Friday, June 29, 2012

Hurricane season: Choosing your poison

Waterlogged roads. Eroded beaches. Wrecked boats. People rescued from flooded homes.
This was only from a tropical storm?
The images of the damage left in Tropical Storm Debby’s considerable wake definitely got our attention last week.
That goes especially for folks around our community who are still clearing debris from uprooted trees, big plants and such off of their inundated properties.
I’ve always said better rain than a hurricane, but after four straight days of Debby’s deluge I’m not so flippant anymore.
Our dilemma as Floridians is which poison do you choose?
A quick hitter like Hurricane Charley in 2004?
Or a slow soaker like we just endured?

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, June 28, 2012

White Coat Ceremy at Manatee Memorial

Big ups to the 14 new medical school graduates taking part in today’s White Coat Ceremony at Manatee Memorial Hospital where they will begin a three-year residency.
In family medicine, they are: Dr. Krista Dowdell, New Milford, Conn.; Dr. Christina Henry, Chennai, India; Dr. Caroline Jackson, Metairie, La.; Dr. Allison Koss, Indianapolis, Ind.
In internal medicine, they are: Dr. Joel Baker, Key West; Dr. Henry Chen, Hengchun, Taiwan; Dr. Amy Chung, Taipei, Taiwan; Dr. Felix Grudsky, Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Traditional rotating interns are: Dr. Lauren Fraser, Atlanta; Dr. Dylan Mercury, Miami; Dr. Steven Moylan, Waukegan, Ill.; Dr. Sabine Nguyen, Vienna, Austria; Dr. Sadiq Mirza, Aurora, Ill.; Dr. Courtney Thomas, Aurora, Ill.

Ex-Southeast Seminole Mike Suchy’s 14th-inning walkoff homer led the Willmar (Minn.) Stingers to a 7-6 win over Rochester in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league with teams in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Ontario.
Mike plays at Florida Gulf Coast University.

That wily ol’ stork is nearing its final approach for Carlee and Vince Colonneso. Children Joey and Serafina will get a baby brother, Nicholas, in August. The proud grands are Betty and Paul Chambliss and Millie and Jim Colonneso.

Hilary Smith and Alex Kahn say “I do” Saturday aboard a cruise ship in Port of Tampa and then sail off on their Caribbean honeymoon.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Skyway, Debby make for early trip to TIA

Here's a Tropical Storm Debby story with a happy ending.
Parrish residents Rosina and John McFadden's son, daughter-in-law and their three children were going to Alaska Wednesday and had a 9 a.m. flight out of Tampa International Airport.
Problem was the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Would it be open?
Or would it be closed, as it had been since Sunday afternoon?
Should they give the bridge a shot?
Or take the long way around I-75?
Rosina called 511 Tuesday night to find out the bridge's status.
The bridge was closed when she made the call, but got no further information.
Then she called again at 4 a.m.
Still no announcement about the bridge.
So rather than take any chances, her husband left home at 5:15 a.m. to rendezvous with the family, who'd left their Siesta Key home at 4:45 a.m.
They tried the bridge and -- eureka! -- it was open for business.
The family made it to TIA in plenty of time.
Try 6:30 a.m.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Changing planes in Atlanta blessing for a change

Maybe you've heard the line, "When you die and go to Heaven, you've got to stop in Atlanta first"?
If you've never, ever had to change planes at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, you are in rare company.
Well, flying back from Milwaukee Sunday after a college reunion, my wife and I were anxious to reach Atlanta to find out what the heck awaited us on the second leg of the trip down to SRQ.
Because of Tropical Storm Debby, we weren't sure there was going to be a second leg.
We were watching updates all Saturday and early Sunday on Weather Channel, plus getting telephone updates from my in-laws who live near SRQ.
Given what we saw and heard, I was anticipating spending Sunday night in an Atlanta hotel.
No way they're going to be flying in to SRQ in all that.
So when we finally landed in Atlanta and happened upon the gate for the second flight nearby, we were almost in disbelief.
We were expecting one of those repeating "FLIGHT DELAYED" digital messages.
The departure time was for 4:41 p.m. and it was stayed like that.
We even went up to the gate attendants just to be sure.
No delays?
They gave us a look as if to say, "Uh, you can read, right?"
Sure enough, the flight left on time and we had an uneventful trip down, even flying over the cloud-covered Gulf coast without much turbulence.
It was raining and gusting when we landed at SRQ, but that's what we expected.
Just being back home was a good feeling.
Now if Tropical Storm Debby would just be on its way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Charity bartending tonight at Oyster Bar Landside

Not doing anything tonight and want to help a great cause?
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is hosting a charity bartending gig tonight at Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside, 6906 14th St. W., Bradenton.
It runs from 5:30 p.m. 'til 8 p.m.
Just a $5 donation covers light bites and all tips and donations benefit the ACS Relay for Life.
Among the guest bartenders will be yours truly.
Call 941-328-3774 for more details.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Heard the one about the flying snake?

It never fails to amuse me who or what I might run into during my thrice-weekly one-hour walk around our neighborhood.
There's the usual.
Friendly dogs.
Unfriendly dogs.
Friendly people.
Not-so-friendly people.
Cattle that watch as you walk by their pasture.
Squirrels, squirrels and more squirrels.
There's the unusual, too.
Like being stared down by a sandhill crane while its mate and their baby forage behind it.
Or something really cool like spotting two adolescent bald eagles.
Then there's the flying snake.
Happened this morning.
Wasn't any tree snake, either.
There were no trees around.
I was heading east near the subdivision opposite Kinnan Elementary School and heard voices in a backyard behind the wall that separates the development from Tallevast Road.
Next thing I know --- zip! --- this object flies right over my head and --- whap! --- lands smack on the street.
It was a black snake.
Stunned at first, it finally started slithering back toward the sidewalk.
Alas, it never made it.
A car got it first.
As I proceeded home I thought if had I been a foot taller, I might've ended up with a live neck tie.
What a way to start the week that would've been, eh?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Palmetto grad now Air Force lieutenant

A salute to Jordan Baker, newly commissioned second
lieutenant who completed officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala. Jordan and wife Amber are stationed in Colorado Springs at Peterson AFB, where he’s a developmental engineer. The Palmetto High alum was a University of South Florida magna cum laude graduate in electrical engineering. Parents Phillip and Dianna and brothers Joel and Jeremy are proud.

The Hats of Harmony Hat Show, an annual fashion extravaganza and fundraiser, is 5 p.m. Saturday at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 525 Ninth Ave. E., Bradenton. Donation is $15.
Call Shirley Brewer at 941-224-3590 or Camille Searles at 941-526-5278.

Ed Stanley spent his career in the airline industry, but never jumped out of an airplane.
Until now.
He’ll celebrate his 87th birthday Saturday freefalling 12,000 feet over Skydive City in Zephyrhills.

Jalyn Thompson not only aced the FCAT and won 10 awards including the Principal’s Award at Myakka Elementary’s graduation, but the 11-year-old had perfect attendance since first grade. Parents Jada and Jason, brother James and the Thompson, Cooper and Morris families are all proud.

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Fundraiser for employee at Woody's River Roo

Woody's River Roo is trying to help one of its own and asks its public to join in for a worthy cause.
The popular drinkery at 5717 18th St. E., Ellenton, is hosting "For Her Eyes Only," a fundraiser for friend and employee Lynn Kaplan, who faces a new struggle.
The two-time cancer survivor has been diagnosed with severe cataracts and without treatment she risks losing her eyesight.
Lynn has to meet a deductible projected at $10,000 to get the procedure, hence the Roo fundraiser to help offset this considerable debt.
The event is 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.
There will be raffles for door prizes, live music and more to celebrate a remarkable woman and support her in this latest fight.
For more details, call Corey or Melissa at 941-722-2391

Monday, June 11, 2012

Unspeakably sad start to summer vacation

An 11-year-old boy dies after Saturday night's accident on State Road 70 in Lakewood Ranch.
A 5-year-old girl drowns Monday afternoon in a subdivision retention pond in Bradenton.
A heartbreaking start to summer vacation for their families and friends and our community.
What happened in the crash that also took two adults lives and injured two children was difficult to comprehend.
How is it the one truck driver was driving the wrong way down SR 70 before colliding with the other truck, killing him, the other driver and the boy?
It's not a two-lane country road, but a major six-lane thoroughfare with a median strip.
Did something happen to that wrong-way driver like a stroke? Or heart attack?
Or was alcohol involved?
We'll know in due time.
Sadly, it won't allay the grief felt by loved ones.
The grief of the little girl's family must be overwhelming, too.
How did that happen?
Did she fall into the pond?
Did she want to get her feet wet on a hot day?
The last her father saw of her, the little girl was playing on their patio.
A neighbor tried in vain to find her in time after he dove into the pond.
The child was eventually found by Manatee County Sheriff's Office divers in seven feet of water.
Two children dead within 48 hours.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cub Scout receives Arrow of Light

Prine Elementary fifth-grader Hayden Palino received the Arrow of Light award from Boy Scouts of America — the highest award a Cub Scout can get.
He’s with Troop 64.
Judy and George are proud.

Southeast High’s Matt Cuffaro, Dorothea Hopkins, Iris Lopez, Mallory Robinson and Kevin Thielen collaborated for fifth place in their 50-team division of the Odyssey of the Mind World Competition at Iowa State University.
The Noles qualified for the event with their second-place finish at state.

ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Neghandi, former sports director at Channel 7, and wife Monica named their first bundle of love, Brandon.

Looks like our man Marty the Marauder lost out to Gnate the Gnat, the Savannah (Ga.) Sand Gnats mascot, in the second round of’s Mascot Mania online contest. Maybe next year.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's future hold for DeSoto Square Mall?

What's going to happen to DeSoto Square Mall?
Reports that an unidentified buyer plans to convert it and renovate it into a discount oriented shopping center make me wonder.
If the Simon Property Group Inc., the world's largest owner of shopping malls, can't make a go of it, can our town's mall be saved?
Hope so.
My philosophy about shopping is to go somewhere convenient, get what I want and go.
I've been to the Walmarts and Targets and such around the area, but DeSoto Square Mall has always fit the bill.
Like for the $1.50 movie theater.
Got my share of CDs.
Bought some Hawaiian shirts.
Met friends for lunch at the food court many a time.
I've also got some sentimental connections to the ol' mall.
Selected Sherri's engagement ring there and we went back for our wedding bands, as well.
We even got a couple of jackets and slacks for me --- definitely a first!
Also purchased some home appliances there.
Word is the new owner will try to bring in stores like Costco, Big Lots and Tuesday Morning as part of its discount shopping mall strategy, a concept that has taken root across the country.
What that means for the mall's anchor stores --- i.e., Macy's, JC Penney and Sears --- remains to be seen.
The closing for the new owner is expected to be at month's end.
Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hurricane? Railway Tavern here we come!

Just received an email from the Herald's human resources department.
With the onset of another hurricane season, we're being asked once again to fill out an "employee locator form."
In essence, the bosses want to know where we plan to be in the event of a hurricane.
I always like to have a little fun with it.
Especially when I get to this part:
Where will you go if told to evacuate?
Location (if known): Railway Tavern, County Kerry, Ireland.
Contact person: Michael O'Neill.
If only was a way to just jump on a jet and fly straight there until things blow over.
I've written about the place a number of times.
Several folks around town have visited the Irish pub and told me how much they enjoyed it.
Great traditional Irish music sessions Sunday afternoons.
A beautiful view overlooking Tralee Bay, even in the rain.
Dingle's just down the road.
Best of all, a funloving owner whose beard makes him look like one of the boys in ZZ Top.
That's Michael O'Neill.
We're planning on visiting him and the Railway Tavern again soon.
Hurricane or otherwise.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Keep an eye on horizon and website, too

First thing I look for on the computer every morning is sports stuff.,, and so forth.
I didn’t do it today.
Since it was the first day of hurricane season, I punched up:, instead.
It’s the National Hurricane Center website.
I figured I’d better get back in the habit and make sure nothing was brewing out there.
Bet Jacksonville area folks didn’t expect a surprise visit by Tropical Storm Beryl over Memorial Day weekend, right?
Anyway, the NHC website message was reassuring.
"No tropical cyclones at this time," it read in white letters spread over a dark blue map of the Atlantic Basin.
If only it stays that way through Dec. 1.
Fat chance.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on