Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hall of Fame party for Coach Maechtle

If you’re a Paul Maechtle admirer, then you might want to circle Jan. 9 on your new 2011 calendar.

First, the longtime Southeast High athletic director and Seminoles head football coach will be inducted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame Jan. 8 in Daytona Beach.

It’s overdue recognition for the reluctant honoree.

Then on Jan. 9 there will be a reception for Maechtle from 1 to 4 p.m. at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, 8913 U.S. 301 N. in Parrish.

Call Beef’s at 776-0053.
Read more in Friday's Vin's People.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frozen windshields a new experience

How cold was it the last couple of mornings?

So cold the windshield and windows on my wife's SUV and my pickup truck were covered with ice.

Yours too?

I've been through my share of cold spells during 40 years of living in Florida, but that was a first.

Frost on the grass isn't unsual, but iced up windows sure was.

The record low of 27 degrees recorded at SRQ included our neighborhood, right around the corner from the airport.

We tried the squeegees on the windows first, but that was useless.

So I flung a couple of pails full of warm water and --- voila!

We were good to go.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Attack on movie-going couple an outrage

Drove by the Carmike Royal Palm 20 theater Monday evening and the parking lot looked full.

Business as usual.

Wonder if any couples had trouble watching "The Fighter," "True Grit," or "The Tourist," because of some unruly teens.

Like Kayln and Federico Freire did last Saturday night.

They'd asked the teens to be quiet and got cursed at.

When Kayln complained to the manager, the discourteous teens got the heave-ho.

The disgusted Freires exited not long after and got jumped outside the theater, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office reports.

Federico, a Marine, fought off his attackers.

His wife got punched in the face and knocked unconscious.

The melee drew a large crowd and plenty of MCSO deputies, too.

Arrests were made and charges are pending while the investigation continues.

What happened to Kayln and Federico Freire is an outrage.

On Christmas night, the birthday of the Prince of Peace.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday greetings, good luck to airman

A salute and Merry Christmas to Airman 2nd Class Joshua Miles.

The 2008 Braden River High grad just turned 21, and will embark on a six-month deployment to Afghanistan Jan. 1.

Presently based at Oklahoma City’s Tinker Air Force Base, the ex-Pirate wrestler will operate the satellite communications aboard a USAF reconnaissance plane.

His proud parents are Barbara and Clint.
Read more Friday in Vin's People.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Season of festive feasting under way

The holidays have begun in earnest, all right.

Not the gift buying, understand.

It's the festive feasting I'm talking about.

Got an early start with the office parties last week, but we've shifted into high gear since then.

Last Friday night was a double-barrel dad-and-daughter birthday bash.

Then Sunday evening, a Christmas pageant, dinner and dessert, a tradition with some longtime friends.

Went to our niece's "Sweet 16" party Wednesday night, a quasi-Christmas affair with another wonderful dinner and dessert.

There's another bash Thursday night to celebrate some good friends' daughter's graduation from the University of Florida. Be plenty to eat there, too.

Then comes Christmas Eve at the in-laws house with more eating and exchanging of gifts.

Followed by Christmas dinner at the in-laws once more Saturday evening.

New Years is more than a week away, but I already know what one of my resolutions is going to be.

Sound familiar?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coach selling drugs? Say it isn't so

A drug deal goes down Monday morning in the Blake Medical Center parking lot, of all places, and the alleged dealer is subsequently arrested.

His mug shot is posted by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Seen one, you've seen them all, right?

Not this time.

The man arrested, Frankie L. Sanders, 35, was an assistant baseball coach for Manatee High School.

His 3-year-old son was with him.

Sanders was charged with the sale and trafficking of prescription drugs and cocaine and was being held in the Manatee County jail on bonds totaling $250,000.

Authorities later found $20,000 in cash, 60 grams of cocaine, 92 grams of oxycodone tablets and two grams of Xanax at Sanders' residence.

According to the MCSO, undercover detectives had been investigating the assistant coach for a year and making undercover buys.

They said they do not know if he ever sold drugs to students at the high school.

A coach selling drugs?

What an abomination.

Did Hurricanes head coach Dwayne Strong, whose life has been devoted to teaching youngsters the game of baseball, have any idea his assistant was allegedly involved in drug dealing?

That's a question people will be asking.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas arrives early for fire chief

Christmas came early for Foster Gover.

It arrived Thursday in the form of a $192,000 buyout for Gover’s voluntary resignation after a three-month investigation into his disturbing tenure as Southern Manatee Fire District Rescue chief and fire marshal.

There is no truth to the rumor the district’s fire commissioners were dressed as Santa’s helpers.

They should’ve been.

Though Gover has been relieved of duty immediately, he is on administrative leave with full pay and benefits until May 1 when his resignation becomes official.

At which time he will be paid that $192,000 in one lump sum.


Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Plenty of time to finish Christmas shopping

"Guess this is a good time as any to go Christmas shopping," a colleague said, putting on his coat as he pondered braving the Wednesday night chill and the mall or two, as well.

Why the rush? I kidded. There's plenty of time.

Christmas is still at least a week away.

Most of my shopping is done.

My wife has seen to that. Everything she's bought for others is a gift from both of us.

Another advantage of being married, you might say.

Of course, that doesn't include the gifts I'm giving Sherri.

Though I've bought some things here and there, I've still got a few stops to make before I'm done.

Plenty of time before Christmas.

I think.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looks like another day for long johns

A hard freeze warning.

Never heard feeling cold put like that.

According to the weather story in the Bradenton Herald, that's when the temperature drops below 27 degrees and stays there for three hours.

Which it's supposed to do tonight.

Maybe Tuesday night, too.

It says it'll be 30 degrees on the coast, but in the 20s further inland.

Which always makes me wonder --- how far inland is that?

Myakka City?

Or just on the east side of US 301 like where we live?

Sherri wasn't taking any chances.

She put blankets around the croton bush and the outside pipes.

Me? I'm planning on throwing another blanket on the bed.

And wearing my long johns again Tuesday

Friday, December 10, 2010

Elected officials ignore public trust at own peril

Gwen Brown has performed another public service.

The former Manatee County commissioner probably won’t see it that way, of course, and that’s understandable.

Getting taken to task by the Florida Commission on Ethics stings.

Yet it is a lesson, rendered by Brown, a State College of Florida adjunct professor, for some of our town’s newly elected public officials.

Do not conduct private business on the public’s dime.

Take heed, Jim Boyd and Greg Steube, as you settle into the Florida House of Representatives.

That goes, too, for our new county commissioners, Michael Gallen and Robin DiSabatino.

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Urbanator's decision not a surprise at all

I remember the first time I'd heard his name.

Bowling Green, my alma mater, had just hired a Notre Dame assistant as its new head football coach.

Urban Meyer?

His decision to step down after the upcoming Outback Bowl brought back memories.

Even if they're just 10 years old.

It was 2001 and in two seasons he made the Falcons winners again.

Meyer encored that success at Utah in 2003-04.

Then came Florida and, pardon the cliche, the rest is history.

Two national championships. Two SEC titles. A 64-15 record -- including this season's 7-5 lackluster finish -- in six seasons as Gator head coach.

Simply spectacular.

On the field, Meyer made Florida matter again.

Off the field? Thirty arrests belied the Urbanator's reputation as a disciplined coach who ran a tight ship.

I did not like how he handled the Chris Rainey situation, either.

It's just one of the things that defined Meyer's last season as Florida head coach.

Yet it should not define his remarkable run in Gainesville.

Surprised Meyer made this decision?


In fact, when I heard it early Wednesday afternoon on the radio, I wasn't shocked at all.

After a 24-hour stress-related retirement last season, a tumultuous year like this was bound to make the intense Meyer regret going back on that original decision.

He'll be back on the sidelines somewhere sometime, but not soon.

Urban Meyer's 10-year ride as an NCAA D-1 head football coach was meteoric.

And all meteors burn out eventually.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hanging outside lights always an adventure

Putting up Christmas lights can be an adventure.

Like Sunday.

Sherri and I spent a good portion of a beautiful afternoon hanging strands of lights around the front of the house.

First the garage side, then residential side.

When we plugged in the former, every light turned on.


Then when we plugged in the latter two separate spans didn't.


So we took down the faulty ones and drove to Walmart to buy new ones. Sherri had gotten them -- a garland style -- there two years ago.

Only they didn't have any in stock. Or they didn't make that style anymore.

Then we drove to Target.

No luck there either.

Well, rather than return home empty-handed, we bought some hanging icicle style with colors.

By the time we hung those, it was getting on toward 5 o'clock.

So we decided the garage side of the house will have to wait.

Until next weekend.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Drilling ban good for us, tourism, Florida

There was the Norwegian helicopter pilot and his family.

Four British sun-worshippers.

An older fellow from Ohio on his annual spring fishing trip, too.


What brings them to mind is the Obama administration’s decision last week to let the drilling ban stand along Florida’s coastline.

A welcome decision, indeed.

One vital to our tourism industry.

Florida’s lifeblood.

Something those visitors said showed how fragile it can be.

They had come to Anna Maria Island just days after BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank in April, a catastrophe that poured nearly 175 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the next five months.

Nary a drop would touch AMI’s pristine shores.

Yet it did not matter to those visitors.

Had they been able to change their plans, they’d have done so.

It was the perception of the threat that would’ve kept them away and sent them elsewhere to spend their money.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We hardly knew 2010 hurricane season

So long 2010 hurricane season.

We hardly knew ye.

Which is the way we like it.

Nineteen named storms, the third most on record, but nary a one crossed our path.


That we avoided a major hurricane for a record-tying, fifth year in a row is nice and all.

But we just take them one year at a time.

Each June 1 ushers in another six months of waiting and watching, punching up the National Hurricane Center Website umpteen times a day whenever another tropical depression is forming over the horizon and rolling this way.

Not to mention checking our plywood hurricane shutters, making sure termites haven't dined on them in the offseason, and that all the wing nuts are accounted for just in case.

Thankfully, we never had to pull the trigger and go to battle stations this year.


The 2010 hurricane season is a fast fading memory.

A gentle giant, a National Weather Service official called it.