Sunday, August 26, 2012

Peace River outage calculator also interesting for mapping the area that it serves

As Tropical Storm Isaac skirted Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch on Sunday, Mark Sellars of Peace River Electric Cooperative emailed a link to  a real-time outage viewer.

We found it fascinating to see Peace River's service area, including the huge patch of Manatee County that it serves.

The map provides the number of locations without power, a general idea of where the outages are occurring graphically, and the number of consumers affected per county, Sellars wrote in the email.

Take a look:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Grand Challenge to feed the hungry in Manatee County

Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore and School Board member Julie Aranibar have called a press conference for 9 a.m. Aug. 22 to announce the "Grand Challenge" to restock the bare shelves of the Manatee Food Bank.

TechHouse, a Lakewood Ranch-based business, makes it easy for those in the Lakewood Ranch area to help the cause.

For each of the past five years, TechHouse has conducted a food drive to fight hunger called "Summer Harvest."

The campaign will continue through Sept. 10.

 The Summer Harvest donation boxes are located at:

1. TechHouse’s home office , 6910 Professional Parkway East, Lakewood Ranch.

2.  Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive.

3.  ComCenter Lakewood Ranch,   9040 Town Center Parkway.

4. ComCenter 70, 6150 State Road 70.

5. Lakewood Ranch Humane Society, 7334 Trade Court.

All food donations will benefit The Food Bank of Manatee and Sarasota’s All Faith’s Food Bank.

TechHouse has expanded  the Summer Harvest drive to gathering pet food for Safe Haven Animal Rescue, Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue and Lakewood Ranch, Manatee and Sarasota Humane Societies.

Companies that would like to participate by adding a poster or a donation box may contact TechHouse at  

Donations accepted:

1.  All nonperishable food items especially, canned meats, beans, rice and cereal, peanut butter and jelly, cans of tuna, baby food and formula and V-8 Splash.

2. Dog and cat food, and cat litter.

3. Monetary donations.

4. Nonperishable toiletry items.

For more on the push by Carol Whitmore and Julie Aranibar, click here:


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Will they get answers? Willowbrook condo association meeting tonight

By Nick Williams

Homeowners from the Willowbrook town home community in East Manatee may get some answers concerning their current battle with KB Home during a condo association meeting tonight at 6 p.m.

The meeting is not open to the public.

Willowbrook residents have requested KB Home, the developer of the community, to buy back their homes citing construction issues with their balconies and interior damage due to water intrusion. Over the past week, Manatee County inspectors have ruled 20 balconies unsafe. The balconies are the property of the Willowbrook condo association.

KB Home sent a subcontracting company to the community last week to block access to the unsafe decks, but several residents refused. If the unsafe decks are not addressed within the next few weeks, Manatee County government will have to step in.

The association submitted a claim to KB Home regarding damages, but the details of that claim have not been made available. Sanjay Kurian, the attorney representing the association, has declined to comment on the situation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who else could wear the American flag as a shirt?

By Nick Williams

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Move over Abbie Hoffman?

This is Roger Grossel, a volunteer at a voting precint in Lakewood Ranch. On Tuesday, Primary Election Day, Grossel greeted voters in Lakewood Ranch with a smile, a tip of the hat, and a memorable shirt -- the American Flag.

This election year will be Grossel's third as a volunteer.

"I like being out here to talk to people," he said.

If you're wondering where he bought the shirt in Manatee County so you can get one, you're out of luck. He purchased it while visiting Illinois.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rowing saved Fort Hamer Park

Rowing camp at Fort Hamer Park on Tuesday. (Herald photo)
Were it not for the coming of rowing to the Manatee-Sarasota area, it seems that Fort Hamer Park would still be, well, a dump.

Years ago, Fort Hamer Park was the most desolate park in the county, a place where beer cans were left on the ground and park furniture was regularly destroyed by vandals.

But after the county caught the rowing wave -- a tsunami really --  that started in Nathan Benderson Park near the Manatee-Sarasota county line, a rowing training facility was built at Fort Hamer.

With a boat storage area, restrooms, landscaping, improved dock areas, the little park bloomed. Teams from near (Palmetto) and far (Harvard) came to train on the Manatee River at Fort Hamer.

For the past week and a half, the Long Skinny Boat Camp has been held at Fort Hamer Park. Coach Trish Jackson is conducting the camp, attracting a new generation of rowers from middle and high school.

There is no doubt that rowing saved Fort Hamer Park.

For more on the Long Skinny Boat Camp see the Aug. 8 Bradenton Herald.

For improvements planned for the park, see our recent story: