Thursday, February 27, 2014

Phillies' Sandberg starts second season in pro ball

After his first season of professional baseball in the Gulf Coast Rookie League, Cord Sandberg reported Thursday to spring training at Clearwater with the Phillies.
Baseball website FanGraph pegged the ex-Manatee Hurricane as the fourth best outfielder in the Philadelphia farm system: “He has above-average, left-handed power, but is still learning to tap into it in game situations. He has good bat speed. Sandberg has a patient approach and has an idea at the plate. Defensively, he should be above-average in left field thanks to his range and solid arm.”
• The Suncoast Mummers String Band has two concerts on tap. The first is 8 p.m. Friday at Neel Auditorium, State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. The second is 7 p.m., March 7 at Renaissance on Ninth, 1816 Ninth St. W. Bradenton.
Call 941-729-4069 for details.
• Bayshore High’s Krista Edwards, Ashley Perry and Arianna Priebe are delegates and Julia De Camargo and A’driana Sams are alternates for American Legion Auxiliary Girls State.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

McKechnie anthem lineup loaded for spring

Wakeland Elementary School’s Mikaela Boelkins, Emma Craig, Olivia Hodge, Melanie Van Peenen and Emily Watrobsky sang our national anthem at the Pirates’ Black and Gold game Tuesday.
Michelle Montezeri did the honors Wednesday against the New York Yankees.
Beginning with Saturday’s game, the lineup of folks performing this distinct honor at McKechnie Field’s Grapefruit League games are: 
Saturday — Jordan Lutz, Tampa Bay Rays
Monday — Jessica Cary, Boston Red Sox
Thursday — Brooke Bonderer, Barry Yoderer (O Canada), Toronto Blue Jays
Friday — Ben Bakker, Minnesota Twins
March 9 — Ellery Carlson, Boston Red Sox
March 10 — Jessica Tilickey, Baltimore Orioles
March 14 — Christal Cashmore, Philadelphia Phillies
March 15 — Robin Fernandez, Tampa Bay Rays
March 17 — Matthew Huff, New York Yankees
March 20 — Nicole Wishon, Baltimore Orioles
March 22 — Stephanie Roberts, Philadelphia Phillies

March 25 — Diana Walters, Paul Villaluz (O Canada), Toronto Blue Jays
March 27 — Thomas Jomisko, New York Yankees

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Braden River alum gets appointment to Annapolis

A salute to Sam Valley. The Braden River High School alum, now at the University of Florida on a Navy ROTC scholarship, has received an appointment to the Naval Academy with the Class of 2018. Annapolis has been his dream and, though he didn’t get in last year, he reapplied and just got the good news from Congressman Vern Buchanan’s office. While at BRHS, Sam ran cross country as a sophomore, was on the Pirate weightlifting team as a junior and senior, was the JROTC battalion commander, a member of National Honor Society and student government and graduated in the top 10 of his class.
 His proud family includes dad Steve, mom Lauren and older brother Alex.
• Those are wedding bells April 12 for Amber Walinga, one of the terrific team of waitresses at Popi’s Place Too in Palmetto, and Beau Peurifoy.
• Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ Youth Ministry holds Polynesian Night Saturday. Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner is at 6 p.m. and the live auction at 7 p.m. at Flynn Hall, 833 Magellan Dr., Bradenton. Call 941-755-1826.
I may have to loan Fr. Joe Connolly and Fr. Benjamin Medeiros some Hawaiian shirts.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

After nearly 40 years, couple love Pirate City trips

Shannon O'Mealy, grandmother Lois Barrett read ball's autographs.
Bob and Lois Barrett have forgotten more about Pittsburgh Pirates baseball than many of us could ever hope to know.
He's 86, she's 85 and have followed the ballclub forever.
Back home in Johnstown, Pa., they've got scrapbooks about the Pirates probably older than most of the team's fans who turned in force at Pirate City Tuesday.
It was the team's first full squad workout and nobody wanted to miss it.
"MVP! MVP!" some chanted as centerfield Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates star centerfield and 2013 National League MVP jogged onto one of complex's four diamonds.
The Barretts took it all in stride.
They've seen Pirates stars aplenty over the years.
The petulant Barry Bonds.
The paternal Willie Stargell.
The princely Roberto Clemente.
They've seen them at old Forbes Field and now PNC Park.
But they like seeing them up close and personal at Pirate City.
"We try to catch spring training every year," Barrett said. "The Pirates are all we know back home."
Even more than the Steelers? And Penguins?
Yes, he said.
Barrett was involved in mining more than half his life.
He started out working in them, then inspecting them and eventually was appointed assistant labor secretary of labor for mining under President Ford and continued in that capacity under President Carter.
It was during Ford's administration the Barretts began making a regular pilgrimage to Bradenton to see the Pirates.
The year was 1975 -- almost 40 years ago.
They hope there's a few more years to keep coming here, too.
Barrett has survived multiple bouts with cancer and is carrying on.
"I've got longevity in my family," he said.
One grandfather lived past 100.
An aunt recently died at 103.
So Barrett's optimistic.
"Maybe we've got a few more trips left," he said.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Words come back to haunt supervisor of elections

“Do you read the stories about the people in Africa? The people in the desert, who literally walk two- and 300 miles so they can have the opportunity to do what we do — and we want to make it more convenient?”

Mike Bennett must rue the day in May 2011 when he said those words as a Republican state senator.
Especially this past week.
Now Manatee County’s supervisor of elections, Bennett presented a strategic plan Tuesday to dramatically streamline the county’s voting precincts — cutting them from 99 to 69 — while adding five polling places and three early voting sites.
The new arrangement actually has logistical merit, adapting SOE resources to meet the growth in public preference for early voting and voting by mail.
Yet the downside of Bennett’s blueprint is striking and makes people with long memories recall those inflammatory words of three years ago, not to mention his career as a partisan Florida legislator.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cortez author to sign books at Fishing Festival

Cortez author Joe Crawford will be signing both his books, Arianna and the Spanish Sardines and Nathan and the Stone Crabs at the Cortez Fishing Festival, Saturday and Sunday.
His booth will be at the end of 119th Street West.
The setting for both books is local, and readers will recognize the DeSoto Monument, Emerson Point, the Portavant Temple Mound, Egmont Key and Fort De Soto.
• New Manatee High School baseball skipper Rob Viera and the Hurricanes honored Bruce Braithwaite by naming their G.T. Bray clubhouse after him. A selfless man if ever there was one, Bruce has served the ballclub and boosters for 29 years.
• Don’t miss the Southeastern Guide Dogs’ Walkathon, Feb. 22 at Rossi Park, 808 Third Ave W., Bradenton. There will be food, fun and tons of dogs. Registration is 8:30 a.m., opening ceremony is 9:45 a.m., and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
Visit to register.
Or call Walkathon manager Nina Ionata at 941-479-6611.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Olympics breaks husband's monopolizing TV

Before the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics began, my wife made a most magnanimous offer.
Sherri said she'd watch the games on the bedroom TV, so yours truly could watch whatever I wanted on our living room TV.
"I know how much you LOVE the Winter Olympics," she said.
If you detect some sarcasm, you're right.
I don't hate the winter games, understand.
It's just that right about now I'm waaay more excited about the start of spring training and baseball.
On my way home every night the past couple of weeks, I've driven by McKechnie Field just to feel the good vibes.
As for the Winter Olympics?
Sherri's favorite is figure skating.
Singles. Pairs. Long program. Short program. Ice dancing.
She loves it all.
Me, not so much.
That we've got Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay competing from the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex does pique my curiosity, however.
It was an education Tuesday listening to pre-adolescent girls talk expertly about Axels and Lutzes and Salchows while we watched on the ice arena's flat screens as Zhang and Bartholomay whirled their way through the figure skating pairs short program.
All Greek to me.
When they talked about doubles and triples, they meant how many times a skater turns during a jump.
I was thinking extra-base hits.
Anyway, I told Sherri don't bother with watching the winter games on the bedroom TV. Just watch them in the living room and I'll read.
I'm such a good husband like that.
Uh, sometimes.

re here:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Relief may be on way for Green Bridge motorists

If there’s anybody out there who enjoys driving to work, please raise your hand.
Can’t be many.
Especially if they’re traveling south over the Green Bridge every day to their jobs in Bradenton and points elsewhere.
Sounds like a lot of unhappy motorists — and constituents — are stuck making that trip, according to the Palmetto City Commission.
That august body agreed last Monday to find out why their side of the span across the Manatee River is backed up every workday morning.
Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant wants to let the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization know about it, too.
Well, it turns out they already do.
Matter of fact, according to MPO transportation planner Mike Maholtz, state and local traffic engineers are already working on it.
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Thursday, February 6, 2014

St. Joseph's eighth-grader state champion speller

Ben Cendana's winning word was "sufficient."
Props to Ben Cendana. The Saint Joseph Catholic School eighth-grader is the Knights of Columbus State Spelling Bee champion. He won it Feb. 1 in Orlando, correctly spelling words such as benign and encephalitis. His winning word was sufficient.
Sherri Mannix
• Congrats to HomeBanc’s new director of retail operations, my wife, Sherri Mannix.
• Palmetto’s First United Methodist Church is hosting a piano-and-violin concert welcoming pianist George Kern and wife, Sarah, an opera singer, 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the church, 330 11th Ave. W. He will be accompanied Sunday by longtime friend, violinist Anne Hooper, national Scottish fiddle champion.
• Florida State University senior Erin Lisch spent national signing day assisting ESPN’s Holly Rowe Wednesday in Tallahassee and tweeted updates for ESPNU.
Abigail Holmes
 • Big ups to Braden River High School soccer flash Abigail Holmes, who’s going to “The U.” She’ll attend the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and major in marine biology. Parents Ted and Cassandra Holmes and little sister EmmaLee are proud.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Think of grieving, quiet corner of our community

None of us can fathom the horror that took place at Sugar Creek Estates Sunday morning.
One minute seniors who had just attended church were chatting outside like folks do after services are over.
They next minute, tragedy struck.
Three people dead. Four seriously injured.
Good God.
None of those poor people could have imagined something so awful happening to them on a beautiful morning.
They're outside greeting friends and catching up with what's going on in their lives.
No one's in a hurry to leave.
It's a scene that repeats itself every Sunday morning outside every house of worship around town.
But a fellow congregant, attempting to leave the mobile home community's parking lot, accidentally backed up her SUV into the crowd of a dozen or so people at "great speed" according to an eyewitness. Then it continues to go in reverse into a canal, but the driver and passenger are unhurt, fortunately.
How could this happen?
According to the FHP, the driver believed she had shifted gear into drive, but it was actually in reverse when she hit the accelerator.
Was it driver error?
A transmission problem?
The FHP investigation must determine that, but it won't stop the pain.
Two husbands are sorrowful widowers.
Families are without their matriarchs.
Friends are without beloved friends.
A quiet corner of our community is reeling in its grief.
Pray for all of them.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

$4 million Super Bowl commercials better be good

More than 111 million Americans are expected to watch the Super Bowl Sunday night, but half probably couldn’t care less about the game.
That’s right.
They’re more interested in the Super Bowl’s commercials.
According to the Nielsen ratings, 51 percent of people surveyed after last year’s game watched it solely for that reason.
If the pattern repeats itself, advertisers may get a bang for their buck.
B-i-i-i-g bucks.
Guess how much Fox is charging for a 30-second spot?
Try $4 million!
They’d better be good commercials for that price.
There sure were enough bad ones during the past regular season.
When those kind of commercials come on, I hit the mute button on our remote immediately.
In that spirit, I’ve compiled a list of such ads from the last several monoths and think you’ll agree on some of them,
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