Thursday, June 30, 2011

'Twas old home week at SAL All-Star game

Michael Ohlman and J.R. Murphy, AAU teammates a decade ago ...

... and as SAL All-Stars on June 21
It must’ve been like old times for a couple of Bradenton kids on the first day of summer.
Boyhood pals J.R. Murphy and Michael Ohlman caught in the Class-A South Atlantic League All-Star game June 21 in Salisbury, Md.
J.R., who represented the Yankees’ Charleston RiverDogs, caught for the South.
Michael, with the Orioles’ Delmarva Shorebirds, caught for the North.
Both had baseball scholarships to Miami, but went pro after the 2009 draft in which J.R. was a second-round pick and Michael, an 11th-rounder.
The Yankees have since promoted J.R. to their FSL ballclub in Tampa.

Good to hear Brian Schultz’s voice, literally.
His vocal chords were affected by neck surgery and he couldn’t talk for months.
He's good now.
“He hasn’t shut up for three days,” wife Julia joked.

Singer and pianist Eli Mattson, the runnerup in season three’s America’s Got Talent, will be busy Saturday night at McKechnie Field. He’ll sing our national anthem pregame, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch and perform a post-game concert.

Good luck to father-and-son partners Patrick J. and Patrick S. George and their crew at the new Jersey Mike’s, 4020 14th St. W. They are Garret Barth, Anthony Catlett, Tiffany Curtiss, Aaron Gilbert, Don Johnson, Michele Lakey, Mark Mallioux, Chris Martin, Jenny Sutton, Jose Torres, Grey Tinkham, Colson Vautrinot, Daphne VonCannon and Shai Williams.

Read more in Friday's Vin's People on

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A passing recalls celebration for all underdogs

Do you remember where you were the April night in 1983 when N.C. State shocked Houston for the NCAA men's basketball championship?

Lorenzo Charles' tragic death Monday behind the wheel of a charter bus in Raleigh, N.C., brings that historic game and night to mind. He was just 47.

It was Charles who dunked teammate Dereck Whittenburg's desperation shot at the buzzer for an improbable 54-52 upset victory, one of the greatest in the annals of the national championship game.

I was 33 and sports editor of the Boca Raton News.

Along with three friends, who knew more about basketball than I ever will, we watched the game at Tip's Tavern, a favorite neighborhood joint in old Boca with pool tables, a couple of TVs and a great jukebox.

It's long gone now.

Not the memories, though.

What I remember so fondly was how crazy we were with joy and laughter at the game's incredible ending.

It was so uplifting for anyone anywhere who believes in and roots for the underdog.

That's what N.C. State's iconic coach, Jim Valvano, who died in April 1993, did for us.

That's what Lorenzo Charles did for us that night, too.

We will never forget them. Or that magical night.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ban against horses on Causeway? Get a grip!

Step right up, folks. Step right up.

You know that battle brewing over the City of Bradenton’s proposed ban of horses on the Palma Sola Causeway?

Well, we’ve got a product that will take care of all those horses’ behinds.

It’s called the Bun-Bag™.

That’s right.

Made in beautiful Sagle, Idaho, these horse diapers are smaller than most manure catchers, easy to attach and will do the job during fairs, parades, carnivals and circuses.

Bradenton City Council meetings, too.

The manure can get pretty deep in those august chambers.

It did last Wednesday.
Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Presidential helicopter detail brings perks

 Lance Cpl. John Scheiding salutes President George W. Bush and First Lady
 Laura Bush after they exited helicopter Marine 1 a few years ago.
 Serving on the ceremonial guard with the presidential helicopter, Marine 1, has some nice perks.
Ask Manatee High alum John Scheiding.
During four years on that detail with Presidents Bush and Obama, the 23-year-old Marine got to see most of the world.
Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway and South Korea were among John’s stopovers, sometimes two or three times.
His favorites?
Egypt and Ireland.

Lt. Dana Tindall
Oh, no! Say it ain’t so! The one and only Lt. Dana Tindall of the City of Bradenton Fire Department is about to hit the Big 5-0! Monday’s the day.

Bill Edwards brags on daughter Krista.
The 14-year-old received Lee Middle’s Female Athlete of the Year Award at the school’s sports assembly. Krista followed that up being recognized by the National Junior Honor Society, as well as receiving the Student Council Award, Citizenship Award, Presidential Academic Excellence Award and being named Outstanding Female of the Year.

Small world? My wife Sherri and I went to her class reunion at Groveport Madison High just outside Columbus, Ohio, and who should be there but classmate Rickie Fraley Kerns, a Bradenton resident for 22 years.

Sonny and Velma Jaudon will be celebrating more than just our nation’s independence on July 4 with 41 family members.
It’s also their 69th anniversary.

The Phyllis Marotta Benefit is noon-7 p.m. Saturday at Firkin & Fox, 2505 Manatee Ave. E. A popular waitress there, Phyllis is battling cancer and has no health insurance.
Call 748-7694.

Read more Friday in Vin's People at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Long weekend at Little Leaguers' hotel

I love Little Leaguers.

Just not at 2 a.m.

Allow me to explain.

Sherri and I were in Groveport, Ohio --- a Columbus suburb --- for her high school reunion and we stayed at the same Holiday Inn Express we've used every visit.

It's never, ever crowded.

Boy, was it ever last weekend.

We found that when we checked in Thursday afternoon and the place was a madhouse.

Evidently, there was a 40-team tournament going on in the neighborhood and for the next three days it seemed like all 40 teams were staying at that Holiday Inn Express.

Kids were running around, up and down the hallways, carrying on.

We didn't have a problem with that we were out.

It was when the stampeding continued after 10 p.m. --- Thursday, Friday and Saturday --- and sounded like the roof was going to cave in on us any second.

Where were their parents?

Camped out in the parking lot, partying through 2 a.m.

Some of their kids were out there, too.

One of the reasons we like this hotel is the free full breakfast, but starting our day with a nice cup of coffee and relaxing over eggs and bacon was out.

It was chaos.

So we went to the Bob Evans next door.

Come Sunday, all the teams had checked out, so the hotel seemed normal again, thank goodness.

Even the hotel staff rejoiced at the peace and quiet.

A full house had been good for business, but it wasn't good for the rest of the hotel's paying customers.

Think we'll look for another place to stay next trip.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

High school reunions cool for most people

My wife and I are doing something this weekend I've never done myself.

We're going to her high school reunion outside Columbus, Ohio.

Sherri actually graduated from Bayshore High when her family moved to Bradenton after her sophomore year at Groveport-Madison High.

That's where she grew up and those bonds remain strong.


I graduated in 1967 from DePaul High in Wayne, N.J. , enjoyed my time there and dug my classmates.

But I haven't been back to any reunions.

Why not?

I choose to remember us as we were in those days of innocence.

Hanging out at the Milk Barn in Pompton Lakes, N.J., after football games, guys in their letterman's jackets, jeans and button down shirts and penny loafers; the girls in their sweaters, skirts and up-dos.

Drinking? That didn't happen until college, at least with my friends.

Dope? Nobody knew what that was then.

Maybe we were a tad naive, but they were good times.

Hitchhiking wherever we had to go.

Few of us had cars. I didn't.

Going down to the Jersey Shore was like a trip to California --- a journey that brought genuine excitement, because we didn't get to go that often in North Jersey where we lived.

Point Pleasant. Seaside Heights.

Those were the days.

I think of them whenever I hear certain tunes, especially something R&B.

They always trigger fond memories, which is the way I want to keep them.

We're forever young.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A light saber for Dad on Father's Day?

What to get Dad for Father's Day?
Ties, socks and gift cards to Home Depot may seem like more of the same old thing.

If so, it's time to shake things up a little and give Pop a present that will really get his attention.

Like a Star Wars Lightsaber.

Say what?

Or a Ninja Toothbrush Sanitizer.

For real? says so. It's a penny auction site with some gift ideas that are definitely "out of the box" and are available, according to, for 75% or more off retail price.

To wit:

Cobra 14-Band Radar/Laser Detector --- Dad likes to step on it while driving, he'll find handy this apparatus with 360-degree detection and Spectre I to provide immunity from radar detector-detectors.

Drift X170 Action Camera --- Attach this wireless remote controlled camera to a helmet, goggles or handlebars and get photos and videos of all your extreme fun.

Fishing Rod with an Underwater Video Camera --- For the fishing dad who has everything else in his tackle box and boat, an underwater video camera transmits all the underwater action to a full motion LCD screen on the fishing rod.

Ninja Toothbrush Sanitizer --- Ultraviolet light kills bacteria on the toothbrush, ensuring that your toothbrush is clean everytime you brush.

Star Wars Lightsaber --- Assuming Pop is hip to all things Star Wars, this is a realistic looking light saber with motion sensor-controlled sound effects just like in the Jedi Knights used in the hit movie series.

May the Force be with Dad. And you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sandpile destination: Hard Rock Bradenton?

What next for the Sandpile?

After Bradenton’s city council threw a 5-0 shutout at attorney Ed Vogler’s unimpressive plan for a three-story apartment complex last Wednesday, it better be something that knocks their socks off.

Something that attracts restaurants and retail.

Something that brings people downtown.

Something that really and truly rocks.

I’ve got just the thing.

What about — ta dah! — a casino?

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Palmetto High alum now West Point grad

A big salute to 2nd Lt. David Harley Matthews Jr., who just graduated from West Point. The PHS alum and former Tiger distance runner will report to Fort Stewart, Ga., the largest military installation in the eastern U.S., for training.
His proud parents are Charlotte and David.

That’s 15 years of wedded bliss for MCSO detective Darryl Davis and his lovely wife, Ratavia.

Zack Wilkinson was named outstanding BCS senior at graduation and is bound for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.
Big ups from parents Drs. Tom and Suzanne Wilkinson and siblings Josh, Tim and Jenny.

The Lakewood Ranch Longhorns 12-Under baseball team is going to Cooperstown, N.Y., to play in the Cooperstown Dreams Park tournament June 11-17.
The players are Andrew Csubak, Anthony DiMare, Nick DiMare, Matty Intihar, Seth Katzenberger, Seth Miller, Collin Moore, George Prince, Orlando Ruiz, Jakeub Scheid, Brock Sisson and Jake Starck.

John W. James, former department chair of fine arts at MCC, was recognized by the SCF president’s council on service and civic participation for his volunteer service to the college and community.

After six years finishing out of the money, Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine took home the winner’s cup at the 14th Annual Beech Mountain Invitational Golf Tournament at beautiful Beech Mountain, N.C. Paul Riesterer, Ken Apple and Jim Simpson finished 2-3-4, respectively.

Read more in Friday's Vin's People on

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Green Bridge may become Highwayman painting

Many are the landscapes that have been painted by the Florida Highwaymen.

The black artists' inspired work from the 1950s to the 1980s captured scenery associated with Old Florida and will be displayed at the Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee County Agricultural Museum.

Back country marshes at sunset.

Thunderheads over interior plains.

Moonlight streaming through forests of palm trees.

Such were the landscapes they painted from along Florida's east coast between Vero Beach and their native Fort Pierce.

Now a part of Manatee County will be painted by one of those original 26 painters, whose handiwork dates back to segregation.

Diane Ingram, the museum coordinator, sent Highwayman Robert L. Lewis a photo of the Green Bridge with its palm trees from the Palmetto side of the Manatee River looking toward downtown Bradenton.

If all goes according to plan, Lewis will bring it with him when he and fellow Highwaymen visit the exhibit in mid-July.

Read more about the Florida Highwaymen Thursday on

Monday, June 6, 2011

Red line traces 19-year-old's fight across Europe

Calvin Post unfolded an old commemorative campaign map on the dining room table in his Bradenton residence.

A thick red line undulated from England to France and across Belgium to Germany.

It was a road map of what the 86-year-old called the high point of his life --- driving a Sherman tank across Europe in combat during World War II.

Normandy and D-Day was where it all started on June 6, 1944, for the 19-year-old country boy from Taghkanic, N.Y. Along with the 759th light tank battatlion, Post fought it out with German armored units desperate to pin the Allies in the peninsula.

After 50 days, the Allies broke out.

"Once we busted out, the Germans started to retreat, but the fighting was steady," Post recalled. "We lost several tanks --- hitting mines, getting tracks blown off --- so we'd head back to battalion and got another tank."

Among the names crossed by the red line was Bastogne.

The Battle of the Bulge.

"That was the worst. Cold, snow on the ground. Germans shelling us constantly," Post said. "They blasted us night and day. The forest looked like telephone polls when we pulled out of there."

His battalion was also involved in the capture of Achen, the first sizeable Germany city to fall to the Allies.

Proud as he is of his service in WWII, there is one lingering regret.

"Never got to Paris," Post said.

Read about this D-Day veteran Tuesday on

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Signs you're Floridian in hurricane season

Hurricane season is here and five days in, so far so good.

No Arlene in sight.

May we never meet.

Ditto for Bret and Cindy.

Don, Emily, Franklin and Gert, too.

That goes hundredfold for my namesake, Vince.

We can definitely do without a hurricane season that reaches 21-named storms.

Or even half that.

So, thanks to readers with a kindred sense of dark humor, here are some tropically-related laughs for your reading pleasure while we keep an eye on the horizon through Dec. 1.

You might be a Floridian if:

The nickname of your favorite weatherman, Bob Harrigan, is “Hurricane.”

You catch a 7-pound catfish — in your driveway.

Your washing machine makes a handy cooler.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Renaissance rocks for Del Couch Foundation

Musician Del Couch is one of those folks who is always doing something for somebody else.
Playing at a benefit.
Loaning his PA system to a school function.
Troubleshooting when somebody’s equipment goes on the fritz.
Saturday at Renaissance on 9th, it’s about Del Couch.
The Del Couch Musical Education Foundation, that is.
Working with schools and other civic organizations, it’s a new nonprofit designed to give youth a chance to explore and develop their musical talents.
The 6 p.m. foundation fundraiser ought to be a blast.
Alabama legend Jeff Cook & The Allstar Goodtime Band, the Billy Rice Band, Shaman, John Rinell, Colton Cason, Jacob Castro and foundation students will rock the Renaissance.
Call (941) 545-4379.
Or visit:

 Southeast senior Christopher Rees graduated with a perfect attendance record over 13 years, dating back to Moody Elementary and Lincoln Middle School.
He’ll attend Ringling School of the Arts or the Tampa Art Institute.
Props from parents Ron and Cindy and sister Catie.

Wildlife, Inc. holds its 11th annual blood drive fundraiser 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday at St. Bernard’s Church, 248 South Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.
When you donate blood a private foundation will donate $100 to the Wildlife, Inc., so Gail and Ed Straight can continue their good work with God’s critters.
For details, call 778-7243 or email:

Elizabeth “Annie” Curry received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for the sixth time. The BRHS junior is active with the Manatee County Red Cross Youth Corps and was just elected chairman. She’s also in FFA, plays violin in the school orchestra and is with the 4H Udder Joy Dairy Goat Club.
Cheers from parents Rita and Jeff and sister Crystal.

Read more in Friday's Vin's People on

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A bow to McNeal Elementary spelling champ


It's the dissolution of a cell.

It's also the word McNeal Elementary fourth-grader Anissa Murgo missed in the third-round of the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

Bully for the 10-year-old on making it as far as she did.

Which is a lot farther than most of us would've gotten.

Especially me.

And I'm a good speller.

When I was a seventh-grader at St. Gabriel's School in Brooklyn, N.Y., I won the school spelling bee and represented it at the citywide contest sponsored by Scripps.

I think I advanced into the second round, but I'll never forget the word I missed on and sent me home.


I spelled it inaugeral.

Never mis-spelled that word again.

You can bet Anissa will never mis-spell cytolysis again, either.