Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sheriff's budget boost reasonable request

Another 10 bucks a year?

If that’s what it costs Manatee County homeowners like us to maintain the reassuring presence of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, it’s a deal.

Friday’s 5-2 vote by the Manatee County Commission to tentatively approve another $2 million in funding for Sheriff Brad Steube to hire 20 additional deputies wasn’t what I’d call a slam dunk.

Not in a time or place where the words “tax increase” are political poison.

Our commissioners are politicians, afterall.

But when it comes to public safety, it’s not something you can affix to a dollar sign.

How could they not vote for the proposal when the numbers in the sheriff’s requested increase were so reasonable?

It’s less than $1 a month.

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Irish eyes will smile on pastor's 70th

Pastor Joe Connolly will be celebrating his Big 7-0 in style.
The good padre at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs is off to Ireland next week with a tour group for about 11 days.
Among the places they’ll visit are Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Killarney, Galway, Sligo, Derry and Belfast.
“It is NOT a party tour,” joked Father [Note] cq [/NOTE] Joe, whose ancestors came from County Cork, Galway and Tipperary. posted an amusing item of interest for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and his family.
Although the long-anticipated trade to bring the Arizona Cardinals cornerback and Lakewood Ranch High grad to the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t happen until Thursday, the Eagles’ website included Rodgers-Cromartie’s name among its players jerseys for sale on Wednesday.
It was later taken down.

That wily ol’ stork is en route for Kelly and Mike Appalucci in Marlton, N.J.
Kelly, a Palmetto High alum and former DeSoto Queen, is expecting a boy.
First-time grands Dennis and Mary Stinson can hardly wait.
Condolences to 106.5CTQ’s Maverick Johnson, whose dad just passed from cancer. Outside of David Jones and Christina Crane, the popular Morning Crew at 107.9 WSRZ, there is no other radio personality who so strongly identifies with our community.

Condolences to 106.5CTQ’s Maverick Johnson, whose dad just passed from cancer. Outside of David Jones and Christina Crane, the popular Morning Crew at 107.9 WSRZ, there is no other radio personality who so strongly identifies with our community.

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How not to use your weed wacker

My plan was to cut the lawn Wednesday evening before my wife got home, but rain scotched those good intentions.

Just as well.

After cutting the lawn after work a week ago, I'd spent a few hours in Saturday's brutal heat and humidity edging and weed wacking and trimming around the yard and that was an ordeal.

It didn't help that I almost took off my left ankle.

Well, it felt like it, anyway.

Our weed wacker is electric and I have to hook it up with an extension cord.

Which is what I was doing early in my chores Saturday.

I had the weed wacker near my feet, which should've been no big deal except I was wearing flip flops instead of the usual sneakers for yard work.

Bad move.

When I plugged the extension cord into the handle, I inadvertently tripped the trigger and the business end of the weed wacker started whipping at my left heel.


It was one of those moments where you're going --- did I just do what I think I did?

The blood was proof.

I limped into the house to administer first aid when my wife walked in and saw my ankle.

Don't ask, I said.

Talk about feeling stupid?

I still managed to get everything done, before calling it a day.

Cutting the grass can wait --- with my sneakers and socks on, for sure.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Bosox tickets suitable for framing, indeed

The frame on the office wall contains a collage with a photo of Tim Connors, a pal and two tickets from Fenway Park.

Not just any tickets, understand.

Tickets to one of the 2007 ALCS games between the Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians.

How Connors got them is cool.

Wheelchair bound and battling cerebral palsy, the 34-year-old Boston native is the program and advocacy coordinator for the Suncoast Center for Independent Living in Sarasota.

The day of that particular game, Connors and a pal wondered if they could get tickets.

Of course, the game was sold out.

But Connors, who knows the nuances of the Americans with Disabilities Act, had an idea.

He'd handled football tickets and parking at Doak Campbell Stadium for fans with disabilities when he was got his masters in sports administration at FSU a couple of years before.

"It is sold out, but they have to keep some tickets for people with disabililties," Connors remembered telling his pal and fellow Bosox fan. "I did that at FSU."

So they went to Fenway, got the tickets and watched the Bosox who would eventually win the seven-game ALCS 4-3 en route to their 2007 World Series championship.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

NFL lockout jeopardizing Sunday rest at our house

Will Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie be wearing Philadelphia Eagles' midnight green?

Sunday is a day of rest at our house.

It’s what I believe, anyway.

My wife believes otherwise.

Somehow Saturday’s “Honey Do’s” always manage to spill over to the following day, as well.

Which is why I wish the NFL would settle its lockout once and for all and get this football season going.

There are other reasons, of course.

Like not having to look at Cowboy owner Jerry Jones’s stone face every five minutes on ESPN.

Or finding out which NFL team grabs ex-Bayshore Bruin Fabian Washington, a free agent cornerback.

Or seeing whether Lakewood Ranch High alum Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie gets traded to my Philadelphia Eagles.

After sporting sweet-looking Arizona Cardinal jerseys the last three years, his family could be rocking the cornerback’s No. 29 in midnight green.

Me, too.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A lament over passing of a mentor

When I moved here 13 years ago, two women made it a point to tell me about Bradenton.
One was Rona Livingston.
Along with best friend and fellow MHS Drill Teamer Helen Eason, Rona educated me about their hometown’s culture and character — its characters, too — and caring nature as a community.
Just days after celebrating her 76th birthday, Rona passed on July 10 and I feel her family’s loss.
I am indebted to Rona Livingston.

Uh, oh! City of Bradenton Fire Chief Chuck Edwards is one year shy of the Big 5-0!

Big ups to sisters Lindsay and Ashley Lane.
Lindsay graduated from Alabama-Birmingham with a masters in public health. Ashley graduated with a bachelors in design and management from Parsons New School of Design in New York.
Their folks Vicki and Pat Cunningham and Bob Lane are proud — and happy to finally have them both out of school!

Northwest Baptist Church hosts Christmas in July for 16 homeless children from Bradenton’s Salvation Army family shelter at 11 a.m. July 31. Clothing, school supplies and toiletries are needed.
Call Sylvia Hafling at 761-2832.

Gillian Palino will have some great stories to share with classmates when school resumes for the Southeast IB sophomore.
She spent 20 days this summer as a student ambassador with the People to People in Europe program. Among the places she visited were the Roman Coliseum, Vatican City and Venice, the Konzerhaus Concert Hall in Vienna, as well as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Read more in Vin's People at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What will Acosta do with his life?

What does John Acosta do now?

That's a question on a lot of minds after the 27-year-old's release from prison Sunday.

Acosta was incarcerated for manslaughter, the tragic result of an after-school fight on Oct. 18, 2001 during which fellow Manatee High student James Brier died from a blow that ruptured an artery in the back of his  neck.

A decade has gone by, yet feelings remain strong in the community about what happened that awful day, as is evident in today's story by Richard Dymond.

Brier, 16, was well thought of by classmates.

Acosta, 17, had a reputation in school as a bully.

Regardless, no one could have foreseen the fight turning deadly.

One young life ended.

The other, changed in a severe way.

Acosta served more than eight years --- eight years he will never get back.

He went to prison a teenager and came out as an adult.

Hopefully, a wiser one.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ware's Creek brimming with silt, surprises

This Ware’s Creek dredging project just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?

Governments have risen and fallen, civilizations have arrived and vanished and wars have been fought and lost in the time it’s taken to close this deal and start digging.

It was going to start in June.

Now it’s August.

Or September.

Then there are some minor details that have come to light of late.

Like finding out that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will only be dredging 37,000 cubic yards of mud, silt and who knows whatever else that has clogged Ware’s Creek for years and years.

It’s not remotely close to what Manatee County government officials had anticipated.

Try 200,000 cubic yards.

That’s a difference of almost 160,000 cubic yards of slop.

You know the old expression: Close enough for government work?

Don’t think that’s going to fly here.

Read more in Sunday's Mannix About Manatee on