Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gallup poll no surprise to Bradentonian

"What took them so long?"

That was Lyn Lineberger's reaction when she heard a Gallup survey had found that the strength of attachment Bradenton's citizenry felt toward their hometown made it No. 1 out of 25 cities polled.

Lyn owns The Memory Maker, a formal gown shop on Manatee Avenue.

She was 2 when she moved here and has a been a Bradentonian for 50 years.

That doesn't include the years her family spent in Fort Lauderdale.

Gallup may not have had Lyn in mind when they polled people about why folks here felt so strongly about Bradenton despite the present economic conditions.

But she symbolizes many who leave Bradenton for greener grass only to return to its embrace.

"It was a big city and a big city atmosphere," Lyn said of Fort Lauderdale. "What we found was we missed the small town atmosphere where we grew up."

So the Linebergers moved back.

"It's all about family and friends for us," Lyn said, sounding a theme commonly heard about Bradenton.

What's more, her family's roots figure to grow with time.

"All three daughters live here, too," Lyn said.

Friday, September 25, 2009

NFL Sundays not for computer games

My Sunday afternoons are usually spent the same as a lot of folks during this time of year.

Watching NFL football.

Got my game jersey on. Snacks and beverages are nearby.

So is the remote in case I want to hit the mute button on annoying commercials.

Or annoying game announcers.

I’m all set.

I don’t need anything else for the next three hours.

That includes incessant reminders by the announcers or the graphics scrolling along the screen to “Follow all of today’s NFL action ... at CBSSports.com.”

Or NFL.com.

Or FOXSports.com.

Why the heck would I do that?

Read more Mannix About Manatee on Sunday.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FDLE crime statistics unconvincing

Crime is down.

Oh, yeah?

Count me among those who are perplexed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's statistics released Wednesday.

FDLE said violent crimes statewide have decreased 9.7 percent and non-violent crimes decreased 7.6 percent for the first six months of this year.

That may reflect the inroads law enforcement has made against drugs and gangs, but the crime statistic in the forefront of most people's minds hereabouts is the 27 homicides investigated in our county so far in 2009.

And we still have three months to go.

Statewide, homicides have decreased 18 percent, but not here.

Even Sheriff Brad Steube, while pleased with FDLE statistics overall, acknowledged his constituency isn't buying them.

"I would imagine most people think we do have a lot of crime because of the homicides," he said.

Steube's got that right.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Third phone call proved to be charm

Monday morning's phone call promised to be a lulu.

I had already called an out-of-state medical lab business office twice over the past several weeks requesting a receipt for a bill I had paid.

The first time, a nice lady said she'd be happy to mail me a receipt.

Ten days later, I was still waiting.

So I called again and got a different nice lady. She said she'd mail me the receipt and fax me a copy, too.

I never saw a fax and 10 days later I got a form letter saying my balance was paid in full.

Which was fine, but what I requested was a receipt.

So I tried for a third time this morning. Only it wasn't just a missing receipt I had on my mind.

It was a bill from the lab for $150 that, according to the cover letter, resulted from my health insurance company's decision not to pay up.


So I called for a third time and -- ta-dah! -- the third time was the charm.

Not only did a different nice lady fax me a copy of the sought-after receipt, but she told me the bill for $150 was in error.

My balance had been paid in full.

What a great way to start a Monday.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Coach faces legal, life challenges

Two images of Josh Hunter.

One is from 2003 when he was weightlifting coach at Lakewood Ranch High School, which was hosting the state meet.

Immediately after a title-clinching lift, a Mustang athlete embraced Hunter in a cloud of chalk dust.

His black shirt was splotched with white handprints.

A happy moment for a beloved young coach.

The other picture, a disconsolate Hunter being hugged by fellow mourners outside Saints Peter and Paul the Apostles Catholic Church last March.

See Mannix about Manatee Sunday for more at www.Bradenton.com.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More good news for home owners

Home owners insurance is likely to go up.

Just what we needed to hear.

Even if we manage to go through another hurricane season relatively unscathed it won't matter.

According to news reports, roughly half of the more than 200 insurance companies doing business in Florida paid out more than they collected in premiums the first half of this year.

It makes you wonder.

We haven't experienced a hurricane or tropical storm since 2005.

And rates are expected to go up?


When P.T. Barnum uttered his famous line -- "There's a sucker born every minute" -- he must've had us Floridians in mind.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Football weekends make week fly by

Football season sure takes up your time.

Not that I'm complaining, understand.

Take last weekend.

Friday night, it was off to Harllee Stadium for Manatee at Palmetto, a great game atmosphere even if the explosive Hurricanes won going away.

Saturday, it was glimpsing at Texas at Wyoming and Notre Dame at Michigan on the office TV while working on Sunday's column.Then on Saturday night, it was watching USC at Ohio State at my fiancee's house with my future in-laws, big Buckeye fans all.

Disappointed ones, too, after it was over.

Then at noon Sunday, it was off to Bogie's on U.S. 70 to catch the Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers. It's always a trip watching games in a packed sports bar.

By Sunday night's NBC game, however, I'd reached at my saturation point.

I'm worn out and asleep by 10 p.m., because that Monday morning alarm sounds early.

But what helps get me through the day is realizing Georgia Tech plays Miami Thursday night on ESPN.

Then it's Southeast at Manatee Friday night and another football weekend is under way.

Can't wait.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Long live Florida's feisty state bird

There will be some heavy issues awaiting the Florida Legislature in its 2010 session.

Offshore drilling.

More budget cuts.

A new state bird.


Yeah, according to published reports, if the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has its way, the mockingbird may be out in favor of the osprey.

If the Florida Legislature signs off on it, that is.

Fat chance.

The mockingbird has been our state bird since 1927 and that feisty little critter has some powerful friends in Tallahassee.

What's more, given how contentious the next session figures to be, I doubt legislators will be in the mood to even contemplate sacking the mockingbird.

Reportedly, the FWC held a vote among Florida school children and the osprey was the winner.

While I admire the raptor, I enjoy the mockingbird and listening to them.

I respect them, too.

Having been buzzed by mockingbirds more than once over the years while inadvertently walking by their nests will do that.


Friday, September 4, 2009

GOP may give Obama speech ratings boost

James Greer may have done the president a favor.

Thanks to the Florida GOP chairman’s condemnation of Barack Obama’s back-to-school speech Tuesday, this may turn out to be one of the most watched, most scrutinized presidential addresses ever.

Especially by the target audience.

Manatee students can "opt out" if they bring a note from their parents, but I can imagine kids watching anyway out of curiosity.

"Oooh, what’s Obama going to say that mommy and daddy don’t want me to hear?"

It is much ado about nothing.

See Mannix about Manatee Sunday for more at www.Bradenton.com.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Turn on those Friday night lights

"Where you going Friday night?"

I love hearing that question from my pals at this time of year.

It means one thing.

High school football is back and everybody who enjoys the season like we do around these parts is going to be at a home game somewhere this week.

To wit:

Bishop McLaughlin at Bradenton Christian.

Orlando First Academy at Out-of-Door Academy.

Bayshore at Manatee.

Palmetto at Southeast.

Lakewood Ranch at Braden River.

LaBelle at Cardinal Mooney.

Saint Stephen's and Bradenton Prep are on the road.

I look forward to the games week in, week out and try to see each of our teams at least once.

If travel plans come up that will take me out of town, I check the schedule first.

My priorities are not out of whack.

It's high school football season -- and it all starts on Friday.