Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Because we care about roads

Here are a couple of notes about roads of particular interest to East Manatee residents:

Mill Creek Bridge on Upper Manatee River Road is under repair. From May 25 through July 6, no vehicle weighing more than five tons will be allowed to cross. That includes Waste Pro trucks, school buses,construction and delivery vehicles.

Any questions, contact Chad Butzow, the county's deputy public works director at 708-7432.

In the Parrish area,the county's public works department will hold a public information meeting on roads 7 p.m. Thursday, May 27, in the Parrish Community Center, formerly known as the old Parrish school house. The public is invited.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

He's everywhere, and he's at the Ranch

You have to hand it to Rep. Vern Buchanan: he seems to be everywhere with his town hall meetings.

Buchanan plans the latest of his town halls, his eighth in a recent series, in Lakewood Ranch Town Hall 11 a.m. Saturday.

The topic: jobs, the economy and health care.

“Jobs and the economy are the most important issue,” said Buchanan, R-Sarasota, in a press release.

“Congress needs to focus our efforts now on putting people back to work. I want to listen to the people and get their feedback, ideas and suggestions. I also welcome input on the sweeping health care bill recently passed by Congress and signed by the President.”

Doors open at 10 a.m.

Buchanan's office asks that if you plan to attend, call (941) 951-6643 to RSVP.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

He makes wordsmiths nervous

Vincent Franco is a 14-year-old eighth grader at Haile Middle School, who makes old guys who work with words nervous. Guys like me.

Vincent is the county spelling champ and he is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in June.

I'm being extra careful with my spelling today because Vincent can spell words that I have never read or heard.

For more, see Sunday's Herald. And good luck in D.C., Vincent!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Now, that's a lot of moola

It took the Phil Galvano Golf Classic 13 years to earn $1 million for local school grants.

Not a bad contribution, it fact it's pretty outstanding. But consider this: today's 14th annual Galvano Classic hauled in $200,000. That's a lot of bread, dough, moola, bucks.

Rep. Bill Galvano, one of the true leaders in the Florida Legislature this year, was happy to be back in town at the tourney that carries his father's name.

And he was particularly happy to be back with his family. His son, William, recently won the 4-H Tropicana speaking competition, the same contest that Rep. Galvano won a few decades ago.

"It made me tear up," Galvano said, speaking of how proud William had made him.

For more on the tourney, see Saturday's Herald.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

In District 4, get ready for the knock on the door

When Ron Getman announced he would not seek re-election to the District 4 Manatee County Commission seat, it set off a scramble to decide who would replace him.

Competition is especially frenzied among the three Republican candidates who debated in front of the East Manatee Republican Club today. Each of them is hoping for 50 percent of the vote plus one in the Aug. 24 primary. The winner would face Democrat Roger Galle in the general election in November.

Robin DiSabatino, Norm Luppino and Tim Norwood are the Republican hopefuls and each said they hope to knock on every door in the district, which has more than 40,000 residents. That will take a lot of shoe leather and skin off the knuckles to achieve. The district stretches from Bayshore Gardens to Lockwood Ridge Road and from University Parkway to the Bradenton city limits.

The three Republicans offer some clear choices: the well-funded DiSabatino who has much of the business community lined up behind her; Norm Luppino, a former planner for Manatee County government who understands the challenges of growth from the inside out; and Tim Norwood, a self-proclaimed "tea-party" conservative whose campaign materials are photo copies, and who proudly runs on a shoestring.

But the three also share some goals, including bringing more jobs to the community, making the hard fiscal choices to ensure the county operates within its revenues, and, yes, knocking on all those doors.

For more, see Friday's Herald.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Never forget

You couldn't help but be struck by the enduring devotion of Vietnam vets to one of their own today.

They turned out by the hundreds with American flags for the funeral of Sgt. James Harold Alley, who died in Vietnam in 1972.

At the end of the service, many clustered around the casket, touching it, placing little mementoes on top of it, saluting a fallen hero.

Sgt. Alley died at 22 while assisting in the rescue attempt of two downed American aviators, who were surrounded by as many as 30,000 North Vietnamese fighters during a fierce communist offensive.

It would be 38 years before Sgt. Alley's remains would be positively identified and returned to his family.

For those of us who survived the war, and have enjoyed decades of post-Vietnam living and a chance to live out our dreams, we feel renewed sorrow and a sense of loss for Sgt. Alley and his family.

For more, see Sunday's Bradenton Herald.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Miles long escort of honor?

One thousand veterans on motorcycles to honor one of their own from the Vietnam War?

That's what some are saying about the return of the remains of Sgt. James Harold Alley, who lost his life in Vietnam in 1972.

There has been a lot of interest in Sgt. Alley's story, from the average reader to veterans who remember or took part in the rescue effort that claimed his life.

Sgt. Alley was one of six who died when their Jolly Green Giant helicopter was shot down near Quang Tri during a search and rescue mission for two pilots.

The Patriot Guard Riders are planning to escort the remains of Sgt. Alley from Fort Myers International Airport to Arcadia on Friday.

The last schedule I saw has the Patriot Guard staging at Fort Myers at 10:30 a.m. Friday to escort the remains to Arcadia. The route goes north from Interstate 75 and takes Exit 164 to U.S. 17 North to Arcadia.

The Patriot Guard will stop at Ponger-Grady Kays Funeral Home, 50 N. Hillsborough Ave., Arcadia.

Services are set for 12:30-1:30p.m. Saturday at the funeral home, followed by interment with full military honors at 2 p.m. at Oakridge Cemetery.

The public is welcome to attend the farewell, according to Tim Alley, who is escorting his brother's remains to Arcadia for interment with other family members at Oakridge.