Friday, July 30, 2010

Oil spill ripple effects surprising

As the menace of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy began to grow over the horizon, few here knew what to expect in early May.

Especially small business owners on Anna Maria Island gearing up for a summer tourist season.

Not Danny Canniff.

Not Eric Cairns.

Not Lauren Sato.

They weren’t about to push the panic button, but John Droukas voiced their collective fear of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“If it comes this way, it will destroy my business,” said the owner of the Havana Cabana resturant in Holmes Beach.

It didn’t happen.

Three months later, nary a drop touched our shores.

Yet the ripple effect had its impact.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Football's grip still strong on Williams

Todd Williams gazed around PAL's cafeteria Tuesday.

Row after row of fit high school football players sat at tables waiting for the former Southeast Seminole tackle to speak. Tell them the remarkable story how a 14-year-old kid like him made it from the streets to Florida State's 1999 national champs and then the NFL.

It being late July, Williams should probably have been in some NFL training camp.

He spent three years with the Tennessee Titans, who drafted him in 2003. Then he went to camp with Tampa Bay and Green Bay. After that came the Arena League, then the UFL last year.

Williams has been out of the NFL for awhile, but at 6-foot-5, 330-pounds he looked like he could strap on the pads then and there.

"I don't think it's over, but even if it is I've had a great run," he said.

Looking at the 200-plus kids, virtually all sporting designer workout apparel, Williams chuckled.

"These kids have all kinds of structured camps, more TV exposure, more mentoring programs ... a plethora of different things we didn't have. How ambitious are they?" he said.

Williams was hungry when he was their age.

His was a hunger that drove him on and off the field.

"I wanted it so bad, I was desperate. A lot of these kids aren't desperate enough to me," he said. "I could manhandle you on the field and not have to worry about going to jail for it. I'd been locked up so many times for undisciplined behavior. Football was my outlet."

Williams wondered whether it was the same for his audience.

"To some of these kids, it's just a game," he said. "It was life to me."

Monday, July 26, 2010

VIP treatment for Shania Twain tune

Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" began playing on the radio.

Allison Norwood, riding shotgun in the mini-bus, sang the words softly.

Over in the driver's seat, Temeka Leverett turned up the volume.

"Go ahead, sing it loud," she told Allison. "Go on."

And the young lady did.

You're still the one I run to

The one that I belong to

You're still the one I want for life

Like a number of students at Easter Seals Southwest Florida VIP program, Allison Norwood is retarded.

Regardless, she was in a happy place Monday as Leverett drove the mini-bus toward Meals On Wheels Plus.

"I don't know all the songs she likes," Leverett said. "But when I hear her, I turn it up."

The VIP team, led by executive director Don Herndon, would pick up food for 11 stops Monday.

Until then, Allison kept singing softly along with Shania Twain.

You're still the one that I love

The only one I dream of

You're still the one I kiss good night

Friday, July 23, 2010

Deja vu for Palmetto's new police chief

Morale was low at the city police department.

Leadership was needed.

A new chief was hired from the outside to rectify the situation.

Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells?


He was sworn in just last Monday, so give him time.

We’re actually referring to someone else.

His father.

Before Charlie Wells embarked on his 22-year run as Manatee County sheriff, he was police chief for the City of Bradenton.

It was January 1980 when Wells, a Florida Highway Patrol veteran, took over and during his 33-month tenure, Wells established order and stability in the department.

Will his son have the same impact in Palmetto?

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What will Bonnie bring our way?

Tropical Storm Bonnie.

OK. What's it going to do?

Or is it --- what's Bonnie going to bring our way?

So far it looks like we're out of harm's way, judging by the ol' "Cone of Death."

But we may be in for a whole lot of rain.

Better rain than a hurricane I always say.

Except this weekend, we've got plans. Or had.

Like checking out the Bradenton Marauders at McKechnie Field.

And driving over to Brighton with the in-laws to play some slots at the Seminole casino.

Could be we'll be doing a lot more housecleaning, instead.

Oh, well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome back, welcome words

Welcome back.

It's always nice to hear those words upon returning to work after a two-week vacation.

Mondays can be a doozy as it is, but that first day back can be a real bear.

Sometimes you feel like you've got to be re-trained.

Not this time, though.

Two weeks at the Jersey Shore was just right.

My two brothers, Jimmy and Joey, have rented the same beachside house in Surf City, N.J., in mid-July for 17 years.

But this year, another family who had the house the two weeks prior bailed out.

So my sister Jeanne and husband Mark Evans jumped on the opening.

Which meant Team Mannix had the house for a whole month!

There goes that neighborhood, right?

It was a relaxing time with my wife, Sherri.

Sleep late. Beach in the afternoon. Cocktails at 5 p.m. Movies after dinner.

Also read a wonderful biography of President Harry Truman, a 1,000-page book that went like that.

We went to Atlantic City, too, won $12.80 on the slots, and sang "We're In The Money," all the way back to Surf City.

It was a good time "downashore", indeed.

Especially trying to ride an inner tube in the surf and getting tossed head over heels time after time.

"Your husband is 60 going on 13," my brother-in-law cracked to Sherri.

What vacations are for in my book.

Yet when it was over it was good to return to work, too.

Welcome back.