Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Easter colors arrive early at Heritage Harbour

Well, Easter is just around the corner (March 31), and this photo from Heritage Harbour reminds us of that, even though it shows golfers. Maybe it's the color of the shirts.

The 18-hole ladies golf league at Heritage Harbour enjoyed a day of golf, pitting the pink-clad Cosmos against the Mojitos, in green. Cosmos took the honors. Above, the 36 players assemble at the final hole to celebrate the occasion.

Thanks to Patricia Brodersen for sending it along!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Art creativity alive and well at Palm-Aire

Painting on silk. (provided photo)
Heather Smith and Nan Miller doing watercolor. (provided photo)

The Palm-Aire Art Association, now in its 30th anniversary year, is making plans for its annual art show.

The show, set for April 1-7, is open to the public, and free at the Country Club, 5601 Country Club Way.

Recently, the association hosted an art fair featuring local artists, sponsored by Keeton’s Art Supplies of Bradenton.

It was attended by more than 70 people interested in art, perhaps thinking of learning a new hobby. 

The crowd watched a presentation by the well-known watercolorist Anne Abgott. Other artist presenters were Patsy Monk, Zentangle;  Linda Lucas, expressive painting on silk; Jerome Chesley, stamping and watercolor pencils; and Sue Lynn Cotton, beginners watercolors.

The workshops included all levels of art skills. Many taking the Zentangle workshop for the first time watched at how quickly circles turned into  flowers, lines, curves and zig-zags, forming creative designs.

Others were absorbed in painting on silk, making a vibrant Dahlia flower bloom on a square of white silk.

The proceeds will benefit the Ruth Levin Scholarship awarded to a local Ringling College student at the end of the season.

For more, visit 

Jerome Chesley's class concentrating on stamps and watercolor. (provided photo)

Youth judges show their understanding of the land

FFA high school team from Southeast High School- Hunter Horne, Brie-Ann Jaworowski, Buddy Keen (presenter), Wyatt Fulghum, and Luis Solorzano won the Callon Keen Sr. Award for the team with the highest score and placed first in the FFA senior division. (provided photo)

You would probably have to look hard to find many local youth competitions that are older than the  Manatee County land judging contest, now in its 52nd year.

The contest is important because it has everything to do with everything -- from farming to construction.

The most recent edition of this contest was sponsored by the Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District at Rye Preserve in East Manatee.

Gail Somodi,  soil conservation supervisor, affiliated with Manatee County, the state of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shares a little about the judging:
4-H senior individual-1st place-Sam West. (provided photo)

Students answered questions concerning soil properties at four fields in  categories such as slope, depth, texture, permeability, erosion and nutrients.

One of the fields represented a potential home site location, and students were asked how well the land could serve as a building site.

Hunter Horne, a student at Southeast High School with the highest individual overall score, won the I.H. Stewart Award, sponsored by ECo Consultants and presented by Alec Hoffner.

The team composed of Brie-Ann Jaworowski, Hunter Horne, Wyatt Fulghum, and Luis Solorzano from Southeast High School won the Callon Keen Sr. Award for the team with the highest score, sponsored by the Keen Family and presented by Callon (Buddy) Keen, Jr.  The team, advised by Mike Buckley, also placed first in the FFA high school division.

Placing second was the FFA high school team from Southeast High School, advised by Mike Buckley, with students Zach Butler, Alyssa Doss, Savannah Dunsmore, and Sam Seeger.

The FFA  team from Palmetto High School placed third, advised by Mike Ingram with students Deven Penaloza, Kaitlyn Richman, Rebecca Keefer, and Colin Kirker.

Placing first at the middle school level for FFA was the team of Jonathan Tyler, Elizabeth Atkinson, Dylan Alvarez, and Sebastian Siegler from Lincoln Middle School, advised by Kimberley Lough.

The second place team advised by Greg Egan of Buffalo Creek Middle School, included students Justin Crocker, Cody Sahene, Chris Riggs, and Amber Koholoff.

In third place, advised by Stefani Heidenthal, was the team of Meagan Gigliotti, Emily Chamness, Marshall Craig, and Logan Troyer from Nolan Middle School.

The intermediate 4-H team, including Claire Strickland, Ben Hoffner, and Jesse West, placed first in the 4-H Intermediate division.

The senior 4-H students competed as individuals, with Sam West placing first and Josh Groover second.  All 4-H students were advised by Alec Hoffner of ECo Consultants.

Medals were given to the high scoring individual at each of four fields.

This year, Wyatt Fulghum from Southeast High School had the highest score at three of the four fields in the Senior Division.  Hunter Horne of Southeast High School had the highest score at the first field in the Senior Division.

Junior Division winners were Fields 2 and 4:  Jonathan Tyler/Lincoln Middle School; Fields 1: Jesse West/intermediate 4-H; and Field 3: Meagan Gigliotti/Nolan Middle School.

FFA teams from Lakewood Ranch and Braden River High Schools also participated. Charlotte and Clewiston FFA students participated as guests in the competition.

USDA-NRCS Area Resource Soil Scientist Juan Vega served as Chief Judge and was assisted by USDA Soil Scientists from Fort Myers and West Palm Beach. Lunch was provided and prepared by Mitchell John of WinField and Jason McKendree with the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association. Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Buddy Keen was instrumental in coordinating the lunch, and Supervisor Paul Howard provided assistance with the contest.

The winning FFA teams from Southeast High School, Lincoln Middle School, the Junior 4-H team and both senior 4-H individuals are eligible to compete in the state land judging competition to be held in late March this year in Levy County.

 For more information see

Left to right, Intermediate 4-H first place team-Claire Strickland, Ben Hoffner, and Jesse West. (provided photo)

FFA middle school first place team from Lincoln Middle School- Dylan Alvarez, Elizabeth Atkinson, Jonathan Tyler, and Sebastian Siegler. (provided photo)

Hunter Horne from Southeast High School-winner of the I.H. Stewart Award for high individual score, the Callon Keen Sr. Award for high team award and one high field award.(provided photo)
Ribbons indicate the portion of the field to be judged by the students. (provided photo)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Norma Kennedy to serve as Parrish parade grand marshal

Norma Kennedy, a long-time community booster, has been selected as the grand marshal of the Parrish Heritage Day Parade, set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

She will wear a period dress from the early 1900s and ride in a horse and buggy.  Kennedy is active in efforts to create a play from Parrish history.

The parade route travels from the vicinity of the Parrish firehouse, 12132 U.S. 301, down 121st Avenue to the Florida Railroad Museum.

The Parrish Chili Cook Off between 22 teams is set at the Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E., following the parade at 11 a.m.

There will be live entertainment, rides, rock walls and bounce houses for the kids and food, vendors and beer for the grown ups.

 All proceeds will benefit the Parrish Foundation, a 501 (c) 3, tax exempt, charitable organization.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Race to benefit children set for Lakewood Ranch

Runners in the 10K Run/Walk to benefit Take Stock in Children, anxious to get started in 2012, warmed up in the morning chill.(Herald file photo)

Last year, the annual Take Stock in Children of Manatee County 10K  (6.2 miles) and  5K (3.1 mile) runs at Lakewood Ranch attracted more than 600 runners, twice the turnout of 2011.

Don't be surprised if the turnout March 3 is even larger, considering the growing popularity of running, and the community's respect for the work that Take Stock in Children does.

This year, same as last year, the run will begin and end at Lakewood Ranch Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

 Both the 10K and 5K are scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. The Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m.

Post race party with food, entertainment, raffles, age group awards and kids activities are planned
immediately following the race.

Take Stock in Children is a non-profit organization that helps children from low-income families achieve academic and personal success by providing mentoring programs and college scholarships.

The Florida Pre-Paid College Foundation matches the money raised dollar-for-dollar,  creating opportunity for young people who have shown their desire and commitment to attend college by maintaining a 2.5 or higher grade point average and remaining drug and crime-free.

Registration for the 10K and 5K is now open at

The first 1,000 registrants will receive a tech shirt and goody bag.

For additional information contact Take Stock in Children Race Coordinator Bethany Lynch at 941-713-8935,

 Joe Rebella, a graduate of Palmetto High School and student at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota zipped to a first-place finish in the 10K run to benefit Take Stock in Children in 2012.

Just for Girls benefits from University Park Women's Club fashion show

Mary Conklin, left, chair of this year’s Ball, John Neal, of Neal Homes with Becky Canesse from Just for Girls. (Provided photo)

The University Park Women’s Club held its annual fashion show recently  at Michael’s on East Restaurant as a benefit for Just for Girls, reports Delpha Hanke and Martha Naismith.

The theme of the show was "Exploring the Wild Side of Fashion with Foxy Lady."

The models, all members of the Women's Club, strolled down the runway wearing stunning colors, textures, and styles of the season.

In conjunction with the fashion show, the Special Interest Group set up a display featuring Just for Girls,with hand lettered notes from students at the Just for Girls Academy thanking the club for their contributions to their school.

At the luncheon, members made cash donations toward the purchase of new library books for the students to use at the school.

The club is once again hosting its signature event of the year -- the Diamond and Crystal Charity Ball -- to be held at University Park Country Club on March 9.

Proceeds will benefit Just for Girls Academy. Four generous donors have already contributed more than $5,000. Donors include John Neal Homes, Benderson Development, Brown’s Tree, and BMO Harris Bank. 50/50.

Cash raffle tickets at $20 each or six for $100 can be purchased by calling 941-504-4292. Winners need not to be present.

Established in 1969, Just for Girls has helped shape the lives of tens of thousands of girls through award-winning programs. Just for Girls focuses on building self-assurance, educational enhancement, character development, positive social experiences, and life skills – all in a supervised, safe, and nurturing environment.

In addition to gift certificates to Foxy Lady, Michael’s on East, and Ana Molinari Salon, guests won cash prizes in the 50/50 raffle.

Anne Walsh and Linda Schauer were the organizers of the luncheon and fashion show.

Mary Bennet and Kris Higgerson  at the fashion show.

Parade of Models. (provided photo)

Parade of Models. (provided photo)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

East Manatee Fire Rescue District honors announced

Lt. Bob Mikulski, officer of the year, center, is shown with Lee Whitehurst, left, and Chief Byron Teates. (provided photo)
Firefighter of the year Adam McDaniel, center, with Lee Whitehurst and Byron Teates. (provided photo)
Rookie of the year Josh Dillard, right, with Lee Whitehurst. (provided photo)

LAKEWOOD RANCH — The East Manatee Fire Rescue District announces the following promotions today: firefighter III Scott Rhodes to engineer, engineer Shawn Battick to lieutenant, engineer Erik Nicholson to lieutenant, and captain Will Hall to battalion chief.

Also announced: Rookie of the Year - Josh Dillard, firefighters of the year - David Manning and Adam McDaniel, and fire officer of the Year - Lt. Bob Mikulski.

Service awards were presented to Lt. Luke Fay - 10 years, Lt. Matt Talaska - 15 years, Training Officer Tim Hyden - 20 years; Lt. Noreen Hollman - 25 years; Division Chief Richard Kirby - 30 years.

Certificates of appreciation to district employees for excelling in their areas of responsibility were awarded to Rob Day, Casey Lambert, Matt Talaska, Andrew Stark, Eric Hoying, and Kyle Taylor.

Firefighter of the year Dave Manning, center, with Lee Whitehurst, left, and Chief Bryron Teates. (provided photo)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Manatee, Sarasota high schools win county Envirothon competitions

First place team: ‘Manatee Blue’ from Manatee High School – Advisor Pat Zalo with team members Lauren Demo, Theresa Polly, Leah Rothfeld, Anna Trinci, and Kyle Grosser. Alternate-Holly Rizzo. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Flaherty)
Manatee High School's "Manatee Blue" team placed first among Manatee County schools in the annual Manasota Regional Envirothon on Feb. 7 at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey.

Taking second and third, respectively, were two other Manatee High School teams, "Loopy Lizards," and "Earth, Sea, &  Sky," reports  Gail Cameron Somodi, Soil Conservation supervisor for the Agriculture and Extension Service Division, Community Services Department, Manatee County Government.

Among Sarasota County high schools, the "Tree Thuggers" from Sarasota High School placed first. Second place went to the Suncoast Polytechnical High School "Renegades" and third went to the "Jolly Green Giants"’ from Sarasota High School.

The first place team from each county is eligible to compete in the State Envirothon at Hillsborough River State Park in Hillsborough County in April.

One hundred students representing seven Manatee and Sarasota county high schools competed in the Envirothon, an outdoor environmental team competition for high school students.

Envirothon tests students'  knowledge of aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and sustainable rangeland management."

Also taking part in the competition from Manatee County were teams from Bayshore High School and
Southeast High School.

Other Sarasota County schools in the competition were  Booker High and Riverview high schools.

Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District along with Sarasota Soil and Water Conservation District sponsor the competition.

Manatee Sarasota Fish and Game Association donated the food for participants of the Envirothon. The Mosaic Company and Sarasota County Farm Bureau provided event T-shirts. Keep Manatee Beautiful sponsored the awards for the Manatee County students.

First place Sarasota team: ‘Tree Thuggers’ from Sarasota High School - Advisor Andy Harshman with team members Jackie Mogensen, Zelda Blowers, Zach Hovey, Kelly Crocker, Dylan Seeman. Alternate-Ricardo Martinez. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Flaherty)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lakewood Ranch residents urged to get ready for the next disaster

 Lakewood Ranch resident and community emergency response team volunteer Vincent Jenkins practices clearing the airway of “victim” Victor Kline, another CERT volunteer. (Herald file photo)

Lakewood Ranch residents are invited to register for the next four-session Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) 2013 training course.

Sessions are set at Lakewood Ranch Town Hall,  8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.:

* 7-9:30 p.m. March 7

*  8:30 a.m.- 3:45 p.m. March 9

* 7-9:30 p.m. March 14

The final session will be held 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. March 16  at the East Manatee Fire Rescue Building, 3200 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.

Anyone who must miss a session, can make it up at a later date in order to complete their certification.

The disaster training program promotes emergency preparedness for the individual, family, and neighborhoods. The training is free to any resident of Lakewood Ranch over the age of 18.

The program has 200 trained CERT members on 26 teams in Lakewood Ranch, with a target of 300 members and 36 teams.

To register for training  visit and use the Contact Us drop down to register.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Through the creative eyes of children

Explorers Club teacher  Ms. Sponsler with Ally, 7, and a picture of Primose School. (provided photo)
For your viewing pleasure, we present artwork from Primrose School at Lakewood Ranch.

"From sunflower pop art, landscape oil pastels and creating a LEGO City model, these children created a makeshift art studio complete with portfolios, sculptures and other creative works of art," says Primrose's Sharon Frank, who provided these images.

Thanks Sharon for sharing, these images brightened my day seeing them.

Oil pastel landscape by Sydney, age 5.
Sunflower pop art by Matthew, age 5.

The entrance to LEGO, put together by a team of students.