Gina Taylor to speak at BPWEV

VENICE — Gina Taylor, a 30-year resident of Venice, will speak at the Jan. 21 Business and Professional Women of Englewood and Venice meeting.

Taylor is a fourth-generation Floridian and graduate of Florida State University. She served two terms on the Sarasota County School Board from 1994 — 2002.

After leaving the board in 2002, she developed “The Corner Stone MODEL Program” at Venice High School with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, according to BPWEV.

She joined Big Brothers of the Sun Coast in 2008 and is vice president of communications & marketing. She has been a Big Sister for 21 years.

BPWEV meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Plantation Golf & Country Club. Dinner is $23; reservations are necessary but the public is invited.

For more information go to:

Visit Sarasota County announces new directors

SARASOTA — Visit Sarasota County announced its 2020 Board of Directors, serving from Oct. 1, 2019 — Sept. 30, 2020.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors includes: Chair, Christine Johnson, president, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast; Vice Chair, Nicholas Mavrikis, general manager, Embassy Suites; and Secretary/Treasurer, Lorrie Liang, chief operating officer, Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Steven High, executive director, The Ringling Museum is the Immediate Past Chair.

Other returning members of the board include: Heather Kasten, executive director, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce; Patrick Moreo, professor and dean of College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, USF-Sarasota Manatee; Russell Matthes, owner, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar; Sondra Guffey, Marketing & Business Development, city of North Port; and Varinia Van Ness, of Van Ness Law Group, P.A.

New appointments to the Board include: Alan Maio, county commissioner, Sarasota County Commission; Gil Reyes, general manager, Westin Sarasota; Lori Ruth, associate publisher, Observer East; and Richard Russell, executive director, Sarasota Opera.

Block party to welcome back Braves on Feb. 8

VENICE — The second Braves on Miami block party is set from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 in Venice.

It will bring back Spring Training baseball for the Atlanta Braves and their West Villages facility, Cool Today Park.

And it will do it in Mardi Gras style, according to a news release from Venice MainStreet.

Atlanta Braves player Andruw Jones will take part in a meet and greet while the Grammy-award winning band Rebirth Brass Band will provide jazz from the streets of the French Quarter.

“We are thrilled to be invited by Venice MainStreet to help celebrate the start of Atlanta Braves Spring Training,” Braves Vice President of Florida Operations Michael Dunn said.

Proceeds will assist Venice Challenger Baseball and Venice MainStreet. Admission is $5; children under 12 are free. For more information, visit

— Staff report


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