Thursday, May 31, 2012

Here's to our graduates young and old(er)

Big ups to Barry Brooks.
A West Manatee Fire & Rescue battalion chief and Manatee Technical Institute Fire Academy instructor, Brooks recently earned his masters degree in public administration from Barry University.
Brooks joined the department in 1990.

If you’re headed to Anna Maria Island and the beach, consider giving blood to assist some good causes in an annual fundraiser 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at St. Bernard’s Church, 248 S. Harbor Dr., Holmes Beach.
Among the nonprofits participating are the AMI Community Center, AMI Privateers, West Manatee Fire & Rescue Volunteers and Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation, Inc.

River Club’s Nicolas Juliano recently graduated from The Goddard School.
Parents Frank and Paddi and sister Isabella are so proud.

Help send Manatee High’s senior-to-be Sugar ‘Canes to New York City’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
All you have to do is visit and save the discount coupon for Sunday at Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar, 801 Riverside Dr. E., Bradenton.
A portion of the proceeds will go toward the trip.
Sugar ‘Canes Whitney Barnes, Cierra Cydrus, Brianna DiTommaso, Alessandra Krause, Elly Kretchman, Margarida Phelan and Rachel Schmitt will be at Tarpon Pointe to perform at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lincoln quote on Grant still a good one

One of my favorite Civil War anecdotes was blown away Tuesday evening.
Jeff Shaara did it.
Funny part is, I enjoyed it and the audience who came to hear the acclaimed author at the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee's Selby Auditorium got a laugh out of it, too.
Shaara came from his Tallahassee home to talk about his new book, "A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh."
It's his third Civil War book, following "Gods and Generals" and "Last Full Measure," and the first of a trilogy that will continue with Vicksburg and then Sherman's march to the sea.
Shaara was animated and entertaining during the evening, illuminating corners of Civil War history many of the audience did not know about.
He also shattered a few myths.
Like the one about Abe Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
The president had been frustrated by a succession of generals whose caution in battle allowed the war to drag on and on.
Then Grant reversed that trend, much to Lincoln's pleasure.
As the story goes, a skeptical aide remarked to the president that Grant was still a drunk.
Lincoln's response?
“Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks," he is supposed to have said. "I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
Shaara said it's not true.
This is a man who has read and researched more about the Civil War than probably most Americans.
So I won't argue.
Still, it's a good story.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Engraved words resonate Memorial Day

"Call Out Our Name As The Years Go By. Remember Us And We Shall Never Die."

The haunting words are engraved in the war memorial on the northeast side of the Green Bridge.
They are a daily reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice dating back to World War I.
The inscription resonates for Memorial Day.
So do similar epitaphs of solemn tribute found on monuments and headstones wherever kith and kin are gathering throughout our community.
Whether it’s on the sweeping grounds of Sarasota National Cemetery, Bradenton’s historic Fogartyville Cemetery, or a little country graveyard in Parrish where mighty live oaks stand sentinel.

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Saturday salute for Lincoln Memorial alums

Lincoln Middle School will be the setting of a mighty gathering Saturday.
Lincoln Memorial High alumni will honor six distinguished former Trojans, who have earned a place in various halls of fame and will be duly honored for their accomplishments.
They are:
Raymond Bellamy -- University of Miami Hall of Fame.
Waite Bellamy -- National Negro High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Marvin Clemons -- Eckerd College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Henry Lawrence -- Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Neil "Chip" Nelson -- National Negro High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Eddie Shannon -- Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
The fun begins at 5 p.m. at the Lincoln Middle cafeteria.
Tickets are $5.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Marty the Marauder wants your vote!

Vote for Marty the Marauder!, minor league baseball’s website, is holding Mascot Mania for fans to vote for their favorite minor league mascot.
For us there is only one — Marty the Marauder.
He’s in the South region against the likes of Conrad the Crawdad (Hickory, N.C., Crawdads.), Gnate the Gnat (Savannah, Ga., Sand Gnats) and Tennessee Tex (Greenville, Tenn., Astros).
Bet none of them can bust a move like Marty the Marauder.
Round 1’s voting deadline is May 29 with the final round June 15-18.
Vote early. Vote often.

Amvets Post 301’s new officers are commander Stacy Rhodes, first vice-commander Dave Wilson, second vice-commander Darren Miller, finance officer Gil Craig and trustees Ron Richardson, Marty Cucura and Dan Bannister.

Manatee High senior McKinna Anderson received a nice early graduation present.
Mark and Joanie’s daughter made the University of SouthFlorida’s cheerleading team.
McKinna was undaunted by some considerable odds, competing against USF squad members, USF students and transfers, as well as other incoming freshmen, too.
Guess we know where Team Anderson will be spending a lot of Saturday nights the next four football seasons.

Sunday’s visit to Sarasota National Cemetery will be moving for WCTQ’s Maverick Johnson. He’s master of ceremonies for the Memorial Day service at the cemetery — the first since the passing of his father, Denis Cooper, who is also buried there. A Marine helicopter crew chief in Vietnam, Cooper died last July.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Once was an easier way to build a ballfield

The fuss over how to get ballfields for North River American Little League is never ending.
You've got the City of Palmetto.
You've got the Manatee County Commission.
You've got the lawyers.
Aaah, yes.
If only things were as uncomplicated as they were when folks on Anna Maria Island rallied to build their Little League field out of bricks, concrete, steel and community teamwork.
It was back in the 1950s and the field was adjacent to AMI's original school, now the Anna Maria Island Community Center.
With the blessing of J. Hartley Blackburn, then superintendent of schools, people got to work building a ballpark for the kids.
According to the Herald archives of the late Tony Conboy, numerous AMI families pitched in and made a regular party of the fundraising and heavy lifting to bring the project to completion.
The Van Ostenbridges and Hutchinsons were but a few of them.
Ben Scanio Sr. contributed $5,000 -- a fortune back in those days -- and his "scrounging" ability to boot.
He managed to get hold of the steel from the Ringling Brothers Circus. The railings were fashioned out of the bars from lion cages. The towering poles that formed the backstop were from the circus big top.
Scanio loved telling folks how those poles, beams and bars had been all around the world before settling in Anna Maria.
Among those who also worked on the ballfield were major leaguers Warren Spahn and Fred Hutchinson on the heavy equipment.
The fruit of everyone's labor was Scanio-Hutchinson Field.
It was a memorial to Ben's son and namesake, who died in an auto accident, and to Hutchinson, the former Detroit Tiger pitcher and Cincinnati Reds manager who died in 1964 at the age of 45 from lung cancer.
The ballfield, modernized since then, is still there, a testament to how things got done in much simpler times.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kirby Stewart's Memorial Day tribute

Many will be our Memorial Day events.
A parade in Lakewood Ranch.
A ceremony at Sarasota National Cemetery honoring Patrick Lay, killed in Afghanistan last August.
A procession to the gravesite of one of Bradenton's beloved sons: Kirby Stewart.
On May 28 American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24's Honor Guard and Legion Riders as well as other Legion organizations will conduct a procession to a memorial service at Stewart's gravesite in Fogartyville Cemetery.
They will pay homage to a man who is a Bradenton legend and was cheated by fate of becoming a national hero.
Stewart, a second lieutenant, was killed October 1918 in France during World War I, leading an attack against a German position.
Instead, another man under his command, Cpl. Alvin York, took that handful of soldiers to victory against staggering odds, capturing more than 100 German officers and soldiers.
Stewart, 27, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and received a big funeral attended by hundreds if not thousands in 1921.
York, 30, received a Medal of Honor and joined the pantheon of America’s war heroes.
Devout and modest, York spurned many endorsement opportunities, but used his renown and the proceeds from his biography and the 1941 movie “Sergeant York” — Gary Cooper played York and won an Oscar for Best Actor — to start schools for poor Tennessee mountain children like himself.
York died in 1964 at the age of 76 and is buried in Pall Mall, Tenn.
At Post 24's 90th anniversary three years ago, commandant Len Sirotzki said, "Most people don’t know or understand that had Kirby not been killed, there never would’ve been a Sgt. York story."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ballfields way overdue for North River

The first pitch was a half-hour away the other evening and the ballplayers were awestruck.
The North River American Little League Marauders, all 8-10-year-olds, could not believe their eyes when they saw the ballfields at Lakewood Ranch Park the other evening.
"A couple of kids said, ‘Coach, look at the grass on the infields. Look at the bullpens. Look at the dugouts,’" Derek Goforth recalled. "Then they said, ‘How come we don’t have nice fields like this?’"
That must’ve killed Goforth, who’s also the Little League president.
It’s a tough question without an easy answer.
Not one Goforth can say to young ears.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Delaney among select Army honorees

Bob Delaney will be in good company May 23. The Lakewood Ranch resident and former NBA referee is among the Outstanding Civilian Service Award Repients being honored by the Army in Arlington, Va. Two others are New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. Delaney has done extensive work with troops on post traumatic stress disorder.

Grandma Joan Shirey wants to brag about granddaugher Elizabeth Shirey, a new Braden River High National Honor Society inductee and varsity soccer flash.

Palmetto High’s new Dazzlers Dance Team includes captains Kalisha Clemons, Jakaiya Johnson, Chelsea Miller, Lindsey Rushnell and Cheyenne Thurman as well as Shaquira Anderson, Erykah Bazan, Brooke Bentley, Brittany Bhooshan, Krysten Bhooshan, Terri Chism, Victoria Freymann, Shira Greene, Jataria Moore, Amber Perry, Jasmin Perry, Taicha Parillo, Hayley Safko, Ayriell Sanders, Brittany “Jenday” Smith, Jaclyn Stocksdale and Annaliese Winston. The coaches are Tafara Callaway and Shea Whidden.

Deputy Chief Robert Permane retired after 30 years with Cedar Hammock Fire Rescue.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bash set for Lincoln High hall of famers

Lincoln Memorial High School alumni will be strutting their stuff a week from Saturday.
They’re hosting a celebration to honor the accomplishments of six distinguished former Trojans, now in various athletic halls of fame.
They are:
Raymond Bellamy — University of Miami Hall of Fame.
Waite Bellamy — National Negro High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Marvin Clemons — Eckerd College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Henry Lawrence — Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Neil "Chip" Nelson — National Negro High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Eddie Shannon — Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
The bash is at 5 p.m. May 26 in Lincoln Middle's cafeteria.
Admission is $5.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Band' suspension no surprise, still a shock

No Florida A&M University Marching 100 until 2013.
At least.
Monday's announcement comes as no surprise, given the grim details that have emanated from the ongoing investigation into the marching band's hazing culture after the death of a drum major last year.
Yet it still has to be a shock to the band's legion of fans.
That includes yours truly.
I first saw the Marching 100 perform in Delray Beach in 1995 and loved it.
Then we went to Tampa last Septemberto watch them perform at the FAMU-USF game at Raymond James Stadium.
We didn't care about the game.
It was the band we wanted to see.
In fact, our seats were just a few rows behind where FAMU's band was sitting.
Not only did we get to enjoy one of their rollicking halftime shows, we were able to hear them play throughout the game.
Two months later, drum major Robert Champion died of injuries he allegedly suffered from hazing after FAMU's annual showdown with Bethune-Cookman at the Citrus Bowl.
Eleven band members face felony charges in that November hazing death.
The subsequent revelations about the physical punishment involved in the hazing rituals have been stunning and baffling.
What is the point?
I don't get it.
It's also been revealed more than 100 bandmembers weren't even enrolled at FAMU when the incident took place --- including three bandmembers charged in Champion's death.
It's right the Marching 100 program should be suspended until further notice.
A young man's life was taken.
The multipronged investigation into those circumstances, the band's finances, its infrastructure and the program's direction is vitally important if the marching band is to have a future.
This is a dire situation that must be straightened out.
It's not just a FAMU institution at stake.
It's an American institution.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day brings reflection for family

My sister Maureen was amidst raising her three boys out in Oregon.
First there was Kevin, then Patrick and finally Brendan.
Great Irish names.
Anyway, Mo had just gone through another row with her brawling brood when she said something that resonates still.
Especially on Mother’s Day.
Her words, I’m sure, made our sainted mother howl in heaven:
"I don’t know how Mommy didn’t strangle all of us."
Hear, hear.
She certainly had her hands full with me — even though I’ve always thought I was a good kid.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two new Marines from Manatee County

Among the folks honored April 27 at Westminster Tower & Shores Centenarian Celebration were Lida Ferguson,Wilma Blazek,Viola Johnson, Mabel Holliday,Mabel Bowen, Marge Regner,Josephine Saenger and Marie Landon.

James Eason, a 2011 Palmetto High grad, and Nathan Haberer, a 2010 Braden River grad, finished Marine basic training and graduate Friday from Parris Island, S.C.
Eason’s parents Pam and Tim and sister Lindsey and Haberer’s parents Robert and Stacey and brother Ben are proud.

Jim (Kern) Edwards, husband Ryan and their families will be playing catch up Friday.
Married last November, the couple had no reception or celebration because Ryan was leaving for Air Force basic training.
So they’ll celebrate the wedding, his graduation and their departure for New Mexico and Holloman AFB.

Babs Warren is retiring after 42 years in local banking. Husband Dennis’s honey-do list just got a whole lot longer. Cheers from daughter Luci Hartmann.

A month ago Shake Pit’s marquee bore a message from a young lad asking a young lady to Manatee High’s prom.
Devan Pearson will be taking Alessandra Kraus to Saturday night’s bash with a possible stop at Shake Pit on the way.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Manatee mini-reunion in nation's capital

It is a small world, all right.
Just ask Mary Jane Shiplett.
The Manatee County High Class of ‘51 alum was among a contingent of Bradenton folks who were visiting Washington, D.C., last week during a five-day tour.
On Saturday they visited the World War II Memorial where she and pal Pat Russell heard a marching band.
So they went over to check it out.
“I thought, hmmm, those uniforms look awfully familiar,” Shiplett said.
Russell thought so, too.
“I think that’s Manatee High,” she said. “Why, it is Manatee High.”
Sure enough, it was the Marching Canes performing at the Memorial as part of their own four-day tour of the nation's capital.
“We were clapping and carrying on like a bunch of kids,” Shiplett said. “To go that far and see them. Such a proud moment.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday morning meeting with a crane

Ever get stared down by a sandhill crane?
Didn't think so.
It happened to me Monday morning.
I was more than halfway through my thrice-weekly, hour-long walk, heading west along the north side of Tallevast Road when the staredown took place.
There the critter was, standing on the grass inside the sidewalk and looking right at me.
Not just looking, but taking a few long strides in my direction.
What was up with this?
I kept walking and thinking this critter -- a male sandhill crane I assume -- was acting like I'm invading its turf.
Turned out I was.
I glanced to my right and, lo and behold, there was another adult sandhill crane -- the mama --and beneath were two chicks scurrying along the grass.
So I hurried past the feathered family, giving them all the room they'd need.
As I drove to work a little while later, I looked over and the cranes and chicks were still there, grubbing in the grass.
Up ahead were an older couple heading east on their morning walk.
Watch out, folks, I said to myself as I drove on.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Commissioner's sacrifice counters criticism

The photo shows a young pilot and his jet fighter, its fuselage punctured with holes big and small.
A caption reads: “I’ve been shot at by professionals.”
The pilot is Larry Bustle.
His words referred to North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun crews who kept trying to kill him during the Vietnam War.
They don’t allude to the recent sniping of some of Bustle’s fellow Manatee County commissioners.
Their words may sting, but they’re not lethal.
Nor is their aim as good.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Blue Pickles new softball champions

Big ups to the Falkner Farms Blue Pickles, newly crowned Miss Manatee 8-Under division and tournament champions at Lakewood Ranch. They are Ella Branham, Delany Falkner, Jillian Herbst, Leah James, Brooke James, Ryen Knauer, Kimberly Koelsch, Riley O’Neill, Hannah Ott, Valeria Pankey and Faith Ross.

Grandma Gaye Gibbons and great grandma Fran Ferrill brag on Haiely Williams’s induction into Southeast High’s National Honor Society.

Yvonne and Slip Markiewicz and their supporters have teamed up for the second annual Walk for Lupus Now Sunday at Lowrey Park Zoo. Yvonne has battled lupus for six years. Publix folks raised $700 with a car wash behind the Westgate store where Slip is grocery manager. Tonight there’s also a drawing at 7:30 p.m. at Gecko’s, 4310 State Road 64 East. Proceeds go the Lupus Foundation of America.

Manatee High’s Class of 1987 is planning its 25th reunion. Contact Kacey Thibodeau Bloski at or 941-812-1362.

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