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Working on the chain gang

Nancy Rozance offered thank you’s for the team of volunteers who will serve on the “chain gang” for highway clean-up on our adopted stretch of Gulf of Mexico Drive Saturday morning October 13th.

Great public service work.

Rotary’s CART Fund initiative

Jack Rozance gave us some history about Rotary’s CART Fund initiative (coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) that has raised close to $8 million for Alzheimer’s research since the Fund was started by a Rotary Club in South Carolina back in 1996. More than 45 research grants have been awarded to start-up labs with new and innovative approaches to the issue. At tonight’s meeting and at our October 16th meeting, bright blue CART buckets will be on our tables at Rotary so that we can contribute pocket change (and folding money) for this great cause. Susan McGuire and the Rozances’ promise to match the funds raised through our members’ donations.

October 2 Program: Elder Law Awareness

Our Speaker: Sierra Butler, Elder Law Attorney

Sierra Butler, Esq., founder of Butler Elder Law, P.A. and a member of Ferrari, Butler & Moneymaker, PLLC, enlightened our members about a broad range of lifetime and death time planning issues and common mistakes that she sees many people making. “l love educating people,” she remarked, adding, “Knowledge is power!” A practicing attorney for over 13 years, Butler is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. The members of her firm, with offices in Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Venice, serve as attorneys and counselors for ALI generations; “Elder law is not just for the elderly,” she explained.

Butler spends approximately one-third of her time in the courtroom, often cleaning up complex problems that could have been avoided with appropriate planning while the individual in question was alive and competent. She is emphatic that timely steps should be taken by individuals and their families to avoid the expense and emotional pain of guardianship proceedings. Powers of Attorney for property matters, health care directives for medical decisions, and “pre-need guardian designations” must be executed while one is still of sound mind. She strongly recommends that those who may have executed such documents in other states should re-execute Florida-approved documents when they settle here.

Much of Butler’s work involves protecting her clients’ assets from the claims of creditors, preserving their eligibility for Medicaid benefits, and counseling them on taking advantage of the important homestead protections afforded by Florida law. She led the Rotary Club in a thought-provoking discussion based upon her list of ten “asset protection misconceptions,” misconceptions that commonly lead to costly mistakes in lifetime and death time planning. Butler cautions people to stay away from “do-it-yourself” internet legal documents that they may not truly understand, strongly recommending that they utilize the services of experienced and qualified local legal professionals. “It takes a team,” she concluded. She can be reached at sierra@butlerelderlaw.com or telephone 941-254-6611; her website is www.butlerelderlaw.com.

LBK Rotary visits The Academy at Glengary

Click to learn more about The Academy at Glengary.  This organization provides adults living with mental health challenges the opportunity to embark on a journey to wellness. The LBK Rotary recently had the opportunity to visit and tour their facility.  We wanted to share photos from our visit.

Tuttle Elementary food pantry continues!

LBK Rotary staffs continued partnership with All Faith’s Food Ban


LBK Rotarian Carol Erker organizes the shelves at the 9/20 Tuttle Elementary food pantry.


Manning the watermelon table at Tuttle Elementary’s food pantry

Fellow Rotary Club Highlight; One Book Initiative

From my club visits and recent emails, I’ve shared with you some of Area 8’s community service projects your clubs have chosen to further highlight throughout the Rotary year. For our first further highlighted Area service project we are featuring the One Book Initiative.
The One Book Initiative, financially supported by all Area clubs, is a Sarasota County School (SCS) countywide special effort to help all first graders and fourth graders achieve and exceed in Grade-Level Reading. Led by the Rotary Club of Sarasota, your support has enabled us to give all SCS first graders the book, The Magic Fish, and all SCS fourth graders the book, Wonder! A wonderful tool/gift for the students, teachers, and families as they learn together the traits of compassion, appreciation, respect, and much more from these stories!
As shown above, all 5800+ books have been prepped, packed, and are on their way to all 27 schools.
Help spread the word that your Area Rotary clubs are doing great work in your community and beyond. Next up, in a couple of weeks, we will further highlight a great initiative by the Sarasota Bay Club for some Riverview High IB kids who needed to help…beyond the books!

Make it a great Rotary year! Ben

Bennitt(Ben) Bates,MBA
Broker-Associate Coldwell Banker
2018-19 Assistant/Area Gov
2016-17 RCS Past President

Rotary Clubs in Southwest Florida, awards its first-ever Community Service Grant

Rotary District 6960, the umbrella organization comprised of 51 Rotary Clubs in Southwest Florida, awarded its first-ever Community Service Grant this spring when it contributed $40,000 to All Faiths Food Bank for the purchase of a new refrigerated truck to be used to pick up and deliver fresh and frozen foods to nutritionally challenged neighbors in need throughout Desoto and Sarasota Counties. The District’s Grant kick-started an initiative which was joined by the Rotary Clubs of Longboat Key, Sarasota, Sarasota Bay, Sarasota Sunrise, and Sarasota Southside, each of whom donated at least $2500 to assist the Food Bank in completing the truck purchase. Representatives of the District and the local Rotary Clubs were on hand at All Faiths Food Bank’s headquarters on August 9th for the official ribbon cutting and dedication of the truck.

`The District and the participating local clubs are honored with a thank you on the back of the new truck.


District Governor Bobbie Bird assists Sarasota Rotarian, Jim Henry, with the official ribbon cutting.


Longboat Key Rotarian, Carol Erker, admires the new truck.


The New Truck

School Board member Shirley Brown visits Rotary

“I firmly believe that the role of the School Board is to represent the public schools of the County and to watch the expenditure of our public dollars,” stated Sarasota County School Board member Shirley Brown when she addressed the Rotary Club of Longboat Key at its June 19th meeting. Brown, a School Board member since 2006 who served in the Florida Legislature from 1992 to 2000, is pictured with Rotary Program Director Judy Achre (left) and incoming Rotary President Susan McGuire (right).

In order to comply with state law recently passed to increase campus security in response to the Parkland shooting, a new internal police department will replace the past system of school resource officers employed jointly by the local police departments, the Sarasota County Sheriff’ Office, and the schools. Brown outlined the complex considerations behind staffing and funding the new system by the start of the upcoming school year.

Brown also outlined plans to “harden the outsides and soften the insides” of the schools. “Hardening” efforts include the installation of bullet-proof glass in school offices, establishing stronger perimeter fencing, having single points of entry to a school, and keeping doors locked. She lamented that today’s students are practicing lock-down drills where they are hiding behind their desks.  “Softening” efforts include helping students learn productive and peaceful approaches to conflict resolution and ending bullying, understanding and addressing signs of suicide, and stressing the importance of “see something, say something.” She concluded, “Our focus must be on the students … We want them to come to school ready to learn and we want them to graduate ‘college-ready’.”

Brown encourages all voters to study the issues, get to know the candidates, and plan to vote on Tuesday, August 28th.


JCMF Children’s Charities Announces 2017-2018 Rotary Water Safety Advocacy Awards

The Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Rotary Water Safety Advocacy Award Winners. Clubs were invited to submit nominations that included a description of their Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness program along with successes and outcomes.  One Rotarian shared the following with her club’s nomination: “I’m happy to be part of a program that teaches kids about an important and life-saving topic in such an engaging and exciting way.  This is one of the most rewarding things we get to do as Rotarians”.


The following eleven clubs were selected this year to receive the award:

Rotary Club of Emerald City in South Carolina

Rotary Club of Engelwood in Florida

Rotary Club of Kerrville in Texas

Rotary Club of Laurens in South Carolina

Rotary Club of Northwest Des Moines in Iowa

Rotary Club of Sarasota in Florida

Rotary Club of Susitna in Wasilla, Alaska

Rotary Club of Lake Wylie in South Carolina

Rotary Club of Longboat Key in Florida

Lincoln East Rotary Club in Nebraska

Vero Beach Oceanside Rotary Club in Florida

“Our town sits right on a river and we lose a child to drowning every couple of years.  Our teachers and families truly believe this program will make a difference and prevent future tragedies.  We are thrilled to have found Josh the Otter this year and plan to be involved and expand the program every year.”

Rotary International has been an active and engaged partner with Josh the Otter since 2010. This partnership started in Florida with the vision of the incoming President of the Merritt Island Rotary Club that year (Jim Underwood).  Jim saw the potential of Josh the Otter to save children’s lives and felt Rotarians would be a perfect group to help implement and expand the program, one club and one community at a time.  Jim implemented Josh the Otter with his own club and then took it to other clubs and Districts.  To date, Rotary clubs in nearly 40 states, plus clubs in Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, the Philippines and Pakistan, have been involved with the Josh the Otter Water Safety and Literacy Project.  The partnership with Rotary has truly moved the needle in reaching children and saving lives.

“Children drown every day in Florida. Our club decided to take action to prevent drownings. Several years ago, we introduced the Josh the Otter program to preschool and kindergarten classrooms in our local community. Since we started this initiative, there has not been one reported drowning incident from the schools where we have introduced Josh the Otter. This program makes a difference. It saves lives.”

The Josh the Otter Water Safety and Awareness Program derived out of a tragedy experienced by the parents of the late Joshua Collingsworth, who drowned during a family get together at their home ten years ago.  Blake and Kathy Collingsworth started JCMF Children’s Charities in Joshua’s honor and to make an impact by working to decrease the number of drownings. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of unintentional death for children 1-4 and the number two cause of unintentional death for all children ages 1-14 in the United States.


In addition to Josh the Otter, the Float 4 Life program, also developed by the Foundation, is making an impact as more infants and toddlers learn the life-saving skills needed if they fall into a pool or body of water.  The Foundation is currently looking to expand Float 4 Life with a new national training center which will train instructors from across the country.

 “Our club was looking for a new project involving children, and this was the perfect fit. The literacy and education piece of the program matches our club’s program goals.  Our members went crazy for Josh the Otter and fought over who got to wear the mascot suit and be Josh!  It has lit a spark for our club.”

This year’s group of Water Safety Advocacy Award winners reached thousands of children with the message to “stay away from water unless accompanied by an adult”.  Their work and reach to daycares, preschools, elementary schools and libraries was simply incredible.  Congratulations to this year’s winners and a big thank you to ALL of our Rotary clubs and partners for helping to keep kids safe in and around the water.

Longboat Key Rotary Receives 2017-18 Rotary Water Safety Advocacy Award!

THANK YOU for your continuing passion and support for the “Josh the Otter Program”.
Your efforts have not gone unnoticed by the Joshua Collingsworth Memorial Foundation.
If we save just one child – it is all worth it.
“Learn to Float”!