Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roll up your sleeve

Here's news to use for folks in East Manatee:

Florida Blood Services has announced the bloodmobile will be in many of our neighborhoods throughout May. Here's the schedule:

Saturday, May 1 from 9 a.m. - noon at Bible Baptist Church, 2113 Morgan Johnson Road, Bradenton

Saturday, May 1, from 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. at Best Buy, southwest corner of Interstate 75 and University Parkway.

Sunday, May 2, from 2 - 8:30 p.m. at Royal Palms 20 Theater, 5125 26th Street East, Bradenton

Tuesday, May 4, from 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Southeast High School, 1200 37th Ave. E., Bradenton

Tuesday, May 4, from 1:30 to - 4:30 p.m., Braden River Care Center, 2010 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton

Wednesday, May 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., Nolan Middle School, 6615 Greenbrook Blvd., Lakewood Ranch

Wednesday, May 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., B. D. Gullett Elementary School, Lakewood Ranch,
12125 44th Ave. E., Lakewood Ranch

Wednesday, May 5, 8:30 a.m. - noon, GE Security, 8985 TownCenter Parkway, Lakewood Ranch

Wednesday, May 5, 1 to 3:30 p.m., Harllee Middle School, 6423 9th St. E., Bradenton

Thursday, May 6, 2 - 6 p.m., DENTSPLY - GLENROE, 1912 44th Ave. E.,Lakewood Ranch

Thursday, May 6, 9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. SMR, 14400 Covenant Way, Lakewood Ranch

Thursday, May 6, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Keller Williams Realty, 5260 S.R. 64, Bradenton

Friday, May 7, 5 to 7:30 p.m., Main Street at Lakewood Ranch

Friday, May 7, noon - 4 p.m., Waterlefe, 10705 Waterlefe Blvd., Waterlefe

Monday, May 10, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m., Wal-Mart, 6225 S.R. 64 East, Bradenton

Monday, May 10, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m., Wal-Mart, 2911 53rd Avenue East, Bradenton

Tuesday, May 11, 3:30 - 8:30 p.m., Carlton Arms of Bradenton, 6200 Riverfront Drive, Bradenton

Tuesday, May 11, from 11:30 1:30 p.m., Eaton, 2250 Whitfield Avenue, Bradenton

Tuesday, May 11, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Columbus McKinnon Corp., 1920 Whitfield Avenue, Bradenton

Wednesday, May 12, 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m., Vanguard Advanced Pharmacy Systems, 905 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton

Wednesday, May 12, 7:30 a.m.- 9:15 a.m., Oneco Elementary, 5214 22nd Street Court E., Bradenton

Thursday, May 13, 7:45 a.m.- 5 p.m., Bealls Corporate Offices, 700 13th Ave E., Bradenton

Friday, May 14, 9 a.m.- 10:30 a.m., Trinet, 9000 Town Center Parkway, Bradenton

Saturday, May 15, 3 p.m.- 8 p.m., Chili's Grill & Bar, 6125 Exchange Way, Lakewood Ranch

Tuesday, May 18, 8 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., Lakewood Ranch High School, 5500 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.

Tuesday, May 18, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m., Pierce Manufacturing, Inc., 1512 38th Ave. E., Bradenton

Wednesday, May 19, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m., MTI East Campus, 5520 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakwewood Ranch

Friday, May 21, 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., FCCI, 6300 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch

Saturday, May 22, 1:30 p.m.- 7 p.m., Royal Palms 20 Theater, 5125 26th St. E., Bradenton

Monday, May 24, 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., Publix, 1755 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch

Tuesday, May 25, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m., Braden River High School, 6545 S.R. 70 E., Bradenton

Wednesday, May 26, 12:30 p.m.- 3:45 p.m., Freedom Elementary School, 9515 S.R. 64, Bradenton

Friday, May 28, 3:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m., Royal Palms 20 Theater, 5125 26th St. E., Bradenton

Sunday, May 30, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Sam's Club, 5300 30th St. E., Bradenton

It's a long list, yes, but if you're inclined to be a blood donor, it offers lots of options.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A fair for veterans

Health screenings, benefit applications, job information, and small business programs -- all geared towards veterans -- will be on tap 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, May 1.

If you're a veteran and if any of these services and information sound like something you could use, be sure to attend the Veterans Appreciation Fair at Freedom Elementary School, 9515 S. R. 64. The school is located east of Interstate 75 and is tucked behind Haile Middle School.

To RSVP, call (941) 747-9081.

And be sure to bring your DD 214 and a photo ID.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The homecoming of Sgt. James Harold Alley

Tim Alley, a 36-year-old paramedic in Arcadia, plans to fly to Hawaii on May 4 to accompany the remains of his brother, James Harold Alley, home to Arcadia.

Sgt. Alley was just 22 when his Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopter was shot down near Quang Tri, Vietnam. All six souls on board were killed. The ship was taking part in a rescue operation for a downed Air Force pilot.

The legendary search-and-rescue effort was documented in several books and in at least one major motion picture.

It wasn't until February that a positive ID was made on Sgt. Alley's remains.

"One of the things that bothered my dad was that a positive ID of his remains had not been made. He felt like he still didn't know," Tim Alley said.

Unfortunately, Harold Alley died three years ago at age 76, never knowing.

Tim Alley expects to return to Fort Myers with his brother's remains on May 7 and then return to Arcadia, where the funeral is set for 1:30 p.m. May 8 at Oakridge Cemetery.

Several persons who were touched by this story expressed interest in attending the funeral. Would it be OK, even though they never knew James Harold or his family?

Tim Alley says, absolutely. It's a homecoming.

"My aunts and uncles are glad there is finally some closure," Tim said.

Tim never knew his older brother. Sgt. Alley was killed before Tim was born. But his example of service and sacrifice inspired Tim in his life, and led him to become a paramedic.

Godspeed, Tim, in your journey to bring James Harold home.


Read the full story here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Here's a big idea at work

Organizers and a legion of volunteers are working to make the 400-acre lake at the heart of Nathan Benderson Park the national and world center of rowing.

Sounds like a tall order, but they just may do it.

The Florida Scholastic Rowing Association championships, underway today and tomorrow, have attracted thousands of fans and athletes. We hear hotels for miles around are full.

If you get a chance, drive over and take a look. There are more than 40 schools and clubs represented. This is a big, new idea for our community which is already having an important economic impact.

The facility is located near the southwest intersection of I-75 and University Parkway, where the SuperTarget and BestBuy are located.

Among spectators today was Bruce Smith, executive director of a boating club in Boston. "It's the most exciting rowing project in the United States right now," Smith said of the local event.

Take a look at some of the photos from today.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Rare scene

A groundbreaking for a new business has been a rarity anywhere in recent years, given the tough economic times.

C&H Baseball had a ceremony Friday at Lakewood Ranch for the $1.5 million indoor training facility and manufacturing plant. Good news, and given that it's baseball, it was happy news, too.

Yaira Spears, the daughter of C&H Operations Manager Torrey Spears, is shown with her dad, and owner Rob Huff (right) with a couple of the ceremonial shovels.

For more on the folks at C&H, see the East Word column in Sunday's Herald.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Snip of the ribbon makes it official

The long-awaited opening of the Department of Veterns Affairs clinic in Bradenton was last week. This week, with a snip of the ribbon, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan made it official.

Local veterans have long looked forward to the opening of the new clinic. Many of them had been on a waiting list because the old clinic in Ellenton was maxed out.

Starting in May, there will be an additional doctor at the clinic and the VA can start whittling away at the size of the waiting list.

More good news includes expanded primary care services and mental health care in one location. The Ellenton clinic and the Bradenton Mental Health VA facility have been closed.

The new clinic also provides gender specific care for female veterans.

Coming this summer, eye care, dental and basic radiology will be added to clinic offerings.

Veterans can call the VA at 1-888-820-0230 to inquire about receiving care at Bradenton-based Outpatient Clinic, 5520 S. R. 64 East.


Friday, April 16, 2010

The face of history

Among the first veterans to use the facilities at the new Bradenton-based Outpatient Clinic this week was Arthur Leenerman, an 85-year-old survivor of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis sank in shark-infested waters in the waning days of World War II after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine.

In looking back through the archives of the Bradenton Herald, the only place where I saw his name was as a bowling team member. Who knew that this special man had been wintering in Bradenton for many years?

Today, only 61 members of the crew of the Indianapolis remain. That's from an original crew of about 1,200. By the time the survivors were plucked from the ocean in 1945, all had been lost save for 316. It still ranks as the Navy's single worst loss of life from one ship.

Take a look at the face of Arthur Leenerman, a gentle upbeat man who experienced more hell on earth than anyone should ever have to endure.

It's right that our nation should provide for folks like Arthur Leenerman, who sacrificed so much.

From time to time, we get complaints about waiting lists to see a VA doctor. But with the expanded facilities at the new clinic, 5520 S. R. 64 E., access should be improved considerably.

The ribbon-cutting for the new facility is set for 9 a.m. Monday, April 19, with Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, doing the honors.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

A memorial to the fallen

Will there be a memorial at Lakewood Ranch to the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and to the members of America's armed forces who have fallen in battle?

Could be, although not necessarily at LWR Town Hall.

The subject got a good airing at the district supervisors' meetings today.

I think you could say supervisors are looking for broad consensus on the proposal.

For more, see Friday's Lakewood Ranch Herald.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Got unwanted bike? Give it a good home

This morning, I've taken calls from folks offering to donate six bikes for homeless people.

The calls came in response to our story on the Tour de Ranch, an event set at Lakewood Ranch April 24 to gather bicycles for homeless people. It's a gift of mobility that could literally help some living in the woods or back alleys get back on their feet.

Martha Childress of the One-Stop Center in Bradenton says if you have a bike in good working order, but no longer in use, to give her call and she'll arrange to pick it up and make sure it's passed along to someone who can really use it.

Martha's office number is 747-1509. You can reach her after hours at 749-1582.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In memory of Ray Wolski

I only met Ray Wolski twice, both times in May of last year.

At that time, the Parrish resident was in a wheelchair, fighting the paralyzing effects of Lou Gehrig's disease, amytrophic lateral sclerosis.

He had already banked his voice in a computer, knowing the day was coming when he would be unable to speak and would blink commands, or have a ventilator breathe for him.

Unfortunately, Ray passed away from his disease a couple of months ago.

He was a nice man, a brave man, who led a good and productive life. He was so loved by his family and friends.

His fast-progressing disease took him from frequent walks around the neighborhood to having to use a cane, to being in a wheelchair.

One of his neighbors, Larry Hellberg, said Ray was known as a neighbor quick to help others, who volunteered his time as homeowner association president, and who made wooden toys for his grandchildren.

Ray was there last May when 340 walkers turned out for the Walk to Defeat ALS at Lakewood Ranch and raised more than $60,000 to fight the insidious disease.

This year's Walk to Defeat ALS is set for Saturday, April 10, at Payne Park in Sarasota. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.

If you can, be there for Ray, and too many other folks who have lost their lives to, or who are fighting, this horrible disease.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Window on space history

Anyone who was up just before sunrise this morning and looked northeast from Bradenton saw something awe-inspiring coming up over the horizon.

It was one of the final scheduled launches of the space shuttle. Only three more are planned.

With crystal clear skies, we were able to see a fleck of gold that soon turned into a long streak of gold-colored exhaust. As the shuttle climbed higher into the sky, the contrail turned silver and eventually, it became a fast moving star headed north.

Yep, I was awestruck, standing in front of my house in my pajamas as a jogger padded down my street. I wanted to shout at him to turn around and look at the launch.

Bob Slater, visiting his mom, Joanne Bacher, in East Manatee from Las Vegas, captured a shot of the shuttle's dissipating contrail. Bob, in town for his mom's 75th birthday, claims if you look at the contrail hard enough, you can see "75" in it. I don't know. Take a look.

Anyway, good luck to our astronauts. And we'd like to wish Joanne a happy birthday.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Lakewood Ranch's baseball legacy

In 2003, Palmetto native Lastings Milledge, whom some were calling the best high school player in the state, led Lakewood Ranch to a state championship.

Quite the accomplishment for a school that had only been in existence since 1997. It made for an instant legacy.

They still take their baseball seriously at the Ranch.

For the latest, check out sports writer Alan Dell's blog:


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jack at the wheel

It's a stirring sight to see a golfing colossus like Jack Nicklaus striding through the native palmettos and pine trees of East Manatee.

Nicklaus, the player whose records Tiger Woods is intent on erasing, still has the fire of the competitor in his eye, and seemed pleased that he had recently shot his age in a round of golf, something he hadn't done in awhile.

Nicklaus was at The Concession golf course Wednesday, talking about plans to tweak each of the course's holes.

The living legend was in good humor and shared many tales of golfing lore.

Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin both talked about Seve Ballesteros, who has been battling cancer.

They talked about his personal magnetism and how he could "charge" up a team. Nicklaus told a story of how a reporter once asked Ballesteros how he made a hole in four strokes.

"I miss. I miss. I miss. I make," Nicklaus recalled Ballesteros saying, drawing laughter from those lucky enough to be under the tent where Wednesday's press conference was held.

Nicklaus was extremely generous with his time, answering questions from a small army of press, and posing for photos with one fan after another.

The last I saw of Nicklaus after the press conference, he was at the wheel of golf cart, drove down a steep bank and sped off into the sunset.

It was an afternoon none of us will forget, even those of us who don't know one club from another. For more, see Jason Dill's story in today's Bradenton Herald and on