Thursday, February 28, 2013

Palmetto Dazzlers vie in hip-hop at NDA nationals

Palmetto High School’s Dazzlers vie in large varsity hip-hop at National Dance Association nationals March 8-10 in Orlando.
Coached by Shea Whidden and Tafara Callaway-Smith, the Dazzlers are led by captains Lindsey Rushnell, Kalisha Clemons, Chelsea Miller, Jakaiya Johnson and Cheyenne Thurman. The squad members are Erykah Bazan, Brooke Bentley, Terri Chism, Shira Greene, Victoria Freymann,
Jataria Moore, Amber Perry, Jasmin Perry, Hayley Safko, Jackie Stocksdale and Annaliese Winston.

Tryouts for Lakewood Ranch High School’s cheerleading program are 4-5 p.m. March 20,21,25,26 in the gym with the final tryout 4 p.m. March 27 in the danceroom.
Parent pre-tryout meeting is 5:30 p.m. March 4 in the media center.
Call Melissa Koehlinger at 941-727-6100, ext. 2103.

Big ups to Jeremy Strawn.
The Florida Atlantic University junior righty won Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week after a 3-0 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide last Sunday. Strawn threw eight innings, struck out six and gave up only four hits. He’s 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA for the Owls.
His proud family are dad Jake Strawn and Linda Seibel, mom Rhonda Strawn and grands Rita Speas and Mary Strawn.

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ex-NBA ref comes out of retirement ... for one day

Bob Delaney back blowing the whistle?
That ought to be fun.
On March 8 at Bayshore Elementary School, the former NBA official will don his referee threads again.
He'll be joined by Perry Paganelli, an NFL back judge, too.
They'll team up to officiate a faculty/student dodgeball game at 8:45 a.m.
It's a reward as part of the Positive Behavior System at the school, where Delaney sponsors the Bob Delaney Leadership Academy.
Teachers are forming teams while students are busy raising CUBS cash, which is used as the price of admission to the big game.
The student who is the highest CUBS cash earner will receive VIP seating.
The game also marks the culmination of Read Across America week at the school, which has a sports theme this year.
Call principal Annette Codelia at 751-7000, ext. 2001 for more details.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday off means a day at ballpark, great seats

View from Section 111, Row 16, Seats 5-6 at Bright House Field.
The phone call came a little after 8 p.m. Sunday.
It was my wife's bank boss, Jon James.
"What're you doing?" he asked.
Trying to get into the Oscars, I said. What's up?
"Got two sweet box seats to the Tigers-Phillies tomorrow," he said. "Can you get off work?"
Getting a day off on Monday at the last minute?
Ooooooh, man.
I gave it a shot and called my editor..
"Uh, boss, uh, my buddy just called and he's, uh, got sweet box seats to tomorrow's game and ... CAN I GO, BOSS? CAN I GO, PLEEEEEASE?"
He said OK.
I was a happy boy.
Sherri wasn't  happy, though.
Not only did her husband have Monday off, but so did her boss.
I said I'd make dinner Monday night.
That seemed to work.
I think.
Anyway, it was cool heading up to Clearwater and Bright House Field instead of the office to see the Phillies, a ballclub I've followed 40-plus years.
The seats were sweet, all right, 16 rows behind home plate.
I'm more used to the cheap seats, but my attitude has always been any seat is a good seat once you're at the game.
Boy, can the Tigers hit, which made my host happy since he is a Tigers fan.
Miguel Cabrera hit a towering 3-run homer that was being tracked by Cape Canaveral.
It was probably still going even after we left the ballpark.
That the Phillies got smoked 10-1 didn't matter.
No such thing as a bad day at the ballpark.
Not in spring training.
Not when you got the day off.
I made dinner when I got home as promised.
And it's back to work Tuesday.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

New superintendent figures to command attention

Some folks will be snapping to attention when Rick Mills takes over as the new superintendent for the Manatee County School District.
Twenty-four years in the military.
Lieutenant colonel and battalion commander.
West Point educator.
Yes, that ought to get people’s attention over in the Taj Mahal at 215 Manatee Ave. W.
Their jobs may depend on it.
Not to make the Minneapolis Public School District chief executive officer sound like the second coming of George Patton, but if the Manatee school board was intent on hiring someone with the mandate to change the culture within the district management, it appears they got their man.
That it wasn’t a unaminous choice is irrelevant at this point. As the motto says, it’s not where you start, but it’s where you finish that counts.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Southeast students host special needs prom

Saint Joseph Catholic School's Troy Robinson and Haley Colaco show off their Manatee County Regional Science Fair awards. He won third in environmental science; she took second in chemistry.

Southeast High School’s Rachel Everhart, Meg Rivera and Ingrid Onoriode host a Prom Fashion Show 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at school’s performing arts building, 1200 37th Ave. E., Bradenton.
It’s a fundraiser for a “Night with the Stars,” a prom for the special needs community.
The Memory Maker’s Lyn Lineberger will provide dresses and tuxedos, Jane Simpson of Scissors will do hair, Ruth Everhart of Mary Kay Cosmetics will do makeup, and Robert and Marcia Minutello of Changing Times Photographics will provide photos and video.
Their daughter, Laura-Lee Minutello, Miss Wheelchair Florida 2012, will also attend.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door.
Call 941-224-5329 for details.

Got an appetite for good pasta and a good cause?
The Ellenton United Methodist Women host a spaghetti dinner 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Friday at the Christian Life Center, 3607 US 301 North.
Donation is $6 and proceeds go toward mission projects.
Call Kay Nettles (941-729-5814), Gail Foster (941-775-9117) or the church (941-729-6802) for details.
Tickets will be available at the door.

The Youth Ministry of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs hosts “An Evening in the Orient” dinner/auction 5:30 p.m., Saturday at Flynn Hall, 833 Magellan Dr., Bradenton.

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Monday, February 18, 2013

Palmetto Historical Park "Coming Home" March 9

What do a blacksmith, a spinner, a quilter and pie-eating have in common?
Find out March 9th when the Palmetto Historical Park & Manatee County Agricultural Museum, 515 10th Ave. W., hosts "Coming Home" during Heritage Day.
A free event from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., it will feature a blacksmith, spinner and quilter demonstrating their craft.
There will also be a pie contest, where judges will taste folks baking and hand out ribbons for 1st, 2nd and 3rd-place.
Interested in entering a pie? Call 941-721-2034.
There will also be a petting corral with attention-loving goats and First Baptist Church of Palmetto will have free train rides for children.
Storyteller Windell Campbell will work his magic for listeners, too.
Photographer/artist Ed Parker will exhibit. "The Water's Edge," featuring works of boats and water scenes from near and far through April 26th.
The 1880 Post Office will be open for business, as well.
The event also offers folks the opportunity to help the museum with its archives.
There are people in old photos who need identifying.
What's more, any old photos that families wish to contribute -- or have scanned -- are welcome in the archives in the Carnegie Library and Agricultural Museum.
An alumni photo is planned for 2 p.m.
The Woman's Club of Palmetto will hold its annual chicken and yellow rice luncheon for $12.
World of Mouth BBQ will sell lunch items and Alex's Lemonade stand will raise funds for childhood cancer research.
Call 941-721-2034 or 941-723-4991 for  more details.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Will new pope make difference to area Catholics?

This will probably get me in hot water after Sunday Mass.
But with all respect to my fellow area Catholics who expressed shock and sadness at last Monday’s sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI for health reasons, I’m not among them.
Nor do I share the sentiments of the area’s Catholic clergy.
Some were thankful for what the pope did for us.
Others expressed gratitude for the pope’s “remarkable” ministry.
For what?
That he’s the first pope to resign in almost 600 years perhaps.
The only thing I’d be thankful for in this time of transition for the Catholic church would be that the next pope be someone who corrects the Vatican’s autocratic drift under Benedict and predecessor John Paul II.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Blass, Hurdle put down roots in Manatee County

Steve Blass, Pirate Booster Club president Al Dawson, a clubmember and Mayor Wayne Poston at club luncheon Wednesday at River Wilderness Country Club.
After more than 50 years of renting on Anna Maria Island every spring, Pirates pitching hero/broadcaster Steve Blass and wife Karen are now Bradenton homeowners.
And Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle and wife Karla are building a home on Holmes Beach.

Now located at 5105 Manatee Ave. W., VFW Post 10141 hosts a Valentine Sweetheart Dance Friday night at 7 p.m., featuring the Smokey Daniels Band.
There is no cover and it’s open to the public
Call 941-794-6394.

Big ups to Lauren Pierce. The Manatee School for the Arts senior and Heat dance team captain just got accepted at the University of Florida.

Doreen Eberley was just appointed the FDIC’s director of risk management supervision in Washington, overseeing the FDIC operations in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco.The 1981 Bayshore High alum is a graduate of Cornell University, has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and has been with the Fed for 25 years.

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day poll interesting stats for us guys

Ever heard of something called Bizrate Insights?
Not me.
What caught my eye, though, when it arrived in my email inbox was its Valentine's Day poll.
Bizrate Insights said it surveyed 5,994 people.
I wasn't one of them, but that's OK.
I wanted to see how I stacked up compared to their respondents.
Overall, it said women believe the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
Wow! That's some revelation.
Haven't we heard that ad nauseam since time immemorial?
It also stated men believe flowers work best.
Count me among them.
I buy my wife flowers every week, not just Valentine's Day.
The poll said 48.82 percent of its participants planned on buying gifts for their spouse/significant other.
Include me in.
It also said 20.42 percent would buy gifts for children or grandchildren.
Me? No kids. No gifts.
 It said 40.97 percent don't plan to buy any Valentine's gifts, period.
Heh, heh, heh.
Good luck with that.
Of the poll participants, 22.66 percent said they'd spend more than $100.
Whatever it takes.
It also said 61.48 percent would get their gifts online.
Not me.
I'd screw it up.
I'll buy gifts for my wife the old-fashioned way.
The poll also said 34.52 percent of men were most likely to buy flowers, followed by bling-bling (23.44 percent) and chocolates or candy (23.07 percent).
I'm 1-for-3 in that department.
The Bizrate Insights survey also said 25.70 percent of men will wait until three days or less before Valentine's Day to buy gifts for the loved ones.
Uhhh ... guilty, your honor.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Three fascinating anthem hopefuls for McKechnie

Tim Eggert whistles national anthem at Pirate City auditions.
Tim Eggert. Paul Villaluz. Coz Serrapere.
They were three of the 47 people, young and old, who auditioned last Saturday morning at the Pirate City cafeteria for the honor of singing our national anthem this spring at McKechnie Field.
Eggert is a world-ranked whistler, who distinguished himself two years ago winning his category at the 2011 International Whistlers Convention in Louisburg, N.C.
Here's the link to his version of the national anthem:
Paul Villaluz has probably performed the national anthem in an athletic setting more than the other 46 folks combined last Saturday.
He sang it 229 times over a decade for hockey's Las Vegas Wranglers, who flew him back last month to do the honors again at the club's 10th anniversary.
Check it out:
Coz Serrapere has never performed the national anthem before a ballgame in his long career as an entertainer, born and raised in Pittsburgh.
Like Villaluz, he was in Las Vegas, but as an entertainer doing Dean Martin and Rat Pack favorites.
He's good at it, too.
Here's his tribute to Steeler Super Bowl champions of yore:
Whether all of them makes the cut to sing at McKechnie, we'll find out soon enough.
The Pirates' Grapefruit League home opener is Feb. 24 against the Atlanta Braves.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A little gratitude might go a long way for Palmetto

Palmetto Little League ballfields due for fall 2014 completion.
Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Did anyone on the Palmetto City Commission ever hear that old adage?
Apparently not.
Last Monday when that august body finally agreed to the inter-local agreement permitting Manatee County to finally begin building the city its way overdue Little League ballfields, one would think they’d have shown some gratitude.
After all, the county is going to spend $3.3 million of our tax dollars to do what Palmetto has been unable to do on its own.
Instead, the city commission grudgingly signed off on the deal, kvetching about the arrangement and making it sound like they were being most unfairly.
“Our feet are being held to the fire to get these ballparks done,” Commissioner Brian Williams said.
It’s about time.

Read more Sunday in Mannix About Manatee on

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Braden River High's Black Pearls double-winner

Big ups to Braden River High School Black Pearls varsity captain Emily Harris, co-captain Caitlyn Mumma, Tori Denison, Avery Ellis, Jazminn Lucas, Erin Malcom, Ashley Miller, Kerri Ranck and Haleigh Roberts.
Director Traci Cristello's dance team won hip hop and jazz at the National Dance Alliance Sunshine Classic in Lakeland.

Want some good barbecue and the chance to help our youngsters?
Check out Southeast High School’s fifth annual Beast Feast, which benefits Seminole baseball, softball and boosters club.
It’s happening 2:30-8 p.m. today in the cafeteria at Southeast, 1200 37th Ave. E., Bradenton.
For $15, you get pulled pork or ribs with all the fixin’s.
Call head baseball coach Dan Durrance at 741-3366, ext. 2217.

Don’t forget national anthem tryouts 8 a.m.-noon Saturday for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 18 home spring training games.
Auditions aren’t at McKechnie Field, as in years past, but Pirate City, 1701 27th St. E., Bradenton.
Call 941-747-3031 for more details.
Or visit

Gulf Shore Animal League hosts a “Black & White Cat Adoption Event,” 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Petsupermarket, 4315 26th St. W., Bradenton.
Call 941-747-2284. Or visit

Read more Friday in Vin's People on

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wine, dine Valentine with CrimeStoppers

Get a head start on Valentines Day and help support a vital cause.
Manatee CrimeStoppers is hosting its 2nd annual “Tasting Wine to Help Fight Crime,” 6 p.m. Saturday at the Bradenton Country Club.
The event combines a great venue to wine and dine your Valentine while enjoying imported wines from 10 different wine-producing nations, courtesy of PRP Wine International, in addition to the U.S.
Guests will receive a “passport” to visit each national station where they will receive a sample of wine and a dish of ethnic food. 
Afterward guests can stop by the BrightHouse Networks International Dessert & Coffee Station, as well as bid on silent auction items.
Each lady guest will also receive a rose and sampling of Richie’s Chocolate.
For tickets, ask any member of Manatee CrimeStoppers.
Or email Frank Brunner at
Or call 792-2732.

Monday, February 4, 2013

T-shirt collection ritual marks change of seasons

A couple of hours before the Super Bowl, I did something I always do to mark the imminent change of (sports) seasons.
I packed away my football T-shirts.
I pulled out my baseball T-shirts.
Goodbye, football.
Helllllo, baseball.
It's my ritual. 
First go the high school football shirts.
Manatee Hurricanes. Palmetto Tigers. Southeast Seminoles.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles are next.
I put them all in a couple of big plastic tubs stored in my study closet.
Then out come the Phillies' T-shirts.
Ditto for the Bradenton Marauders T-shirts.
And Rays.
Macon Braves, Atlanta's single-A team since moved to Rome, Ga., too.
The Maine Guides, a Triple-A ballclub in the 1980s, as well.
That one's got some mileage on it, but I'm still fond of it.
Same goes for the well worn Ryan Howard Phillies T-shirt my brother bought me years ago.
It's washed out, but it just got new life.
It's almost baseball season.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Big game marks week of husband's new horizons

Anybody having a Super Bowl party?
Haven’t heard of anything going on yet, but that’s cool.
If it’s just Sherri and I watching the Niners-Ravens at home tonight, we’ll make do.
Maybe have the in-laws over.
Especially if I fire up the grill.
That always works.
A good sign, I think.
Either that or my in-laws don’t have the heart to tell me my barbecuing is bad news.
I like everything well done, thank you.
They do, too.
So they keep telling me.

Read more Sunday in Mannix On Manatee on