Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympics take center stage on our TV

Sunday night is usually movie night in our household.
Not last night.
Can you say, O-l-y-m-p-i-c-s?
'Twas my wife's choice and given how many times I've monopolized the remote -- Sherri will say all the time -- I was cool with it.
The main attraction was the USA's women's gymnastics competition, an event that is my wife's favorite every Olympiad.
She's also big on synchronized diving and swimming, too.
If I have any preference it's track and field, but I'll wait for it.
Anyway, as we watched the young women leap, twist and soar we found ourselves swept up in the beauty of the event.
It was even a bit nervewracking as they flipped and flew back and forth on the uneven parallel bars.
We also got a kick out of NBC's camera shot of gymnast's Aly Raissman's parents, Lynn and Rick, going through contortions in their seats while watching their daughter do her thing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was seeing Jordyn Wieber, the world champion and gold medal favorite, cry after failing to qualify for the all-around competition.
Yes, it's still a game, but you had to sympathize with someone who devoted years of her life for this opportunity, only to be outperformed by two teammates.
Absolutely, we'll be tuned in again Monday night.
Except to watch "Closer," of course.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coaching gig, Disney beckon Team Brown

Former Manatee Hurricane Stan Brown is the new offensive coordinator for Celebration High School in Kissimmee.
He coached Saint Stephen’s two seasons and served two seasons under Bradenton Christian’s Allan Gerber.
Stan’s definitely got his work cut out for him.
The Storm -- winless last season and 19-64 all-time -- is starting fresh under its fourth head coach. Celebration is also in Class 7A, District 6 with perennial state power Kissimmee Osceola.
He and wife Charissa are house-hunting with their team Brooklyn, 6, Baylee, 3, and Bowden, 1, but he knows they’ll adapt to their new surroundings nicely.
“Disney’s only 10 minutes away and we’ve got annual passes, so they’ll be there a bunch,” he said.

Congrats to Chrissy and Glenn Fagan Jr. on their July 14 nuptials at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Chrissy is a Publix cashier in Tampa while Glenn’s in Army ROTC at the University of South Florida and graduates in December. The couple will honeymoon on a Caribbean cruise in August.

A bow to Pastor Joe Connolly. The good padre at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs just celebrated his 50th anniversary as a Franciscan friar.

Big ups to Lauren Pierce. The Manatee School for the Arts Heat senior earned All-American and Top Gun honors at a recent three-day National Dance Alliance camp at Rollins College.
She’ll also represent MSA at the 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Southeast's Class of '82 reunion this weekend

If you're a Southeast High School alum from the Class of 1982, your fellow 'Noles have got some cool events planned this weekend.
It's your 30th reunion!
The fun starts 6:30 p.m. Friday at Palmetto's Bella Mia Grill, 102 Riviera Dunes Way.
Festivities resume 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Rosedale Golf and Country Club, 5100 87th St. E., Bradenton.
Reservations are required.
Contact Cindy Denison at or call 941-238-0622.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Baggage wait can't ruin vacation buzz

Everything was going smoothly last Saturday.
Too smoothly it turned out.
Sherri and I were returning to B'town from a relaxing week at Surf City, N.J., a regular July
destination for Team Mannix.
Got the rental car to Philadelphia International Airport and the shuttle driver even came across the parking lot to grab our bags!
Checked in our luggage curbside with no problem.
Flight got off about 4:30 p.m., a little late, but so what.
The pilot made up lost time and had us ahead of schedule.
Until we landed at Tampa International Airport as a thunderstorm moved into the vicinity.
We touched down shortly after 7 p.m. and the jet remained on the tarmac until the lightning moved off so ground crews could do their job.
Once we disembarked we stayed in the main terminal to wait for our luggage.
And waited.
And waited.
And waited.
Honestly, we didn't mind.
Especially when we found out at least one flight had been rerouted to Orlando!
That could've been us.
So we just continued to cool our heels upstairs while most of the other several hundred passengers milled around downstairs waiting for bags to make it into the terminal.
Which was near 9 p.m.
What was amusing was the fact it took us almost as long to get our luggage as it did for us to fly from Philly to Tampa!
No big deal.
We were just glad to make it home.
Even if it was after 10 p.m.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Apology might've prevented Facebook controversy

You’re the parent of an 8-year-old at a Manatee County elementary school.
You learn one of the child’s teachers made a cruel remark about them on Facebook and the conversation was joined by other teachers.
What would you do?
A.) Physically confront the teacher.
B.) Demand their job termination.
C.) Sue the teacher, the school and the district.
Believe it or not, Lisa Wade just wanted an apology.
“People make mistakes,” the married 28-year-old mom said at a rally in her family’s support in front of Rogers Garden Elementary School last Wednesday evening.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Courthouse folks seek old photo's owners

Is it you in this picture? Or do you know the couple? The good folks at the old courthouse are trying to find the picture's owner. According to Kathy Blair at the Clerk of Circuit Court, the picture, taken around 1936, was found on the courthouse grounds. Kathy can be reached at 741-4002.

The new manager at Applebee’s, 4301 Cortez Road, sure traveled a long way. Alex Formey and wife Emily moved here from South Dakota.

The Cortez Village Historical Society and Florida Maritime Museum are planning a Nov. 10 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the old Cortez School. Organizers want to hear from its former students and share their memories. The celebration coincides with the annual Cortez Folk Music and Art Festival. Folks can write Sam Bell at Cortez Village Historic Society, P.O. Box 663 Cortez, Fla. 34215. Or call Amara Cocilovo at 941-708-6120 or 941-447-9036. Or email:

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Boy Scout Troop 303 needs a little help

Ultra-light backpacking tents.
An eight-burner grill.
Shovels, rakes, gloves and trash cans.
Yeah, that was quite the haul for the cretin(s) who drove away with Boy Scout Troop 303's trailer last week from its home at Living Lord Lutheran Church, 11120 State Road 70.
Hope they're proud.
The thieves made off with the troop's camping supplies two weeks before its big summer trip to the Canadian Rockies.
Maybe those can be replaced with help of a generous community.
What can't be replaced though are the memoribilia it also contained and memories the troops gathered over the years.
The state and troop flags and ribbons.
The merit badge work book.
Spare Boy Scout uniforms, too.
There is disappointment.
"All our hard work went into that trailer," Scout Larsen Godfrey told The Bradenton Herald.
There is outrage.
"That someone would come on church property is bad enough, but to steal from the Boy Scouts is awful," said Rev. Jeffery Gross of Living Lord Lutheran Church, which donated the trailer to them.
He's an Eagle Scout, too.
Law enforcement officials suspect the trailer will be repainted by the thieves for their own use. Either that or sold for scrap metal.
Unless the thieves come to their senses somehow, do the right thing and return it.
Meantime, folks who'd like to help the troop can email:
Or visit their website,
Anyone with information about the stolen trailer and its contents can call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011, ext. 1549, 2260 or 2274.

Friday, July 6, 2012

New citizens can endure campaign ads, too

First came a Romney attack ad, followed by an Obama attack ad, followed by a Bill Nelson attack ad.
Then it started all over again.
That was in between innings of the July 4th Yankees-Rays game on TV.
I thought of Bradenton’s Alberto Allois and Sandra Rios Arroyo and all the other area folks who were sworn in as U.S. citizens on Independence Day.
They are one of us now.
Which includes being bludgeoned by these relentless political campaign spots — and the election is still four months away!
Welcome to America.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Amvets Post 301 collects state honors

A salute to Ellenton’s Ralph A. Bantle Amvets Post 301, which received several honors at last month’s state convention in Orlando.
Among them were the Department of Florida Amvet of the Year to Post commander Stacy Rhodes, the Department of Florida Son of the Year to Tim Hutton, and the Community Service and Americanism Awards to the Ladies Auxilary for the third straight year.
Also, the newly elected Department of Florida Commander for the Sons of the Amvets is the Post’s Ken Barber.

Good luck to Ellie Ohlman at the 2012 Miss Florida Pageant finals Saturday in St. Petersburg. The Lakewood Ranch High alum was the past DeSoto Queen.

Next time Jose Luna takes a tennis lesson in his wheelchair at El Conquistador Country Club, the 10-year-old might be paired with Xavier Malisse, a Bradenton resident who recently lost to Roger Federer in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Malisse is best friends and former doubles partner with Hugo Armando Jr., who helps his father work with Jose, who has cerebral palsy.
They do it for free, too.
“We love this boy,” said Hugo Armando Sr.

Manatee High’s Class of 2002 holds its 10th reunion July 13-14.
The event begins with a Friday evening cookout at the Anna Maria Bayfront Park pavilion, 310 North Bay Blvd. Then that Saturday evening alums will gather at the Gulf Drive Cafe & Tiki, 900 Gulf Dr., Bradenton Beach.
For tickets, visit:
Or contact Whitney Shapiro Ricci at

Funeral services for surfing legend Rich Salick, who grew up on Anna Maria Island, are 1 p.m. Saturday at the Club Zion Community Church, 830 S. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach.
Call 321-799-4340.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Suggestion for folks driving to see fireworks

Folks are talking about how and where to best watch the 19th annual Fireworks Extravaganza at the BeachHouse Restaurant Tuesday night, July 4th eve.
Best way is on a boat, if you've got one. Or with a friend who owns a boat.
Otherwise most people, if they're not already on Bradenton Beach, will drive there for the fireworks.
Or try.
Cortez Road will be Gridlock City.
Unless you leave right now.
We've made the trek a few times for the big event and managed to avoid the hassle.
We'd leave before sunset, get on Cortez and join the crawl long enough to get close on this side of the bridge, pull off and park.
The Cortez Post Office parking lot is usually a good spot.
Then we'd walk to Annie's Bait & Tackle on 127th Street West, sit outside, enjoy a beverage and wait for the show.
The view is a good enough and the best part is you're not going to get trapped by traffic.
We didn't the last couple of times we went to Annie's.
When the fireworks began, westbound traffic was still clogging Cortez beyond the bridge.
Not being stuck in that traffic is definitely worth celebrating.
As soon as the fireworks were over, we left Annie's, walked back to where we parked and took off.
Our getaway was clean.
Try it for yourself and see.
And good luck.