Monday, January 25, 2010

Patrols to resume at troublesome crossing

This just in from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office:

"The Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol will once again be enforcing speeding violations in a school zone at State Road 70 and River Club Boulevard.

"In September of 2008, a local judge ruled that the signage and markings of the River Club school zone did not meet FDOT standards.

"Improvements have been made to the school zone and it is now in compliance with FDOT standards. The speed limit for the River Club School zone is 20 mph."

This six-lane crossing has been particularly troubling, given the speed and volume of traffic. For more, see Tuesday's Herald.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

ODA students hard at it again today

With a second mercy flight to Haiti scheduled to depart early next week, The Out-of-Door Academy is accepting monetary and supply donations 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. today at the student car wash at Tire Kingdom, U.S. 41 and Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota.

Items also can be dropped off at the airport hangar at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport 1-4 p.m. To reach the hangar, turn east off U.S. 41 at the Ingman Marine sign. The airport is located in southern Manatee County.

The first flight, filled with last weekend's contributions, touched down 2:44 p.m. Tuesday. The supplies made it safely into the hands of those on the ground and were put to use immediately.

After a few days on the island, the doctors have requested:

Newborn diapers, Pedialyte with bottle attached, baby blankets, cotton blankets, Kotex pads, and white, flat sheets;

Tarps, lightweight rope, duct tape, and clothespins;

Individually wrapped snacks such as granola bars, Fig Newtons, peanut butter and cheese crackers, raisins, and peanuts;

Betadyne, alcohol, surgical gloves, gauze pads and rolls, ace bandages, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, gallon-size Ziplock bags, small plastic wash tubs, and clear plastic, 18-gallon containers.

More information can be found on The Out-of-Door Academy’s website at


For video of last week's mission leaving for Haiti, click here:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dairy Queen reopens

The Dairy Queen Grill & Chill at 7155 State Road 70 East is open again, and thank goodness.

For my money, you can't beat an old-fashioned soft serve, although there are more exotic things on the menu, including items that have nothing to do with ice cream.

Friday, I had a chance to meet the new owner, Tracy Hirschauer, and can report she is going to be community-minded, and is in the business for the long-haul.

Tracy and her staff are friendly people. I knew I liked Tracy when I saw her allow little Claudia Young to hold a cone while she filled it with soft serve.

The grand opening weekend is set for Feb. 5-7.

Oh yeah, I was at DQ for a press conference on the upcoming Lunch for the Cure, hosted by the good folks of Susan G. Komen.

The breast cancer survivors I spoke to bowled me over with their bravery and eloquence.

For more, see Saturday's Herald.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dogging it at the fair

What is life, if not for a corndog every now and then?

I'm borrowing a phrase from George Harrison, and adapting for a more down-to-earth purpose. Although some would say corndogs can be heavenly.

There are lots of corndog choices at this year's Manatee County Fair in Palmetto. I stopped by Mark's Concessions and bought an armful today to share back in the newsroom.

"We mix our batter and stick our own dogs," one the concession workers told me.

Sure enough, I watched Tim Hamlin mix a batch of batter from scratch and dip a dog into the deep fryer.

At $4 a pop, one dog is a meal.

If you haven't gotten your corndog fix yet, better get moving. The fair ends Sunday.


Beauty and inspiration at no charge

Looking for a little beauty and uplift in your life? Something that doesn't cost too much?

You might want to consider the Third -Annual Juried Invitational Art Show at The Windsor of Lakewood Ranch, 8220 Natures Way.

The show starts Friday and continues through Jan. 30. Catch it daily 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. There is no admission charge.

This show highlights artists from across the state of Florida.

Look for landscapes, portraits, abstracts, pottery, photography and dimensional art.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Free circus fun for kids

Circus Sarasota clowns are set to perform a free half-hour show beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday in front of Little Bookworms, 8111 Lakewood Main St. #103.

Afterwards, children can visit various stations to learn tightrope walking, plate spinning, feather balancing, stilt walking, juggling, face painting, and magic. The event wraps-up at 4 p.m.

For more information, call 907-3808.


Creekwood contract post office will be open

Monday is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

All regular post offices will be closed.

Anne Jennison, manager of the contract postal unit, inside of the BP Station at Creekwood Crossing in front of Lowes, northwest corner of I-75 and S.R. 70, announces that unit will be open 8:30 a.m. - 4: p.m. Monday, Jan. 18.

All mail will be picked up for processing early the next morning.

Happy holiday,


Friday, January 8, 2010

Winter cleanup of Braden River on tap

The Old Braden River Historical Society has slated its second Winter Clean-up Event for Jan. 16 at King Ranch, on the lower Braden River. The event will last from 9 a.m. to noon, with registration at 8:30 a.m.

Last year, volunteers brought in 1,855 pounds of trash, more than any other clean-up on the river in recent years.

The cleanup will be along the river between the dam south of S.R. 70 and the Manatee River. Those under 18 years old must bring a parent or guardian to sign their consent form.

Go to the King Ranch property, 4630 60th St. E., Bradenton, between Morgan Johnson Road and Caruso Road. Signs will direct you to the registration area. The King family has offered the use of their boat ramp to the river and the staging area around the ramp. Volunteers may either pick up a kayak or canoe there, or bring their own.

Be sure to bring gloves and the right shoes. Some of the items you will find may require getting out of your boat to retrieve.

Afterward, our non-profit group will provide a light lunch.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Notable speakers set for this area

Individual tickets for Ringling College Library Association Town Hall Lecture Series went on sale this week.

Leading off will be Fareed Zakaria on Jan. 11, an editor at Newsweek International and the host of CNN's GPS Show.

Peggy Noonan, a New York Times best-selling author, newspaper columnist, and former presidential speechwriter, will take the stage Jan. 25.

Condoleezza Rice, the nation’s 66th Secretary of State, will speak Feb. 8.

Pervez Musharraf, a former president of Pakistan, is slated to speak March 10, and Phillipe de Montebello, who led New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than 25 years, will speak March 31.

The lectures take place at Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, at 10:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m

The tickets, which cost between $60-86 each, are available for each of the five lectures scheduled for the series’ 30th anniversary year, officials said.

This year, attendees may also pay extra to eat: A “light bite/dessert reception” is available for evening lectures, and a lunch follows morning lectures, officials said.

To reserve tickets, call (941) 925-1343 or go online to The lecture series is the association’s major fundraiser; over 75 years, it has donated more than $6 million to support the students and library at Ringling College of Art and Design.


Monday, January 4, 2010

News of demolition of dorms reaches Jamaica

Our story last week on the demolition of dormitories built in the 1950s in Ellenton as part of Bible Conference center brought this response from Jamaica:

Mr. Jones, your article from the Bradenton Herald today reached me all the way to my home here in Jamaica, and I find it so very nostalgic and interesting.

My name is Karen Brunk, daughter of Lawrence Brunk, and every detail brings back such memory and emotion. When my parents first purchased that 300 acres along the Manatee River in the early '50s, it was a land of rattlesnakes, wildcats and alligators and dolomite strip mines.

I was just a young child then, but I remember parking our car along U.S. 301 and wearing boots to walk through the bush to beginnings of our home, what later was known as the “little pink house,” and in recent years was or perhaps still is, used as a church office. You would still find a large crack in the cement block wall that used to be my bedroom, and where pesky mosquitoes came in at night.

I was a tomboy, they say. I always preferred being on the tractor, or taking care of the cattle and goats that we raised, and have ridden my horses over every inch of that property. Wow….what memories you have conjured up!

Thank you for reporting on a story that is near to my heart and to my four siblings as well. Blessings on you and your family, and Happy New Year.