Thursday, July 17, 2014

SWAT Networking Lakewood Ranch chapter honors new, returning members

Honorees at the July meeting of the SWAT Networking Lakewood Ranch Chapter. PHOTO PROVIDED
Six women were recognized as new and returning members at the July meeting of the SWAT Networking Lakewood Ranch Chapter.

Recognized were Shelly Gutowsky, of Boutique Out East; Debbie Lee, of Debbie’s Loving Pet Care; Laurel Rund, of Essence of Laurel; Kathleen Feeney, of Skin NV; Beth Prichard, of Planet Stone Marble and Granite; and Adrian Griffin, of Longboat Title.

SWAT, which stands for Successful Women Aligning Together, meets at four different locations around Manatee and Sarasota - Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Manasota and Nokomis. All women in business are welcome to attend.

Each month, a woman from each of the four chapters is honored for dedication and hard work, positive spirit and willingness to enhance themselves and their career. This month's Woman of the Month from the Lakewood Ranch Chapter is Tonya Merrill of Jennette Properties.

For more information, visit or contact Dr. Robyn Spirtas at 941-962-0884 or

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nolan Middle School FFA students make summer trips

Nolan Middle School FFA students recently returned from two summer trips.

The first was to the Florida Outdoor Adventures camp in Haines City, a four-day exploration into nature, sporting events wildlife management, firearm safety and hunter safety certification, challenge courses and leadership development.

The second was to the 86th Florida FFA State Convention & Expo, held in Orlando. FFA members and guests experienced motivational speakers, award presentations, exciting exhibits, challenging career development events, and plenty of entertaining activities. Many Nolan FFA students participated in state final career development events, which they qualified for throughout the school year. Kate Cranos, Shelby Parks, Jalyn Thompson, J. T. Girman, Hunter Martin and Savannah Freitag took part in the parliamentary procedure. Luke Cornwall also participated in extemporaneous speaking, and J.T. Girman was awarded fifth place in the state for his ornamental horticulture career development event.

Students also attended “A Day of Service” and visited a food bank in the Orlando area, where they sorted, boxed, weighed and labeled over 1,000 pounds of food. Along with attending general session meetings, students attended leadership workshops, working with state FFA officers from many states.

Here are some more photos of the students' trips, provided by Stefani Heidenthal, agriculture teacher at Nolan Middle School:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Junior members of Manatee County Cattlemen Association attend state convention

Members of the Junior Manatee County Cattlemen Association attending the state convention include, front, left, Genaveve Henson, Annabell Henson, back, left, Ben Hoffner, Chloe Bunyak, Casey Wingate, Anna Bunyak, Jennifer Green, and Darrylin Cannon. Provided photo

This year’s 2014 Florida Cattlemen Convention was held at the Marriott Marco Island Resort.

Attending for the Manatee Junior Team:

Marketing: Jennifer Green of Lakewood Ranch High School, Casey Wingate, who is home schooled, and Darrylin Cannon of Braden River High School.

Quiz Bowl: Genaveve Henson of Braden River High School, Chloe Bunyak,who is home schooled, Ben Hoffner of Palmetto High School, and Anna Bunyak, who is home schooled.

Public Speaking contest: Annabell Henson of King Middle School,  first place.

"We are very proud of our Sweetheart Jessie Embach.  She was a great representative for Manatee County, Cully Rowell said.

"All who attended had a great time watching the contestants, attending the meetings, and enjoying the great expo. Manatee County had approximately 86 members in attendance," he said.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Old ruin in Parrish remains a true mystery

Parrish ruin remains a mystery. Herald file photo
We were certain that the Bradenton Herald story about a mysterious ruin in Parrish that was published on July 4th would smoke out the truth.

It's mysterious masonry walls are scorched in places, and overgrown with semitropical vegetation.

No one seems to know much about it. Was it an old post office building? Was it an outpost during the Seminole Indian Wars?

Folks are asking, "What is it?" "When was it constructed?"

We want to know, too.

It could be one of the oldest buildings in Parrish, ironically situated among a row of modern neighborhoods between Old Tampa Road and the Manatee River.

Many of those who commented on the story wanted to know exactly where it was so that they could go out there with a metal detector. That's the reason we didn't give the exact location because it is private property and the neighbors would be unhappy with people tramping through the area.

Norma Kennedy, president of the Parrish Arts Council, said she is confident the truth will come out, especially after long-time Parrish residents see the photos of the ruin.

"There has been a lot of chatter on social media," Kennedy said July 9.

But we suspect that the folks who are old enough to know the story of the ruin probably are not  big users of social media.

So in case you missed it, here is a link to our story:

If you know what it is, give us a call at 941-745-7053.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bradenton resident Jack King returns from first visit to D-Day beaches in 70 years

Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr.  Jack King of Heritage Harbour returned recently from the 70th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy with a whole new set of  memories.

Jack King
"The thing that impressed me most was the gratitude and hospitality of the people in Normandy," he told the Herald.

But it wasn't just the French who said thank you.

"Some of the German visitors came over and said thank you for saving their country," Lt. Cmdr. King said.

"Like my wife said, it's not like I didn't have an ego before," he said.

So much had changed since King was a young Navy radioman at Normandy during World War II, he had difficulty recognizing the place. It was the first time he had visited Normandy since D-Day.

King also visited the cemetery where thousands of U.S. fighters who lost their lives on Omaha and Utah beaches are buried.

"It was stirring, and it was emotional," said the 90-year-old.

While at Normandy for the observance that attracted many world leaders, King shook hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

For more on Jack King's memories of Normandy, visit

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LWR Women's Club helps give 2-year-old a special birthday

The LWR Women's Club was recently thanked for its contributions in making a local 2-year-old boy's birthday special.

A view of the boy's birthday surprise. PHOTO PROVIDED
Members of the club contributed "Birthday Party Bags" as part of a charity effort to help Hope Family Services, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence.

The boy's mother made cupcakes and used the party bags as she decorated the room to surprise the boy when he awoke from his nap. A thank you note from Hope Family Services said "we/she could not have done it without the dedicated Women's Club members who made the bags. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

The LWR Women's Club is supporting Hope Family Services and two other selected charities, SMART Riding Therapy and Solve Maternity Homes, this year. The club's philanthropy committee meets with each charity to determine its needs, then works toward filling those requests through fundraising events.

For information on the club's fall fundraisers or to find out how to join, visit

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Colony Cove Riders Golf Cart Club commemorated Memorial Day in their own unique way

Colony Cover's own Uncle Sam waved Old Glory on Memorial Day. Provided photo

While it is true that members of the Golf Cart Club at Colony Cove, Ellenton, like to enjoy life and have fun, they do have a sense of community as well, says Vickie Cochran.

Here's her report on the way the Colony Cove community observed Memorial Day:

Over  60 people lined U.S. 301 at 8 a.m., waving their flags to passersby. Carts were decorated in red, white and blue and the golf carts paraded around the community for the residents to enjoy as well.

The parade was led by Sherri and Tony Stamper who escorted Grand Marshals Bob and Marie Overgaard.

More than 70 carts participated in the parade. Patriotic music was provided by a sound system on the golf cart owned by Vickie Cochran.

The parade lasted about an hour and was followed by a memorial ceremony led by Russ Uboldi, with a reading of Flanders Fields read by Captain Robert Kain and patriotic songs.

 A luncheon was provided by Equity Lifestyles and served by members of the Friendly Social club. A good time was had by all. Thank you everyone involved in helping to make the holiday a true remembrance of our fallen heroes.

Keep reading to see what the Colony Cove Riders golf cart club will be up to in the coming months. Some great and fun events will be taking place. Just a teaser: '50's parade and sock hop this month.  Get out those poodle skirts and saddle oxfords and slick back that hair and chew lots of bubble gum.

For more on Colony Cove,

Colony Cove golf carts line up for parade, Provided photo

Colony Cove golf cart club members show their patriotism. Provided photo

Colony Cove golf cart club members show their patriotism. Provided photo

Enjoying a friendly social at Colony Cove. Provided photo