event include: Gerri Aaron, Washington Clark Hill, MD, Cornelia Matson, and Jarred Wilson.

Go to or call 941-365-3913 for more information.If you are unable to attend and would like to make an additional donation to the BAZ Fund, please visit or send a check to 736 Central Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236; ATTN: The BAZ Fund.

MLB Announces 2018 Spring Training Schedule

The 2018 Spring Training exhibition schedule will begin on Wednesday, February 21st as the Arizona Diamondbacks host Arizona State University at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona, Major League Baseball announced today.  Official Grapefruit League and Cactus League games will begin on Friday, February 23rd, while the first full slate of games involving all 30 Major League Clubs will take place on Saturday, February 24th.

Among games being played outside of traditional Spring Training sites, split squads of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs will play two games in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th; and select exhibition games at Major League and Minor League ballparks will be played from Saturday, March 24th through Tuesday, March 27th.

The 2018 regular season will begin for all 30 Major League Clubs on Thursday, March 29th.  Next season will mark the first under the new scheduling format agreed to as part of the 2017-2021 Basic Agreement between MLB and the Major League Players Association (MLBPA).  As a result, the March 29th start date to the regular season will mark the earliest Opening Day in Major League history, excluding special season-openers at international venues.  In addition, 2018 will mark the 12th season in history, and the first since 2011, to open on a Thursday, as well as the first since 1968 in which every team across the Majors opens on the same date.

The complete 2018 Spring Training schedule, subject to change, is below and is also available at

Athletes to be inducted into the 2018 State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Hall of Fame in January

The ceremony, which is open to the public, will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at IMG Academy Golf Club, 4350 El Conquistador Pkwy. Tickets to the social and dinner are $50 per person. All proceeds benefit SCF Athletics.
The annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony has become the kickoff to SCF’s Homecoming weekend. The College, alumni and the community come together to honor the legends of Manatees and Lancers athletics. For information or tickets to the weekend’s events visit or call 941-752-5261. 

Sarasota and Manatee Market Back to Pre-Storm Pace

October proves to be a month of recovery from Irma’s impact on the Sarasota and Manatee real estate market. As the market bounces back, sellers prepare for the season, bringing more new listings and pending sales in October 2017.
Closed sales for single family homes increased by 2.7 percent in the two counties from October
of 2016, while condo sales decreased by 10.4 percent from this time last year. According to Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, National Association of REALTORS®, Florida’s strong job and population growth should guide sales back to pre-storm pace fairly quickly.
Xena Vallone, 2017 President of the REALTOR® Association of Sarasota and Manatee,
explains that sales in the area will typically slow around this time, particularly in the condo market, as sellers get their properties ready to list for seasonal buyers.

“A sort of ‘calm before the storm’,” said Vallone. “It’s likely that some, if not most, of October’s sales are from September’s delayed sales. But, this month’s increase in pending sales indicates that we’re back in business.”

Pending sales are a good indicator of future closed sales. The number of single family homes that went under contract during the month increased by 17.7 percent in Manatee county and by 8.4 percent in Sarasota County. Condo pending sales also show improvement with a 15.3 percent increase in Sarasota and a 5.3 percent increase in Manatee.
The number of properties put onto the market during the month improved in both counties. New listings for condos increased by 8.8 percent in Sarasota and 1.8 percent in Manatee. Single family homes put on the market this month also improved with a 4.3 percent increase in Sarasota and a 4.4 percent jump in Manatee.

“Compared to Irma’s impact in September, we saw a combined 75 percent increase in new
listings from last month to this month,” said Xena Vallone. “Sellers are playing catch-up and listing their properties for the upcoming season.”

Inventory for single family homes in Manatee County increased by 3.3 percent from last year, while Sarasota decreased by 4.4 percent. Condo inventory improved with a 2.9 percent increase in Sarasota and 0.7 percent increase in Manatee.The month’s supply of inventory is indicated by the number of months it will take to deplete the current inventory, given the recent sales rates. For Sarasota County, condos are at a 4.9 month supply and single family homes are at a 3.9 months supply. In Manatee County, condos are a 4.1 month supply, while single family homes sit at 4.2 months.
Median sales prices continue to show an upward trend, year-over-year. The median price of single family homes in Sarasota County increased by 18.1 percent to $279,000 while Manatee County increased by 1.5 percent to $285,995. Sarasota condos increased by 8 percent to $224,000. Condo prices for Manatee increased by 11.4 percent to $195,000. Monthly reports are provided by Florida REALTORS® with data compiled from My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service. For comprehensive statistics dating back to 2005, visit

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