Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Politicking in East Manatee

Political clubs were once a rariety in East Manatee, but now the area has as many of them as anywhere else.

In the new year, they plan to get busy right away. Here are some of the meetings:

The Lakewood Ranch Democratic Club meets 5-7 p.m. Jan. 5 at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., for a discussion on the pros and cons of Lakewood Ranch becoming incorporated.

The East Manatee Republican Club will meet for luncheon 11:30 a.m. Jan. 14, at the Peridia Golf and Country Club; 4950 Peridia Blvd. Guest Speaker will be Rick Piccolo, executive director of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. Also on the agenda will be the election of club officers.

The Southeast Manatee Co. Democratic Club will host Honey Rand, speaking on concerns about drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico at its 11:30 a.m. Jan. 21 luncheon, at The Peridia Country Clubt.


Farewell 2009, farewell Bible conference dorms

Before there was a Prime Outlets in Ellenton or an ice skating palace, there was a Bible conference center in the neighborhood, located just up the road at 7215 U.S. 301 North.

The dormitories, some built more than 50 years ago to house the visitors, had fallen into disrepair in recent years.

Today, the dilapidated buildings were demolished, removing a safety hazard.

Still standing is the old Victory Chapel, now home to My Father's Place. And the distinctive concrete-block billboard out front is still standing, too, for now.

For more, see Thursday's Herald.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

East-side, west-side, all around town

I had never met Ellie Ohlman until this week, and it was only for a few minutes Tuesday night at Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

Ellie was present to help welcome the Bradenton Marauders to town. The new Florida State League baseball team is part of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Ellie was there as Miss Lakewood Ranch High School, in the company of her mother and several members of the high school baseball team.

By this time, I would probably have already forgotten I had met Ellie, except for an answer she gave me when I asked her about the Marauders.

"It's exciting for Manatee County. I hope it will help bring the community together," she said.

And then I asked her about the Manatee High School Hurricanes and their quest for a state football championship.

"It's exciting, even though it's not my school," Ellie said.

Sometimes we, as a county, forget that there is a lot more that unites us, rather than divides us.

Go 'Canes! You have an entire county rooting for you.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good works at schools and elsewhere

Getting an education is a full-time job these days for students at every level, from elementary school to college. I've got to say I'm happy that I'm not a student. I'm not sure if it's more difficult in 2009 than decades ago, or just seems that way.

Kathy Keebler of Braden River Elementary School got my attention this week with an email where she relayed that students at her school collected 1,672 cans to benefit the Salvation Army.

At Gullett Elementary, school guidance counselor Monica Rice wrote to say students there collected 1,848 canned good items for the Salvation Army. The two top classrooms were Mrs. Huber's and Mrs. Meckley's. And in those classrooms, respectively, student Collin Herbert brought in 265 cans and Victoria Lapek brought in 295.

Also at Lakewood Ranch, Kenneth Jarvis PLLC, a certified public accounting firm, is inviting new, unwrapped toys to be dropped off 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday -Friday through Dec. 18 at 6311 Atrium Drive, Suite 206. The toys will go to needy children.

At Little Bookworms, through Dec. 18, customers can help brighten the holiday for a local child by purchasing a gift for the Giving Tree. All that's necessary is to select an ornament at the store with a child's first name and age and pick out a book or toy you think the child might enjoy. Little Bookworms is located at 8111 Lakewood Ranch Main Street.

Have a project to benefit children or the needy this holiday season? Let us know and we'll help you get the word out.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Turn on the radio this time of the year and you might hear seasonal music like "Sleigh Ride" by the Ronettes and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" by Gene Autrey.

This time of year also brings unpredictable weather, which today has been steadily deteriorating. Within the past hour, the decision was made to cancel Music on Main at Lakewood Ranch.


Music on Main tonight

Here's another indicator that 2009 is nearly history:

Music on Main at Lakewood Ranch has its final concert of the year 6- 9 p.m. today.

You can't beat the price. It's free as The Big Night Out band takes the stage with Latin, Caribbean and Motown dance music.

Santa will be visiting the M&I Bank tent from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.


More political fundraising at Ranch

There's another political fundraising event at Lakewood Ranch today.

This one is for Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and will be held 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Gold Coast Eagle-Anheuser-Busch Hospitality Rotunda and Garden, 7051 Wireless Court

The fundraiser is chaired by Don and Denise Saputo. Members of the host committee include Senator Mike and Dee Bennett, Carlos Beruff, Darrin Chrisman, Jack and Andrea Cox, Larry Lieberman, and Robert and Michelle Messick. Organizers are suggesting $100 contributions.

Earlier this week, Bill McCollum attended a $50 a plate pancake breakfast at Lakewood Ranch, as he seeks the Republican nomination for governor. He faces a challenge from Sen. Paula Dockery, a Lakeland Republican.

Alex Sink, Florida's chief financial officer, is expected to be the Democrat's gubernatorial candidate.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Driving Miss Daisy

Daisy Gant's tender care and encouragement of the thousands of school children she delivered to Manatee schools for 31 years as a bus driver have not been forgotten.

She has been chosen grand marshal of the Myakka Christmas parade set for 3 p.m. Saturday.

For more, see Friday's Bradenton Herald.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Windy, but so what?

Dawn Ogilvie holds onto her tent as a wind gust threatens to send it sailing across East Manatee.

Ogilvie of All Natural Artisan Soaps was one of the vendors on opening day of the Community Farmers Market at Health Park East, 6040 53rd Ave. E.

She talked to customers who journeyed all the way from west Bradenton, as well as those who came from across the street, like Audrey and Dave Snyder of River Landing, shown with Dawn.

There wasn't a discouraging word to be heard: good turnout, lots of fresh produce and other items, but it was windy.

The new market will open 2:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through April.