March 31, 2009

Ashley's Food Delivery Celebrates Ten Years

(March 25, 2009) -- As the area’s only multi-restaurant delivery service, Ashley’s Food Delivery has now enjoyed a decade of serving customers in the Sarasota area. This year, the company is celebrating its 10th anniversary with new restaurant choices, expanded delivery services, special giveaways and more!


The Ashley’s Food Delivery success story began as the 20th century ended, when Owner Jeff Sniegocki and his former partner traveled to Sarasota to scout out restaurants for their budding idea of operating a restaurant delivery service (RDS). “A high per-capita income and the absence of an existing service were key factors in deciding on Sarasota,” said Sniegocki, a former employee leasing executive. The pair immediately gained restaurants’ interest and, in February of 2000, Ashley’s Food Delivery launched with seven restaurant partners.

Ten years later, those seven restaurants have burgeoned into 29, offering delivery of everything from home-cooked, comfort food to elegant, gourmet dining. Ashley’s now provides residential and hotel dinner delivery seven days a week, as well as business lunch and drop-off catering services. In 2006, the company expanded into Bradenton, where dinner delivery is currently available from 11 area restaurants.

Ashley’s Food Delivery is focused on maintaining a diverse line-up of high-quality, local dining favorites and providing the ultimate in customer service, delivering customers’ food hot and fast every time,” said Sniegocki, who now co-owns and operates the business with his wife, Liz.

NEW IN 2009

Ashley’s Food has expanded its services to include gift delivery in 2009. Partnering with Peterbrooke Chocolatier and Troyer’s Dutch Heritage, the company now offers chocolate, bakery and savory themed gift baskets for delivery, ranging from $35-$75. Custom cakes for any occasion and other specialty items are also available for residential and office delivery.

“Gift delivery is a natural progression for our business,” said Sniegocki. “Our mission is to deliver high-quality convenience to our customers; delivering gift items is another way to do this. We have the resources, the providers and the personnel in place.”

Also adding to the mix at Ashley’s Food this spring are several new restaurant delivery options:

Lonjevity features meals high in fiber & protein made with low glycemic index foods, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Simon’s Coffee House
offers natural, whole-food based meals and diverse daily menu offerings including homemade soups, paninis, salads and lunch & dinner entrees.

Jersey Mike’s Subs features fresh-made cold subs, grilled subs, wraps, salads and a selection of drop-off catering options, from box lunches to sub trays.

Basil’s Flame Broiled Chicken & Ribs offers chicken dinners and family packs low in fat, calories and cholesterol. Plus, pork baby back ribs and special value priced meals.


Ashley’s 10th anniversary ushers in the next chapter of this service-based company. “After 10 years, we’ve laid a strong foundation with excellent restaurant partners, solid operating procedures and a loyal customer base,” said Sniegocki. “The next phase is expansion and concentration in select areas.” These areas include catering, environmentally friendly practices and the Bradenton service.

Expanded catering services: According to Sniegocki, corporate clients and pharmaceutical reps can expect to see a step-up in Ashley’s catering program. “We’re working on a new, expanded catering menu book, express catering options, a corporate rewards program and enhanced presentation,” he said.

Green initiative: Ashley’s Food is initiating efforts to reduce and mitigate the company’s environmental footprint. These steps include working with partner restaurants to use eco-friendly to-go packaging, educating drivers on proper vehicle maintenance for maximum fuel efficiency, and implementing internal policies to reduce paper consumption and increase recycling.

“We’re looking at participating in a tree planting program to help offset our footprint,” said Sniegocki. “And in the next year, we’ll be striving to achieve certification in the Sarasota County Green Business Partnership.”

Focus on Bradenton: With a decade behind the Sarasota operation, Sniegocki plans to place increased attention on servicing the Bradenton area. “The Bradenton marketplace is still new for us,” he said. “We will be increasing our marketing efforts, solidifying our operations and expanding to offer lunch as well as dinner delivery to customers in this area.”

Ashley’s Food Delivery is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new logo design and enhanced branding effort that spans from new menu guidebooks to redesigned driver uniforms. The company invites the public to join in the 10-year celebration with prize giveaways, held on the 10th of each month in 2009. Details are available on the Ashley’s website at

Need for Transparency Increases as Cesarean Section Rates Rise

March 19th, 2009 —CIMS, the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, a group working toward transparency in maternity care, today announced that the 2007 US birth statistics, just released, show that 31.8% of births are via cesarean section. The percentage of cesarean deliveries has increased by 50% since 1996 and is more than double the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of 15%.

Currently, cesarean rates vary widely across the US. The 2007 birth data highlight this variation; for instance, a woman giving birth in New Jersey has a 73% higher chance of having a cesarean than a woman in Utah.

This strong variation in rates isn’t only geographic; it is also seen among individual hospitals in a community. For example, in 2006, New York City, one of the few places facility-level rates are available, St. Vincent’s Staten Island Hospital had a rate of 44.5% compared to 17.2% at North Central Bronx Hospital. Many believe that this variation is due to high risk sicker mothers and babies that these hospitals serve; however, that is only part of the story. Extensive research has shown that these huge variations are strongly linked to the practices and policies of individual hospitals and providers not just the health status of mothers and babies.

“Most women believe that they will only have a cesarean section if they experience complications in pregnancy or labor. But research tells us that most of the factors affecting a woman’s risk of a cesarean have nothing to do with her health or that of her baby. One of the most effective strategies for avoiding a preventable cesarean is choosing a provider and birth setting with a low cesarean rate. In the United States, we are seeing increased public reporting of outcomes and procedure rates for facilities in surgical and cardiac care, but, access to maternity care data remains almost non-existent,” says Amy Romano, MSN, CNM, a transparency expert for CIMS.

C-section can be a life-saving procedure, but it is a major surgery that carries extensive risks for both mother and baby, risks that are not present in a vaginal birth. Research conducted by the World Health Organization shows that these risks of cesarean outweigh the benefits when the c-section rate exceeds 15%. Currently, women have no way of knowing if their local hospitals exceed this recommended rate.

“Women can unknowingly increase their risk of unnecessary surgery based on their selection of where and with whom to birth. To enable women to make informed choices, maternity care data must be available at the facility level. Whether requiring a c-section or planning a natural birth, women need data in order to choose the facility that most closely matches their needs,” said Elan McAllister, Founder of New York’s Choices in Childbirth and Co-chair of the Transparency in Maternity Care Project.

Transparency empowers consumers, and studies have shown that public reporting of intervention rates and outcomes leads to better healthcare. New York and Massachusetts are the only states with legal mandates to require release of facility-level maternity care obstetrical intervention statistics such as cesarean sections. Unfortunately, such information remains unavailable in most parts of the country, but a CIMS project is working to change this fact.

To help expectant parents to make informed health care decisions about where and with whom to birth, CIMS developed the Transparency in Maternity Care Project: The Birth Survey. CIMS has trained local level ambassadors across the US to interface with their state departments of health to work to make facility-level intervention rates available to the public. As intervention rates are obtained, including the rate for c-sections, they will be included in publically accessible free reports at

Transparency of health care information is increasing across the US and maternity care must be included in this movement. Otherwise, women are choosing their place of birth blindfolded and potentially increasing their chances of having an unnecessary cesarean section as rates across the country continue to rise above recommended levels.

For more about The Birth Survey, to view intervention data for each state, the survey results for the New York metropolitan area, or to take the survey, log on to

About the Transparency in Maternity Care Project:
The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) through the Transparency in Maternity Care Project developed The Birth Survey so families can share information, learn about the choices and birth experiences of others, and view data on hospital and birth center intervention rates and practices. It is also designed to help providers and facilities improve the quality and transparency of their care. At the heart of the project is an on-going online consumer survey that asks women to provide feedback about their pregnancy and birth care specific to the particular doctor, midwife, hospital or birth center that served them. Responses are made available online to other women in their community who are deciding where and with whom to birth. Paired with this experiential data, are official statistics from state departments- of-health listing obstetrical intervention rates at the facility level.

About the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services: The
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is a coalition of individuals and national organizations with concern for the care and well-being of mothers, babies, and families. Our mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. This evidence-based mother-, baby-, and family-friendly model focuses on prevention and wellness as the alternatives to high-cost screening, diagnosis, and treatment programs. For more information, log on to

March 28, 2009

Sarasota H-T Guest Editorial: Dr. Dean Sutherland

Dr. Dean Sutherland, M.D., PhD, local neurologist and NeuroChallenge Foundation Medical Advisor, was a guest columnist for the Sarasota Herald Tribune Friday. Dr. Sutherland discusses the recent reversal of the ban on stem cell research and possible implications for affected patients and our economy.

Please read Dr. Sutherland's editorial and take a look at what the NeuroChallenge Foundation is doing for the Sarasota community.

The Neuro Challenge Foundation
helps thousands of families affected by Parkinson Disease in Sarasota and Manatee Counties find the resources and care they need to have the best possible quality of life. Kangaroo was proud to donate media relations for this column and continues to provide press services for the NeuroChallenge Foundation as they launch several exciting programs to celebrate Parkinson's Awareness Month in April.

March 24, 2009

Gilkey Receives UF Distinguished Alumnus Award

(Gainesville, Florida) -- Sarasota landscape architect Michael A. Gilkey, Jr. was recognized Monday as the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus from the University of Florida Department of Landscape Architecture. "I was honored to receive this unexpected award, and encourage all graduates to give back to the program and the profession," says Gilkey.

Among other notable attendees was Professor Emeritus Herrick Smith (shown with Gilkey) who was recently made a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Also honored throughout the evening were Jeff Caster for his service to ASLA, Professor Glenn Acomb as Faculty Member of the Year, and several students of both the undergraduate and graduate Landscape Architecture programs. These students received a total of $28,000 in scholarship funding. Among the recipients were Gilkey Student Professional Award winners Byron Hubbard, Sarah Andrews, and Tyler Guettler.

March 12, 2009

Cause4Fashion Raises Money, Awareness

On March 5th, The Neuro Challenge Foundation, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against Parkinson Disease, hosted its first annual fashion show and fundraiser at The Met on St. Armand's Circle. The show was put on by Cause 4 Fashion, providing clothing by top designers including Lafayette 148, who designed a custom scarf for the event and donated all proceeds to Neuro Challenge.

Models for the fashion show were all survivors of Parkinson Disease or their family members. Among those walking the runway were ABC 7's Heidi Godman and her mother, Sarasota Magazine's Jeff Lawenda, in honor of his father, and Neuro Challenge Medical Advisor and local neurologist Dr. Dean Sutherland. Emceeing and organizing the event was Neuro Challenge President Doreen Sutherland. Fashions were raffled off to guests as well, with the help of Godman and Dr. and Mrs. Sutherland's youngest daughter, Annie.

Guests enjoyed top-notch hors d'oeuvres from San Francisco chef Geoffrey Blythe and his staff. Volunteer bartenders served drinks all evening, including the event's signature 'Cause-mo-tini,' which featured vodka and passionfruit.

The Neuro Challenge Foundation helps thousands of families affected by Parkinson Disease in Sarasota and Manatee Counties find the resources and care they need to have the best possible quality of life. From information and counseling to nutrition and massage, from referrals and treatments to advice and support, this volunteer-operated, charity-funded group is doing groundbreaking work.

Heidi and Edith Godman
In December 2008, the Neuro Challenge Foundation opened the Comprehensive Care Center for Parkinson Disease here in Sarasota. Parkinson patients receive state of the art medical care and outreach services in one convenient location. The campus includes medical labs, research facilities, MRI, rehabilitation specialists, an olympic-sized swimming pool, gymnasium and fitness center. Patients at the Center have access to an array of allied health professionals, alternative healing arts, psychological, social and other therapeutic applications. The Center provides our community with workshops, lectures, and guest speakers, focused on the ever-changing lifestyle of Parkinson's patients. The Center is the first in the nation to offer a free Patient and Family Advocate to each client.

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. Please visit the Neuro Challenge Foundation website and subscribe to their newsletter to receive updates about future events.

Kangaroo was honored to donate media relations, webmarketing, and a bit of bartending for the event. We look forward to the opportunity to showcase more of their work in the future.

Mic Gilkey, Dr. Dean Sutherland, Kathy GilkeyEvent photography was donated by Strawberry Moon Photography, where you can view more photos from the evening.

March 01, 2009

Kanapaha Gardens Gopher Tortoise Project

Gainesville Public Artist Sarah Hinds has proposed an interactive sculpture of the Florida native Gopher Tortoise, designed to have a forever home at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. The tortoise will be large enough that children will be welcome to sit inside the its domed shell. Children playing here will take information about habitat protection and ecology throughout their lives.

ABOUT: The Sculpture

Materials proposed include:
--a welded steel frame
--a lightweight concrete base
--recycled glass stagelight lenses
--custom glass paperweight eyes
--iridescent fused glass tiles
--hand cut slate stone
--fresco style multi-colored grout
--handmade clay tiles

The handmade clay tiles embedded into the mosaic tortoise shell will be created by children of the Gainesville community. During a series of artist-led workshops, local children will paint and glaze clay individual tortoise shell tiles. Together they will learn about gopher tortoise lifestyle, habitat, protection and preservation. By participating in this process, children will take pride in knowing that they have helped to create a piece of permanent beauty and art in their community.

Kanapaha Gardens

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a 62 acre facility developed and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. Kanapaha’s newest garden is their Children’s garden, currently under construction. This new area will house our tortoise, along with features such as a hedge maze, wall of treasures, dynamic water garden, and more.

ABOUT: The Gopher Tortoise

The Gopher Tortoise is currently listed as a Threatened Species in Florida. The decline of the Gopher Tortoise is mainly attributed to habitat loss, forestry practices, road mortality and disease. Although the main feature of the sculpture at Kanapaha will be the artwork of the tortoise itself, this exhibit will include information describing the tortoise’s lifestyle, habitat and issues of concern.

ABOUT: The Artist

Sarah Hinds is a professional artist with a focus on hand blown glass, architectural installations, mixed media projects, and community involvement. Sarah is co-founder of Somewhere Glassworks, a full service glass art studio and artist retreat in Gainesville, Florida. Available classes include Glass Beadmaking, Advanced Glass Sculpture, Glass Fusing, and Furnace Blown Glass.

Sarah is the Art Teacher at Expressions Learning Arts Academy in Gainesville, Florida. Her love of teaching art to children has resulted in several community art projects, including a mural program with Keep Alachua County Beautiful and The Florida Museum of Natural History. These murals educated middle school children about coral reefs while creating permanent art in their community.

“As a teacher, I strive to create an expressive and nurturing environment. As an artist, I strive to create with a universal theme that is meaningful to the viewer. Integrating the community into public art installations does both.” -Sarah Hinds

How can you be a part of this community project?

Every donation of $25 will pay for a child to make a mosaic shell tile. Those who donate $125 or more will receive a commemorative photo of the finished tortoise with the children who helped make it. And those who donate $1000 or more will have the choice to add a name or short memorial to a plaque at the sculpture site.

Checks may be made out to Kanapaha Botanical Gardens with the words ‘Gopher Tortoise’ in the memo line. Mail checks to:

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Gopher Tortoise Project
4700 S.W. 58th Drive
Gainesville, FL 32608

Donations may also be made via PayPal with ‘Gopher Tortoise’ in the notes. A link to the PayPal site is available on the project website and on the Kanapaha Gardens website.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Kangaroo is excited to aid Sarah in seeking public funding for this project.