Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kangaroo taken in by Majical Miniatures requires surgery

By Nick Williams

Photo provided by Majical Miniatures
Majical Miniatures, a non-profit wild and exotic animal rescue sanctuary in Parrish, is asking for donations to help rehabilitate and surgically repair a ligament injury in a 1-year-old female kangaroo named Poppy.

The organization said Poppy was born and raised in a small captive area and was not able to roam to allow her tendons and ligaments to stretch fully. When Poppy was purchased and shipped to a second and larger location, her heel bones broke away from her major foot bones when she tried to run for the first time.

Poppy was recently transported to Majical Miniatures and to fix the injury, the sanctuary will need to order a surgical procedure to pin the heel bone back to her foot. Poppy's only other option is euthanasia.

The expenses of her medical and rehab care will be cost between $4,000 and $6,000.

To donate, visit or call 941-981-9121.

Couldn't they have waited a day on extending water restrictions?

High water at Rye Wilderness Preserve on Tuesday. (Herald file photo)

In an ironic twist, the Southwest Florida Water Management District just announced it is extending watering restrictions until Dec. 31 for Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties.

That means residents will be limited to watering their lawns twice a week, except for Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota County which  limit watering to once a week.

Thank you very much district governors.

The ground is still soggy, and there is standing water in many places. Don't think too many of us were worried with watering right now.

Here's a portion of the press release that explains the rationale:

"While Tropical Storm Debby provided increased rainfall to the region, it was not enough to fully recover from drought conditions.

"That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted yesterday to extend its Modified Phase I water shortage order for the District’s southern and eastern portions.

"Counties currently under the Phase I order follow the District’s year-round water conservation measures. That means lawn and landscape watering is limited to a two-day-per-week schedule and residents may only water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. 

"While the southern region did see rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby, key hydrologic indicators remain below normal in the region due to long-term drought effects. The region needs above-normal precipitation throughout the rainy season for the area to totally recover from drought conditions."

Debby brought lots of trouble, but also helped

Braden River was right at the back door of Linger Lodge on Tuesday. (Herald photo)
Among all tropical storms in recent memory, only Gabrielle in 2001 had a greater impact on Manatee County than Debby.

But Debby was a nasty character, disrupting lives, traffic, wildlife, and business. Fortunately, it never became a hurricane, or it might have been as intimidating and forbidding as some of the big blows in the unforgettable 2004 and 2005 seasons.

That said, however, the curse of all that water Debby dumped on this area also carries a blessing.

In checking out the Keetch Index, which measures fire danger, most of Florida is now a beautiful blue color, meaning the threat is extremely low.

Quite a change from March when this area was a tinderbox, one of the worst in the state and much of southwest Florida was colored crimson.

Take a look at the before and after photos of the Braden River at Linger Lodge. In March, the river seemed to be little more than a puddle and Linger Lodge's docks were sitting on dry land.

On Tuesday, the high-flying Braden River was lapping at the back stairs of the eccentric eatery.

All things in moderation.
Braden River at Linger Lodge in March. (Herald file photo)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Marauders sponsor Lakewood Ranch Communities Night at McKechnie Field

By Nick Williams

The Bradenton Marauders minor league baseball team is asking Lakewood Ranch residents to join them for a July 4th celebration on July 3 when they take on the Dunedin Blue Jays at 6:30 p.m. at McKechnie Field.

Lakewood Ranch Communities Night will include a postgame fireworks show and is the final day of a two-day patriotic jersey auction. 

The deadline to order the tickets at $5 is June 30.

For more information, call Stacy Morgan at 941-747-3031, ext. 4365, or

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ranch's Paul Chetlain has public service in his DNA

Dizzy Dean at his Bradenton service station. Keep
 reading for the Lakewood Ranch connection.


Paul Chetlain, maintenance manager at Lakewood Ranch, is not the first of his family to enter the public eye in Manatee County.

His father, Kent Chetlain, was a three-term Manatee County commissioner, and former sports editor of the Bradenton Herald.

I was unaware of the connection until a few months ago when former county attorney Chip Rice spotted Paul Chetlain at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall and publicly praised his father.

Curious about Kent Chetlain, I went into Herald archives, and found Kent's name in hundreds of county commission stories.

I also found an article Kent wrote for the Bradenton Herald in the mid-1990s and learned that Dizzy Dean, the great pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, at one time had a gasoline station in Bradenton. A photo from that article in reproduced here, showing Dizzy in his gas station outfit.

 "He’s got encyclopedic knowledge of sports and local history. He will be 85 in September," Paul Chetlain said of his father.

Paul Chetlain
I believe it. Dizzy Dean in Bradenton, huh? I remember Dizzy calling baseball games on TV back in the 1950s and he was still the character he had always been, but he was no longer the string bean of his playing days.

Paul Chetlain joined the Lakewood Ranch Town Hall staff in August of 2009.

Prior to joining the public sector, he was in facilities management for the horticulture industry, notably Yoder Brothers.

 He also worked with a technology company that supplied  horticultural companies with environmental and irrigation control technology for their greenhouses.

He graduated from Manatee High School in 1982, and served in the U.S.  Navy. After his naval service, he returned to Bradenton and attended Manatee Community College, which was renamed State College of Florida a few years ago. He graduated with an Associate of Science in electronic technology.

He met Ryan Heise, operations manager at Lakewood Ranch, who was searching for better solutions to the pond maintenance problem.

From that meeting, he learned of an opening in the maintenance department at Lakewood Ranch.

"I thought  this was a good opportuinty to take a job closer to home," he said.

There were family considerations that were making travel less attractive. He and his wife Cynthia have three children, and Kent Chetlain was getting along in years, too.

At last week's community development meetings, Paul Chetlain filled in for Ryan Heise and calmly and professionally answered all the questions supervisors fired his way.

Maybe that deftness comes along with the family bloodlines.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Know a humanitarian who should be recognized? LWR Community Fund accepting applications

John A. Clarke, 2005 recipient
The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund is inviting nominations for the 8th Annual C. John A. Clarke Humanitarian of the Year Award which will be presented at a reception in October.

Don O'Leary, 2006 recipient
 The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund established the award in recognition of John Clarke’s lifelong dedication to humanitarian ideals and the high ethical, moral and professional standards that epitomize his life.

Clarke is the former  CEO and president and Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and was a catalyst for the establishment of the fund to benefit the community.

The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund will honor an individual or individuals who have made outstanding, sustained and unselfish contributions to community enrichment, and whose commitment and dedication exemplify the ideal of service to the community.

Pat Neal, 2007 recipient
 Past recipients include John Clarke, Don O’Leary, Pat Neal, Lorraine and Dick Vitale, Darrell Turner, Stuart J. Roth and Bob and Billie Delaney. The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was established in 2000 as a donor-advised fund under the umbrella of the Manatee Community Foundation, and is governed by a volunteer board of advisers.

Darrell Turner,
2009 recipient
 Contributions to the Community Fund are made by residents, corporate sponsors and through its fundraising events. Nomination forms are available and may be downloaded from the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund website (

Dick and Lorraine Vitale, 2008 recipients.

All nominations must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 8 and mailed to Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, c/o Manatee Community Foundation, 3103 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, FL 34205. Information: Marilyn Howard at

Stuart Roth, 2010 recipient
Billie and Bob Delaney, 2011 recipients

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bon Appetit chef in Lakewood Ranch this weekend

By Nick Williams
Chef Mary Nolan

Bon Appetit Chef de Cuisine Mary Nolan will be in Lakewood Ranch this week for a hands-on, intimate cooking demonstration and book signing.

The event will include a meet and greet at the Viking Culinary Center on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch on Friday along with a demo, luncheon and champagne brunch at Polo Grill and Bar on Saturday and Sunday, also in Lakewood Ranch.

As of Tuesday afternoon, only four tickets remained. The cost of tickets are $99 and only 25 tickets were made available.

Nolan graduated from of The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and has cooked in restaurant kitchens in both New York and Philadelphia. She also hosted the Food Network’s Chic &  Easy series.

“We feel honored they chose us,” said Hilary Butler, event coordinator for Viking Culinary Center.

The center, a 4,500-square-foot cooking demonstration area, opened on Main Street in September of 2011. Butler said the center has hosted notable chefs in the past, including television’s Hell’s Kitchen season four winner Christine Machamer.

“When other chefs come here, they are so surprised with our facility,” Butler said. “We hope she has the same reaction.”

Polo Grill owner and chef Tommy Klauber studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City and in Paris. He said he enjoys hosting visiting chefs.

"It's always exciting to have a guest chef," he said. "We have great facilities here with our large kitchen and great staff and we look forward to chef's coming in to learn something new."

For those interested in obtaining a remaining ticket, call 941-504-8728.

"Lakewood Ranch has a reputation for being innovative and bringing quality events to the community and this is another great example," Klauber said.

Not your usual mixologists

Jennifer Bryan and Jim Wilson will be among celebrity bartenders at Polo Grill and Bar June 7. (Herald file photo)
So, you're  not a real bartender, a customer asks for a Harvey Wallbanger, and you don't have a clue.

What do you do?

"You play it off like you know what you're doing and you ask a real bartender," says Jennifer Bryan.

Bryan, president of the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center auxiliary, will be one of the celebrity bartenders 6-9 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Polo Grill and Bar, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch.
Deanna Levengood

Tips the celebrity bartenders receive will go to support auxiliary programs. The auxiliary at any hospital is invaluable. At Lakewood Ranch, members raise funds for scholarships, and have bought flat-screen TVs and recliners for the women's center, among many other contributions.

Is Bryan planning any specialty concoction for Thursday?

"Jen's gin and tonic," she says. Then confesses, "I just made that up."

Other celebrity bartenders include ABC News Anchor Lauren Dorsett, hospital CEO Jim Wilson, hospital development director Deanna Levengood, radiation oncologist Dr. Dwight Fitch,  hospital vice chief of staff Dan Lamar, and foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Brian Rell.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sarasota author/executive to speak at Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance briefing

By Nick Williams

Jules Price, a Sarasota author and executive/national trainer for SendOutCards, an online greeting card and gift company, will be the keynote speaker at the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance June Executive Briefing on Wednesday, June 20, at the Keiser University Auditorium, 6151 Lake Osprey Drive, Lakewood Ranch.

A short networking gathering is set at 7:30 a.m., followed by an hour-long briefing beginning at 8 a.m. Cost is $15 for members and $25 for prospective members.

Sarasota author and SendOutCards Executive Jules Price.
Price's book, Secrets from the SOC Drawer: Inspirations to unlock your inner treasures, is a compilation of motivational lessons, anecdotes, and powerful messages. 

The monthly briefings are open to all business executives and personnel, entrepreneurs, non-profits and government staff to help develop successful practices and network with potential business clients.

Those interested can visit to register or call 941-757-1664.

Price will show those in attendance how to grow a network and referrals through appreciation, understand conscious and unconscious ways of influencing others, develop marketing techniques in a "thank you economy", make a positive impact on those around you, be a successful leader through influence