November 21, 2009

Gilkey's Cherokee Park West on SRQ Cover

The Cherokee Park West project, a collaboration between Michael A. Gilkey, Inc. landscape architecture and Jonathan Parks Architect, was featured on the cover of the November SRQ Magazine. The award-winning project has received national attention, and SRQ editor Lisl Liang and writer Lindsay Downey took notice. The following excerpts are from the feature, entitled "Cherokee Romance."

Nestled among towering oaks and statuesque retreats in Sarasota’s exclusive Cherokee Park neighborhood sits a home reminiscent of a bygone era, where cool breezes float through grandiose windows and indoor and outdoor spaces flow into one. The crisp white, art deco-meets Moroccan-style home extends effortlessly to a series of inventive outdoor rooms where hedges create walls, hardscape mimics tile, tree canopies define the ceiling and textured plants accent a vibrant outdoor d├ęcor.

Architect Jonathan Parks designed the home at 1729 Cherokee Drive with influences of the 1920s, a time when open windows and natural light paid homage to architectural clarity and brought a sense of organic nature to the indoors. But what began as a home designed to pay tribute to the legacy of the quiet, family-oriented Cherokee Park neighborhood became one of the most innovative uses of indoor-outdoor spaces in the city, with Parks and landscape architect Michael A. Gilkey, Jr. meshing their visions into one. “The thoughtfulness of going through and really tying the landscape and the architecture together, it’s one of the most collaborative projects we’ve done,” Parks says. The home, which was completed in December 2008 and is listed for a sale price of $2.5 million, won Residential Design and Build magazine’s 2009 Design Excellence Award for Outdoor Living and the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2009 Award of Honor.

Whereas a landscape architect might typically come in at the end of a home construction project, Gilkey and Parks talked through design concepts together from day one. “They had to be on the same page philosophically and their hearts and minds really needed to be in tune with each other,” says (owner and developer Jan) Zachariasse. The artists envisioned small courtyards and romantic gardens comprising a series of distinct yet intimate exterior spaces that would spill out from the modular home.

November 06, 2009

Concrete Countertops, Etc. Expands Studio

The Sarasota-based concrete surface studio Concrete Countertops, Etc. has relocated to Eastern Industrial Park. The larger workspace, located at 1939 Barber Road in Sarasota, can now meet the needs of the company’s thriving business and enhanced fabrication capabilities.

“After over a year in business and a certification in Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete under my belt, I felt the need to expand my workspace,” says Concrete Countertops, Etc. owner Jake Brady. “Now that I can fabricate much larger custom pieces, the word has spread, and I’m busier than I’ve ever been.”

Jake Brady’s training in Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) allows him to use an environmentally friendly substitute for traditional Portland cement. He also applies ultra-fast UV sealants, resulting in 28-day strength in just one day. This combination of technologies creates a 62% reduction in carbon footprint, and the ability to create smooth, seamless pieces of up to 12’ in length. These technologies allow Brady to increase production and create a lighter weight, more durable product. Most recently, Concrete Countertops, Etc. has installed the kitchen surfaces for a newly constructed Mission Valley Estates residence in Nokomis. This Josh Wynne Construction project is receiving Green certification from the Florida Green Building Council, Energy Star, FPL Build Smart and other groups. Concrete Countertops, Etc. has also teamed up with local landscape architecture studio Michael A. Gilkey, Inc., to co-design a new line of custom concrete planters.

ABOUT CONCRETE COUNTERTOPS, ETC.: Established in 2008, Concrete Countertops, Etc. is an innovative concrete design and installation studio in Sarasota, Florida. In step with the very latest in concrete and LEED certification requirements, owner Jake Brady takes pride in his commitment to ecological responsibility and creative and elegant surface technology. Concrete Countertops, Etc. offers a unique technique, sustainable mix design, and philosophy that can satisfy the unique vision of his discerning clientele. The surfaces created by Concrete Countertops, Etc. are beautiful and long lasting, and play a vital role in reducing the burden on our nation’s landfills. For more information, please call Jake Brady at (941) 232-1411, or visit

Local Amish Holiday Gift Baskets: Delivered!

Ashley’s Food Delivery, Sarasota’s only multi-restaurant delivery service, has teamed up with local Amish restaurant Troyer’s Dutch Heritage to offer locally made gift baskets available for delivery this holiday season. Ideal for personal and corporate gift giving, these food-filled baskets reflect the traditional heritage and old-fashioned charm of Sarasota’s local Amish community.
“Troyer’s gift baskets offer true local flavor with homemade baked goods and home-style delicacies produced right here in Sarasota, making a truly unique gift,” says Liz Sniegocki, co-owner of Ashley’s Food Delivery. “With delivery available to homes and offices throughout the area, they are also a convenient gift option, perfect for clients, friends and family. Plus, gift givers have the satisfaction of knowing they are supporting our local economy with their purchases.”

The Troyer’s Heritage Basket features 100 percent locally made treats from the Troyer’s Dutch Heritage bakery and restaurant, as well as a copy of the newly-published Heritage Favorites cookbook, a collection of family recipes from Troyer’s employees. Included is a small homemade pie, home-style fudge, fresh granola, apple butter, jam, old-fashioned candies and more.
Also available for delivery are the Troyer’s Brunch Basket (filled with home-style goodies including homemade sweet bread & cookies, coffee, tea, two ceramic Troyer’s mugs, jelly, fruit mix, homemade peanut butter, candy and more) and the Troyer’s Party Basket (a sampling of Amish delights including a summer sausage, a cheese round, pretzels & crackers and Amish dressings & dips).In addition to Troyer’s gift baskets, Ashley’s is also delivering a variety of baskets and sweet gift items from Peterbrooke Chocolatier. The Chocolate Lover’s Holiday Basket is a sweet tooth’s dream, filled with Peterbrooke’s signature chocolate covered popcorn, handmade assortments and hand-dipped specialties.
Ashley’s Food Delivery makes seasonal gift giving easy and convenient with a complete Gift Basket Delivery Menu available at Order online, or call 953-FOOD and let a customer service representative help you select the perfect gifts for friends and family, colleagues and clients. Delivery is available everyday; 72 hour notice is requested. Featured holiday gift baskets (mentioned here) are $55.00, including delivery; or a variety of delectable gift selections are available to fit your budget. Complimentary gift cards can be included with all gifts, upon request.

About Ashley’s Food Delivery:
The area’s only multi-restaurant delivery service, Ashley’s Food Delivery partners with over 35 restaurants in Sarasota and Bradenton to deliver everything from home-cooked, comfort food to elegant, gourmet dining. Ashley’s Food offers residential & corporate meal delivery, drop-off catering services and gift basket delivery. The service is open for lunch delivery Monday through Friday (Sarasota only) and dinner delivery every day. For more information, call 953-FOOD or visit

November 05, 2009

Maternal Health Weekend: Events Summary

Last weekend, Sarasota was host to several events aimed at improving maternal health care here at home and throughout the country. Headlining the weekend was Sunday afternoon's panel discussion Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond. Present for this and all other events was the world's leading midwife, Ina May Gaskin.

Ms. Gaskin began her visit to Sarasota with a Clinical Conference for the medical staff of Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) on Friday, October 30. Her presentation was entitled "Combining the Best of Modern Obstetrics with Respect for Nature and Traditional Midwifery Approaches." Her objectives were threefold: to explore the knowledge base and skills common to traditional midwifery; to understand the need for both modern obstetrics and (authentic) midwifery; and to build positive relationships between the two professions (especially with regard to home birth midwives). Present at the conference were SMH Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Dr. Washington Hill; Sarasota County Health Department OB/GYN Dr. John Abu; Licensed Midwives Christina Holmes and Alina Vogelhut; and several members of the hospital staff and the community, including childbirth educators, nurses and retired physicians. The presentation will be available via podcast on the SMH Continuing Education website.

Friday afternoon found Ina May Gaskin touring both of Sarasota's freestanding birth centers (Birthways Family Birth Center and Rosemary Birthing Home), and having lunch with Sonia Pressman Fuentes, the co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Two of the most influential women in recent American history, the pair discussed the shift in birth culture in the last half century, the difference between American governmental structure and that of most European countries with better maternal outcomes, and the role of the feminist movement in changing the American perception of birth.

Saturday morning, October 31, Ina May Gaskin presented the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project at the Selby Public Library. Ms. Gaskin spoke to Sarasota's SNN News Channel 6 before the presentation, saying "In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that there are forty other countries that do better at preventing maternal death than the United States." Three panels of the quilt were shown in the library's Geldbart Auditorium, after having been hung from the atrium balcony during the week prior. These three panels contained 58 squares, each representing a woman who has died of pregnancy or childbirth related causes in America since 1982. Ms. Gaskin argues that simple measures such as a unified federal death certificate and an increase in percentage of hospital autopsies would dramatically improve U.S. maternal outcomes. The presentation was followed by a booksigning benefiting the project, as well as Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and preserving access to midwifery care in Florida. Ms. Gaskin signed copies of her classic Spiritual Midwifery, the gold standard prenatal education book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and her newest release, Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding, said by Dr. Christiane Northrup to be "the best thing ever written on the subject."

Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm, Ina May Gaskin met in the Hyatt Regency Sarasota Ballroom with Dr. Washington Hill once more, as well as Sarasota Healthy Start Coalition executive director Jennifer Highland and Representative Keith Fitzgerald, for a panel discussion called Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond. The discussion was moderated by Sarasota Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner, who shared his perspective as a City Commissioner that improved maternal health is a formula of community growth.The panel was a free program which included refreshments and a 28 page Maternal Health Resource Guide, all made possible by the hard work of the sponsoring organizations and the generosity of several business partners. Approximately 250-275 people attended the discussion, including several guests of expertise in the field of maternal health and associated disciplines.
Dr. Washington Hill was the first to speak, pointing to a collaborative model of care as the standard for positive outcomes, and encouraging open communication between the many components of maternal health care and its providers.Ina May Gaskin followed, discussing maternal death, its possible prevention and ways to move toward accurate recordkeeping, and the importance of prenatal health. She illustrated strategies in other countries with much better outcomes than ours, such as the Netherlands, which provides its new pregnant women with paid postpartum care. Jennifer Highland then presented a staggering display of statistics illustrating Sarasota's place in Florida and the rest of the country in categories such as infant death, fetal death, smoking during pregnancy, breastfeeding rates and more. Jennifer suggested that Sarasota County's high cesarean section percentage be closely examined and reversed to improve preterm birth rates and NICU admissions, and that prenatal health be a priority of all parties involved.
Finally, Florida House of Representatives Health and Family Services Policy Council member Rep. Keith Fitzgerald gave the audience a history of health insurance, an overview of health care reform issues, and a call to action. When talking about the frequency of special interest groups' appointments with him and his colleagues, Fitzgerald asked: "Where are you?"

Questions were then taken from audience members, who asked about tort reform, individual OB/GYN's c-section rates, and women's intuition--among many other things.

After the panel discsussion, Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM) hosted the tribute An Evening with Ina May Gaskin in the Boathouse of the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Guests received keepsake tickets, signed a book of gratitude for Ms. Gaskin, and viewed a tribute DVD of her work and its manifestation through the midwives and midwife-assisted births here in Sarasota. Net proceeds of approximately $2500 will help FFOM in their strategy to protect Florida's midwives and their laws, and to improve public awareness of the Midwives Model of Care.It was the honor of a lifetime for Kangaroo Promotions to provide event planning services, graphic design coordination, media and community relations and all marketing services for The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project Presentation, Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond, and An Evening with Ina May Gaskin.