Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bring appetite to Hurricanes Baseball Steakout

Mayor Wayne Poston joins students at St. Joseph Catholic School during flagraising at Tuesday's celebration of National Catholic Schools Week.
The Manatee Hurricanes 14th annual Baseball Steakout & Reunion is 5-9 p.m.Friday at Manatee High, 902 33rd St. Ct. W., Bradenton. Call head coach Dwayne Strong at 941-725-2293, or coach Bruce Braithwaite at 941-720-9224.

Attention Golden Herald Awards hopefuls. Applications are due Feb. 15 and interview day at the Herald is April 6. For more details, email Jill McGarry at

Linda O’Connor-Levy, assistant director/outreach coordinator for the Manatee County Library, is retiring Feb. 8. She has been a librarian more than 40 years in Tampa and Manatee.

Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith will sign his new book, “Lawyers and Legends of Manatee County,” today at Council’s, 536 12th St. W., Bradenton, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Demetrios’ is holding a spaghetti fundraiser for one of its own 5-9 p.m. Monday.
Chef Sergio Valdez, a husband and father of three, was injured in a car accident while driving folks to Miami as a favor and will be out of work for a few months.
Call Demetrios’ at 941-758-6478.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lakewood Ranch Women's Club show generosity

The Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club gave a generous assist to SMART (Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy) on Jan. 10.
It received a $7,000 check to provide therapeutic riding sessions to children in the Lakewood Ranch community.
SMART is an all-volunteer organization providing therapeutic horseback riding, carriage driving and equine assisted activities for individuals with disabilities.
“The women of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club have been incredible supporters of SMART for so many years, going back to 2001,"  said Nick Drizos, President of SMART.  “The club’s commitment to our program and our riders has meant a real difference in many, many lives.  Because of the hard work and generosity of these wonderful women, SMART will be able to positively impact the lives of a significant number of children this year.”
Three other organizations — SOLVE, Hope Family Services, Meals on Wheels — also received checks of equal amounts.
The funds were the result of the Club’s 2012 fundraising.
Read more about SMART at
Or visit

Monday, January 28, 2013

Manatee Gator Club sets Swamp Sale fundraiser

The Manatee County Gator Club is having it’s first Swamp Sale March 2, a yard-sale to benefit the club’s scholarship fund for Manatee County high school seniors bound for the University of Florida.
It’s 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3200 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
If you’d like to help the swamp sale, drop off donated items on the following dates, times and places.
Feb. 13: 5-6 p.m. at Beef O’Brady’s, 4925 Cortez Road.
Feb. 16: 8 a.m.-noon at Ozark, Perron, & Nelson law office, 2816 Manatee Ave. W.
March 1: 6-9 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 3200 Manatee Ave. W.
If you’re unable to make these collection times or have large donations, contact Angie Chaney at 941-592-9942 or
Visit for more details.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New SCF president should restore Manatee name

If Carol Probstfeld wants to score points with the community as the new president of the State College of Florida, here’s a suggestion:
Rename the school.
Something with Manatee displayed prominently in it once again.
Like Manatee State.
Not immediately, but make it a consideration for down the road.
Probstfeld, who was vice president for business and administrative services, faces a host of challenges replacing Lars Hafner, whose resignation last Oct. 30 ended his turbulent three-plus years reign.
One of those challenges, as faculty member Luci Frith put it, is rebuilding the partnership with administrators, faculty, students, business owners and the community.
Especially the community.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Black Pearls, Silver Pearls dance at UDA regional

Braden River High School's Black Pearls varsity dance team.
Braden River High School’s Black Pearls varsity and Silver Pearls JV dance teams performed in hip hop and jazz at the Universal Dance Association regional at Sanford Seminole High last Monday.
The Black Pearls, led by captain Emily Harris and co-captain Caitlyn Mumma, are Tori Denison, Avery Ellis, Jazminn Lucas, Erin Malcom, Ashley Miller, Kerri Ranck and Haleigh Roberts.
The Silver Pearls, led by captain Emma Slotabec and co-captains Katie Cafiero and Kristen Colonna, are Danny Coronado, Elizabeth Dinsdale, Alyssa Disbro, Katie Hang, Tina Hart, Kennedy Kovalick, Sydney Perry, Caitlyn Ralston, Valerie Solorzano and Valentina Velasco-Escobar.
The Black Pearls are coached by Traci Cristello, the Silver Pearls by Amanda Dawsey.

Former DeSoto queen Caitlen Murrell and husband Tyler named their first bundle of love, Graham Davis.

Bill Field, charismatic commander for American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24, will be laid to rest 12:30 p.m. Monday at Sarasota National Cemetery.
The 80-years-young Korean War veteran died Jan. 7 in a vehicular accident.

Billy Dzwonkowski won Photographer Of The Year 2012 from the Bay Area Professional Photographers Association for the second straight year.

All of John Lakin’s acquaintances have to start addressing him, “Your honor,” after 4 p.m. Friday.
He’s being invested as a circuit court judge at the Manatee County Judicial Center.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pirates, M's women's baseball clinic March 5

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Bradenton Marauders have two words for women in the community:
The ballclubs are holding their fourth annual Baseball Basics for Women clinic 6:30-8:30 p.m., March 5 at McKechnie Field for young adult and adult women interested in learning or refining their baseball fundamentals.
It’s presented in partnership with Manatee Memorial Hospital.
Pirates major league and minor league players and coaches will instruct participants in hitting, catching, fielding and running the bases.
Each woman will also receive a free T-shirt and a ticket to the March 8 spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Gecko’s Grill & Pub will provide dinner after the clinic.
Registration must be completed Feb. 18 to be guaranteed a T-shirt.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Manatee Memorial Foundation.
The Baseball Basics for Women registration form is online at
Or call Stacy Morgan at 941-747-3031, ext. 4365.
Or email

Saturday, January 19, 2013

School superintendent's job one tough gig

You’ve got to hand it to the people lining up for the chance to become our next superintendent of schools.
They must love a challenge.
Or they’re gluttons for punishment.
With the volatile environment currently surrounding that position, it isn’t exactly a plum gig.
Not that it can’t be.
The person chosen for this critical position will definitely have their work cut out for them.
A mountain of work.
The Citizens Advisory Group vetting the applicants said its top 10 candidates have been instructed to submit a portfolio outlining how they would manage the district’s finances and classroom instruction.
The education part is a given.
The financial part is a priority.
If it isn’t, it should be.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Marketing firm gives spring training epic twist

Baseball fans who are familiar with the HBO epic, "Game of Thrones," should get a kick out of this.
Kelly Keenan of Bradenton’s Brand Story Experts concocted a cool spring training shot for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It shows Lord Eddard Stark (actor Sean Bean) holding a baseball bat instead of his greatsword under the words “Baseball is Coming.”

Speaking of baseball, the Manatee Hurricanes 14th annual Hurricanes Baseball Steakout & Reunion is 5-9 p.m., Feb. 1 at Manatee High, 902 33rd St. Ct. W., Bradenton. Call head coach Dwayne Strong at 941-725-2293, coach Bruce Braithwaite at 941-720-9224 or visit

Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith will sign his new book, “Lawyers and Legends of Manatee County,” over the next few days at the Manatee County Fair and then at Council’s Feb. 1.
The book covers the history of the area’s legal profession and tracks the path of the county seat from the Village of Manatee in 1855 when the county was founded to the frontier town of Pine Level in 1866 in what is now DeSoto County before returning here.
Smith will be at the fairground’s Chaires Arts & Crafts Building 2-4 p.m. Saturday and Monday and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday.
He’ll be a Council’s, 536 12th St. W., Bradenton, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Feb. 1.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

'Read Across Manatee' at Miller Elementary School

Lauren Allen's second-grade class at Miller Elementary School was waiting.
It was the annual "Read Across Manatee" day at the school and I was still in the school library trying to find a book or two.
Richard Gonzalez bailed me out.
He was one of Allen's students escorting me to her classroom.
So I let him do the honors.
Richard didn't mess around.
He picked "The Little Red Hen" by Paul Galdone and "Seven Blind Mice" by Ed Young.
When we got to the classroom and I had everyone's attention, I made it a point to give credit to young Mr. Gonzalez.
If you don't like these books, I jolked, don't blame me.
Kidding aside, it was a treat reading to the children.
Always is.
I think they got something out of the books, too.
The first had to do with a lazy cat, dog and mouse who shared a nice little house with the hen, but let her do all the work until she turned the tables on them.
The seven blind mice was about little rodents who met up with an elephant, but didn't figure it out it was an elephant until the end.
The last page read, "The Mouse Moral: Knowing in part may  make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole."
That Richard Gonzalez is a smart little boy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Judging homemade goodies a county fair high

One tray of goodies judges had to make hard decisions over for Manatee County Fair's culinary arts and foods category
Something called calamondin marmalade was first.
Then it was the quince jelly.
Followed by blueberry jam.
Judging the homemade delicacies in the culinary arts and foods category for the 97th Manatee County Fair last Saturday wasn't three rounds old and I was already on a sugar high.
Loved every bite, too.
Don't know what the other judges thought by that point so early in the proceedings, but I was on a roll.
A sweet roll.
It carried me through nearly 2.5 hours of  deliberating and dipping and tasting all sorts of delicacies I could just imagine were prepared by somebody's mama and grandma.
Consequently, if I was overly generous in my scores?
So what.
There were almost  two-dozen rounds of goodies to go through and though I  had my favorites, there were a few that did not hit the spot.
On the other hand there were a bunch that did and received a personal thumbs up.
Among them were:
Egg-and-cheese breakfast. Looked funky, but tasted great.
Egg plant pasta. Ate the whole thing.
French toast casserole. Interesting combo.
Chocolate chip cookie-with-surprise: Surprise was an oreo cookie inside. Yes!
Gluten free honey peanut butter bar. Ate it all.
Cookies-and-cream fudge. Help!
Chocolate chip cookie dough brownie. Thank goodness it was small.
Gluten free key lime pie. Gluten-shmuten, it was goooood!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Big-hearted Post 24 commander not forgotten

Bill Field did more than his share of funerals for old veterans like himself.
At many of them most of the people present to pay their graveside respects were his honor guard contingent from American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24.
That bugged him.
We’re a forgotten generation, said the proud Korean War infantryman and former Manatee County Veteran of the Year.
But there’s no forgetting Bill Field.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Warbirds returning to SRQ Jan. 23-25

Attention warbird buffs.
The Collings Foundation’s “Wings of Freedom Tour” returns to SRQ’s Rectrix Aviation, 8250 15th St. E., Jan. 23-25, with a B-24 Liberator, B-17 Flying Fortress and P-51 Mustang.
Call 1-800-568-8924. Or visit

There’s a big party Sunday in Ellenton to celebrate a milestone for matriarch Ola Garvin Davis, who is 90 years young.Among the many celebrants will be children Bridgett Adams, Jackie Garvin, Jenny Garvin, Joanie Garvin, John Garvin, Joyce Garvin, June Garvin and Rodney Garvin, Billy Gillard, Tanya Hamilton, Emma Jordan, Myrtis Moses, George Parker, Melvin Parker and Richard Parker.

Farewell to Luigi Macera. He passed Dec. 29 at the age of 89. The Montreal native was a professional wrestler from 1944-1978 and his contemporaries were legends such as Haystacks Calhoun, Dr. Jerry Graham and Dusty Rhodes.

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Fan's letters good reference for McKechnie job

Jim Cunningham (yellow shirt) at Pirates job fair. Tiffany Tompkins/Bradenton Herald
Pittsburgh Pirates officials were looking for a few good baseball fans Wednesday at their job fair.
Not just the kind who will buy tickets to their spring training games at McKechnie Field, mind you.
But ones who will bring their longtime love of the game to working the concession stands while they're cooking hot dogs and pouring beer to other baseball fans lined up outside.
People such as Jim Cunningham.
As a Boy Scout growing up in the New York area, he'd write letters to players on the Yankees and other ballclubs.
He got letters back, too.
"They don't do that today," Cunningham said.
This was back in the 1960s, a time of innocence for kids like him.
He received letters back from players like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Joe Pepitone to name a few.
The one from the Mick is framed and hanging on a wall in Cunningham's crib.
He also sent players their baseball cards to sign and got many of those back, too.
"My friends used to put their baseball cards in their bike spokes," he said. "I sent them off for autographs."
If Cunningham gets a concession job, he's OK with the idea he'll be at McKechnie, but not be able to see his favorite game.
"Just the excitement of hearing it, that'll be cool," he said

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reawakening a boyhood feeling for Notre Dame

I was a Notre Dame fan as a boy.
Most Irish Catholic kids are, right?
Probably not if they grew up in Alabama.
I grew up in New Jersey.
It used to upset me every season when a good Notre Dame team went to LA and got beat by Southern Cal.
Anyway, as life took me to Wisconsin and Ohio and then Florida, my Notre Dame fandom waned.
When the Irish tangled with the University of Miami in those titanic matchups during the 1980s and 90s, I have to admit I was pulling for the Hurricanes.
Hey, when in Rome ...
Monday night, though, I'm rooting for Notre Dame again.
Nothing against Alabama, but I'm not a fan of Nick Saban.
Never have been.
Besides, I've got nothing that says 'Bama, or has an 'A' on it.
Got an authentic Notre Dame athletic department issue ballcap to wear, though.
Got it from a friend who used to coach baseball for the Fighting Irish.
His name? Pat Murphy.
Can't get anymore Irish than that.
Hope it's still got some magic.
Beat Bama!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A familiar, friendly face at Anna Maria Oyster Bar

Brooke James with Michigan cheerleaders during Outback Bowl festivities.
Tom Radakovitz is the new floor manager at Anna Maria Island Oyster Bar Landside. Folks who patronize the Bob Evans on State Road 70 may remember him when he was general manager at that popular restaurant, helping make it the chain’s No.1 franchise.

Nine people were honored by West Manatee Fire Rescue District for their service in 2012 and among them were firefighter Jeff Philips (Firefighter of the Year); firefighter John Stump (Lifesaving Award); firefighters Ben Dillon and Rodney Kwiatkowski (Meritorious Service Award); firefighter Chris O’Kelly and financial assistant Julie Pritchard (15 years service); firefighter Andrew Lauricella (5 years); firefighters Brandon Beals/Marines and Edward Whitaker Jr./Army (Military Service Award).

That’s 25 years of wedded bliss on Jan. 9 for Glenn and Luci Hartmann, sweethearts since their days at Bayshore High where he played football and she was homecoming queen.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

'Drive safe' more than just parting words

One of the last things my wife and I say to each other before we leave home for work and when we leave work for home is this:
Drive safe.
Sherri told me that twice Wednesday evening, the second time calling me as I was heading south on US 301 and had just passed 38th Avenue.
How uncanny.
I  was in the slow lane as I headed toward 51st Avenue.
The light was green. So was the next light at State Road 70.
It's rare you're able to make both lights, so I started to accelerate.
But the light at 51st Avenue turned yellow just then and I had a decision to make.
I was close enough to try to make it, something I had done often.
It's a long enough light.
Instead, I braked and rolled to a  stop.
I'm glad I made that choice.
Halfway across the southbound lane of US 301 walked a man in dark clothing not 20 feet in front of me.
I'd bet money he began to cross the road before the light changed, too.
Either way, he would've been tough to see at 6:30 p.m.
I didn't want to think what might've happened had I tried to beat the yellow light.
Drive safe.
Drive smart.