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Local Rodeo Camp Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago, Sandy Johnson, owner of Johnson & Johnson Show Horses, located in Sarasota, Florida, started the J&J Summer Youth Rodeo Camp to accomplish her dream of helping local young equestrians hone their horsemanship skills.

The week-long camp, which runs from Monday, June 29, 2020 to Friday, July 4, 2020, features events including barrel racing, pole bending, cattle sorting, roping, keyhole, jumping, goat tying and a variety of “classic” camp activities including egg and spoon and stake races. The summer camp ends with a relay race including the week’s events, followed by the legendary “Saddle Race” where every camper plays a role. After the saddle race event, the scores for the weekly events are compiled and added to the final relay and saddle race scores, and the fastest team wins. 

“This camp is made possible by an awesome group of parents and kids with a passion for rodeo, horsemanship, teamwork and improving skills,” said Sandy Johnson, founder of Johnson and Johnson Show Horses & JJ Summer Youth Rodeo Camp. “This camp is something I dreamed up and I’m so proud to see new and returning campers each year. Many of our campers return to help after they age out of the program, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see our campers progress in their confidence and ability to communicate with their horses throughout the week and beyond.”

Campers are not required but encouraged to have an understanding of rodeo, and understand the basics of working with horses and teammates. The athletes range in age from five to 18, with a variety of differing skill levels. The cost for the camp, hosted daily during the week from 9am to 2pm, is $250 per participant.

On the final day of the camp, Johnson hosts an awards ceremony for the campers where the young athletes and their horses are awarded for their hard work and dedication. This year, as an added surprise in celebration of the camp’s ten year anniversary, the campers plan to thank Johnson and her team during the final events and ceremony. Campers will share testimonials and reasons they appreciate the camp experience and the event will be followed by a potluck meal, prepared by the families of campers. The awards ceremony, following the potluck lunch, is scheduled for 2:30pm on Friday, July 3, 2020.

Johnson, along with her daughter, Jamie Lee Johnson and right hand woman, Kris Anderson, operate the camp and plan the annual events. Throughout the year, Johnson trains and shows reined cow horses for many clients and teaches upper level competitors through the Johnson & Johnson Show Horses business. To learn more about the summer camp or future events, contact Sandy Johnson at 941.809.7464. 

About Johnson and Johnson Show Horses

Located in Sarasota, Florida, Johnson & Johnson Show Horses was founded by Sandy Johnson to share the family’s love and appreciation for agriculture and rodeo lifestyle. Training beginners and advanced riders, for fun and competitive sports, Johnson and her team are proud to offer local riders the opportunity to grow their talent and relationship with their horses. To learn more about the J&J Summer Youth Rodeo Camp, or to find pricing or information on training and private lessons, contact Sandy Johnson at 941.809.7464.

Humane Society of Sarasota County Celebrates 69th Birthday with Animal “Paw-ty”

Celebration extends also for all shelter animals who don’t have a known birthday

Sarasota, Fla. – The Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) team is excited to celebrate the organization’s 69th Birthday on Tuesday, February 9,2021 with an animal “paw-ty” for current residents, including the shelter animals who do not have a known birthday. In addition to the celebration and treats, an anonymous donor has gifted the organization and animals a special birthday gift: sponsoring the next 20 adoptions, paying all fees and adoption costs.

The Humane Society of Sarasota County is a local, private, nonprofit organization incorporated in 1952 and is Sarasota’s first nonprofit animal welfare organization. The HSSC is the area’s premier no-kill shelter with a mission to find a home for every adoptable pet the shelter houses.

“Every animal in the shelter will get a special birthday treat, including pupcakes, pupsicles, and cat snacks – and of course, we will find extra special options for our animals with special diets!” says Anna Gonce, executive director of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. “We are entering into an amazing year for the organization, for our staff and of course, our beloved pets, and we are so grateful to all the donors and volunteers who have supported us. Now, it’s time to paw-ty!”

To view available pets, visit www.hssc.org/adoption/

About The Humane Society of Sarasota County

The Humane Society of Sarasota County is the area’s premier no-kill shelter and relies solely on private donations, bequests, and community support to continue its mission to engage the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals. Programs offered include pet adoptions, humane education, pet therapy, a pet pantry, a volunteer program, and a full-service, low-cost animal clinic that is open to the public. For a list of hours, locations and to learn more information, visit www.hssc.org.

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Aqua Plumbing & Air Launches ‘Aqua CARES’ Program


Local Company donated more than $100,000 in contributions last year

Aqua Plumbing & Air, a local heating, air conditioning and plumbing company, is proud to announce the creation of the “Aqua CARES” program, centered around the organization’s annual end-of-year giving calculations. In 2020, Aqua Plumbing & Air contributed more than $100,000 in financial donations, including products and services, to the community. 

While the company prioritizes giving back to the community each year, the new program will empower staff to give back in a much larger and more impactful, organized way. Aqua Community Assistance & Relief for Education Services, or ‘Aqua CARES,’ is a newly launched program that will enable the organization to track and plan donation efforts and community assistance to maximize donations and services.

“We are committed to improving the lives of our customers while also supporting our community and giving back. Donating to local nonprofits, helping those in times of need and giving back are a big part of who we are,” said Skip Stanton, co-owner of Aqua Plumbing & Air. “Not only is it good to give back, but we also believe it is our responsibility as business owners to show good corporate social responsibility.”

Stanton and Chuck Jacobson, co-owners of Aqua Plumbing & Air, created the Aqua CARES program to streamline the charities impacted by the organization, to ensure that partnerships and partners are aligned with the values of the company while strengthening the community.

“We are proud to be involved with many amazing local nonprofits and businesses – from providing equipment to donating our time and resources to local schools, churches and organizations, we are proud to support noble causes in our community” said Chuck Jacobson, co-owner of Aqua Plumbing & Air. “Although we have made giving back a priority for many years, the creation and structure of this program will help us create an even greater impact and allow us to plan and maximize the power of our community support.” 

To learn more about the Aqua CARES program, visit http://www.aquaplumbingsarasota.com

About Aqua Plumbing & Air

Since 1974, Aqua Plumbing & Air has served homeowners and businesses throughout Sarasota, Bradenton and the surrounding Southwest Florida region. With a purpose-driven company culture, Aqua Plumbing & Air offers the highest quality service at the lowest possible price. Providing residential and commercial plumbing, water treatment, HVAC and electrical services, the Aqua Plumbing & Air team is 100% dedicated to customer satisfaction, fast response to calls for service and provision of professionally trained and insured service technicians. To learn more, visit https://www.aquaplumbingsarasota.com/

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Demolition Leads Way to Final Stage of Sarasota Humane Society’s Expansive Renovation

Sarasota, Fla. – The Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) team is excited to announce the expansion of the HSSC mission, involving demolition of the current facility to lead into the final phase of the planned expansive renovation, creating space to save 50% more lives of animals throughout the community.  

The planned renovation will expand the shelter and allow HSSC to care for more animals, accommodate more notable cases, and grow the outreach and education programs. HSSC is the area’s premier no-kill shelter and plans to lead by example for similar organizations throughout the state of Florida. The new facility will serve as the hub for animal welfare in Sarasota and beyond.

With a vision to lead collaborative efforts to mobilize humane organizations across the state to save even more lives, HSSC aims to help improve Florida statistics. According to the Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit organization that operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals, Florida ranks fourth for states with the most cats and dogs dying in animal shelters throughout the nation. Last year, there were approximately 45,500 animals in Florida left unadopted. 

“This last phase will be instrumental in the overall design of the campus.  The new receiving building will serve as the landing spot where every dog and cat come in.  It will also be the area where signature community outreach programs are offered, including the food pantry and the end-of-life services for beloved family pets,” said Anna Gonce, executive director of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. “Our HSSC project team has studied the latest research and trends in animal welfare, and we’ve incorporated many unique innovations into our new facility’s design. The sustainable design is intended to serve our needs, and the needs of our future “furever” pets, for decades to come.”

The construction is expected to be completed by late May 2021. A grand opening celebration is planned for June 4 and 5, 2021. With total construction costs projected at $8.5 million, HSSC is seeking to raise the final $4 million needed to finish construction with naming opportunities and sponsorships available, including the naming of the new state-of-the-art main building. 

“The momentum generated by our community-enriching programs and services has ushered in a new era for HSSC. There are still amazing opportunities for those who have the heart and resources to make a major and transformational impact in our community,” said Gonce.

The project was designed by Leader Design Studio of Sarasota, Florida in collaboration with architect Jedd W. Heap, AIA, LEED AP of Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP and will be built by JE Charlotte Construction Corp of Venice, Florida. Landscape plans were created by DWY Landscape Architects of Sarasota, Florida, and AM Engineering, Inc. of Sarasota, Florida is the project’s civil engineer.

To contribute to HSSC’s campaign,  please contact Autumn Steiner at 941.955.4131 x121.

About The Humane Society of Sarasota County
The Humane Society of Sarasota County is the area’s premier no-kill shelter and relies solely on private donations, bequests, and community support to continue its mission to engage the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals. Programs offered include pet adoptions, humane education, pet therapy, a pet pantry, a volunteer program, and a full-service, low-cost animal clinic that is open to the public. For a list of hours, locations and to learn more information, visit www.hssc.org.

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Aqua Plumbing & Air Feeds 500 at the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

Aqua Plumbing & Air Hosts Annual Appreciation Breakfast for Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

Sarasota, Fla. – Aqua Plumbing & Air, a local heating, air conditioning and plumbing company, partnered with Gorman Company, a plumbing wholesale company, to host the 4th annual “Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Appreciation Breakfast” on Friday, January 22, 2021.

“It’s important to say ‘thank you’ to people who serve our community, and we are proud to continue this annual appreciation breakfast for our local heroes,” said Chuck Jacobson, co-owner of Aqua Plumbing & Air. “Our Sheriff and his team work 24/7, 365 days a year, to keep our community safe. Not only is it good to give back, we believe it is our responsibility as business owners to show appreciation to our community. We are proud to partner with Gorman Company to host this annual event and look forward to showing our gratitude, year after year.”

From 7am – 9am on Friday, January 22, 2021, Aqua Plumbing & Air staff, along with support from Gorman Company, served 500 Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office employees breakfast at the SCSO headquarters, located in Sarasota, Florida. 

“We are beyond grateful to Skip, Chuck and their team, who come out every year to show us their appreciation for our profession. Now more than ever, we feel fortunate to be supported by the community we serve,” said Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman. 

The event, started by Aqua Plumbing & Air co-owners Skip Stanton and Chuck Jacobson, began in 2017. To learn more, visit www.aquaplumbingsarasota.com

PHOTO ID: (L to R) Skip Stanton, Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman, Chuck Jacobson

About Aqua Plumbing & Air

Since 1974, Aqua Plumbing & Air has served homeowners and businesses throughout Sarasota, Bradenton and the surrounding Southwest Florida region. With a purpose-driven company culture, Aqua Plumbing & Air offers the highest quality service at the lowest possible price. Providing residential and commercial plumbing, water treatment, HVAC and electrical services, the Aqua Plumbing & Air team is 100% dedicated to customer satisfaction, fast response to calls for service and provision of professionally-trained and insured service technicians. To learn more, visit https://www.aquaplumbingsarasota.com/.

This release was created in partnership with Veronica Brandon Miller of VBM Advancement.

Aqua Plumbing & Air Celebrates ‘National Cut Your Energy Costs Day’

Aqua Plumbing & Air, a local heating, air conditioning and plumbing company, invites the public to celebrate and observe ‘National Cut Your Energy Costs Day’ on January 10, 2021. The national day serves as a reminder to start the new year with updated and properly maintained heating and cooling systems to reduce energy costs and improve safety and effectiveness of appliances throughout the home and business.

According to Nationaldaycalendar.com, “National Cut Your Energy Costs Day encourages consumers to explore their options and keep up with scheduled maintenance. Each year, on January 10, the observance provides information designed to help homeowners and businesses to reduce energy costs and efficiency.”

“We are committed to improving the lives and safety of our customers, and that absolutely includes making sure they get the best value in regards to our systems, service and maintenance and their monthly energy costs,” said Skip Stanton, co-owner of Aqua Plumbing & Air. “We enjoy celebrating fun events, such as ‘National Cut Your Energy Costs Day’ because it serves as a fun but important reminder to service and maintain your home and systems, and we are happy to help!”

Aqua Plumbing & Air has served customers throughout Sarasota, Bradenton and the southwest region with residential and commercial plumbing, water treatment, HVAC and electrical services since 1974. While many methods to reduce energy costs, including turning off lights, unplugging appliances and taking shorter showers, may be more well-known, methods such as weatherproofing, updating old and outdated systems, learning how to properly maintain appliances, and when to have a service technician inspect and service, can decrease energy and costs. 

To learn more or schedule an appointment with the Aqua Plumbing & Air professionally-trained and insured service technicians, visit: https://www.aquaplumbingsarasota.com/ 

About Aqua Plumbing & Air

Since 1974, Aqua Plumbing & Air has served homeowners and businesses throughout Sarasota, Bradenton and the surrounding Southwest Florida region. With a purpose-driven company culture, Aqua Plumbing & Air offers the highest quality service at the lowest possible price. Providing residential and commercial plumbing, water treatment, HVAC and electrical services, the Aqua Plumbing & Air team is 100% dedicated to customer satisfaction, fast response to calls for service and provision of professionally-trained and insured service technicians. To learn more, visit https://www.aquaplumbingsarasota.com/

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International Race Car Driver Returns Home to Lakewood Ranch Due to Covid-based Racing Sport Restrictions

Nabila Tejpar prepares for upcoming National American Rally Championship

Sarasota, Fla. – The sport of racing came to a screeching halt, like many industries and sports, due to the 2020 pandemic and the ensuing closures and restrictions. Nabila Tejpar, a Rally Race Car Driver, was living in the United Kingdom and decided to return home to her family’s home in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, to begin preparing her next move: Preparing for the National American Rally Championship, planned for March 2021.

 “The sudden, rapid changes in the way we approached our daily lives had an incredible impact on the way I view my career and my priorities. The feelings of this difficult time were overwhelming, and I knew that joining my family in Florida would help me reroute and plan our next steps,” said Nabila Tejpar, Rally Race Car Driver.

After moving from her UK residence to her family’s home in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, Tejpar decided to shift her focus to upcoming opportunities and races, including creating a full season program for the upcoming National Championship events for Rally America, which takes place across North America.  

“Rallying in America today, can be compared to soccer 30 years ago: a global phenomenon that isn’t as well-known in the US. I plan to change that,” said Tejpar. “The sport is a glorious, lovely thing; all noise and aggression, sliding sideways between trees at 100 miles per hour – there’s nothing quite like it.”

During the events, drivers race on closed-off public roads. The races are timed and cars, one at a time, race on dirt, pavement, and anything in-between, facing weather of all kinds in countries and continents across the planet.

Tejpar is one of the only Asian female Rally Drivers in Europe. She began training at 15 years of age and began competing after turning 21 years old. As the third generation of rally drivers in her family, Tejpar follows in the footsteps of her grandfather and her father. A graduate of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, a private high school in Bradenton, Tejpar received Bachelor of Science degree in International Business, Entrepreneurship and Management, and a minor in International Relations from American University.

To learn more about Nabila Tejpar, visit her website www.nabilatejpar.com, and her social media pages. To also find out more about the American and European Championship, visit https://www.americanrallyassociation.org/ and https://www.fiaerc.com/.

About Nabila Tejpar
A third-generation rally car race driver, Nabila Tejpar is the world’s only Asian female rally race car driver. After beginning to train at 15 years old, Nabila ran her first race once she graduated at aged 21, competing in the British Rally Championship, in a Ford Fiesta, in 2016 and 2017. She became the British Ladies Rally Champion in 2017 and in 2018, Nabila began competing and training in Europe, driving a Peugeot 208 R2 throughout events in Spain and Portugal. She earned the title of Ladies Champion for a second year in 2018 and became Essex TV Sportsperson of the Year and Peugeot Rally Cup Iberica Ladies Champion. A graduate of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School, a private high school in Bradenton, Tejpar received Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Business, International Relations, Entrepreneurship and Management from American University. To learn more about Nabila Tejpar, visit https://www.nabilatejpar.com/.

**This release was written & distributed through a partnership with Veronica of VBM Advancement!**

Humane Society of Sarasota County Launches New Adoption Program

In an effort to boost adoptions for pets with special needs, the Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) announces its newest program: Tender Loving Care. The Tender Loving Care (TLC) program, backed by the HSSC, is an adoption program for pets with pre-existing conditions requiring lifelong, routine medical care after adoption.

Animals selected for the new program will receive medical care at the HSSC Animal Clinic for the pet’s lifetime and the clinic will provide the client and patient with predetermined medications and care at no additional cost.

“We are excited to announce our newest program because we saw an opportunity to help our animals with long-term medical conditions, who are often overlooked and passed by. For those who wish to adopt them, but cannot take on the costs that can accompany an animal with pre-existing conditions, this program is the perfect opportunity to give our animals a chance to find their FUR-ever homes and give their humans the ability to love and care for them in the best way,” said Anna Gonce, executive director of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. “The animals in this program – your future family members! – still have so much love to give, and we are proud to partner with our clinic, our donors, our team and our community to share the gift of a loving pet this holiday season.”

Quality veterinary care is essential for pets with long-term medical needs, including senior pets and pets with underlying conditions that require routine medication and care. The Tender Loving Care program aims to offset and negate costs for adopters looking to find a pet for their family. The medical director will establish a treatment plan for the animals in the program and the HSSC team will work with potential adoption candidates to provide quality, comprehensive veterinary care.

For those interested in supporting the Tender Loving Care program, sponsorships are available. The average lifetime cost of care for a pet in the Tender Loving Care program is $500, and the program relies on support from the community and donors. Visit http://www.hssc.org/adoption/ to view available pets, including those in the Tender Loving Care program.

About The Humane Society of Sarasota County
The Humane Society of Sarasota County is the area’s premier no-kill shelter and relies solely on private donations, bequests, and community support to continue its mission to engage the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals. Programs offered include pet adoptions, humane education, pet therapy, a pet pantry, a volunteer program, and a full-service, low-cost animal clinic that is open to the public. For a list of hours, locations and to learn more information, visit http://www.hssc.org.

*This press release was created through a partnership with Veronica of VBM Advancement and the Humane Society of Sarasota County*

Sarasota County Humane Society Launches New Veterans Adoption Program

*This press release was created through a partnership with Veronica of VBM Advancement and the Humane Society of Sarasota County*

In an effort to bring joy during the holiday season, the Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) has partnered with an anonymous donor to offer free pet adoptions for veterans and active-duty military personnel.

The newly launched program, which will run until December 31, 2020, aims to connect veterans and active-duty personnel in the community, and shelter pets in need of homes. 

“For many people, the holidays can add stress and anxiety. For those who may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and similar challenges, the holidays can be especially debilitating,” said Anna Gonce, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. “The Humane Society of Sarasota County recognizes the incredibly important role that pets play in our lives, and that is why we are thrilled to announce a new adoption program for active military service personnel and veterans. As a thank you for their dedicated service, made possible by the HSSC team and the generosity of an anonymous donor, veterans will now be able to adopt a pet for free until the end of the year.”

According to information provided on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, “Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels, decreased triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneliness, increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, increased opportunities for socialization.”

All HSSC pets are spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter and given preliminary vaccinations and a bag of food. To view available pets, or learn more about this program or any others, visit www.hssc.org/adoption/ and contact Tracy Stoddard at 941.955.4131 x106.

This promotion was made possible by to a generous donor. To help HSSC extend this promotion, please contact Autumn Steiner at 941.955.4131 x121.

PHOTO: Oliver, a mastiff and the first dog adopted through the Veterans Program.  

About the Humane Society of Sarasota County
The Humane Society of Sarasota County is the area’s premier no-kill shelter and relies solely on private donations, bequests, and community support to continue its mission to engage the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals. Programs offered include pet adoptions, humane education, pet therapy, a pet pantry, a volunteer program, and a full-service, low-cost animal clinic that is open to the public. For a list of hours, locations and to learn more information, visit www.hssc.org.

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Manasota Flooring Plans Annual Appreciation Giveaway For First Responders

Manasota Flooring, a local, family owned and operated business with more than 40 years of flooring experience and expertise, will host the 4th annual Community Turkey Giveback Event benefiting police officers, firefighters and paramedics on Thursday, December 17, 2020. The company will give 500 turkeys to first responders from 10am – 4pm at each of the Manasota Flooring showroom locations in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice.

“2020 was a hard year for many people and businesses in our area, and we believe it is more important than ever to give back and show our gratitude. We are excited to host our 4th annual turkey giveback event for our first responders and heroes in our community,” Chris Quattlebaum, Manasota Flooring Manager. “We are so proud to live around and work with people who band together during hard times, care for and support each other, and we are so incredibly grateful to those who protect our community.”

Manasota Flooring will give the turkeys on a first-come, first-served basis and all police officers, firefighters and paramedics are asked to show proof of identification. The event will be held at all three Manasota Flooring showrooms, located at: 4551 North Washington Boulevard in Sarasota, 2510 1st Street West in Bradenton and 1734 South Tamiami Trail in Venice from 10am – 4pm on Thursday, December 17, while supplies last.

The Manasota Flooring team will follow CDC-recommended guidelines, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

About Manasota Flooring

Founded in 1974, Manasota Flooring is a family owned and operated business with more than 40 years of flooring experience and expertise. With locations in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice, Manasota Flooring is a full-service flooring store that offers free estimates, financing and inventory from well-known brands in a variety of options and styles, and services including cabinets, countertops and outside pavers. To find a list of locations, view inventory or to learn more about Manasota Flooring, visit https://www.manasotaonline.com/.