Monday, December 31, 2012

Chic-fil-A Bowl on TV to be our New Year's bash

So what are you doing to celebrate New Year's Eve?
a.) Heading to a party?
b.) Going out to dinner?
c.) Staying home?
You can put Sherri and I down for that last choice.
We were invited last week to join friends at a gathering tonight, but I believe we're going to say thanks and just pass.
Think it's going to be dinner at the manse and watch Clemson-LSU at the Chic-fil-A Bowl.
We don't want to seem like party poopers, but this is one night we definitely prefer being safe.
Not sorry.
If one of the  neighbors was having a celebration we could walk to, great.
As for driving?
No way.
It's been a few years since I've done the New Year's Eve thing and driven somewhere.
The last time was to a bash at a home in River Club.
The party was going strong when I left just after 11 p.m. and it was raining.
I think I'd had one drink earlier in the evening and I was glad I'd played it smart for once.
By the time I got home I'd seen two overturned vehicles, one near Interstate 75, the other off State Road 64 East.
I've never forgotten that.
If there was ever a time where you have to be more concerned about the other guy behind the wheel, New Year's Eve is it.
Why take a chance?
Not tonight.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Some 2013 resolutions bound to be broken

Got your list of New Year’s resolutions?
Yeah, I know.
Ha-ha! Very funny.
Why bother, right?
Resolutions are only made to be broken.
As Mark Twain wrote, New Year’s Day now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
A new year means a new start and that includes making some resolutions that are reasonable, attainable and will help you evolve into a better person in the long run just for trying to carry them out.
Or something like that.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trips with dad to Iowa games son's fond memory

Jim Forssell’s passing on Christmas Day meant the end of an era. It also marked the close to one of the cooler father-son trips many would enjoy.
Each fall for the past decade the esteemed Manatee High music educator and son Jim attended a game at the University of Iowa where the father got his masters in 1960.
“He wanted to see every Big 10 team once at Kinnick Stadium and we saw nine of them,” the son said. “Ohio State was the only one left. But the way the Big 10 has been adding teams, I don’t think he would’ve lived long enough to realize his goal.”
Ironically, the last game they saw was Iowa’s 27-24 loss on Nov. 17 to Purdue, coached by ex-Manatee High assistant Danny Hope, who got fired three games later.
“Dad thought that would save Danny’s job, but I guess not,” the son said.
It was after they returned his father’s health began to fail.
“That trip was a big thing for him, so it was neat how we had that window for one last game,” the son said.

That’s 30 years of wedded bliss for Barbara and Pat Roff.

Ryan Fetchko got his civil engineering degree from the University of Central Florida and has a job to go with it! Tina and Ken are happy.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas shopping not a last minute deal here

Christmas is over.
Or is it?
I'll explain in a minute.
Santa was good to us..
Sherri got some bling.
Some sweaters.
A camera.
A Kindle, on which everything was in Japanese. Or was it Chinese?
Santa was good to me, too.
A nice sweater.
Three bottles of wine.
Two books by Bill O'Reilly about the JFK and Lincoln assassinations.
Zac Brown CD.
A DVD with old westerns I spent watching with my father-in-law Christmas Day.
The last time I watched the Lone Ranger that many times I was in parochial school.
Christmas was fun.
No hassle, either.
Most of our shopping was done early.
How early?
W-a-a-a-y early.
To give you an idea, on Wednesday, armed with a mess of day-after-Christmas sales coupons my wife, her sister and her mom hit several popular stores for some deals.
Oh and  to get a jump on Christmas shopping for next year, too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 5 finish for Manatee High JROTC at state meet

It was a Top 5 finish for Manatee High School’s JROTC at the Florida State Raider Challenge championships in Lake Wales last weekend.
Manatee had two squads of eight cadets.
Its all-male team tied for first overall, but lost the tie-breaker to place second, while the mixed team of male and female cadets took fourth.
The event boasted a 68-team field.
Among events Manatee dominated were the cross country rescue, where the mixed team took first and the male team second; the physical training test which the male team won; academics with the male team taking third and the mixed team fifth, and the rope bridge with the mixed team taking fifth.
Led by Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Thomas Zoch, the MHS JROTC includes Jonathan Alt, Challen Arellano, Hugo Arellano, Hivon Betancourt, Chris Booth, Aaron Boyer, Martinez Carolina, Christian Diaz, Mathew Hyatt, Alex Ladue, Jared Maguire, Christian Marsden, Cameron Ogle, Nick Paserillo, Connor Powers, Oscar Rodriguez, Rachel Rohde, Louis Rottes and Alexandria Salinas.

Outfielder Lastings Milledge had a good year in his first season with Tokyo’s Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League and signed a three-year $4.4 million contract with a mutual option for 2016.
Now 27, the former first-round pick out of Lakewood Ranch High School hit .300 with 21 home runs.

Big ups to Jordan Sanders. The Braden River High School senior saxophonist auditioned and was accepted to Boston’s Berkley School of Music and also received a $10,000 yearly scholarship.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Closing is never close until it's finally closed

Closing on selling your house can be an adventure.
So I've heard.
Mine, on my old abode in Ware's Creek, has been a relatively smooth process and the deal should be done before Christmas.
It better be.
I wondered about it, though, after a phone call I got Monday evening from the title company.
My wife and I were in Biloxi, Miss., wrapping up a long weekend getaway.
Did I have a home equity line of credit that was open?
They said everything was in order for them to get the payoff --- but for this little home equity line detail.
I was flabbergasted.
Talk about ancient history.
I'd opened up the credit line and used it to have my deck built and a new kitchen installed.
Then I'd closed it.
Or so I thought.
That was 2005.
Seven years ago.
So I called the bank Tuesday morning to nail down that loose end while we were heading east on I-10 for home.
Ever tried talking business long distance at 75 mph?
I don't recommend it.
Anyway, I explained my dilemma to a semi-interested bank associate, then gave them the title company fax number for the documentation that would show my home equity line was, indeed, closed and clear.
My wife, who was driving, said give them my email address, too.
Good thing.
When we got home Tuesday night, I checked and the email was there.
But when the title company called Wednesday morning, they said they never received a fax.
In a semi-panic, I asked if the letter the bank had emailed me would do?
Forward it to us and we'll run it by the underwriter and see, they said.
Got a phone call five minutes later.
We were good to go.
Crazy how stuff like this pops up at the 11th hour, even when you think you've got all your ducks lined up.
Going to be glad when this closing is closed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

School audit report Jan. 14 day of reckoning

There are three dates on the horizon many of us are looking forward to with anticipation.
Dec. 25. Christmas Day.
Jan. 1. New Years Day.
Jan. 14. A day of reckoning.
That’s when the public is supposed to learn the results of the ongoing forensic audit of the Manatee School District’s $3.4 million deficit.
At last, we should get some clarity to a baffling situation that has hovered around the school administration building like a storm cloud.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, December 13, 2012

NASA honors Palmetto FAMU grad with award

 KSC Center Director Robert Cabana, SMA Deputy Director Russ Deloach, Charmel Jones and Astronaut Daniel  Burbank
Congratulations to Charmel Jones, a NASA aerospace quality engineer at the Kennedy Space Center.
The 1998 Palmetto High School honors alum received NASA’s Silver Snoopy, a notable award recognizing her contributions, dedication  and professionalism in enhancing space flight safety and mission success.
The commendation was given to the 2003 Florida A&M University grad for outstanding engineering that contributed to the shuttle flights and the orbiter’s transition to retirement.
Charmel is with NASA’s safety and mission assurance directorate and is a member of the Women@NASA initiative that supports the White House Council on Women and Girls.
She is the daughter of Sharon Anderson and the late Johnny Lee Hart and granddaughter of Imogene Campbell.

Terry Wells has joined First America Bank.

Shirley Vandersall received a nice surprise when someone left a basket of goodies on her doorstep.
The attached envelope was marked, “Troop 10," which she found amusing.
Shirley is an 81-year-old widow.
“I’m sure this must be for some little boy or girl,” she said.
Anyone who knows about the basket can call 941-756-6700.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can you spare a ham for Salvation Army Christmas?

Brothers and sisters, can you spare a ham?
Then the Salvation Army Manatee County can use it and more.
Volunteers will be serving more than 400 needy folks from 4-6 p.m. at  the annual community Christmas meal 4-6 p.m. Dec. 25.
Baked ham will comprise the main course with scalloped potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert.
Kitchen manager Brian Schultz is reaching out to the community.
“We need to cook at least 100 hams in order to serve the expected numbers," he said.
Right now, they have 10.
Schultz and his staff will begin preparing and cooking hams this week to make sure everything is ready.
Additional needs include potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Donations can be dropped off at The Salvation Army, 1204 14th St. W., Bradenton.
Call 941-748-5110.
Or visit

Monday, December 10, 2012

Next RayJay trip? Maybe 2022. Or beyond.

Made it to the RayJay for my once-a-decade Bucs' game.
Saw them play the Lions in 1998.
The Eagles in 2006.
And the Eagles again Sunday.
So I'm good for another 10 years.
Maybe longer.
Had a swell time with friends, so don't get me wrong.
I'm not going to complain about the $91 tickets up in the nose bleed seats, either.
The Eagles even won.
Actually, I was hoping the Bucs would win because a victory would've meant more to them and their playoff chances.
It would've made my wife happy, too.
All it did for the Eagles, to hear my brethren Bird fans who descended like an invading horde on Tampa Bay, was mess with their first-round position in next April's NFL draft.
They had a point.
That team needs help.
Anyway, I'm afraid I'm just not big on the NFL stadium experience.
I don't give a rip what NFL czar Roger Goodell says.
Nothing beats watching the game from the comforts of your living room.
You don't have to shoot a whole Sunday driving to the game and then dealing with the inevitable traffic jam after it's over.
The game is simply better at home.
Not to mention a whole lot cheaper.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A welcome voice of wisdom, wit has gone silent


His phone messages frequently ended with a singsong Irish diddy that made me lean back and smile.
Then I’d replay it and listen to Ed Price's voice again and again:
“Have you ever been in an Irishman’s shanty where water is scarce and whiskey is plenty, to eat with your fingers and fought with their knives to keep the beggars from stealing their wives.”
Many are the memories people have of  the community’s beloved elder statesman who passed last weekend.
They reflect on his kindness and decency.
His integrity and conviction.
His piety and humility.
As Reubin Askew said of the man he wanted to run for governor, Ed Price loved Bradenton and Bradenton loved him back.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Join Manatee fans at Hurricane Watch Party

Marine PFC. Steven Grantham, a Saint Joseph Catholic School alum, with fifth-graders. His mom, Carol, is a first-grade teacher's aide.

There’s a Hurricane Watch Party at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, 4925 Cortez Road, for Friday night’s Class 7A state semifinal between Manatee and St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.
It’s the online feed from and kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Call 798-6939 for details.

Melissa Smith graduates this month from Virginia Tech with a masters in structural engineering.
Hurray! from parents Janet and Mike, sisters Hilary Kahn and Lindsay Hussey and brothers-in-law Alex and Steven.

Mary Lou Zoback
Mary Lou Zoback, eldest daughter of former Manatee County Commissioner Kent Chetlain and his late wife, Joanne, was one of eight appointees to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board by President Obama.
Mary Lou went to school here from 1957 until 1969 and is a consulting professor in the Environmental Earth System Science Department at Stanford University.

 When the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour hit Tampa last Tuesday night among the lucky Manatee School for the Arts students with backstage passes at the Straz Center were Colton Heier, Nicoletta Lanese, Devan McDuffie, Brandon Pavon, Lauren Pierce and Blossom Viruet.
They received them courtesy of the National Dance Association and were accompanied by MSA’s Kelly Burnette, the NDA National K-12 Dance Educator of the Year in 2007.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vote Noles vs. Canes as USA's No. 1 rivalry

Southeast  vs. Manatee, Florida's No. 1 high school football rivalry?
That's according to a USA TODAY poll, in which Bradenton's annual backyard brawl was voted most intense over rivalries like Naples Lely vs. Naples and Pahokee vs. Glades Central in the Muck Bowl.
The Muck Bowl? Wow!
The state voting according to USA TODAY went:
Manatee vs. Southeast (1,255 votes)
Naples Lely vs. Naples High (205 votes)
Pahokee vs. Glades Central (114 votes).
The regional competition is up now and you have six days to help move SEHS vs. MHS to the national competition and make it America's No. 1 rivalry.
The winning schools will split $10,000.
To vote, visit:
Regional voting ends 11 a.m. EST on Dec. 12. The four finalists advance to the championship round and you may vote as many times as you want.
Voting for the best national rivalry begins 11 a.m. EST on Dec. 13 and ends 11 a.m. EST Dec. 19.
Maybe by that time Manatee will be state AND national champion.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Decorating Christmas tree can be fulltime job

At last, our Christmas tree is finished.
Thank goodness!
Usually, we've been able to assemble and decorate it all in one day.
Or two.
This year it took two weekends.
Maybe I'm getting older, which I am.
Actually, I think my wife has more Christmas tree ornaments than last year and the year before that and the year before that, etc., etc., etc.
The wild thing about that?
There were plenty more left in the plastic tub!
My wife knows how to collect ornaments, too.
And they're from everywhere.
There are decorations from our family collections.
There are decorations from the Jersey Shore.
There are decorations from Biloxi, Miss.
There are decorations from St. Augustine.
There are decorations from Sheboygan, Wis.
There are decorations from Tybee Island, Ga.
There are decorations from Amelia Island.
There are decorations from Ohio's Circleville Pumpkin Show.
There are decorations from Breckenridge, Colo.
There are decorations from Ireland.
There are decorations from Charleston, S.C.
There are decorations from Alaska.
There are decorations from the Caribbean.
I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but that's cool.
It'll be a whole month before we have to take them down.