Friday, March 27, 2015

Palm-Aire Country Club womens golf tournament has a classic fairy tale edge, really!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, second place winners.
Ruth Bley of Palm-Aire Country Club told us about her community's annual Spring Fling Golf Tournament on March 17 and March 19.

The Spring Fling is Palm-Aire's biggest ladies event of the year. This year the theme was Once Upon a Time: Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes, chaired by Barbara Saabye.

 A committee of 12 transformed the clubhouse into a fairy tale and wonderland. The field included 116 players, all of whom, paraded around in creative costumes.


The Brothers Grimm flight -- Pam Webster, Judy Bickford, Donna Neale, and Jimmy Hayes.

The Mother Goose flight -- Linda Miller, Debbie Stehle, Patty Stehle and Sally Read.

Aesop's Fables flight --Sherri Patchen, Tracy Graham, Lola White, and Pauline Bennett.

Hans Christian Andersen flight -- Verna Reber, Anne Pistilli, Linda Kitz, and Sandy Plette.

Raffle proceeds were donated to The Campaign for Grade Level Reading which is an innovative national reading program committed to help children become better readers.

The two-day event included a costume parade, lunch followed by golf on Tuesday, then golf on Thursday morning with a grand finale of dinner and prize awards, and a bedtime fairy tale, scripted and read by Anne Millard on Thursday evening.

Blackbirds, first place in the costume contest.

Red Riding Hoods.

First prize cart winner. Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lakewood Ranch woman chosen for Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellows program

Patti and Kenneth Katter.
Patti Katter of Lakewood Ranch has been chosen for the 2015  class of military and veteran caregivers chosen for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellows program.

The fellowship is a national program of military and veteran caregivers who have stepped forward to serve as advocates and spokespeople for the 5.5 million parents, spouses, children and other loved ones caring for America’s wounded, ill and injured warriors.

“Our Fellows are the heart and soul of our Foundation’s work,” said Dole in a press release Friday. “The wisdom of their personal experience is invaluable, and it helps guide the focus of our National Coalition. I am personally grateful that these hidden heroes would add to the selfless service they already provide as caregivers by volunteering to represent the millions of their peers in need of better support from our nation.”

For more about the fellowship, visit

For more about Patti Katter and her family's service, visit

Art Association of Palm-Aire members visit studios of Clyde Butcher and Bill Farnsworth

Big Cypress National Preserve by Clyde Butcher.
Members  of the Art Association of Palm-Aire annually plan and take  a bus trip as a fundraiser for a scholarship awarded to a local student of the Ringling College of Art and Design.

This year, 72 members  visited the studios of famed Florida photographer Clyde Butcher and painter Bill Farnsworth in Venice, reports Charleen Gorbet.

Butcher is known for his large-scale black-and-white images of natural Florida and is particularly passionate about saving the Everglades.

A collection of Butcher's photos were shown at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton in 2012.

 "We had a wonderful time seeing the artist in his Venice studio," Palm-Aire's Barb Gold said.  "He showed us his amazing cameras, and gave an explanation of the manual film processing techniques used to produce the immense black-and-white pictures seen throughout his studio. They show incredible highlights, subtle background and design in each hand-made print.”

Sharpness is the key to Butcher's nature portraits.

"That makes the viewer relate to my images in a way that is similar to the peace felt when being out in nature. I want my images to create a positive emotion in people, with the hope that they carry that emotion out into their lives to make the world a better place in which to live," Butcher said.

The Palm-Aire artists also got to  meet painter Bill Farnsworth, and one of the artists, Barb Saabye, won a drawing for one of his prints.

Farnsworth is a nationally known illustrator, portraitist and landscape painter,

"My goal with my work is to paint what I love and convey that honestly so the viewer can feel that as well," he said.
Barb Saabye and Bill Farnsworth.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Braden River Veterans of Foreign Wars Post celebrates World War II and Korean veterans

Braden River VFW recently saluted the service of its oldest wartime vets.
Twice a year Braden River  VFW Post 12055 celebrates the service of   World War II and Korean War veterans by taking them to lunch at a local restaurant.

 On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Post Commander Dave Daily and member Gil Ruderman, hosted five World War II and Korean War veterans at Marina Jacks on the waterfront in Sarasota.

"All of these veterans are getting along in years and we need to celebrate them and their service while we can.  I look forward to these bi-annual lunches as do all the veterans.  The VFW Post 12055 is honored to have these veterans as members,” Dailey said.

Veterans of Foreign Wars, Braden River Post 12055 meets  at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month at the American Red Cross building in Lakewood Ranch, 10311 Malachite Drive.

Information:  George Johnston at 941-753-0035.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Claire Strickland takes top individual honors in the 54rd Annual Manatee Land Judging Competition

Claire Strickland with award presenter Dan West.
Taking top honors in the 54th annual land judging competition sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District was senior 4-H student Claire Strickland. She won the I.H. Stewart Award with the highest individual overall score, reports Gail Cameron Somodi, soil conservation supervisor for Manatee County Government. The top award was sponsored by ECo Consultants.

The 4-H senior team composed of Claire Strickland, Jesse West, Samuel West, and Benjamin Hoffner won the Callon Keen, Sr. Award for the team with the highest score overall. The team also won the senior 4-H division.  In second place, was the team composed of Hannah Whitaker, Casey Wingate, Westin Maye, and Joshua Groover.

The intermediate 4-H team including Shelby Bryan, Janna Groover, Jo Hoffner, and Jay West, placed first in the 4-H intermediate division.  

Placing first in the FFA high school division was a team from Southeast High School, advised by Mike Buckley, with students Kenan Alemhoca, Isabel Cushing, Colt Travis, and Jasmine Villegas.

Placing second was the FFA high school team from Southeast High School, advised by Mike Buckley, with students Luis Solorzano, Jaimie Davis, Samantha Lockhart and McKayla

The FFA high school team from Braden River High School placed third, advised by Deb Barry with students Meagan Gigliotti, Christine King, and Emily Courson.

Buffalo Creek Middle School swept the middle school FFA division. Placing first at the middle school level was the team of John Greer, Caissy Chase, Savannah Cannon, and Camrie Henderson. The second place team, included students Zach Stolze, Faith Gilray, Jade Parrish, and Hannah Hattaway.  In third place, were Mara Behringer, Chloe Flourney, Alexis Orloski, and Sorryl Cannon. Steve Harber, advised all Buffalo Creek FFA students.

Medals were awarded to the high scoring individual at each of four fields.  This year, Claire Strickland was recognized for the highest score (perfect) at two of the four fields in the senior division.  Luis Solorzano and Jasmine Villegas, from Southeast also scored highest at the 3rd and 4th fields, respectively. Villegas had a perfect score at the 4th field.  Junior division winners, both from Buffalo Creek Middle School, were Fields 1, 2, and 3:  John Greer and Field 4: Camrie Henderson.

FFA teams from Haile and Nolan Middle Schools and Palmetto High School also competed. Participating as guests were Charlotte, Pinellas and Orange FFA students. In all, 83 students competed, resulting in one of the largest turnouts in recent years.

The winning FFA teams from Southeast High School, Buffalo Creek Middle School, and the intermediate and senior 4-H teams are eligible to compete in the state land judging competition to be held in late March hosted by the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The competition was held at Ed Chance Reserve-Gilley Creek Tract, a Southwest Florida Water Management District property, on one of the coldest days of the year. Students answered test questions concerning soil properties at four fields in such categories as slope, depth, texture, permeability, erosion and nutrients. One of the fields represented a potential homesite location, and students were questioned on how well the land could serve as a building site.

For more information visit

4-H intermediate team: Shelby Bryan, Janna Groover, Jo Hoffner and Jay West.

4-H Senior Team.

FFA team from Southeast High School.

Students examining one of the fields in the land judging competition.

Chief Judge Juan Vega explains the results of the competition to the students.

FFA team from Buffalo Creek Middle School team.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

East Manatee's Rosedale community steps up to support Homes for Our Troops

Lt. Col. Steven Skelton, who provided the initial information to the Rosedale  community about Homes for Our Troops, is shown with his father, John Skelton.
Rosedale residents have decided that they need to do more than just say "thank you for your service" to grievously wounded members of the military who sacrificed so much in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recently, Rosedale held a golf tournament  that raised $18,275 to help build a specially adapted, mortgage free home for Marine Sgt. Anthony McDaniel in Navarre, Fla., reports Kathi Skelton.

"We started the first year, 2013,  with about a three-week window and just put an informational display and donation box in the pro shop. After sending out an email to Rosedale residents, we raised $4,500," she said.

The second year, 2014, Rosedale added the golf tournament as well as information and donation box in the pro shop, and raised $11,500.

"This year we tried to promote the golf tournament outside of the Rosedale community as well as within and raised the $18,275," Skelton said.

"The Rosedale community is very supportive since they are now very familiar with Homes For Our Troops. We are already looking to next year. The event will be the last Saturday in January and we have identified a new recipient. Our plan is to continue what we have done in the past but try to increase our fundraising goal by trying to solicit larger corporate sponsors," she said.

Purple Heart recipient Larry Gill addressed players after the Rosedale tourney.

Design on Rosedale's first tee.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Photos from Cracker Trail Ride bring us about as close to the event as possible without being there

Cracker Trail riders forge a small stream, and horses pause to take a sip.
Horses and riders streamed out of Kibler Ranch, located about 15 miles east of Bradenton on Saturday, headed to Fort Pierce.

They won't arrive on Florida's east coast until Friday, Feb. 20, as they retrace the cattle drives of the 19th Century.

The event is, of course, the annual Cracker Trail Ride, which takes its name not from Saltines, but the bull whips cowboys used in the old days to drive cattle.

Here are photos sent by smart phone to the Bradenton Herald by trail boss Suzanne Park, and some of the other riders. All were sent from horse back. They give a sense of  the fun and adventure, as well as some of the natural Florida beauty along the trail.

Riders get a view of new crops being readied under plastic.

A portion of the Cracker Trail takes riders along state highways.

Cracker Trail Ride is a family friendly event.

Horse seems to be smiling for the camera.

Togetherness on the trail.

Riders are happy when they reach open country.

Trail boss Suzanne Park.

Riders meet old friends and meet new ones.

Riders take over the road shoulder.

It is possible to kick back on horseback.

Open country.

Mule-drawn covered wagon.