+ Education Foundation awards $74,375 in grants
Cindy Kaiser, executive director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, announced Oct. 19 65 Building Blocks for Success grants totaling $74,375 have been awarded to educators at 30 Sarasota County Public Schools.
Grants of up to $1,200 each will fund teacher-designed projects across all subject areas and reach students from pre-kindergarten to high school seniors. The grants will buy materials for classroom libraries, fund essential equipment for special needs, provide supplies for literacy, math, science and arts projects and underwrite educational field trips.
This year’s program also awarded an inaugural Building Blocks PLUS grant of $4,422 to Fruitville Elementary’s Danielle Ard. Through Ard’s “Writing from the Heart” project, more than 200 students write their own plays through a partnership with Florida Studio Theatre. The students will work with actors in playwriting workshops to build their understanding of the creative process while honing their writing skills.
The most successful scripts will be selected by the students, performed for the school and submitted to the 2010 Florida Studio Theatre Young Playwrights Festival.
+ Sarasota vistors bureau earns Silver Magellan Award
The Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau recently received a Silver Award from Travel Weekly for its success with promoting the destination’s circus heritage.
The Magellan Awards salute outstanding professionals who represent the best in travel from design to marketing to services.
“The SCVB has been promoting the destination’s circus heritage for years,” said Virginia Haley, president of the SCVB. “But we have really stepped up efforts in the most recent year, creating a circus heritage guide and circus heritage Web site.”
+ Palmer Ranch wins national landscaping award
After noting the quality of colorful foliage, impeccable condition of its lawn and the beautiful and natural setting found on the property, The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch won the 2009 PLANET Grand AWARD.
The honor, announced Sept. 24, is awarded annually to competitors throughout the country. This year, it was given jointly to both The Glenridge and its landscaper, Valley Crest Landscaping.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” said Katherine Lawless, grounds manager for The Glenridge.
“We try to keep our grands as beautiful as possible for our members to enjoy, and we love incorporating vibrant colors in our plant life.”
+ Malaka Hilton named one of top 25 travel advisers
Travel Agent magazine selected Malaka Hilton, founder, president and CEO of Admiral Travel International Inc., as one of 25 top travel advisers in September.
Hilton specializes in culinary travel and organizing exclusive journeys throughout the world. The magazine chose Hilton for her exceptional customer service to remarkable expertise in a particular destination.
Travelers will have the opportunity to visit Egypt with Hilton on two programs in 2010. One excursion highlights cultural culinary and historic treasures of Cairo and the Nile River, and the other concentrates on Alexandria and the Siwa Oasis regions.
“I’m honored to have been selected,” Hilton said. “We’re dedicated to providing personalized, one-of-a-kind travel experiences for people who are passionate about travel that offers unique perspectives into a destination’s cultures, cuisine and traditions.”
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Trevor Kunk is the chef de cuisine at Blue Hill in New York City’s Greenwich Village, which the James Beard Foundation just named "most outstanding restaurant."
Sarasota native and resident Bri Oliva made her TV debut May 7, on the "Rachael Ray Show." Oliva was selected to participate in a segment called "Hidden Dangers on the Playground."
Key to the city
More than 100 community members and leaders, friends and family surprised Paul Thorpe, one of the founding members of the Downtown Association of Sarasota, April 25, at The Gator Club, to show their appreciation and celebrate the strides he’s made for Sarasota over the past four decades.